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Letter: It Is Time to Halt and Reconsider the Local Plan

Published on: 29 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 29 Sep, 2018

From: Liz Hogger

Lib Dem planning spokesperson and deputy group leader

In response to: Revised Population Forecast Leads to Calls for Review of Local Plan Housing Numbers

The latest housing need forecast has proven beyond doubt that the Conservative government’s planning policies are a total fiasco. Guildford Borough Council has reluctantly gone along with previous guidance and offered up sites in our green belt in the name of meeting housing need, and now we discover that the Tories got it wrong and the latest government guidance is that our real housing need is far less.

Guildford Liberal Democrats say it is time to call a halt and reconsider the Local Plan site allocations which eat into our green belt and pour even more traffic onto our clogged local roads. We hope many residents will tell the Local Plan inspector in the current consultation that in the light of the new figures the housing targets and site allocations in the emerging Local Plan should be reconsidered at a further public hearing.

It is intolerable that Guildford should be asked to take even more housing in the first five years of the plan, including some of Woking’s supposed housing need, when the whole basis of the housing target calculation has now been undermined by the new projections.

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Responses to Letter: It Is Time to Halt and Reconsider the Local Plan

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    September 29, 2018 at 10:28 am

    What a shame it has taken this penny so long to drop with Liz Hogger. Some of us have been saying it ever since the Issus and Options Paper set out the Local Plan approach.

    The Local Plan would never have gotten this far or wasted so much public time and money if the “opposition” had not supported and voted for it over so many years.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 29, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Finally, the Lib Dems have woken up to what the GGG has been saying for four years.

    Until now, they have slavishly followed the Tories’ ‘trajectory’.

    I welcome Liz Hogger to reality. Better late than never.

  3. A Atkinson Reply

    September 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I wonder why this letter didn’t come from the leader of the “opposition” Cllr Caroline Reeves?

    She has consistently endorsed the Tory-led agenda in Guildford. As the chair of the scrutiny committee, Cllr Reeves was in the best position to listen to evidence and make sure the council was challenged. In the meetings I viewed, she seemed to foster an environment where the committee was used as a buffer between the council and true scrutiny.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      September 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      When the Scrutiny Committee had an opportunity to scrutinise the Strategic Housing Market Assessment, Cllr Reeves was its chairman. Did this committee live up to its name? No, it said it was all too complicated. Beyond their ability to understand! They preferred to follow the advice of GL Hearn because they were the experts. The Chairman endorsed that view.

      What then was the purpose of the committee? And why does Cllr Reeves bother to call herself leader of the ‘opposition’ if she is, in fact, a closet facilitator of the intellectually dishonest Mansbridge trajectory? She’s not doing the job she was elected to do.

  4. Neville Bryan Reply

    September 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Is this the official position of the Guildford Liberal Democrats?

    If so, why is this statement not by the leader with an acknowledgement it is four years late?

  5. Caroline Reeves Reply

    October 1, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    As Liz Hogger’s letter clearly states, she is our planning spokesperson and has commented as such with the full support of the group. That is the way the Lib Dem group works. We have always acknowledged that we are obliged to follow the government’s prescriptive methodology for housing numbers if we want our plan to be found sound. We have seen others fail because they have chosen not to do this. Our point now is that with new ONS figures we should look again at the site allocations in the emerging Local Plan.

    Caroline Reeves is the Lib Dem leader of the opposition at Guildford Borough Council

  6. Valerie Thompson Reply

    October 1, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    If Woking was permitted to reduce its housing numbers because they refused to build, like Guildford, almost exclusively on green field sites, by using perfectly legal constraints, why did GBC not only continue to put forward excessive numbers in its Local Plan and why has it been told to take some of Woking’s housing numbers?

    The Government gave borough councils a “get-out” by offering the use of constraints if sufficient houses could not be built without eating up vast tracts of green belt land, but GBC has persistently refused to use this facility.

    One has to ask why? Who is benefitting? Certainly not local residents or those in need of inexpensive homes. So who?

  7. David Roberts Reply

    October 2, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I think Cllr Caroline Reeves will find that the government’s recent “prescriptive methodology” for housing numbers post-dates the formulation of the Guildford Local Plan, which was free to use any methodology it could reasonably defend.

    Why has it taken since 2013 (Monika Juneja’s “Issues and Options” paper) for the Lib Dems to conclude that the Local Plan needs reconsidering? It was not confidence-inspiring to see Ms Reeves confess in one email to Cllr Spooner that she didn’t have the “brain space” to understand the housing number methodology.

    In my view, the opposition’s abdication has amounted to collusion with the Tories in this ill-founded plan.

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