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Decision on New Local Plan Will Be ‘Most Important For 10 Years’

Published on: 12 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 13 Jun, 2013

Local Plan Consultation front 470A Local Plan for Guildford, against which all planning applications will be judged, is expected to go out to public consultation in the autumn.

Guildford Borough Council’s Executive is set to approve key supporting documents and a timetable for the borough’s new Local Plan, when it meets on June 20. Included will be the principle of public consultation on the issues and identified options.

Cllr Monika Juneja, Lead Councillor for Planning and Governance, said: “This will be one of the most important decisions made by the Executive in the past 10 years.

“To ensure a sustainable future for the whole borough we must have an effective Local Plan; one that protects our environment, our heritage and secures a strong local economy. We can only do this by listening to many voices from across the borough. It is vital that we take account of the different priorities and ideas on how our towns and villages should change.

Cllr Monika Juneja

Cllr Monika Juneja

“We have no choice but to plan for more homes, shops and places of work. If we do not have a plan, landowners and developers will decide what land is developed and when. This means no co-ordination of new housing, employment, supporting services and infrastructure.

“Subject to the Executive’s approval, we will start the public consultation in October to ask about the issues the borough faces and the options available to help tackle them. We will consult widely with residents and they will have many opportunities at that time to tell us what they think. In the meantime, we want local people to have time to read these important supporting documents and to tell us if anything is missing.”

The new Local Plan will be the framework for the growth that the borough has to accommodate over the next 20 years. The plan will provide information on the scale and type of future development. It will also identify the general locations for such development and give an indication of the infrastructure required to support it.

Having an up-to-date Local Plan is a legal requirement for all councils. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published by the government last year, states that if the council does not have a current Local Plan it will be obliged to grant planning permission.

Because of this obligation, having the new Local Plan in place is widely regarded as essential if the council is to retain control of future development and ensure the borough grows in a way that benefits local people while satisfying government requirements.

Reaction to the council’s announcement came swiftly from the umbrella organisation of 26 Guildford residents’ associations and supporting parish councils. A statement from the Guildford Residents’ Association (GRA) said that it welcomes the announcement of the timetable for the Local Plan.

Graham Hibbert, a spokesperson for the GRA, said: “We see the Local Plan as a once in a generation chance to set a path for us all to cherish what is special about our town and countryside, whilst solving our chronic traffic problems and seizing the opportunities to enhance our high-tech economy offered by the university and science park.”

Also speaking on behalf of the GRA Anthony Jacques said: “Guildford has not developed coherently in the past decades and this is the opportunity for residents across the borough to speak out as to what must be done to strengthen its economy, enhance the quality of life for its residents and ensure future generations can benefit from its heritage.”

The newly appointed chairman of The Guildford Society, Bill Stokoe, said: “The Guildford Society commits to playing its part in seeing an effective, soundly-based Local Plan established for our town. We will expect the plan to be drawn up on good, up-to-date evidence. The council commitment to wide consultation is to be welcomed.

“We recognise that crucial decisions about housing and other major development have to be made. It is good to hear Cllr Juneja’s reassuring words about sustainability and due concern for our heritage. The new Local Plan must leave residents and businesses with growing confidence about the direction of travel of development, with even more enthusiasm about living and growing up in Guildford, and with improving confidence about the long run health of the local economy. Infrastructure issues remain key.”

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Responses to Decision on New Local Plan Will Be ‘Most Important For 10 Years’

  1. David Smith Reply

    June 13, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Cllr Monica Juneja states we need more shops and homes.

    Is she not the same councillor that refused to support the new Aldi in Burpham?

    The same councillor who was told that the reasons for refusal could not be supported by the planning department’s own legal advisor.

    And the same councillor who will be responsible when Guildford taxpayers have to foot Aldi’s costs when an appeal overturns the decision?

    Why is this woman lead councillor of anything to do with planning?

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