Fringe Box

Socialize

Twitter

Leading Councillors to Meet Government Minister On Planning Issues

Published on: 16 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2013
Nick Boles MP ,Planning Minister, Anne Milton MP for Guildford, Stephen Mansbridge, GBC council leader and Monika Juneja GBC's lead councillor for planning

Due to meet in January to discuss Guildford’s planning issues: Nick Boles MP, planning minister, Anne Milton MP for Guildford, Stephen Mansbridge, GBC council leader and Monika Juneja GBC’s lead councillor for planning.

The council leader and the lead councillor for planning at Guildford Borough Council (GBC) will meet the government minister for planning in January to discuss issues relating to a new Local Plan.

The consultation documents for the Plan have proved to be controversial, triggering several campaigns to protect the green belt from development for housing. The council continues to say that no decisions have yet been taken.

Announcement of the meeting came during a debate on a petition presented by green belt campaigners from Ockham. Guildford’s MP Anne Milton, who helped to set up the meeting, will also be present.

The meeting will be with Nick Bowles MP (Grantham & Stamford) who is the parliamentary under secretary of state for planning at the Department for Communities & Local Government.

Cllr Monika Juneja (Con, Burpham) said today (December 16): “Anne Milton MP has kindly organised a scheduled meeting between herself, Nick Boles MP, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge and myself on 15 January at 12.30 in London.

“The purpose of the meeting is to gain absolute clarity as to the government’s position regarding development on the green belt, constraints on the Local Plan and determining the housing number if we were not to develop on the green belt at all.

“I have asked my [Conservative] group [of borough councillors], and people more widely, if they wish to contribute to the questions we want to ask and I am very happy to field as wide a cross section of views as possible.  By the same token, we are looking for clear answers which will help us on the journey towards a sound Local Plan.

“I want the residents to understand that we will ask the difficult questions and we will do everything we can to not encroach on the green belt and we need the minister to help us with this.

Cllr Mansbridge added: I am very pleased that we have been offered this opportunity and will ensure we make the best of it.

What questions do you think she be put to the planning minister? Why not tell the Guildford Dragon? Please use the ‘Leave a reply’ feature below. We will undertake to forward them to Cllrs Mansbridge and and Juneja.

Share This Post

test 2 Responses to Leading Councillors to Meet Government Minister On Planning Issues

  1. Roland McKinney Reply

    December 23, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Does the minister feel proud to belong to the only government ever that will leave office with less land designated as Green Belt than when it took office?

    Is he content with the facts that this programme was not in their election manifesto, was not voted on in the last general election; nor was it voted on in local elections?

    Does he know the Conservative party will lose the next election on this issue?

  2. John Robson Reply

    January 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Within the above article Cllr Monika Juneja states: “The purpose of the meeting is to gain absolute clarity as to the government’s position regarding development on the green belt, constraints on the Local Plan and determining the housing number if we were not to develop on the green belt at all.”

    The following is an extract from the SHLAA, page 284, relating to “Land at Gosden Hill Farm” presented by GBC during the Local Plan Consultation:-

    “Planning History – Gosden Farm There is no relevant planning history, however, the north east Guildford area (generally to be understood to be in the vicinity of this site) was identified in the South East Plan (2009) as a broad area of search for selective Green Belt review and residential development site to accommodate up to 2000 new homes. A legal challenge by the council found that the identification of this site in the South East Plan was not sound, as it had not been thoroughly tested against other options to see if it were the most sustainable location for an urban extension, resulting in the reference being removed from the South East Plan.”

    So the government’s position may be unclear, as Cllr Juneja implies. When isn’t it? But as little as four years ago, GBC’s position on green belt was crystal clear and it mounted a legal challenge, at tax-payers expense, to preclude development on the green belt.

    This led to GBC securing a favourable judgement on the basis that other alternative, sustainable sites for house building existed.

    Under the freedom of information act, I have asked for clarification and confirmation as to why this stance was adopted as it has been obvious during the local plan consultation that green belt housing development has been at the top of every agenda. Strangely the silence from Millmead is deafening.

    The question is, what has changed? Have we had a sustained period of house-building since 2009 that has consumed the brownfield/greenfield sites that were available in 2009? The answer is obviously no, hence the reason we’re having an ongoing housing debate.

    My view, as a layman, is that we may go as far to suggest that what happened before creates some form of legal precedent. Therefore during this meeting, in which a Westminster politician will, I believe, endeavour to offload national housing and social problems of their own making, I hope that the GBC councillors will be mounting a robust legal defence to any green belt areas under threat from developers, including perhaps the university, within Guildford Borough?

    In my view there is no ambiguity, GBC’s defence of the greenbelt in 2009 is still relevant today and there is no reason why this stance should not be maintained.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *