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Letter: Delayed Infrastructure Delivery Means We Do Now Need To Review the Local Plan

Published on: 22 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 22 Mar, 2021

From Paul Spooner

Former leader of GBC and Conservative borough councillor for Ash South & Tongham

In response to: Kick National Politics Out of Local Politics

Conservative councillors did not support an early review of the local plan back in 2019 for very good reason, it was too early.

The plan was adopted in April 2019 to manage sites, protect well over 90% of green belt, to ensure that there was a five-year supply to stop speculative applications (as experienced in Ash and Tongham in the years prior to adoption).

All this has proven very effective in the almost two years since adoption. However, now it is time to reflect on the infrastructure position. It is apparent that key infrastructure required to support development is not coming through and the current administration should therefore review the position in the light of the change in circumstances.

When Cllr Furniss and Cllr Billington joined me in touring the borough, presenting and discussing the Local Plan in the period 2016 to 2019, at parish councils and resident associations, along with personal meetings with GGG councillors of the time, we always stated that whilst delivering on the objectively assessed needs (OAN) accepted by the council (the process followed national requirements as shown when the Plan was found sound when scrutinised and reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate), we would not accept the level of required development shown by the evidence base without the infrastructure required to support it.

That is now in question and hence a review should be undertaken as soon as possible.

This is not a U-turn as presented by other political parties, this is following through on the promises Conservatives made to our electorate in the period prior to adoption of the local plan in 2019.

On a personal level, I still believe that the GBC was right to adopt a Local Plan in Guildford as soon as the planning inspector found it sound, but it is also right to review that plan if some of the key framework supporting that plan is not in place.

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Responses to Letter: Delayed Infrastructure Delivery Means We Do Now Need To Review the Local Plan

  1. Simon Mason Reply

    March 22, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    I would like to thank Cllr Spooner for getting involved in this discussion as he was more involved in the top-level decision making during the formation and adoption of the local plan than any other Cllr and his knowledge on the subject is extensive.

    I would like to ask him (as I have had no joy from asking the other parties through The Dragon) why, in his opinion, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) has still not been adopted by the council?

    This Development Tax was to fund local infrastructure and up to 25% passed onto local parishes to “Soften the Blow” as promised by Conservative Councillors doing the rounds of the villages.

    Every neighbouring borough has a CIL structure in place but not Guildford and local developers are getting away with millions.

    Is Guildford’s lack of CIL a broken Conservative promise or council incompetence?

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