We’re struggling. But don’t blame the messenger.

The borough council has just published a consultation ‘look-ahead’ for the borough up to 2032.  The document is – or should be – key in shaping the future of where we live, so we must mention it here.  But we doubt that many readers will study the full text closely.  (Even the Eye will have to battle to keep its eyelid open.)  Which is very regrettable.

Let’s just quote the beginning of the document here:

“1 Introduction

“1.1 The Surrey Heath Local Plan will guide the location, scale and type of future development in Surrey Heath up to 2032. This includes the provision of new housing, retaining existing employment and retail uses and provision of green spaces. The Local Plan will also provide detailed development management policies. These policies will be used in determining planning applications.

“1.2 The Surrey Heath Local Plan, once adopted, will replace the Council’s current adopted Local Plan which is the Core Strategy and Development Management Policies document, including saved policies from the 2000 Local Plan and the Camberley Town Centre Area Action Plan.”

You are familiar with the saved policies from the 2000 Local Plan, aren’t you?

Now, we have some sympathy with the council.  It would, rightly, be criticised if it didn’t cover ‘everything’.  On the other hand, the best place to hide a leaf is in a forest, so an all-embracing document can contain all sorts of mischief.  Which means that we think the approach that the council has taken is totally wrong for a public consultation.  The contents of the document should have been released in digestible sections over a period of time.  After all, there’s no urgency to reach 2032, is there.

Anyway, what you’ll be wanting to know is that the main relevant council webpage is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/consult.ti/LPIO2018/  The main 140 page document is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36988421.1/PDF/-/Final_Draft_of_Issues_and_Options_Reg_18_Plan.pdf  The 120 page sustainability assessment (et al) is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36213029.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2017_final_draft.pdf  The first part (100+ pages) of the appendices to the sustainability assessment is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36213189.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2018__Appendices_AJ_Final.pdf And the remaining ~70 pages of appendices is https://consult.surreyheath.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/919106/36214437.1/PDF/-/SASEA_Report_IOPA_2018__Appendices_K_Final.pdf

(Apologies, Facebook readers.  There’s no guarantee that those five links will carry over successfully from WordPress.  We’ll do our best to sort things out if that happens.)

But we’ve not finished.  A fundamental question is whether the Local Plan will actually be implemented!  We’ll help our readers to make up their own minds.  Some years ago, we extracted items from the Local Plan 2000 that were particularly relevant to the Eye.  We turned them into a scruffy document; if you click HERE you’ll see it.  Read and decide for yourself how much of that ‘eighteen year old’ document has actually been carried out.  It’s depressing.

13 thoughts on “We’re struggling. But don’t blame the messenger.

  1. To summarise, this verbose 2032 plan (if you can understand it) is a complete waste of time, effort and money. Compare it to the Town Plan released in 2000 and realise that it is mainly words, not reality and 90% of it will never even be talked about again, never mind acted on. Thats fundamentally how the Tories run SHBC… shame faced misinformation, false promises and lies.

  2. Well, that was a complete was of time, in 2032 Camberley will not be a shopping town anymore, cannot the Council see this coming, i rest my case.

      • All the towns around here want to be retail utopias, e.g. Farnborough, Bracknell (which has stolen the march on Camberley)….they can’t all succeed, there just isn’t enough money to spend.

  3. They should state how much the plan cost to produce. And why they need a new plan, when they still haven’t implemented the old plan which they themselves drew up.
    I could understand if there had been a change in the running of the councils. That might warrant a new plan. But it is the same tired old muppets that is has always been. Wasting YOUR money on endless plans that never get implemented.

    • In a way, I disagree. Events moved so fast that old plans are irrelevant plans But plans should be updated continuously, not every decade. Once upon a time, when everything had to be printed and distributed, there was a reason for doing things periodically. But since the intention of computers and the internet, there are better ways available

  4. Eye and it’s readers quite rightly identify Surrey Health residents are being short changed.

    We the Conservative Voters [me 2] are to blame for the two decade decline. We chose our remote and detached M.P and our Cabinet of Cllrs. They appear to have little or no influence over SHBC.

    With large Conservative majority our representatives feel bullet proof. The SH Cabinet has chosen not to incorporate external balanced counter view or empower a true scrutiny committee.

    in the early 1990’s Surrey Heath had clear Vision, Direction and Plans

    Replaced with “SHBC drift” without ownership or leadership. SHBC and our representatives will never admit failure, they are being distracted away from their day job. Sounds much like Whitehall confusion.

    The Surrey Heath voter needs to decide and act. Sadly a SH political Sea Change is unlikely.
    Keep up the Good work Eye.

    • Thanks for your final comment. I’ll be politically-neutral here, and suggest that any council that’s been dominated by ANY party for so long will probably be stultified. Public challenge won’t happen – any disagreements (and I guess that even councillors from one party can disagree) will be sorted out privately in order to not to create waves. But waves are necessary to bring about change and implement new ideas.

  5. More doom & gloom by the time House of Fraser folds in Camberley the only large retail chain Camberley will turn into a ghetto

    • You’re jumping the gun, of course. We shall just have to wait and see. The one thing I would say is that I doubt the council will have influenced the outcome very much. SHBC apparently spent six years wooing an anchor store for the London Road Block – and that’s now pretty much destined to become mainly a block of flats.

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