LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Tourism and Recreation

5.38  One of Waverley's main assets is the quality of its environment. Waverley has many assets that attract visitors, including historic towns, attractive villages and highly accessible countryside. The Council recognises the importance of tourism and the contribution it can make to the local urban and rural economy. Waverley has a variety of accommodation choices for visitors from budget hotels and B&Bs to 4-star hotel and spa facilities. It is important that these facilities are retained to give visitors the option for overnight stays and to support local economies. In addition to visitor accommodation, it is also important to retain visitor related facilities so that people have places to spend time at while they are visiting the area. These include, but are not limited to: arts venues, family attractions, local museums and places to eat and drink such as public houses.

5.39  In accordance with the NPPF, the Council will support sustainable tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses, communities and visitors, and which respect the character of the countryside, in accordance with the NPPF. The Council will encourage suitable opportunities for growth, but will ensure that inappropriate development that would limit tourism and cause an adverse impact on the Borough is prevented.

5.40  When tourism facilities are proposed, developers should give consideration to ensuring that development does not result in the pollution or degradation of soil and water resources or the natural or historic environment. Tourism facilities may also provide an opportunity to provide enhancements to the natural and/or historic environment.

5.41  Tourism facilities will often be in relatively isolated locations and developers should seek to ensure sites provide safe access inclusive to all, maximise the use of sustainable transport modes and avoid generating excessive vehicular movements. This could be achieved, for example, by providing facilities for walkers and cyclists or providing shuttle services to public transport hubs.

DM32: Tourism, Hotels and Visitor Accommodation
  1. Measures which promote tourism, including recreation based rural diversification, will be encouraged.
  2. Any development should increase the range, or improve the quality of accommodation or attraction for tourists, day visitors, business visitors and residents in the Borough.
  3. The Council will seek to retain visitor accommodation and visitor-related facilities (including public houses), and when considering development proposals that result in the loss or partial loss of existing visitor accommodation or visitor-related facilities, the Council will take into account:
    1. the viability of the existing enterprise and the public demand for it; and
    2. the availability of other similar establishments within the area

There will be a presumption against a change of use from existing visitor accommodation, visitor-related facilities or a use that supports the tourist economy, unless it can be demonstrated that the existing facility is no longer viable, or is incapable of improvement to a good standard.

  1. Support will be given to proposals which develop opportunities associated with rural diversification, rural development initiatives and sustainable tourism, particularly where they assist farm diversification projects, benefit the local economy, or enable the retention of buildings contributing to the character of the countryside.
  2. Extensions to existing visitor accommodation establishments or attractions will be supported.

Explanatory Notes

5.42  For the purposes of this policy, where a proposal involves the loss or partial loss of existing visitor accommodation or visitor-related facilities, this must be supported by evidence which demonstrates that the existing facility is no longer viable, or is incapable of improvement to a good standard. This should include, where appropriate:

  • financial evidence to show any decline in trade, together with any relevant details of investment into the promotion and/or improvement of the business;
  • any marketing strategy employed, such as details of the length of time and information on how and where the property has been marketed.
  • social and/or demographic information and/or customer surveys which demonstrate any altered client/visitor use of the premises;
  • the contribution the existing facility makes to its locality, in terms of spin-off benefits to other local businesses and its contribution to the social life of the community; and
  • the availability and location of alternative visitor accommodation or facilities.

    Local Plan Part 1 parent policies

    Policy EE1: New Economic Development



    Monitoring of applications which involve a gain or loss of visitor accommodation.


    A net increase in visitor accommodation.

    Retention of existing visitor accommodation.

5.43  The route of the former Guildford-Cranleigh railway line forms part of the long distance Downs Link Bridleway and provides access to the valued landscapes and historic settlements within the Borough and beyond. It forms a sustainable, recreational route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The Council recognises the cultural and historic value of the route and will seek to ensure that it is protected and enhanced. It is important that any future works to this route take advantage of its potential as a sustainable movement corridor. The Downs Link is rich in wildlife and acts as a corridor linking different wildlife areas of habitat together .


DM33: Downs Link - Guildford to Cranleigh Corridor

The route of the former Guildford to Cranleigh railway line, shown on the Adopted Policies map, will be safeguarded as an important sustainable movement corridor. Development in safeguarded areas which would prejudice the future implementation of transport schemes will not be permitted.



Refusal of applications, and dismissal at appeal, for proposals which would prejudice the retention of the Downs Link.


Protection and improvement of the Downs Link as a sustainable movement corridor.

5.44  Waverley has a valuable network of routes through the countryside, with some 400 miles of Public Rights of Way including footpaths and bridleways. These routes are important in providing sustainable transport routes and supporting healthy lifestyles through recreation. Public Rights of Way can also act as important wildlife corridors, through features such as native species hedgerows along routes. The Council will work with the County Council and developers to maintain and enhance these routes through improved signposting and other such works. 

DM34: Access to the Countryside

The Council, in consultation with Surrey County Council, will seek to ensure that designated Rights of Way are safeguarded, protected and enhanced to encourage their use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The routes of long distance rights of way in the Borough are shown on the Adopted Policies Map.

When consulted on proposals to divert Public Rights of Way, the Council will seek to ensure that the proposed route is equivalent or preferable to the definitive route having particular regard to the safety and convenience of walkers, horse riders and cyclists; the protection of public views; increases in length; and connections with other rights of way



Protection and enhancement of long distance Rights of Way within the Borough.


No specific targets.

Map 42: Long distance rights of way and the Downs Link
Downs Linkn and long distance PRoW