Fringe Box



Echoes of Sir Paul’s Wisley Worries Rumble On

Published on: 18 Jan, 2019
Updated on: 23 Jan, 2019

Sir Paul Beresford MP and Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner, leader of Guildford Borough Council and lead councillor for planning and regeneration, said on Thursday (January 17): “We welcome the comments by the Minister [Mrs Heather Wheeler, Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government] in yesterday’s parliamentary debate (January 16). Like her, we also await the outcome of the planning inspector’s independent and robust inspection of our submitted local plan.

“The inspector found our local plan to be substantially sound on all key tests during this summer’s public hearings and we look forward to the public hearings in February, the next important stage in delivering a local pan that balances the needs of everyone across our borough.

“We were very surprised to hear comments from others during the debate about neighbourhood plans because we take a very positive approach to such planning. This includes supporting those groups producing neighbourhood plans to help them make sure they meet the necessary legal and other requirements.

“To date, the council has designated nine neighbourhood areas and has adopted four neighbourhood plans, three of them in the past year. The council is now assisting five groups in the production of their neighbourhood plans, all at pre-submission stage.

“I also confirm that I have never visited Russia on behalf of, or to represent, Guildford Borough Council.”

Surrey county councillor Julie Iles (Conservative), said:  “Sir Paul’s comments speak to the Guildford local plan, a matter for the borough council, not the county council. SCC has confirmed they do not support development on the green belt but they do have a role in looking at what infrastructure would be needed alongside those local plans.

“I represent the Horsleys, and the Wisley site is in my division. Sir Paul mentions the issues which concern me, namely whether Highways England have factored in the increased traffic flows which would arise from a development here, unsustainable transport links because there is no railway station and the local roads are unsuitable for cycling. I like his description that this would result in an ‘urban island’.

“I am further concerned about air quality and the level of traffic-related pollution here without adding to vehicle emissions.

“Guildford Borough Council refused this application and this was endorsed by the Secretary of State. Putting the site back into the local plan flies in the face of commitments to protect the green belt.”

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