Fringe Box



Letter: Draft Local Plan is Not Joined Up

Published on: 7 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 7 Jul, 2014

Local Plan Letters imageFrom Jim Allen

Hon Alderman Bridger says that the councillors deserve credit for the draft Local Plan. Well plan it may be – but joined up? I don’t think so.

For example, one document specifically says that the Wey Valley character and the green belt is, in effect, sacrosanct but in another they propose an unneeded road through the green belt from Slyfield into the highest concentration of traffic in Guildford. And there is no protection for new or widened roads for the A320 ,or for the new intersection, should Gosden Hill Farm go for development.

Observations were made in early this year that there were errors in “C1 & C2″ (the designations for Gosden Hill Farm – where 2,000 plus houses are proposed in the green belt – which no one seems to be making a fuss about). Errors include: no mention that the protected recreation land is actually on the site i.e. closer than indicated and that a recreational Burpham Court farm closed these past five years, is stated as “open to the public”.

These errors were highlighted in the public consultation but nothing has been changed. So a plan may be, but joined up, cohesive, sensible? Nah!

Sadly, by previous observations of Guildford Borough Council, the consultation could last a year but the majority of councillors might fail to read even the opening page, which could lead to comments such as those from Cllr Jenny Wicks, “Aldi: the 25 employees can park elsewhere.”

If she had read the documents properly she would know there is nowhere else to park. Planning officers seem to believe just restricting parking on development sites will reduce car use even though at the same time there is a failure to provide adequate public transport.

I fear that the planning officers, judging by their current practice, will simply ignore comments deemed inconvenient or contrary to their ideas.

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Responses to Letter: Draft Local Plan is Not Joined Up

  1. Gordon Bridger Reply

    July 10, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Mr. Allan should have read my letter more carefully. I did not congratulate councillors for the plan, in fact I stated that it had many flaws – I just drew people’s attention that at least they stayed up till 11.30pm to do so and have belatedly got round to publishing a draft.

    I am sure Mr Allan’s criticisms are valid and he should ensure they are taken into account and corrected before it is completed.

    The draft needs a radical rewrite. It is woefully weak in identifying objectives and needs a clearer statement of policies and priorities so that projects can be selected in a consistent way. (I have produced a blueprint for the plan available on demand).

    Its retail forecasts have been produced by retail consultant and are not only inappropriate in a planning document but are out of date and based on dubious hypothesis.

    There is a good deal in the draft which needs change and improvement and I hope that Mr Allan and others will insist that the errors are corrected.

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