Fringe Box



Letter: My Prediction for Local Plan Consultation

Published on: 28 Jul, 2015
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2015

Local Plan Letters imageFrom Adrian Atkinson

I wonder when the next reiteration of the Draft Local Plan will be forthcoming for consultation or when will we see a published timetable? We are now a year on since the last version was published. But where are we at now?

Many welcomed the “U” turn by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) in the light of overwhelming opposition to a flawed, incomplete and excessive Draft Local Plan. But will the next iteration be much different? Will those who said it was being “kicked into the long grass” over the election period be proved right?

Does the delay in considering the Three Farms Meadow (Wisley) application until Christmas Eve, over a full year after it was lodged with the council, give us an indication of the council’s intention to include this controversial site, and others, in the next draft plan, before the application can be rejected by the planning committee?

Most, if not all, the statutory consulted bodies have opposed the application, why the need for the delay? What has happened to the controversial Howard of Effingham/ Berkeley Homes application? When will that be decided by the planning committee?

If I was a betting man this is what my money would be on:

1. Little fundamental changes to the Draft Local Plan we were presented with last year. The GBC Executive approved the last plan as fit for consultation, is it now, under the same leader, going to say it was wrong?

2. A higher SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) housing need number than the last draft will be suggested from the range given.

3. Little reduction based on true constraints to development such as AONB, SSSI, SPA, green belt, infrastructure (green and built), surface water flooding, habitats and now allowance for windfalls, and so a similar, and still excessive, housing target of around 620-650. Roughly the same as last time’s draft SHMA number.

4. As there will be little change from the last version, before presentation to the inspector, we, as the public, will not have the same level of consultation as last time. (At least GBC are not so silly as to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. They will claim little change despite not having a SHMA, no housing target, an inadequate infrastructure/transport studies, no exceptional circumstances to move green belt boundaries etc in the last draft local plan. Little change then, so no need to consult the public to the same level as last time.)

5. Cllr Mansbridge’s “trajectory” of development will continue. The green belt will not be fully protected despite Conservative election pledges (for the second time) and ministerial statements reiterating the rules.

6. Developers will be happy.

A pint on me if I’m wrong.

Is that a pint for each reader Mr Atkinson? Ed

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Responses to Letter: My Prediction for Local Plan Consultation

  1. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    October 5, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Prediction No 2 confirmed – the publish SHMA shows a “need” 693 market and affordable housing across Guildford borough per year to 2033

    Also prediction 4 is set to be confirmed with the GBC themselves pushing for regulation 19 consultation (ie less on the basis there is little different from the last consultation) rather than the full regulation 18 as we had last year.

  2. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    February 8, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Looks like prediction number three seems to be confirmed with indications by leading councillors that the full SHMA number will be taken forward without taking into constraints despite promises by the Conservatives following the last consultation.

    As far as prediction number five goes, this looks like it will be confirmed too.

    Indications are that some c700 hectares of Guildford green belt (3%) will be released in the next iteration of the next local plan.

    At a moderate density of 15 houses per hectare would mean 10,800 houses on the old green belt (based on geen belt of 24,040 hectares).

    So much for the election pledges, but the green belt development trajectory continues.

    Looks like only prediction number one is still to be determined – now not under the same leader – so let’s wait and see.

    On balance I sense my offer of a pint is safe.

  3. A Atkinson Reply

    April 5, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    With the publication of the revised Local Plan it is clear predictions 5 and 6 have come true despite the headlines. Huge numbers of houses being proposed on current green belt land and new green belt land around Tongham/Ash

    Wisley is still included despite planners suggestion to refuse planning permission (now confirmed following council vote on April 6). Is this regulatory capture or avoidance of predetermination?

  4. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    April 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    It looks like my promise of a pint to every reader of The Guildford Dragon is safe. However, what I did not predict was that the council would refuse to apply NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework] constraints to set a housing target which is lower than the so-called “OAN” [Objectively Assessed Need].

    The simple reading of the SHMA, the OAN and the Local Plan is that we are building nearly 70% of homes on our green fields for an excessive population growth 50 per cent of which don’t currently live in the UK.

    That is not a plan to solve our current housing crisis as GBC claims. No wonder the council don’t want to get into the nitty gritty. Instead they are spending our council tax money money on London retail/ developemnt PR consultants Coverdale Barclay.

    I wonder why, if this is such a sound crisis solving plan?

  5. A Atkinson Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    What I predicted in 2015 seems to be coming true; the whole Local Plan is for the gain of the developers who, we have to remember, has increased their return on capital employed to 25% during the crisis of their own creation and are reaping record profits, yet claim poverty.

    Anybody who beleives in this plan is for anybody other than developers, landowners and the university must also believe in fairies, pixies, goblins and the objectivity of the Joint SHMA.

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