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Another Milestone for Guildford’s Draft Local Plan

Published on: 21 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 28 Dec, 2022

The Development Management component of Guildford’s controversial Local Plan has progressed to another important milestone.

Earlier in the year, a draft version was submitted to the Secretary of State. A planning inspector was then appointed to check that it met all legal and national policy requirements. He identified some “main modifications” and is now consulting on them.

The consultation, for the modifications only, will run for seven weeks, closing on Thursday, February 2.

At the end of the consultation, the inspector will consider all the comments and submit recommendations to Guildford Borough Council which will then decide whether to make the changes and formally adopt the new section.

The lead Councillor for Planning Policy Joss Bigmore (R4GV, Christchurch) said: “We are at an exciting stage of the development of our Local Plan. The draft, and all the policies that it contains, is so important. We get to set the standards that developers must meet. Our proposed policies cover topics such as heritage, biodiversity, climate change, design, infrastructure and transport

Cllr Joss Bigmore

“The planning inspector is seeking consultation on a limited number of changes to the plan we submitted to the Government in the summer. This is a positive step towards the adoption of our plan. It means that we can progress with the strong requirements on new development that we had hoped for.

“We are especially pleased that the inspector has not reduced our class-leading requirement of at least 20 per cent biodiversity net gain on development sites. This is higher than the national requirement of 10 per cent. In fact, the vast majority of our policies are not the subject of the inspector’s proposed main modifications.

“It is our priority to adopt this plan as soon as we can.

Once adopted, our new Local Plan will become the starting point for our decision-making for planning and development, together with the Local Plan Strategy and Sites (LPSS). It will also replace the policies that remain from the existing Local Plan 2003.

Brian Creese

Brian Creese, Guildford Labour chair commented: “It is good to see that the latest version of the Local Plan has now emerged, although residents who might like to comment will probably find the documentation pretty intimidating.

“Most of the changes seem quite trivial and largely semantic, such as cutting “where appropriate” and substituting “normally”.

“At first reading, we remain concerned that housing developers still have far too much scope to wriggle out of building the required numbers of “affordable housing”, that there is no commitment to council housing, that commitments to reducing car use and car parking in Guildford remain weak and there is no clear commitment to really drive Guildford towards meeting its zero carbon targets.

“To be honest, I know detail is important, but there is no real vision or imagination in this plan and little which will have a positive impact on Guildford residents.”

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