Guildford Local Plan Delayed for a Year

GetSurrey

A delay in Guildford’s local plan could threaten the borough’s countryside with the council being in danger of “planning by appeal”, according to an opposition councillor.

Councillor Caroline Reeves, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said she welcomed the decision by Guildford Borough Council to consult the public on changes to the plan, but added that she feared several significant planning applications could be decided on appeal due to the delay.

Last Thursday (October 27), the borough council said the new local plan would not be submitted to a planning inspector until late next year and revealed there would be a further consultation with “substantial changes” to some of the strategic sites outlined.

Cllr Reeves said: “The Liberal Democrats welcome the proposal to reconsult on some parts of the local plan, in line with the Lib Dem amendment agreed by council back in May.

“As we said then, the council must genuinely listen to the views of residents.

“But we are deeply worried by the prolonged delay.

“The council is now in serious danger of ‘planning by appeal’ threatening both town and countryside across the borough, with three significant planning appeals lodged for next year – the Berkeley Homes proposal for Effingham, the former Wisley Airfield ‘new town’ and the Solum station development in the heart of Guildford.”

Cllr Reeves said: “As the saying goes, we would not have started from here.

“But given where we are, the Lib Dems call for a speedy announcement about which parts of the local plan are due to be changed for the re-consultation, so we can defend our town and countryside at these appeals while at the same time getting on with the reconsultation.

“We do need to get up-to-date local plan in place as soon as possible.”

Councillor Susan Parker, leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG), said: “We certainly don’t welcome the delay.

“In fact there is no justification for any delay. The problem is that the same old plans get re-hashed repeatedly and have not fundamentally changed since 2013.

“If the plans were changed, then we could move forward.”

Mike Murray, from Wisley Property Investments, who wishes to build more than 2,000 homes at the former Wisley Airfield, said: “House prices in the borough are already at 14 times average incomes and many local families can’t afford to stay in the area.

“Wisley Airfield has over a mile of old concrete and was allocated in the emerging local plan as an obvious opportunity.

“It can provide up to 800 Housing Association and subsidised homes and 1,200 for market sale, as well as shops and schools.

“Homes have to go somewhere, if we don’t do something at Wisley Airfield it will remain derelict and disused for years to come – missing the obvious opportunity for development.”

2 thoughts on “Guildford Local Plan Delayed for a Year

  1. Reblogged this on Roger Gambba-Jones and commented:
    This is why the south of England and the shire areas around London, otherwise known as the Home Counties, and in particular their weak political leaders, have made the planning system a nightmare for the whole of the country.
    Planning in any area populated by the well heeled, well connected professional classes, is always a politically toxic issue. It must surely be one such area that the term NIMBY was invented for when it came to describing their reaction to any type of development proposed within their privileged bubble.
    All the pent up frustration felt in these areas with what they saw as the unfair imposition of large swaths of housing on their lovely English villages, was directed at their local Conservative MP whenever the opportunity arose. Worst still, they would no doubt say, much of this housing was, in their view, going to be occupied by the wrong types of people.
    Imagine their joy then, when the Conservative’s manifesto document, open source planning, became national policy and Eric Pickles its champion. Pickles managed to demonstrate his ineptitude in all things planning, with his false start at scrapping everybody’s regional plan. The rest as they say, is history and the result of all this mess is playing out in the story below, with others not far behind no doubt.

  2. How long are Local Authorities in the southeast and Yorkshire going to be allowed to keep delaying and fudging by ‘consultation’ it just means that nothing happens, nothing is built and the NIMBY’S are happy.
    A look on Rightmove shows the cheapest new house in Surrey is £465,000 and there are only 8 new homes for sale under £500,000, great for the Nimbys.

    There is so much land suitable for development at town and village edges that a real change in planning law would free up land for probably several million new homes that could be phased in over a few years.

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