Overview - Infrastructure & Delivery
There is concern about the inability of current infrastructure to meet current and future needs.
The policy recognises that the “Infrastructure provider” will maintain infrastructure in most cases, and developers can only offer a contribution via Community Infrastructure Levy.
Until the current infrastructure can meet existing needs adequately, further development should be very targeted to meet only absolute essentials.
A new Transport Topic Paper has been published by GBC. Items 3.16 and 3.17 (page 10) mention Highways England concerns regarding the Strategic Highway Assessment Report 2016 and two letters. These letters can be accessed from the “Get Involved” website by searching for the Highways England response to the consultation. It seems clear that further modelling will be undertaken before the Examination and it also seems unlikely that it will be consulted on. We consider that any further modelling should include more detailed information so that it can be subject to scrutiny by GBC and the public.
The wording of Policy ID1 has been amended to give an impression that provision of adequate infrastructure will be enforced. However, the reality is that GBC will not determine the required infrastructure. It will be determined by Surrey Highways for the local road network and they are required to support development – not put obstacles in the way. If the Strategic Highway Assessment Report is anything to go by, the requirements will be understated or not even recognised. Transport assessments supporting planning applications will be prepared by consultants acting for, and remunerated by, the applicant. Improvements to the strategic road network (e.g. A3) will be determined by Highways England, budget constraints, and ministerial decisions.
We are promised a Water Quality Assessment but this was not available at the time of writing so it would appear that the availability of an adequate water supply has had no influence on the plans for population growth in the area.
GBC lead councillor for Infrastructure has stated that the proposed Blackwell Farm development will not depend on A3 widening (in response to a question from Karen Stevens to the Executive Advisory Board meeting held on 20 April). It seems likely that Highways England have felt the need to offer a reality check on the likelihood of major work on the A3, such as widening or a tunnel, in the foreseeable future – apart from improvements to two slip roads.
The policy states that infrastructure will be secured by planning condition and/or planning obligation but this will require enforcement and we doubt the ability and willingness of GBC to overcome developers’ viability arguments. For the permissions that require a longer timescale there could be non-delivery issues if the original developer abandons the project without fulfilling all the conditions and obligations. Item 4.6.8 still indicates that GBC will be prepared to reduce infrastructure requirements by negotiation. I.e. viability for the developer will take precedence over infrastructure.
No change has been made to the monitoring requirement which is based on CIL receipts and spending rather than actual, and timely, delivery of infrastructure.