Fringe Box



Fewer Houses For Guildford Expected As Local Plan Examination Ends But Criticism Remains

Published on: 13 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 13 Feb, 2019

The resumed Local Plan hearings about to start yesterday in GBC’s council chamber. Inspector Jonathan Bore in the chair.

A reduced number of new houses will be included in the Guildford Local Plan and there will be no need for further public consultation.

These were the indications from Planning Inspector Jonathan Bore as he closed the two days of resumed hearings on the Plan at Millmead today (February 13, 2019), concluding the independent examination of Guildford’s submitted Local Plan.

His findings are still subject to his written report which he told The Dragon might take four or five weeks to produce.

The objectively assessed housing figure has been reduced to 562 dwellings per annum, and 10,678 over the 15-year life of the Plan, down from 12,600. This follows the 2016 housing projections by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the result of a Local Plan review in Woking which concluded they no longer had unmet housing need, part of which Guildford had been expected to supply.

But the council has allowed a contentious increased “buffer” of 4,000 dwellings, should they be needed if demand rises, and in a written submission to the inspector the council said: “GBC does not now suggest any sites originally included in the submission Local Plan should be removed, or, indeed, that any be added.”

It was also stated that the changes “did not warrant a further consultation on the main modifications and/or further sustainability appraisal of the Plan”, a view agreed by the Inspector.


After the inspector’s final report and recommendations have been produced, they will be considered by GBC and a meeting of the full council will be asked to decide whether to adopt a final version of the new Local Plan.

Paul Spooner, leader of the council, said: “I am extremely pleased that from the points made during [the Planning Inspector’s] verbal conclusion at the end of today’s hearing, he is indicating that overall he considers our Local Plan is sound.


“We proposed before and during the hearing that the reduction in homes, based on the latest ONS household figures, means that it’s possible to meet our housing need, without having to allocate any of the four new green belt sites.

“These were included in the last main modifications consultation and it was good to hear the Inspector’s reference to the sound evidence and figures we presented to support their removal. We have always stuck to our ‘brownfield first’ policy and no more new sites would significantly help us meet our overall aim to protect our borough’s green belt.

“It’s been a long process to make sure we balance the needs of everyone across the borough and we received thousands of comments during the wide-ranging engagement at each stage. We agree with the Inspector’s interim comments that the overall consultation needs have been satisfied by the enormous amount of debate and consultation about the plan.

“We also think there is no need to consult any further following the extensive opportunities already given for feedback, which we have passed to the Inspector. We look forward to receiving his final report and moving another step closer to adopting our new Local Plan as soon as possible.”

Cllr Spooner has been hoping the Local Plan can be adopted before the council election in May so it is less of an election issue.


You can find out more about our new Local Plan, including the recent two days of hearings on the council website

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Responses to Fewer Houses For Guildford Expected As Local Plan Examination Ends But Criticism Remains

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    February 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    So Cllr Spooner hopes to rush his ruinous Local Plan through before the elections?

    Does he really think this will help the Tories, given the total betrayal of residents that this plan represents? We will not forgive or forget.

    Will their election pledge from the last election be resurrected: “Tories Say Greenbelt To Stay?”

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