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Letter: A Review of the Local Plan Must Include…

Published on: 20 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2021

From: Karen Stevens

Save Hogs Back Campaign

I am glad to read that most of the parties in advance of the local elections are separately pledging to review Guildford’s Local Plan. For these promises to have any substance, I ask that all parties making this pledge sign up to a joint commitment before the elections that this will be a complete and thorough review.

It must include as a minimum:

i. GBC applying all legitimate constraints (landscape and traffic) to the housing need figure. I understand that the government has introduced a new standard method for calculating housing figures which appears to do Guildford no favours, but Woking was able to reduce its OAN [objectively assessed need] by 50% simply by applying constraints (allowable under planning law). Guildford’s local plan applies zero constraints, despite the town having worse congestion than any other town in the UK and despite the borough having an extremely high proportion of high-quality landscape

ii. the removal of sites from the Local Plan that are no longer feasible as a result of the removal of the A3 widening scheme from the government’s road investment strategy. Concern has been expressed that any attempt to deallocate a strategic site (even those with no realistic prospect of delivery) might result in lawsuits from developers, but would developers really have a case to argue?

The planning inspector made it crystal clear at the public examination and in his report that without the A3 widening scheme through Guildford, the transport evidence would have to be reviewed and the Local Plan could be amended. Developers knew this. They knew that if their sites were dependent on a key piece of infrastructure which did not materialise, their sites might not be viable and could be removed from the Plan.

I don’t see how they could successfully mount a legal challenge against the council for simply following the inspector’s direction.

I hope for Guildford’s sake that this call for a review is not just pre-election posturing and that it will result in a revised Local Plan that truly delivers what is best for the borough, rather than what is best for developers.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: A Review of the Local Plan Must Include…

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    March 20, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Similarly, the removal of green belt land, insetting and extension of settlement areas must be reversed to their former position.

    The Conservative Party knew full well that treating infrastructure as a condition rather than a constraint was a con to enable them to hand over green belt and countryside to land speculators and developers.

  2. Helen Jefferies Reply

    March 21, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    I would suggest a slightly different commitment. An immediate review of the plan (to be commenced within 30 days of the election) and the constraints must include all infrastructure.

    It’s not only roads that are a problem, sewage and waste (surface) water capacity is a serious problem, not alleviated by spills into the Wey which is already “behind schedule” on water quality.

    Fresh water and other utilities also need revisiting as does the provision of other services we take for granted, schools, health, social care etc.

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