Fringe Box



Letter: The Local Plan – A Time to Reflect

Published on: 24 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 25 Sep, 2014

Local Plan Consultation logoFrom Jules Cranwell

Now that the consultation period for the local plan has ended, the last minute chaos and extension notwithstanding, it is time to reflect on what the result may be, and the impact of the finalisation of the Local Plan.

Having been copied on a large number of responses, from individuals, residents’ associations, and parish councils, the overwhelming tenor has been:

1. By law, green belt boundaries may only be amended if exceptional circumstances are  demonstrated.
2. Housing need does not constitute exceptional circumstances.
3. Brownfield sites are sufficient, and must be exploited, before any green belt is sacrificed.
4. The housing target of over 13,000 if excessive: it must be radically overhauled, and reduced.

I have not seen single response that does not object to the draft plan in its entirety.

There is also significant disquiet form many on the plan to add additional green belt to the west of the borough, in Ash and Tongham, whilst proposing to destroy much of the green belt to the east, with 16 villages proposed for ‘insetting’, or rather removal from the green belt.

Many respondents have noted the total lack of any evidence of “exceptional circumstances”, which are required for any area of green belt to lose, or gain, green belt status. Given that 50 per cent, being the four most influential executive councillors, are from Ash and Tongham, the public can be forgiven for suspecting undue influence has been brought to bear, on this aspect alone.

It has also been noted that an entirely disproportionate amount of development is proposed for the east of the borough. For example, a 40 per cent increase for West Horsley, compared with five per cent for Ash and Tongham, and two per cent for urban Guildford.

The following graphs, created by West Horsley Parish Council, have been provided to accompany this letter.

GBC homes growth 1 480GBC homes growth 2 480GBC homes growth 3 480


Jules Cranwell is a leading member of the Guildford Greenbelt Group

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Responses to Letter: The Local Plan – A Time to Reflect

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    September 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    And while the villages are not prepared to accept their fair share Burpham is threatened with 5,000+ vehicles, including 300 HGV movements a day, and 2,000 houses on our north east flank and 1,000 on our south west flank.

    No other section of Guildford is threatened with so many houses and not even a whisper from the objectors. They seem to think: “If we have to have houses ‘it won’t be us! It will be someone else.”

    But I guess someone has to take the houses and it’s not right to argue with the Horsleys is it?

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I don’t recognise Jim Allen’s numbers. It is true that Clandon is threatened with 2,000 homes in the 15 year horizon, a 20 per cent increase. But that’s not Burpham.

    I can assure Mr Allen that I am opposed to all of these massive developments, including Burpham, and have never said otherwise.

    I would not agree that a 40 per cent increase for West Horsley can be described as a ‘fair share’.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      September 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Simply look at the map. The site is adjacent Burpham Ward on the other side of the hill to Clandon.

  3. David Reeve Reply

    September 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    It would help if Mr Allen checked his information before rushing into print.

    East Horsley Action Group produced a detailed commentary on the Local Plan with the intention of providing local residents – and those throughout the borough – with a “one stop shop” where they could find detailed information to assist them in making their responses to the Local Plan consultation. This is available to all residents of the borough on our website.

    Our commentary is extremely critical of the plan as a whole, and presents detailed arguments – almost all of which apply to every resident of the borough, not just to those in the East or in the Horsleys. In particular, right at the beginning in Section 1.1 we say:

    “Our group’s objective was to produce a relatively concise, factual briefing document that could be used by any person or organisation who recognises the importance of responding to the consultation, but who might be discouraged from writing a letter by the sheer size, number and impenetrability of the Local Plan and its supporting documents.

    “We believe that the current draft Local Plan is deficient in a number of ways, and that if it were to be implemented in its current form, it would have serious adverse consequences on the borough in general, and on East Horsley and its neighbouring parishes in particular.”

    While we certainly covered local issues in the Horsleys and Ockham, I think any dispassionate reader would agree that we concentrated our comments mainly on the issues that apply equally to the entire borough. We drew attention to local issues, but we did not set out to favour our own position over that of any other residents in the borough.

    I suggest that Mr Allen should read what we said, and then perhaps re-consider his comments. This is no time to engage in in-fighting. There is a clear threat to the borough as a whole, and our group sees its role as fighting a shoddy plan based on biased and out-of-date information, rather than fighting other residents of the borough. I hope Mr Allen can agree.

  4. Neville Bryan Reply

    September 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    We all have a problem presented by this GBC council, and the more we all pick on each other the more we will all lose. For example, we in Wood Street Village have 3,000 houses on Hog’s Back the other side of the railway too, noise, light, air, sewage, water shortages, flooding and all.

    I am fighting against that – but to help win that fight, we must all first sort out the SHLAA, SMHA, SA, infrastructure backlog, constraints etc. All the things GBC has failed to do before any sites are added to the Local Plan.

    Whereever we live in the the borough, including the town, we should all have the same mutual aim: getting a sufficiently low housing number which will pass the government inspector test, and make the local plan the best it can be for every resident of Guildford borough.

    All this has to be before we start arguing and finger pointing about where the houses we all agree are not needed are to go.

    The Lovelace by-election result yesterday will be focusing minds in Conservative headquarters. Who knows what will happen next.

    Everybody should keep focused on the big picture, sensible growth, and a good plan.

    Burpham, Horsleys, Ash, Hog’s Back and Guildford Town all win that way.

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