The Neighbourhood Plan Examination took place on March 10th and was led by Mr Jeremy Edge. The key areas of concern for the examiner were:
- To understand the Housing Statistics which had been updated for the Examination. Mr Edge seemed very satisfied with the Data he had been given and clearly appreciated some further information and comments provided by Mike Smith.
- To understand what information informed the conclusions of the Strategic Environmental Assessment prepared by Mr Nick Chisholm Batten of Aecom.
- To understand the rationale behind the choice of certain of the Local Green Spaces. Mr Edge dealt in some detail with a number of these, in particular the Dene Field, the areas around the Churches in Caterham, Chaldon and Whyteleafe and the Rugby Pitches on the Hill owned by Caterham School. Representatives from the NHS, Caterham School and the Diocese were present to give their counter views regarding the Green Spaces mentioned in the Plan which are on land owned by them. The Steering Group Chair brought to the Examiner’s attention the crucial role played by allotments at Heath Road and Rosedale.
- To understand how the Neighbourhood Plan Area was initially delineated and how the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group was initially constituted.
Following the Examination we had to find some further facts for the examiner in relation to our own constitution. This was done by Chris Windridge and our thanks to him for doing this. The Steering Group Chair was also asked to mediate with the Diocese about the Local Green Space allocations around the Churches in Caterham, Chaldon and Whyteleafe. Our view was the land around the Churches was suitable for allocation as Local Green Space under Neighbourhood Plan Regulations. The Diocesan view was that it was not and they were not prepared to compromise on this. So we have left this matter for the Examiner to adjudicate on.
What follows now is that the Steering Group will have to wait for the Examiner to write back to us with his comments on the Plan and the inevitable changes he will wish us to make. If the Examiner finds our plan “sound” and simply requests rewrites or alterations here and there, what would follow in normal circumstances would be a referendum. Under current emergency regulations this would be most unlikely to happen this year. ( TDC have confirmed this.) If he finds the Plan “unsound” the Steering Group will meet as soon as is practicable ( probably by videoconferencing media) to consider our position.
The Steering Group Chair thanks all those who put in so much work prior to the Examination which according to our advisors present went very well.”I have also sent a letter to all local councillors outlining that, following the closure of Meal and Entertainment services at The Westway, we will be running an Outreach Hub from the Centre for the duration of the current emergency. This demonstrates how local people can pick up and run with things even in the most trying of circumstances. If you want to draw to our attention people you may be concerned about or ideas you may have to help matters along at the present time, please do not hesitate to call the Westway Centre Number: 01883 347230 and/or visit the Website at: thewestway.org to see what is being done.
Steering Group Chair