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Letter: It Is Not True That the Community Is Losing Burchatts Barn

Published on: 19 May, 2020
Updated on: 19 May, 2020

Burchatts Barn – Photo Mandy Millyard

From Andrew Plumridge

In response to: Burchatts Farm Barn, Lessons to be Learnt

Mr Morgan’s comment refers to Ms Pollock saying: “Guildford is losing a beautiful community hall”, when that is demonstrably untrue.  Guildford is losing nothing here because the building will still be beautiful, still be accessible and still have a community use as defined by the law.  At the same time, it is gaining a first-class chiropractic facility that can be accessed by everyone including those with physical pains and disabilities.

Reference is also made to Cllr Davis’s comment about the building being used to support local and national events, which it can still do if organisers ask permission and it is convenient, something they had to do before.

Mr Morgan claims that the previous hire charge was too high but he ignores the fact that it paid for a hall, two professionally equipped kitchens, a servery and lavatories, and he made no allowance for the cost of management, cleaning, gardening or repair, few of which apply to local village halls benefiting from charitable status and managed by volunteers.

Similarly, he misinterprets s.92 of the National Planning Policy Framework and takes out of context para 8.6 of “The Disposal of Heritage Assets” guidance, which actually speaks of how, “The break-up of heritage sites into separate ownerships can damage their integrity”, and that, “The aim should be to encourage prospective purchasers to consider the potential of sites containing heritage assets as a whole, rather than to “pick off” the most profitable elements”. None of this applies here and it is mischievous to suggest otherwise.

I have previously questioned the value of the KPMG “investigation” but bring it on so it can end this tiresome criticism by the uninformed.  If this is to be debated further, then let us please do so in an honest and unbiased manner.

I am reminded that critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it is done and seen it done many times, but they lack the where-with-all to do it themselves.

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test 5 Responses to Letter: It Is Not True That the Community Is Losing Burchatts Barn

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    I am not sure where this letter takes us on the debate about the use of the Barn. It appears to be a mere restatement of political objectives supported by reasons given to take the chosen path.

    Let the dust settle while we await the report. The Barn issue is becoming like Brexit and I dislike the veiled insult at the end of the letter. We all have a view and are free to express it in a democracy. As voters, we are entitled to examine the reasons given for any decision made by our elected representatives. We can then decide whether to entrust them with our vote next time.

  2. Paul Spooner Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I fully agree with Mr Plumridge’s assessment. There was a lot of misinformation thrown around to damage the Conservative administration who tried hard to balance community access and commercial reality at Burchatts and it is interesting that those that made the biggest gain at the expense of local Conservatives, once in power, came to very similar conclusions a year later.

    I am sorry that the chiropractor was treated so poorly in the media and pleased that compromise has prevailed for the benefit of the council, the chiropractor and the local community.

    Paul Spooner is the Conservative borough councillor for Ash South and Tongham

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      May 22, 2020 at 7:46 am

      I would say the previous Tory administration did a pretty good job of damaging themselves, with their utter contempt for residents and democracy. Why do they think they were so firmly rejected at the last election?

  3. S Callanan Reply

    May 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Mr Plumridge says that Burchatts Barn will “still have a community use as defined by the law”. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know what that means. Could Mr Plumridge, or Cllr Spooner who agrees with his assessment, please explain?

    • Andrew Plumridge Reply

      May 21, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      In answer Mr Callanan’s question, section 15 of the Guildford Borough Local Plan defines “community facilities” in planning terms, and policy CF2 states that these include education, health and welfare facilities, places of worship, youth and community centres, village halls and libraries.

      Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 a chiropractor is a “health and welfare facility” so de facto it complies with policy CF2. The Local Plan is a legal requirement through the National Planning Policy Framework and Town and Country Planning Acts.

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