Woking Borough Council

CS16 Infrastructure delivery

Fundamental to delivering the spatial strategy is ensuring that the necessary social, physical and green infrastructure is put in place to support the level of growth proposed and, to serve the changes in the Borough's demographic make-up that is expected to take place over the Plan period. Policy CS16:Infrastructure Delivery sets out the Council's approach to securing that necessary infrastructure and the mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure delivery.

The definition of infrastructure is wide and includes a range of services and facilities provided by both public and private bodies. For the purpose of the Core Strategy, the definition of infrastructure is that set out in the box below.

Definition of infrastructure

Transport: road network, cycling and walking infrastructure, rail network, parking

Housing: affordable housing

Education: further and higher education, secondary and primary education, nursery schools and other early years provision

Health: acute care and general hospitals, mental hospitals, health centres/primary care trusts, ambulance Services

Social and community infrastructure: supported accommodation, social and community facilities, sports centres, open spaces, parks and play space

Public services: waste management and disposal, libraries, cemeteries, emergency services (police, fire, ambulance), places of worship, prisons, drug treatment centres

Utility services: gas supply, electricity supply, heat supply, water supply, waste water treatment, telecommunications infrastructure

Flood defences

Green infrastructure: parks and gardens, natural and semi-natural urban greenspaces, green corridors, outdoor sports facilities, amenity greenspace, provision for children and young people, allotments, cemeteries and churchyards, accessible countryside in urban fringe areas, river and canal corridors, green roofs and walls.

CS16: Infrastructure delivery

The Council will work in partnership with infrastructure service providers and developers to ensure that the infrastructure needed to support development is provided in a timely manner to meet the needs of the community. In some cases, it will be necessary for the infrastructure to be provided before development commences. Development may be phased to ensure the timely delivery of the infrastructure that will be necessary to serve it. Each case will be determined on its individual merits during the development management process. The Council will support in principle the development of infrastructure projects if they can be justified to support the delivery of the Core Strategy and meet all other requirements of the Development Plan for the area.

The Council will:

  • continue to work in partnership with the Infrastructure Sub Group of the Woking Partnership to monitor and coordinate infrastructure provision
  • annually review the infrastructure schedule which forms part of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will be reported to the Woking Partnership
  • collect financial contributions from developers to support improvements to infrastructure services and facilities that are required as a result of development
  • ensure that new developments provide the necessary infrastructure on site required for the development to be acceptable
  • ensure that development contributes to the provision of SANG where appropriate in accordance with the Thames Basin Heaths SPA Avoidance Strategy (2010 - 2015).

In order to ensure a co-ordinated and consistent approach to the collection of developer contributions, the Council will introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Prior to the adoption of the CIL and subject to viability, the Council will expect development to contribute to infrastructure provision, which will be assessed on a case by case basis through planning obligations. All major development proposals will be expected to be accompanied by a financial viability assessment in order to inform the level of infrastructure contribution that a development can sustain.

The Council will resist the loss of existing infrastructure services and facilities unless a suitable alternative is provided for or it can be demonstrated that they are no longer needed to meet the needs of the community. This will require the developer to provide evidence that consultation with an appropriate range of service providers and the community has taken place.

The Council will safeguard land for future infrastructure provision through the Site Allocations DPD if necessary.

Reasoned justification

Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning. It aims to create sustainable communities by ensuring that development policies are integrated with other policies and programmes that influence the nature and function of places. The provision of infrastructure is therefore central to supporting the spatial vision and spatial strategy set out in this document. Spatial planning is not limited to the activities of the Council. Fundamental to the delivery of the spatial strategy is the Council's ability to work with partners to deliver the spatial vision and in particular, to secure infrastructure provision. To assist this, the Woking Partnership has established an Infrastructure Sub Group (ISG); which is tasked with a role of oversight of the infrastructure planning process, and specifically for preparing and monitoring the progress of the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).

The Council will ensure an effective integration of proposed development and the infrastructure to support it. In this regard, it will be necessary in some cases to require developers to put in place the necessary infrastructure before development commences. Development could also be phased to enable the timely delivery of infrastructure to ensure that the infrastructure provision is not lagging behind the development. Detailed decisions about this will be determined on the merits of individual schemes through the development management process.

The Core Strategy is supported by an IDP that sets out the capacity of existing infrastructure, the impact of development on that infrastructure, and the likely funding sources available to meet future needs. The IDP also gives an indication of where opportunities may be available to co-ordinate provision through co-location of services, for example. The IDP includes a schedule of infrastructure that is considered necessary to support the spatial strategy.

The IDP forms the evidence base for the CIL which will ensure that all new development contributes to the provision of new infrastructure.

The Council's strategy is to optimise use of existing infrastructure, to reduce demand (for example, by managing travel demand) and to seek new infrastructure where required. The loss of existing facilities will therefore be resisted and land will be safeguarded for the provision of future infrastructure requirements where necessary. The Council will ensure a co-ordinated approach to infrastructure management and investment through partnership working with the Woking Partnership and key infrastructure service providers.

Delivery strategy

The Council will work with partners and key infrastructure service providers to ensure that there is a coordinated approach to infrastructure provision in the Borough. Specifically, the Council will continue to play a central role in the activities of the ISG and the Surrey wide Key Infrastructure Service Providers Group.

The Council views the IDP as a `living' document that will be updated bi-annually to ensure that it is as robust and up-to-date as possible, taking into account changes in need, capacity and the availability of funding sources in order that the Council and partners can respond to any changes to priorities in a timely and co-ordinated manner.

It is the Council's intention to introduce a CIL in order to secure contributions from new development to pay for essential infrastructure.

The Council is mindful that development proposals need to be economically viable. The Council will therefore negotiate with applicants who state that viability is the reason for non-compliance with the requirements for developer contributions until such time as a CIL is in place. Where this is the case, financial evidence must be submitted with the planning application.

In order to ensure that land is available for the provision of additional infrastructure, the Council may consider safeguarding land through the Site Allocations DPD. In addition, the Council may consider using its Compulsory Purchase Order powers as set out in the Implementation and Delivery Plan.

Monitoring and review

Progress towards achieving the strategic objective through Policy CS16 will be measured against the following indicators and targets.

  • Adoption of a CIL.
  • Level of developer contributions collected and spent.
  • Delivery of infrastructure items listed in the infrastructure schedule.

Key evidence base

  • Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), 2009 and 2010.
  • Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan, 2011.
  • Surrey Infrastructure Capacity Study, 2009.
  • Infrastructure Requirements Study, 2006.
  • Social and Community Facilities Study (2011).
  • Population Topic Paper (2011)