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Council Publishes Comments Received In Local Plan Consultation

Published on: 26 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 26 Feb, 2017

Comments made during last year’s Local Plan consultation have been published by Guildford Borough Council. Over 6,000 residents, businesses, community groups and stakeholders responded during the consultation period, June-July 2016.

The 6,000 respondents made 32,174 comments which can now be viewed online. Comments made by individual residents appear to be overwhelmingly against proposals contained in the draft plan.

Last week (ending February 27 2017) the council Executive approved the next milestones for developing a new version of the Local Plan. The timetable includes the next draft Local Plan public consultation, to be targeted on changes made from the previous version. It is to take place in June-July this year.

Cllr Paul Spooner, leader of the council, said: “We received over 32,000 comments during last summer’s public consultation and it’s vital that we took the time needed to review the latest feedback.

“We have now published these comments online for everyone to see. They will also go forward to the planning inspector when we submit our new Local Plan, scheduled for December 2017.

“Our new Local Plan must tackle local issues as well as balance community needs across the whole borough. The next important step is this summer’s “targeted” public consultation, which will focus just on the proposed changes to the Draft Local Plan. These comments will also be submitted to the planning inspector as we continue with progress to support local homes and jobs and address transport, infrastructure and other challenges.”

A council spokesperson added: “All comments received in last year’s regulation 19 consultation about any unchanged aspects of the plan will remain valid, and will not be subject to further consultation.

“We will submit these comments to the independent planning inspector. Responses to this year’s targeted regulation 19 consultation, which focuses on specific changes to the latest version of the plan, will also be published and submitted to the inspector.

“We will publish the new draft Local Plan and any updated evidence nearer to the targeted public consultation.

A sample analysis by The Guildford Dragon of the first 100 comments listed showed: 89% were from individuals all of whom appeared to be objecting to proposals in the draft plan or the Local Plan process.

55% of the sample appeared to be objecting against green belt development or the scale of the proposed developments. 32% of the objections appeared to be on the basis of insufficient infrastructure.

49 of the comments received from individuals were repetitious and seem to have been copied.

Eleven comments were from organisations, including two which appeared to be property developers. Of the 11 comments, two were objecting, six were neutral observations and three were supportive.

Among the sampled comments were the following (unedited):

From the RSPB: “The RSPB does not consider that the document is legally compliant. The plan can only be adopted if the Council is able, on the basis of all the evidence available, to conclude that the Plan will avoid an adverse effect on the integrity of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.”

From Enterprise M3:  “Enterprise M3 is very supportive of policy E4, which makes provision for a 10 ha extension to Surrey Research Park. This is one of the Borough’s largest employment areas and a centre of excellence in technology, science health and engineering.”

From Barry & Janet Oakley: “This government was voted in by the electorate on a mandate of trust. They have not been elected to carry out projects such as this which is a complete betrayal of the trust placed on them.”

From Thomas O’Shaughnessy: “I consider the Council’s proposals to be seriously detrimental to Guildford and the surrounding areas, particularly Burpham, Merrow, Send and Ripley, and believe the research and presentation of data to be deeply flawed and inaccurate.”

From Rachel Hall: “I am saddened by the proposed plans. This is because I know my experience of childhood may not be experienced by other children again in this village. To propose such a large number of houses is ridiculous and to remove Horsley from the green belt is absurd!”

From Surrey County Council: “… the existing 2003 Local Plan safeguards the route of the former Cranleigh railway line. While there is little likelihood of this corridor being required for a major alternative piece of infrastructure, such as a light railway, it is nonetheless a vital facility for cyclists and walkers and will continue to serve that function.”

From CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale): “…the Vision contained in the plan highlights the importance of protecting and supporting community facilities. I would support this, and whilst it is implicit that such community facilities include public houses, it would help strengthen the Plan if this was made clearer.”

Three of the most frequently repeated comments in the sample were:

“I OBJECT to the inclusion of strategic site Policy A43 Garlick’s Arch and its late substitution in the local Plan with no prior consultation with the local community. This site should be protected as it is agricultural land that is previously undeveloped and within the Green Belt.”

“I object to policy A57 The Paddocks for the provision of 4 travellers pitches in Rose Lane as this is in excess of current requirements within the borough.”

“I object to Policy A35 Former Wisley Airfield as being totally inappropriate and unsustainable development of 2000 homes in the GreeBelt.[sic]”

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test One Response to Council Publishes Comments Received In Local Plan Consultation

  1. Peter Elliott Reply

    March 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Surely the recent report, which found that Guildford had the worst traffic congestion of any town of it’s size in the whole of the U.K, and the sixth worst overall, worse than major cities like Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds, Southampton etc, must make the planners think again about the suitability of Guildford as a site for mass development?

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