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Guildford’s MP Raises the Issue of Unpopular Housing Developments at PMQs

Published on: 20 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2024

Angela Richardson posing her question to the Prime Minister. BBC Parliament

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP, Angela Richardson, raised the subject of unpopular developments in the eastern wards of Guildford Borough at Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon.

She said: “The people of the eastern villages of Guildford, the Clandons, the Horsleys, Effingham, Ripley, Send and Ockham have had enough. Unwanted development and villages taken out of the green belt without promised infrastructure is why I’ve been calling for an immediate review of the Local Plan for last three years.

“Does my Right Honourable friend agree with me that Labour’s promise of concrete over the green belt even against the wishes of local MPs would simply add insult to injury?”

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, replied: “Unlike both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party who believe in top down targets that decimate the green belt, we believe in local people having a say over their local communities, which is why we are committed to protecting and enhancing the green belt.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responding to Angela Richardson’s question.

“The national planning policy includes strong protections to safeguard this important land. I know her local plan is currently under review by the council who have indicated there’ll be updating it and I hope the honourable member and her constituents engage with that process to help shape future Guildford for future generations.”

Changes to constituency boundaries mean that the villages Angela Richardson mentioned in her question will, at the next general election, be part of the Guildford Parliamentary constituency for which she will be standing.

See: Guildford ‘Will Be More Marginal’ Under Proposed Changes to Surrey’s Constituency Boundaries

Green belt protection was removed from the villages in question under the Guildford Local Plan adopted controversially in May 2019 under a Conservative borough council. The council leader at the time, Paul Spooner, promised that there would be no developments without supporting infrastructure.

See also: Guildford’s MP Has More Success with PMQs and Calls for Pennies to be Spent on Keeping Toilets Open

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Responses to Guildford’s MP Raises the Issue of Unpopular Housing Developments at PMQs

  1. Julia Osborn Reply

    March 20, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    I’m pleased the points made by Send Parish Council in my recent opinion piece published by The Guildford Dragon, and made by political parties such as the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG), have been echoed by Angela Richardson in the House of Commons today.

    Julia Osborn chairs Send Parish Council.

  2. Tony Drapper Reply

    March 20, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    The honourable member was absolutely silent about all the developments in the west of the borough when so many of the public objected. Does she have a specific agenda or is she happy that Guildford dump all their housing requirements near the Hampshire border, as far away from the town centre as possible?

    • Angela Richardson Reply

      March 21, 2024 at 8:32 pm

      If the gentleman is referring to development in Ash, there is a very good reason: I am not the MP for Ash and there is a strong convention of not commenting across parliamentary boundaries without permission of the sitting MP.

      I am now the candidate for the new Guildford seat and sought permission and have been working constructively with the sitting MP on these issues over the last two years.

      I have not been silent on strategic developments in my own constituency of Guildford, including the North Street Development, Stag Hill development by the Cathedral, University of Law development and standing up for allotment holders in relation to the Weyside Urban Development in Slyfield over many years now.

      Angela Richardson is the Conservative MP for Guildford

  3. George Potter Reply

    March 20, 2024 at 9:59 pm

    As Daisy Cooper MP recently pointed out in parliament, the Conservative government’s recently updated NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) still involves top-down housing targets which, in Guildford borough, mean an increase by circa 200 extra homes per year at the moment:

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 21, 2024 at 6:09 am

    The “protections” included in the NPPF did not help the villages in question, as former Council Leader Paul Spooner and his colleagues simply ignored them. The promise of “no development without infrastructure” was obviously not genuine.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    March 22, 2024 at 8:29 am

    Rather than grand-standing in Parliament, I would prefer Angela Richardson to ensure that the department run by Michael Gove, her political patron, roundly rejects the current appeal for permission to build an unsustainable ghetto of over 2,000 houses at the former Wisley airfield.

    “We believe in local people having a say over their local communities”, says the Prime Minister. But the then Tory council ignored many hundreds of objections to this development and indeed connived to smooth the way for it.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      March 22, 2024 at 11:53 am

      David Roberts is right. But the Tory council did not “ignore many hundreds of objections to this development”. It ignored literally thousands of reasoned and evidenced objections not just to this development (see planning application P/15/00012) but also to the intellectually dishonest 2019 Guildford Local Plan.

      All the neighbouring boroughs ie Woking, Mole Valley and Elmbridge objected and all of the nearby parish councils.

      Michael Gove has a reputation for being a thinker and a doer. His performance in housing has been relatively and absolutely deplorable: clueless about the problems, their causes, and the solutions.

  6. Mark Stamp Reply

    March 25, 2024 at 1:15 pm

    Angela Richardson opposes development on the green belt but also opposed the original North Street plan which would have provided more homes. Given her constituency neighbour, Jeremy Hunt MP, has said that £100k isn’t a large salary in Surrey because of high housing costs what is the Conservative plan for housing?

    There are other fixes that could be made to the system outside of more building. Conservative manifestos have repeatedly said they will revalue council tax bands which hasn’t been done since 1990 and more bands should be created at the higher end as Wales has proposed.

    Additionally more incentives should be given to people whose children have left home to downsize to make better use of 4plus-bedroom houses currently occupied by a retired couple who are still otherwise active so not ready for a retirement community.

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