CS19 Social and community infrastructure
The Core Strategy seeks to achieve a sustainable community for Woking and improve upon the wellbeing of its people. This requires an effective balance between the provision of housing and employment and providing the necessary infrastructure to support the growth. Social and community infrastructure includes: schools, higher education facilities, health centres, GP surgeries, dentists, child care premises, supported accommodation, libraries, museums, community halls, places of worship, church halls, day centres, children's centres, indoor and outdoor recreation and sports facilities and any other facility owned by a publicly funded body to provide front line services.
The provision of adequate community facilities and social and community infrastructure is critical as it has a direct bearing on the well-being of the community. Community facilities play an important role in the development of a sustainable community, by providing a place for people to meet. They also offer services that are essential for education, health and well-being and support community cohesion and benefit the general quality of life of residents. The provision of community facilities is particularly important in view of our ageing population (see policy CS13: Older people and vulnerable groups) and our reliance on third sector (charity and voluntary organisations) and faith sectors to provide services to the community.
One of the purposes of the Core Strategy is to deliver a significant amount of housing and jobs in the Borough. The Council is therefore committed to working with partners to deliver the social and community infrastructure to support it.
CS19: Social and community infrastructure
The Council will work with its partners to provide accessible and sustainable social and community infrastructure to support growth in the Borough. It will do so by promoting the use of social and community infrastructure for a range of uses.
The loss of existing social and community facilities or sites will be resisted unless the Council is satisfied that:
there is no identified need for the facility for its original purpose and that it is not viable for any other social or community use
adequate alternative facilities will be provided in a location with equal (or greater) accessibility for the community it is intended to serve
there is no requirement from any other public service provider for an alternative social or community facility that could be met through change of use or redevelopment.
Applicants will be expected to provide evidence that they have consulted with an appropriate range of service providers and the community.
The provision of new community facilities will be encouraged in locations well served by public transport, pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.
The Council will work with other public sector bodies to encourage efficient use of public sector assets, such as co-location, to facilitate the delivery of community facilities.
Developers will be required to provide and/or make a contribution towards the provision of community facilities where it is relevant to do so. The methods of securing financial contributions are set out in policy CS16: Infrastructure delivery.
It is essential that the growth in population in the Borough is supported by adequate social and community infrastructure, including schools, health centres, centres for the community and community halls, for example. The Council will work with partners to seek to develop the role of centres for the community and where possible new schemes such as community hubs, which provide leisure, recreation, education and community activities for older people and vulnerable groups.
The Council's Priority Places (as set out in policy CS5) are in need of additional infrastructure. Meeting the needs in the most deprived areas is a priority for the Council.
The Council will encourage facilities that are capable of accommodating a mix of uses which will serve more sections of the community, rather than traditional single-use buildings. Community groups can often use buildings at different times of day or on different days of the week to enable the most efficient use of facilities.
Property prices in Woking are high and consequently so are land values. The Council is aware that it can be difficult for community organisations to compete with the prices that private developers can pay for land. The evidence shows that existing social and community facilities are well used and the Council will therefore resist the loss of any facility that does, or has the potential to, meet a current or identified need, unless the proposal replaces the facility in an equally accessible or improved location.
All development has some impact on the need for infrastructure, services and amenities, or benefits from existing ones, so it is only fair that developers make a contribution towards the provision of community facilities where relevant. It is also right that those who benefit financially when planning permission is granted should share some of that gain with the community, to help fund the infrastructure that is needed to make development acceptable and sustainable. In this regard, the Council will seek to secure developer contributions to provide community facilities. The mechanism for delivering this is set out in Policy CS16:Infrastructure delivery.
When an application will involve the loss of social and community infrastructure which is not being replaced, applicants will be expected to provide evidence that they have consulted with an appropriate range of service providers and the community, to prove that there is no need for or requirement for the facility from any other public service provider for an alternative social or community facility that could be met through change of use or redevelopment. Applicants will be expected to show that the property has been marketed for a period of at least one year. The Council and partner organisations can provide contact details of community organisations in the Borough.
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 Infrastructure Delivery Plan is a key document that assesses capacity and need. It will be updated biannually and will take 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. The details of the mechanisms for securing developer contributions are set out in policy CS16:Infrastructure Delivery.
Monitoring and review
Progress towards achieving the strategic objective through Policy CS19 will be measured against the following indicators and targets:
- delivery of items listed in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan.
The policy will be measured against the following indicators and targets annually through the AMR.
- Loss of D1 facilities (permissions and m²) and what they were used for.
- Gain of D1 facilities (permissions and m²) and proposed use.
Key evidence base
Social and community facilities study, 2011.
Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan, 2011.
Surrey Infrastructure Capacity Study, 2009.