The Forum

The Surrey Development Forum was set up in 2020 from a recognition that better communication and sharing of best practice is needed between developers, planners and local authorities, if we are to meet Surrey’s 2025 ambitions. Since then, the forum has continued to grow to 30 private sector members and engagement from Surrey’s local authorities.


Audience and speakers at our Annual Conference in 2023

Over the last year the Surrey Development Forum has continued to host a range of engagement activities:

  • Members meet up to six times a year
  • Our annual conference sold out with 160 representatives from industry, local and national politicians, and the community and presentations from a Surrey MP and the Chief Planner of The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • We held a forum members dinner in the House of Lords with contributions from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities Baroness Scott and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government Lee Rowley
  • We have regular meeting attendance and interaction from Homes England, Highways England, Natural England and other government agencies

Read our 2023 Round Up here

The current challenges in Surrey

  • The make up of local government, be it a single unitary authority, or other forms of single tier local government – the purpose to address funding challenges and find better ways to govern;
  • Utilities challenges, notably water supply and 5G broadband;
  • The natural environment, ongoing mechanisms to address the landscape, air quality and biodiversity impacts of change on special protection areas and the Surrey Hills AONB;
  • Transport challenges, methods to grow micro mobility (cycle/ scooters) and notably rail capacity to London,
  • Gatwick and Heathrow and the M3, A320, A3, A24, M23, A21, M25 road corridors;
  • Regeneration and densification challenges facing some areas and some town centres;
  • The building beautiful agenda, ensuring the best quality development, in context where appropriate, or bespoke/ contemporary where justified;
  • Identifying sufficient development land in environmentally constrained areas is a challenge;
  • Collective opinions on changes to the planning system proposed by the Government;
  • Ensuring that the greatest challenge, climate change, is better addressed in the county.

More information regarding challenges and the ambitions of our purpose can be explained further in the Surrey’s 2050 Place Ambition.

Leadership Team

John Tarvit Photo
John Tarvit, Wates Development

John Tarvit is the Director of Planning at Wates Developments, with responsibility for the delivery of a range of residential projects across Southern England and the wider business engagement on the direction of planning policy and housing delivery. Wates Developments is the specialist land investment, planning and joint ventures development business within the Wates Group. The Group, based in Leatherhead, has been in Wates family ownership for over 125 years, in contrast John has only been with the Company 18 years.

John, a Chartered Town Planner, has 35 years’ experience in the residential development sector with a focus on land and planning and previously held roles within Redrow Homes, The Home Builders Federation and the ‘original’ Charles Church.

John has lived in Camberley for 35 years and is married to Sue, a Local Government Planning Officer. They have two children, both of whom have left home and living Surrey so offering a personal perspective on the difficulties the current generation have in finding somewhere affordable to live.

More information & contact
Katie Lamb, Thakeham

A Chartered Town Planner with 20 years experience in the planning and house building industry. Katie is the Strategic Planning Director at Thakeham Homes and has a strong focus on promoting and delivering sustainable communities and attractive places  for people to live, work and enjoy.

More information & contact
Charlie Collins, Savills
Planning Lead

Charlie specialises in strategic development, planning promotions and applications, green belt and CIL. His focus is on the housing sector. He has been a planning consultant for over thirteen years, following his early career in local government.

He has been responsible for the Guildford/Sevenoaks planning team since August 2016, growing the team to thirteen professionals.

More information & contact
Photo of Julian Seymour
Julian Seymour, Cratus Group
Communications Lead

Having started his career as a Parliamentary researcher, Julian has been working in specialist property communications for more than 15 years over which the sector has evolved and matured.

During that time Julian has worked on planning projects from across the sectors and across the country. That has meant working for Sainsbury’s, Hammerson and Land Securities during the retail boom; infrastructure developers and renewable operators, particularly on and off shore wind, solar and Energy from Waste schemes; and housing and mixed-use town centre schemes at all stages of the planning process from land promotion through to detailed application and appeal support.

More information & contact

This website is coordinated by Cratus on behalf of the Developer Led Forum, and does not necessarily represent the views of the individual Councils or developer members of the Forum.