The Core Strategy provides a policy framework which will guide future developments within the Borough. It sets a blueprint for development, including the location of retail and commercial development, areas suitable for housing development and it provides a framework to protect the environment.
Woking's Core Strategy provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the Borough over the next 15 years providing a number of modifications are made, the Inspector's report said (31-Pages / 176 KB PDF).
The Core Strategy sets a target to maintain an average completion figure of 292 dwellings per year, which is in line with the South East Plan target. The report found that the Core Strategy's approach to housing was "sufficiently justified and will be consistent with national planning policy".
However, the Inspector recommended that Core Strategy be amended to "express the housing supply intentions for the Borough as a minimum to maximise the effective delivery of sustainable development",
In his report, the Inspector also recommended that the Council refines its policy on affordable housing to ensure "clarity and its effectiveness" and that greater flexibility be introduced into the potential economic uses of Broadoaks, West Byfleet to enable the effectiveness of the plan in securing its employment objectives.
The Core Strategy had been criticised in relation to its effectiveness to secure certain levels of development to meet the needs of the Borough, especially in relation to housing land. However, the Inspector said that the Council's evidence base was sound.
"The Council’s reliance upon data from the Office of National Statistics is not flawed and the evidence contained within the Population Topic Paper updated in 2011 is adequate to underpin the spatial approach of the CS for the plan period, notwithstanding the alternative methodologies which can be employed to secure population forecasts," the Inspector's report said.
The Inspector also recommended that the Core Strategy be amended to reflect the National Planning Policy Framework in relation to green belt and sustainable development.
"The Core Strategy will now be considered for adoption by Council at its meeting in October and, if adopted, will form the Council's planning policy framework for managing future development within the area," said Graham Cundy, Woking Borough Council's portfolio holder for planning policy.