Fringe Box



Plan For ‘March on Millmead’ Following Horsley Meeting on Green Belt

Published on: 9 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 11 Nov, 2013
A local resident reported: "This was the crowd about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting. Ended up with people on the stage, more in the kitchen, more queueing outside the hall - and the big foyer was shoulder to shoulder."

A local resident reported: “This was the crowd about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting. Ended up with people on the stage, more in the kitchen, more queueing outside the hall – and the big foyer was shoulder to shoulder.”

An audience, estimated by organisers to be in the region of 1,000 residents, gathered on Thursday night (November 7) to hear about ‘threats’ to the green belt in the area around West Horsley.

Jules Cranwell, who has started up The Horsley Campaign said: “It was a very lively, impassioned but controlled meeting. A lot of residents are very angry, concerned and perplexed.

“One lady asked for a show of hands for those who had any notice of the ‘consultation process’ before they were appraised by word of mouth, action group, leafleting etc. The result was only 6 or 7 per cent.”


The ‘brave’ Cllr Jenny Wicks addresses the meeting.

“Mr Cranwell continued: “Cllr Jenny Wicks [Con, Clandon & Horsley] who was the only Guildford Borough Councillor representative present, which was brave of her, urged us all to reject this dreadful plan by Guildford Borough Council.”

But Cllr Wicks said today (November 9): “I did not urge those in attendance to ‘reject this plan’ as has been said.

“There may be some misunderstanding about the status of the consultation documents. There is not yet a plan to reject. This is a consultation.

“I urged people to write in and, if they have the stamina, to fill in the questionnaire. It is very important that the views of Horsley residents are obtained and weighed in the balance on matters about which they feel very strongly.

“I know some felt that the consultation documents are already a plan that the council are trying to impose, but  that is not the case. The plan will be drafted in the light of the consultation responses and there will be a chance for residents to react to the draft Local Plan then, anticipated to be in May next year.

“I would like to stress that, at the moment, it is only a consultation that is being carried out.”

The meeting, organised by the Wisley Airfield Action Group and Ockham Parish Council, was addressed by Sir Paul Beresford the Conservative MP for Mole Valley.

Sir Paul Beresford MP

Sir Paul Beresford MP

In a press release after the meeting he said: “Guildford Council has just released the consultation paper on their Green Belt review. To put it mildly this review makes extremely grim if not devastating reading for my Guildford constituents living in rural and semi-rural communities.

“If followed through 16 out of 24 villages will lose their Green Belt protection because it is claimed that they are out of character with the planners call the “overall openness” of the Green Belt.

“It is an understatement to say that residents are concerned. Those I met in the West Horsley Village Hall last Saturday [a previous meeting] were bemused and extremely upset. My Conservative Guildford councillors of these areas are similarly horrified.

“One can only hope that Guildford council planners think again and look laterally. Consideration has to be given to other approaches as any removal of a site from the green belt will have to be justified to the government [Planning] Inspector and at the end of the day to government ministers. Once removed and developed there is no going back.

“I am also concerned that Guildford Council [sic] seems too reluctant to build within the town surrounds where further development could be accommodated in some of the leafy streets and the town centre. Exciting developments of flats and houses could be suitable in the town, town centre and perhaps even related to the railway station and surrounds.”


Jules Cranwell next to a campaign banner by the West Horsley Village hall

Mr Cranwell, when given the opportunity to speak at the meeting, urged those present to sign a petition he was organising that had already received over 700 signatures and to write individually too.  He is also organising a ‘March on Millmead*’ on November 29 and hopes to get 1,000 residents to take part.

He said to The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “I am going to holler at GBC, ‘We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it any more!”

* Guildford Borough Council Offices are situated in Millmead, Guildford.

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Responses to Plan For ‘March on Millmead’ Following Horsley Meeting on Green Belt

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    This outburst was so predictable. But perhaps, if the audience had read all of the 48 consultation documents, they would not be quite so alarmed.

    The housing need by formula gives produces a huge range of estimated figures. The difference between the lowest and the highest is greater than the average or standard deviation. They seem to me to be a bingo selection of numbers.

