Fringe Box



Letter: Graham Hibbert is Right, There is No Time to Lose in Reviewing the Local Plan

Published on: 19 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 18 Oct, 2023

From: Ramsey Nagaty

former GGG borough councillor and group leader

In response to: The Moral is… Keep the Local Plan Updated

As Graham Hibbert states the Local Plan should be regularly updated. There is no time to lose.

The height of the buildings in the now-approved North Street development highlights the legal requirement to update the Local Plan 2019.

It is supposed to be reviewed by April 2024. The new administration has been in power for nearly five months but there have only been one or two meetings of the Planning Policy Committee (or whatever it is called!).

I understand the planning policy officers continue to advise that only minimum revision is required, ignoring the fact that there is a Climate Emergency declared by GBC since adoption of the Local Plan and a council motion, passed earlier this year, under the previous administration, for a full and comprehensive review.

I can imagine the date for completion of the review looming and Planning Policy officers stating it is too late now as there would be no time for consultation. If so, yet again councillors would be steam-rollered into proceeding with a Local Plan that most residents detest.

It is not just height, there is the fundamental question of infrastructure and whether adequate infrastructure exists (roads, power, water, sewerage, doctors, schools, flood prevention). Garlicks Arch was shoe-horned in to enable a four-way junction at the A3 with Send, Clandon and Ripley. This was to enable Wisley New Town. Yet it now appears unlikely the A3 four-way junction will materialise.

There has been extensive expenditure on a Town Centre Masterplan which could enable up to 3,500 new homes within the town. This would address some of the need for infrastructure, and accommodate Guildford’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint; homes in the town imply less car use.

The new homes would also likely to be more affordable, meeting the actual housing need instead of providing justification for greenfield development.

Part of the masterplan work addressed flood protection measures. Will GBC proceed with this regeneration as planned or modified? This should be incorporated in the new Local Plan 2024 with suitable design parameters to ensure density and height are controlled, and local design standards applied and should enable a reduction in the housing allocated on previous green belt sites and villages.

Sometimes officers suggest that the imposition of the standard method of calculating housing need will increase housing numbers. However, people should be aware that the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) allows substantiated adjustments or alternative methods where appropriate.

GGG have demonstrated – with confirmation from the Office for Statistical Regulation (OSR) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that the predicted student numbers in Guildford (on which the Local Plan, housing number was formulated) are too high.

Many students are not going to remain (40 per cent are overseas students who are required to leave at the end of their course). Due to this, as well as the declining birth rate, we have had official confirmation from the ONS that the housing requirement for Guildford is overstated. The census confirmed the 2014 projections as widely off the mark.

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Responses to Letter: Graham Hibbert is Right, There is No Time to Lose in Reviewing the Local Plan

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    October 19, 2023 at 9:43 am

    I think planners and everyone else need to seperate out,fact from fantasy.

    Fact: We don’t have enough water for 47,500 new residents.
    Fantasy: There is a plan to provide 47,500 jobs for incomers.

    Fact: There is climate change, a natural function of the planet
    Fiction: It is specifically caused and controlled by man!

    Fact: Increase of population will need additional services.
    Fiction: Services an hour away with restricted transport are sustainable

    Fact: Going all electric is not carbon neutral and never will be
    Fiction: Net zero is technically possible

    Fact: The A3 access points need fundamental changes
    Fiction: The GBC A3 proposal are rational and realistic!

    Fact: Low cost housing numbers 40%? of construction numbers is financially unsustainable
    Fiction: 80% of value is ‘affordable’.

    Fact: Nobody has publically complained about policies in The Burpham Neighbourhood Plan since 2016!
    Fiction: Guildford Local Plan is sound on any level

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