Fringe Box



Letter: I Am Well Aware of Local Feeling Regarding Station Plans

Published on: 25 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 25 Apr, 2016
Artist's impression of the latest plan for a redeveloped railway station from Solum.

Artist’s impression of the latest plan for a redeveloped railway station from Solum.

From Caroline Reeves

Ms Reeves is the Lib Dem ward councillor for Friary & St Nicolas and leader of the opposition at Guildford Borough Council. She was invited by The Guildford Dragon NEWS to give a comment on the Solum proposal for the re-development of Guildford railway station.

Some residents will have heard me say many times in relation to the Solum application, that members of the Planning Committee have to be very careful about speaking in public about specific planning applications before they come to committee.

Indeed, I said exactly this at the very well attended meeting to discuss this application organised by the Guildford Society at the Baptist Church, Millmead. Any councillor who commits to voting for or against an application ahead of the meeting will be barred from taking part in the meeting which is not in anyone’s interests.

I also said that as one of the councillors for the ward where the application could be built out, I have taken special note of all the comments made on-line at the GBC planning portal, by residents to me in conversation and those made at meetings.

There is no doubt about the feelings towards this application.

As was made abundantly clear at the recent meeting to decide the Wisley site application, Planning Committee members will make their feelings known at that planning meeting.

In spite of the impression created by some that the committee would and agree the [Wisley] application, it was unanimously refused on strong grounds related to our own planning policies as well as those of the National Planning Policy Framework, supported by reasons from other stakeholders.

Our planning policies look carefully at the design of buildings and how they fit into their surroundings. It is not just a question of counting the number of dwellings.

When a site is included in the Local Plan the granting of planning permission is not to be assumed. Any application still has to meet the required criteria both locally and nationally, as well as those imposed by all the other national and local consultees.

A decision on the Solum application has yet to be made but there’s no doubt about the opinion of many as to the quality of the application and its relevance to our town. The Planning Committee councillors will make their decision but until that time discussion by members has to be limited.

See also: Guildford’s MP Supports Vision Group’s Call for Reassessment of Station Scheme and Opinion: What Will It Take For Tory Supporters To Rebel?

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