    What we need to accept is that if, say, 5000 houses are required each year for the next 20 years, there are three options:

    1/ A ‘new town’ of 5000 homes. This proved unpalatable in the 1980s

    2/ A scatter gun approach, with those who shout loudest, with the largest wallet and knowledge getting the least

    3/ The sensible and rational way where no hamlet, village or urban area expands greater than any other. So if West Horsley has 3% of the housing stock of Guildford Borough they should have 3% of the expansion if Ash Green has 4% of housing stock they should have 4% expansion. This way each community gently has a manageable number of newcomers and the services and community life is not destroyed.

    If two is allowed to go ahead then Guildford Borough will be forever a dormitory and not a community and it will generate a them and us situation.

    As for green belt allocation, the consultation document is basically ‘pants’ and actually needs re-writing in an unbiased and fair way. A good example within this document is the case of Woodstreet where half the houses are in within a circle of designation and half are left outside it; a totally irrational approach to village boundaries.

    No wonder when people pick up these documents they feel the earthquake of rebellion under them.

  2. Gerald Bland Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

    There is a fourth option which is to plant up the centre of Guildford with new housing.

    The Wey corridor between Guildford station and Ladymead is an area of low density underused commercial buildings strangled by congestion. It has the potential to be a highly sustainable waterside residential quarter of up to 3500 units. Similar arguments can be put forward for the area between the Station and Millbrook car park including Debenhams and the Council offices in Millmead.

    With the Council’s Executive announcing in September that it intends to masterplan the Friary extension site and surrounding areas before the new Local Plan is adopted there is a real opportunity to demonstrate that:
    1) the town centre should not only be a shopping destination but a place in which people both live and work:and
    2) there need be no incursion into the Green Belt due to the abundance of brownfield sites available for residential use over the plan period.

    • Kate Compson Reply

      November 15, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Well said Gerald.

  3. Grayson Cattle Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    As a former West Horsley resident I say this whole episode smells of the politics of envy.

    GBC cannot even get their own backyard in order, so to detract from those failings shift controversy elsewhere. They know that attacking those who have cared for and cherished their surroundings are easy prey in the world of today.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      November 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

      It’s nothing to do with envy. Like it or not West Horsley is part of the back-yard or front lawn of Guildford.

      I would point out the case of Owlsmoor in Berkshire. Why was this site chosen for so many houses 30 plus years ago? It was not because it was a good site but the horsey set of the Berkshire Downs had more clout on the Berkshire County Council than those who lived in Owlsmoor right on the border with Surrey and were better educated in the ways of council. Now the Berkshire Downs is house free while Owlsmoor is house congested.

      So now, 30 years on, every one is more educated in the ways of council and, for example, ‘Fairlands’ have discovered their potential plight. They would never have discovered this 30 years ago, until it was too late.

      Now it is a case, apparently, of wallet and knowledge: who shouts loudest with the cleverest barrister, as to where the houses go. Should this be the case in a democratic society?

      Far better a realistic housing number is arrived at. Population growth world wide suggests only 40 houses per year in GBC area until 2100, a number far different than the 1000 plus per year as calculated by one of the seven formulae displayed by GBC.

      They should be spread evenly and fairly amongst us all, rather than dump them all on the least able to protect their cared for and cherished surroundings. For yes, the majority do care for and cherish their surrounds. Sadly some are less well equipped to prevent the destruction of their home locations than others.

  4. Michael Bruton Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Eric Pickles Sec of State at Dept. of Coomunities and Local Government is very clear that there need not be/should not be incursion into the green belt. And his department said so clearly in a written answer on 1/7/13: “..the single issue of unmet demand, whether for traveller sites or for conventional housing is unlikely to outweigh harm to the green belt and other harm to constitute the ‘very special circumstances’ justifying inappropriate development in the green belt.”

    Paul Beresford MP at the Horsley Meeting 7/11 said that GBC had no need to tamper with the green belt and if it did then that was its decision, no government diktat was being applied.

    Today I received the Tory newsletter for Clandon and Horsley which implies the opposite. Are our three Councillors, Wicks, French and Powell unwilling to fight our corner? Well only one turned up (Cllr Wicks) at the meeting on 7/11 and her explanation left many of us gobsmacked and not in positive sense.

    How come Cllrs Powell and French did not attend a key meeting which our County Councillor and MP managed to attend?

  5. Julian Cranwell Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

    The fact of the matter is that the rather expensive consultants’ brief made it clear that brownfield land should not be considered for potential development, leaving the green belt as their only target.

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