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Why are new homes being proposed here?

Haslemere is one of the larger towns in the Borough and has an unmet housing need. It must deliver at least 990 homes by 2032, with just over 200 delivered to date. Government Inspectors reviewing several recent appeals by developers have found that Waverley Borough Council’s (WBC) 5 year housing supply is consistently under provided, sometimes proving only 4 years’ supply. WBC currently has an immediate need to allocate more housing, which Redwood estimate is circa 1,000 dwellings over the remaining plan period to 2032 across the whole Borough.

Scotland Park’s Phase One site was first identified as a potential location to provide much needed new homes following identification of its development potential in the Local Authority’s Land Availability Assessment May 2018 (LAA) (Site ID 987). This led to a draft allocation of part of the Site in 2018 for development of 50 houses in the emerging Waverley Borough Local Plan. This part of the site has now secured planning consent and we are exploring the opportunity with the remaining circa 60 acres of the estate to assist further with meeting Haslemere’s as yet unresolved housing need.

The Phase Two land is presently being promoted as part of the Local Plan process, and to demonstrate delivery further detailed architecture and technical work is progressing.

How will Phase Two’s proposals affect the landscape?

The area proposed for Phase Two’s new homes is a gentle north facing slope, adjacent to the urban edge of Haslemere which would form a natural and logical extension to the town. It would be screened from the remainder of the AONB and South Downs National Park (SDNP) immediately to the south by the east-west ridge and woodland.

The proposed homes will be visually contained by existing tree and hedgerow cover and where there are likely to be initial impacts, such as to residents within part of Scotlands Close and Chiltern Close, these will become minor as the new 10-12 m tree buffer matures with many thousands of trees and hedging planted in 2018/19. The development will be designed to ensure that the urban elements will not be visible from the surrounding countryside and heights will be strictly controlled, having been assessed following long distance studies.

Why build on land in the AONB?

We agree that ideally brownfield sites should be used for new developments, however, there are insufficient sites available to meet Haslemere’s requirements, a town constrained by local landscape designations, AONB and Green Belt. This is evidenced by the local authority’s decision to promote several sites in the AONB (The Royal School, Hindhead, The Old Grove, Hindhead and National Trust Car Park, Hindhead) as part of its proposals to allocate sufficient land to meet the minimum number the Council say is required (249 houses) in Haslemere (see Local Part 2

The challenge in building within the AONB is to demonstrate that the public benefits of the scheme outweigh any harm. The Scotland Park Phase Two proposal involves some 60 acres of land, 2/3rds of which will remain undeveloped and enhanced, having been underutilised for decades. The design provides public access to parts of the AONB previously unseen and in a manner that connects the town of Haslemere more directly with the beauty of the Blackdown National Trust land and wider National Park. The remaining 1/3rd of the site to be developed for housing is sited largely within existing well contained discreet fields with limited impacts upon the wider landscape. Additional structural planting will ensure the development will mature and any remaining localised impacts are mitigated within a 10 year timeframe.

A particular and unique benefit of Scotland Park is that it can provide its own on site SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) otherwise known as the Country Park. This is an important ecological achievement for any development that ensures its residents have immediate access to tranquil countryside beyond urban influences, and attractive for dog walking to assist with relieving pressure on local heathland; in Haslemere’s case Hindhead and Bramshott Commons, where particular bird species are at risk. We have not seen evidence that any other allocations proposed by the local authority in its Local Plan can mitigate for this constraint.

It is possible therefore for housing and landscape interests to be combined with successful outcomes for all stakeholders. We believe Scotland Park achieves both these objectives in a more beneficial manner than the alternative options proposed and we invite your feedback. If there are aspects we can improve, we want to know!

Will Haslemere’s distinct traditional architecture be spoilt?

Our proposals respect the rich architectural heritage of Haslemere and the surrounding area and leading architectural practice, ADAM Architecture, Winchester, has spent considerable time researching how the area has grown, the local built character, architectural style, construction, detail and building materials. Appreciation for Haslemere’s character has driven Redwood’s choice of ADAM architecture.

