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Guildford MP Welcomes More Time To Consider Local Plan

Published on: 2 Oct, 2014
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2014
Anne Milton MP

Anne Milton MP

With the public consultation period now closed, Anne Milton MP says she welcomes more time to consider the Local Plan.

The borough-wide consultation on the Draft Local Plan, which outlines sites for the building of 652 homes each year until 2031, closed last week. The consultation had been open for 12 weeks to give residents the opportunity to respond.

Ms Milton said this evening (October 2): “I am grateful to all my constituents who have taken the time to respond to the Draft Local Plan Consultation.

“I have heard the views of hundreds of my constituents, from residents’ associations, parish councils and campaign groups. I have listened to my constituents concerns and I know that what they now want is Guildford Borough Council [GBC] to listen to their views.

“I am delighted that GBC have extended the timetable for the local plan. This is the blueprint for the next 20 years. Where people have raised objections, questioned the evidence base, questioned assumptions – what’s critical is that we have a proper conversation about these issues.

“If we need more houses, there has to be a discussion of why we need them. In my view, what is missing from the Local Plan is a clear vision. What do we want Guildford to look like and feel like in 20 years’ time?”

A revised timetable for the Local Plan has yet to be published by GBC. Observers on various sides of the debate have speculated that the plan’s schedule will be influenced by the elections, a general election and a borough council election, to be held next May.

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Responses to Guildford MP Welcomes More Time To Consider Local Plan

  1. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    October 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Is it a slip of the pen or tongue to talk about the plan being for the next 20 years? Isn’t the plan to run to 2031. I will leave it to my year five son to work out that number bond.

    Or has the MP started to condition us that the plan will be back dated to 2011 rather than when the legal definition is upon adoption? It’s looking like 15 years as the GBC ignored the feedback between November and June 2014.

  2. Alan Cooper Reply

    October 3, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Plans for this enormous increase in housing in the borough is ill thought out.

    Schools are crowded now; the Royal Surrey County Hospital is already under pressure; the traffic situation is sometimes as gridlocked and dire as it is in London.

    Do we really have the room and facilities for such a drastic increase in the proposed housing plan and subsequent population increase in Guildford? I think not.

  3. Susan Parker Reply

    October 4, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I think these statements are far too “nuanced”. I would like a much clearer statement by our MP Anne Milton. Does she think that the local plan is on the wrong trajectory?

    Delay is only welcome if it leads to change. If it just takes us past the next election it doesn’t do us any good at all. Conversation is not enough. We don’t need to be persuaded, we need the council to change its direction.

    The public comments Anne Milton hav made have called for more consultation, more discussion of whether we want more houses, and delay. I am not sure I like the phrases she is using.

    Does she agree with the local plan as it stands or not? Before she gets people’s votes, surely voters have a right to know her own view, and how she will vote on planning proposals in parliament. Does she have a view on this?

    I think most people know now that GBC’s previous draft analysis of housing need was flawed and based on incorrect data. I also think most people in the borough are concerned about the scale of proposed development in Guildford, with an increase in housing numbers of around 25% over 16 years, higher than our share of national population growth.

    This is planned despite bad congestion, and local services which are struggling with existing needs. Most are unhappy at the proposals for green field sites and that 70% of new housing is planned for green belt.

    So I would challenge all four MPs whose constituencies overlap with Guildford borough (Paul Beresford, Michael Gove and Jonathan Lord, in addition to Anne Milton) to speak out in public condemnation of this flawed plan.

    I think a very clear statement of a personal view on this is wanted from any MP who wants our votes in the next election.

    What would I like Anne Milton to say? How about:

    I don’t think the housing number for Guildford is right. It is too high. We will need to accept something in the region of the 322 homes per year that the High Court agreed in 2010.

    Our country does need more homes (although it should not sell them to overseas investors who then leave them empty). But there are better places to build the homes the country needs than on the green belt around Guildford. The country as a whole has a lot of brownfield land, and there are a lot of empty homes – even in London.

    Within Guildford we should use our own brownfield land to build the starter homes that we need for young couples, ensure that this includes some social housing for rent, and also build tied homes for key workers.

    There is no need to provide land for developers of executive homes.

  4. Janette Panton Reply

    October 5, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Yes we do need a much clearer statement from Anne Milton.

    I am extremely disappointed that despite many residents, parish councils and action groups expressing their concerns to Ms Milton, she has left it until after the consultation period is over to make any form of public statement and has not actually, from my own experience, shown those who have contacted her with concerns that she is listening.

    Yes Guildford residents do want GBC to listen to their concerns. We also want our MPs to listen to and act on our concerns and help to protect Guildford from the devastation this proposed Local Plan, as it stands, will inflict.

  5. Michael Bruton Reply

    October 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I am not sure if politicians ever gave straight answers to straight questions but Mrs Milton MP certainly fails to make her position clear on the Local Plan.

    The word ‘vision’ is one of the more overused words of politicians. It is used when they want to have a go at something or someone but fail on the specifics.

    Unlike Sir Paul Beresford (my MP) Mrs Milton has either said very little or has uttered meaningless comments about the Local Plan.

    I would welcome some such statement as that articulated by Mrs Parker above e.g. “As MP for Guildford I am opposed to sacrificing the green belt for housing/commercial development and will fight and fight again to protect it. I would support somewhere between 300/350 homes per annum from when the Local Plan is implemented – in fact the High Court decision in 2010 in favour of 322 homes seems about right.

    “There is plenty of brownfield land in the Borough – especially in Guildford town – and that should be built on first. I will fight to protect Guildford Borough from having to accept excessive housing numbers and if that means me opposing tooth and nail what the Conservative controlled Guildford Borough council intends – so be it”.

    Mrs Milton has the smallest Conservative majority of any MP in all of Tory Surrey. Her party has alienated its core vote in Surrey and the home counties over a number of issues – including the green belt and countryside protection.

    In 2015 she will be faced by a pincer movement from the Lib Dems, locally, and by UKIP who may well take 10%+ of the votes in the constituency. Even the Labour candidate has come out in favour of green belt protection.

    I am sure that most voters, especially those of us who are instinctively Conservative, would like to know where Mrs Milton’s loyalties lie on green belt and green field protection.

    My reasonable suspicion is that the Conservative party locally wants to kick the unpleasant details of the Local Plan into the long grass until after the May 2015 borough council and general elections and then, if it wins, to resume at full pace towards massive housing numbers and irrevocable damage to our countryside. ‘Reculer pour mieux sauter?’ [To draw back in order to make a better jump]

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