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Wealden Heaths SPA Phase I and II

The Wealden Heaths Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are located within Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex. They comprise several distinct areas of wet and dry heathland, valley bogs, broad-leaved and coniferous woodland, permanent grassland and open water.

The Wealden Heaths SPAs form part of a complex of heathlands in southern England that support breeding bird populations of European importance. 

Within Waverley there are two separate Wealden Heaths SPAs:

  • Phase I (Thursley, Hankley and Frensham SSSI and Thursley, Ash, Pirbright and Chobham SAC)
  • Phase II (Devil’s Punch Bowl SSSI)

Map of Wealden Heaths Phase I & II SPAs and buffer zones

European and national legislation under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 requires that ‘any plan or project’ considers whether it will give rise to any likely significant effect upon these areas. In order to avoid any likely significant effect, proposals for development are required to demonstrate that they can avoid or mitigate any such effect.

New developments within 400m 

Within 400m of the boundary of the Wealden Heaths Phase I or II SPA, any application for new development that results in a net increase in residential accommodation will be required to undertake a project level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), including where necessary an Appropriate Assessment (AA). This is in order for the Council to be satisfied that there will be no significant adverse effects on the ecological integrity of the SPA and is required by Policy NE1 of Local Plan Part 1.

New developments beyond 400m

Proposals beyond 400m from the sites will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to whether a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) is required. The council has prepared advice for developers and an HRA screening statement.

Advice for developers

HRA Screening Matrix

During the development of the proposals for the Hindhead tunnel, it was recognised that this scheme was likely to result in proposals for residential development in central Hindhead which is in close proximity to the Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA.

Waverley has adopted the Hindhead Avoidance Strategy in order to address the potential impact of development on the SPA. This sets out a strategy to secure financial contributions towards measures to avoid additional recreational pressure on the SPA due to an increase in housing.

Hindhead Avoidance Strategy

Financial contributions

Developments within the Hindhead Concept Statement Area are required to make financial contributions in accordance with the Hindhead Avoidance Strategy, unless it can be demonstrated that the proposal will not have a likely significant effect on the ecological integrity of the Wealden Heaths Phase II SPA.

Map of Hindhead Concept Area

The financial contributions required towards avoidance measures are secured via S106 agreements.  The majority of developments can use the model S106 agreement termed a ‘Unilateral Undertaking’.

Hindhead Concept Area Unilateral Undertaking (MS Word document)

Please note that the £250 legal fee must be sent in with your Unilateral Undertaking and application. If this fee is not included at this stage, your application could be delayed.

For developments within the Hindhead Concept Area, you can use the calculator below to work out the required contribution.

Interactive Contribution Calculator (Excel file)