Fringe Box



Letter: I Am Baffled By The Planners

Published on: 20 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2013

Planning Let 2From Paul Bridgland

Director of Best of Guildford

I am utterly baffled and astounded by recent planning decisions. As a passionate local supporter of all things local, they appear to be totally at odds with my own personal views and also many others that I know.

Firstly, the Planning Committee (who is it that elects these people into office?*) have recently refused permission to extend the Mandolay Hotel, even though the town desperately needs more business accommodation. We are losing out to other towns.

The Mandolay’s proposal was to spend £2m of their own money building on their existing footprint to add another 25 rooms with little or no effect to anyone nearby. I understand that the majority of the few objections were from tenants of nearby flats?

Tenants are people in transient residence and not owners of the properties. Go figure!

This was countered by letters of support from businesses. Some of these were from out of town businesses and were rejected on that basis. Surely the idea of a hotel is to accommodate non-local people so why are these users of the hotel’s facilities views not relevant? The decision was voted down by 17 councillors and two abstained. Why?

Guildford’s residents and Guildford’s facilities survive and prosper as a result of local businesses. The council planning committee should be seeking to support issues such as this not blanking them with little or no consideration or consultation.

Next I hear that these same councillors are proposing to build on one of Guildford’s beauty spots, the fabulous Pewley Downs**  Utterly ridiculous and something that must be stopped at all costs, in my view. I don’t live there but like many other local people I enjoy visiting the area and walking there, especially in summer. It is an iconic and historic part of our town.

There is an opportunity to have some say by visiting You can print out a form and send in a petition if like me, you feel strongly about this issue and would like to do all that you can to stop it happening. You must do this before 29th November.

Editor’s footnotes:

* Planning decisions which are considered especially important or controversial (e.g. where more than 10 letters of objection or support against the planning officers recommendation are received) are taken by those borough councillors who sit on the Planning Committee. It is made up, proportionally, of councillors from all political parties on the council represented. All Guildford Borough councillors are elected by the residents of the borough.

**No decision has been taken on Pewley Down yet. Nor has any planning application been made. It has  been identified as a possible area for development as part of the current Local Plan consultation.

See also: Mandolay Hotel Planning Application Refused – Despite Hotel Room Shortage

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Responses to Letter: I Am Baffled By The Planners

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I guess Mr Bridgland is also unaware that they also propose to remove 16 of 24 villages from the green belt, including the Horsleys, and Shere, amongst others.

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