THE FIRST drop-in event at the town hall on Saturday in the final public consultation on Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan triggered a steady stream of visitors.
Haslemere mayor John Robini joined a team of volunteers on hand to answer questions.
A hefty 15,000 summaries of the 73-page document detailing the ‘blueprint’ for future development in Haslemere, Beacon Hill, Critchmere, Grayswood, Hindhead and Shottermill have been delivered to each household.
Four banners across the area also flag up the importance of responding – whether positively or negatively – to the document, which will become a key planning tool when deciding applications.
Urging everyone to make their views known, Cllr Robini said: “This is an exciting opportunity we have to help shape the future growth of the Haslemere area, and to claim an improved share of the community infrastructure levy (CIL).
“This is your chance to let us know of any improvements or ideas you would like to see added.”
Waverley Borough Council currently applies CIL on all developments, of which 15 per cent – capped in large developments – goes to Haslemere Town Council.
Once it has an adopted neighbourhood plan, the town council will be given more responsibility for decision making and its share of CIL will rise to 25 per cent.
The funding increase will mean Haslemere Town Council can undertake more ambitious projects, or partner with Waverley and Surrey County Council to deliver large schemes.
The plan was drawn up by localism group Haslemere Vision’s 80-strong team over six years and it is now the responsibility of the town council to see it through the final stages.
Haslemere Vision chair Lesley Banfield said on Saturday: “We have had some very informed questions about housing.
“The Haslemere area needs to allow for 990 new homes to be built by 2032. We already have permissions for 550, so we are a long way down the track.”
Hindhead town councillor Geoff Whitby added: “For the first time, people have been given the opportunity to look at planning in detail and have some input into how the environment might look.
“One of the biggest issues is building density. We have so many homes to build and that increases the density, because areas like Beacon Hill are bounded on two sides by National Trust land.”
Haslemere county councillor Nikki Barton hopes for a good turnout next Monday at the station hub.
The public consultation closes on April 27 and four more drop-in events are being held:
•March 16: Haslemere Station Information Hub 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
•March 26 Haslewey Community Centre midday to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm.
• March 31 Hindhead British Legion 3.30pm to 8pm.
• April 8 Grayswood Club 10.30am to midday.