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Letter: Rather Than Reviewing the Local Plan We Should Build Guildford Physically and Politically

Published on: 12 May, 2019
Updated on: 12 May, 2019

From James Gross

John Rigg’s comment under: Comment: Council Decision Day Looms as Winning Parties Dicker and Deal seems a welcome and pragmatic contribution to this debate, and astute political commentators would do well to observe the significant pragmatic real-world contributions that many of the newly elected councillors could bring to the table.

Although not supporting the Conservative position to bring up the drawbridge on communications, I am sympathetic to the bias mentioned in comments on The Dragon that persist in suggesting there will be a Lib Dem/Conservative coalition. In my dealings with Cllr Reeves, she has always shown herself to be a well reasoned and selfless councillor for our ward [Friary & St Nicolas], and I can well imagine that the Lib Dem group could be well disposed towards cooperation with newly elected independents and that such opinions from The Dragon are less than helpful.

Rather than painting an image of Cllr Reeves as going along with the Conservative position on the Local Plan, I dare say she has taken a difficult personal position to hold out for the long-term success of the town that means staying firm to the aim of building desperately needed new homes for our hospital, university and other service industry staff, in the face of enormous criticism.

With the likes of John Rigg’s support for a town centre masterplan, there is a real likelihood that we could really see our town going places. With people on all sides of the council who care passionately about our rural and urban environment, we should hold out for the best quality homes, places, infrastructure and services in town and country.

It seems to me, that rather than spending even more hard-earned public funds on reviewing the Local Plan, we should allow coalition of all colours to start getting on with building our town and borough (both physically and politically) into something worthy of the reputation it still holds, but is in danger of losing to political in-fighting, bickering and told-you-so’ing that surely we should unequivocally seek to rise above?

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test 4 Responses to Letter: Rather Than Reviewing the Local Plan We Should Build Guildford Physically and Politically

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    May 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Unfortunately, most of Guildford doesn’t agree with Mr Gross and his desire to build, that is why the majority of pro build councillors have lost their seats.

    Our councillors have made the pledge to amend the local plan and I for one, hope they actually honour those pledges.

    • James Gross Reply

      May 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      Is this true that most of Guildford doesn’t agree?

      Probably fair to state that many, if not most voters who voted R4GV and GGG will hold this view, but R4GV seems very supportive of the need for a well thought out and considered masterplan for the town centre that will need residential development to fund the unanimously desired community infrastructure. The Dragon interview with John Rigg has him suggesting Debenhams as a good site for housing – perhaps, but a good masterplan will further investigate other opportunities too.

      If one were to take the view that voting Lib Dem and Conservative was pro-growth, then democratically, this is still the majority position.

      There are lots of loud voices out there, but that doesn’t necessarily constitute a majority.

      Furthermore, the ink is barely dry on the Local Plan adoption so it’s a little early to judge it on (disastrous) results thus far.

      Perhaps whichever party runs the Executive, they will pursue a push for development that is genuinely sustainable? After all, newly elected members on the Planning Committee will have a chance to influence what comes forward.

      I’m certainly not pro-build regardless of the consequences, but that blunt assessment seems to be how others wish to portray pro-growth positions.

      I wish our borough to remain beautiful and become a bastion for beautiful new and existing development, well integrated with town and country, and somewhere my children can afford to live in the future. Sustaining Guildford as a place to live for future generations.

      It’s worth looking at this report that came out last week on how to achieve development that is “Distinctively Local” and which mentions in the foreword: “Great placemaking comes not only from seeing how others have done things well, but by being inspired to do them even better.”

      I’m inspired. It’s a pity if others are not so.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    May 12, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    While everyone should pull together enthusiasm to build houses must be controlled so that the development projects are scheduled correctly, ie not in the next five years.

    The current overburdened water infrastructure has no extra capacity and will fail because 3,500 houses are due to be built before the Slyfield move can possibly occur. The earliest would be in 2027 and no adequate level of infrastructure can be completed until then. This must be considered to build a sustainable town. Failure to understand this will destroy the borough.

  3. Lisa Wright Reply

    May 15, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Following Jim Allen’s assessment of water supply, Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill And Wisley are all reliant on improvements to the A3. Considering Highways England has just pushed back any improvements for the widening of the A3 and the junction of the M25/A3, we can assume that those sites will not be coming forward anytime soon.

    Since the Local Plan promises infrastructure before housing, and there’s no new infrastructure, it seems unlikely anything much is going to get built.

    And what about train capacity, hospital beds, policemen, fire service, doctors, schools, electricity, Wheres all that coming from?

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