A DECISION by councillors that will determine whether New Vision Homes are granted permission to submit a planning application for the Sheerwater regeneration has been delayed until later this year.
A report seeking councillors’ approval for New Vision to submit an application was to be presented to the council at a meeting on July 9, but this has now been deferred.
Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing Development, Cllr David Bittleston, said: “Having listened to the questions raised by residents and councillors at the Independent Sheerwater Scrutiny Panel Public Hearings, it is clear that there is a misunderstanding of what is being proposed, and a perception that the consultation process has been predetermined.
“While the findings of the panel will not, and were never intended to, influence the submission of the planning application, it’s clear that submitting an application before the panel has delivered its findings would reinforce the belief that there is a ‘done deal’.
“I have therefore taken the decision to defer the submission of the report to allow the Independent Sheerwater Scrutiny Panel to deliver its recommendations, and
I hope that this will go some way towards addressing the false perception.
“Nevertheless, the council is still committed to a regeneration that will deliver significant benefits in terms of leisure, housing, retail and public open spaces.”
The scheme aims to make better use of the land and has the potential to provide 409 more homes and replace 575 – a total development of 984 properties. A significant number of them will be family-sized.
Leader of the Woking Lib Dems, Cllr Will Forster, criticised the council’s overall handling of the situation.
He explained: “Very few people object to the principle of regenerating the centre of Sheerwater, so any plans to do that should have been popular – however, the Conservatives running the council have completely mishandled the scheme.
“They have spent £3 million so far and have nothing to show for it, other than upset residents and a stalled regeneration scheme.”
The ISSP will present its report on the council’s actions before any planning application submission.