Haslemere’s architectural language has a broad range between restrained classicism, arts and crafts and vernacular. More modest buildings tend to be more vernacular, using locally sourced materials and simple detailing, whereas grander more opulent houses use the traditional patterns of the ‘Surrey Style’ Arts and Crafts or more formulaic composition and proportions, with a set of typical Georgian and classical elements, such as door casings and sash windows, still using simple refined detail and local material palette.

The design of our homes seeks to emulate this historic character. A basic vocabulary of simple traditional doors, windows and roofs and chimneys etc, is extended with variations such as bays, dormers, door casings and canopies, to recreate the mixture of consistency and variety, the interplay of organic and regular composition found in the town and village scape.

What is PassivHaus?

PassivHaus is a leading international design standard which dramatically cuts energy use from buildings and delivers high standards of comfort and health. For more information visit the Passivhaus Trust’s website.

Our homes at Scotland Park Phase will all be Passivhaus accredited. This will be the first development of over 100 homes in the UK built to PassivHaus standards in traditional architecture style.

How can Scotland Park Phase Two produce a 20% biodiversity net gain?

We have invested significantly with leading environmental specialists, Engain, which is working towards at least a 20% Biodiversity net Gain on Scotland Park through the planting of many thousands of succession trees, plus the regeneration through coppicing of existing woodland. New hedgerow plants, and intensive new landscaping with wetlands and wildflower meadows are all planned. Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Council’s independent ecological consultants, will be tasked with reviewing and approving our strategy.

A 20% net gain will significantly exceed mandatory Government requirements coming into force in November 2023. This underlines the landowner’s commitment to leave the land and local ecology in measurably better condition. This is a significant benefit of the scheme.

Does Haslemere need any more open space?

Haslemere’s Vision document created for the Neighbourhood Plan clearly demonstrated that residents wanted access to more nature amenities. The Red Court Estate land, renamed Scotland Park has been in private ownership with no public rights of way for many decades and our land is largely out of public view except for a few houses that sit on its perimeter in Scotland Close and Chiltern Close, as well as along the Midhurst Road frontage.
Scotland Park will open up to the public this southerly part of Haslemere through a delightful 2.3km woodland walk which leads directly into the South Downs National Park. Furthermore, we will dedicate over 9 hectares of land to act as a buffer to the extent of future development south of the town, securing the future of this land for public benefit.

Existing vehicular accesses to Blackdown and the SDNP are via narrow country lanes and there are limited car parking opportunities, creating often wasted and unnecessary journeys into the countryside. Scotland Park will provide 2 small rural car parks that will help limited car travel and relieve local lanes.

The requirement by Natural England (the Government body with responsibility for the natural environment) for mitigation solutions to reduce pressures on Hindhead and Bramshott Commons means that more and improved open spaces are required in the town.

What will the impact be of the housing on local roads?

A detailed transport analysis has cleared the site of having any undue negative impacts. Phase One’s 50 houses secured the agreement from the Highways Authority to safely exit and access onto Scotland Lane. Phase Two will take vehicular access from the Midhurst Road. The one exception to this, via the raising of a locked barrier, could be for emergency vehicle access through to Scotland Lane, if necessitated.

Within Phase Two’s entrance on the Midhurst Road, we propose providing new parking provision for visitors wishing to walk to the SDNP or Blackdown, negating the need for them to drive through town or up Scotland Lane to reach other National Trust parking sites that are already over-stretched at times. In addition there will be secure cycle racks so that visitors can arrive by bike or come via the train and cycle to the nearest and easiest route into the Park. This will encourage more sustainable forms of tourism.

During construction, we are intent on minimising disruption, and will create a Construction Method Plan to be approved by the planning authority. It should help reassure the local community on aspects such as working and delivery hours, delivery routes, tackling muddy wheels and dust, as well as stipulating on-site working hours.

What about water, surely the supply won’t cope?

We have entered into an agreement with Thames Water which secures system upgrades, offering long overdue improvements on local water supply capacity.

By building on fields, will there be an increased risk of flooding?

Leading environmental experts have produced a storm-water attenuation scheme that deals with surface storm-water run-off in a natural process that also improves biodiversity of the whole site by incorporating a series of swales and ponds. Each house will also have a sunken rain water tank to recycle rain water for both external and internal grey water use. The road surfaces will be of a permeable material. No ancient woodland or significant trees will be felled and an extra 4,000 have already been planted as succession planting.