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Letter: Major Changes Means Local Plan Requires Review

Published on: 25 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 25 Jun, 2020

From Fiona Curtis

In response to: Guildford ‘Strategic Sites’ Riddle After Whitehall Abandons Plans to Widen A3  and The Council Really Needs to Take a Fresh Look at the Local Plan

As Karen Stevens and Michael Aaronson in their letters point out, there have been a number of pivotal changes that have taken place since GBC adopted the Local Plan. The NPPF states that the Plan should be up-to-date and fluid, surely it is therefore only common sense to review the aspects of the Plan that will be affected by the changes?

The key changes are: Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic on business and funding; the disappearance of funding for the A3 work necessary to enable the strategic sites at Gosden and Blackwell Farm; and leaving the EU.

I would suggest an up-to-date review of businesses and business practice including the University of Surrey to establish whether more brownfield sites are likely to be forthcoming after some businesses discovered they could manage just as well from home. Most have been badly hit by closures and some will not recover.

Many universities are now delivering lectures on-line and I am told, first-year students, in particular, are deciding to take this option to save a year’s rental costs by staying at home. Will Surrey University do this and what are their plans post Brexit for international students?

The A3 funding has disappeared. Cllr Furniss (SCC cabinet member for Transport) for has said that it will reappear but what evidence is there to back this statement? I am guessing that as GBC is carrying out a transport survey to see what other measures might be possible to mitigate against the A3 widening not going ahead there is no confirmation of any future funding.

Reviews should seek to understand what the “new normal” will be and so far this does not look very promising for the level of “modal shift” that GBC and SCC are relying on to justify the growth levels in Local Plan. Yesterday it was reported insurance companies are confirming that people are going back to their cars to avoid public transport. Hardly music to anyone’s ears but who can blame them?

Given that we don’t really know what the “new normal” will look like, wouldn’t it make sense to defer the bigger projects until we do?

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test One Response to Letter: Major Changes Means Local Plan Requires Review

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 28, 2020 at 9:27 am

    GBC needs to get to grips with the likely “new normal”. We have learned from the pandemic that we can no longer afford to import 60% of our food, as currently. With a deal with the EU on trade looking increasingly unlikely, we need to be as self-sufficient for food, as possible.

    The planet can no longer sustain the consumption of meat. Scientists are predicting that meat production/consumption will be a thing of the past in as few as 15 years. Meat-free food production requires significantly more land than for meat. We therefore need to preserve all the farmland we have, and probably create more.

    GBC needs to call an immediate moratorium on building on the countryside and farmland, including Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill and Wisley. Anything else would be folly.

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