Fringe Box



Letter: Sir Paul Beresford’s Comments Are a Challenge to the Local Plan

Published on: 20 Jan, 2019
Updated on: 19 Jan, 2019

From Colin Cross

Independent borough councillor for Lovelace (Ripley, Wisley and Ockham)

Sir Paul Beresford’s remarks in Parliament are a challenge to GBC’s Local Plan and are welcome, even at this late stage in the process.  A key statement he makes is, “The willingness of GBC Leadership to demolish so much green belt in these wards (Lovelace and Send) is deeply distressing to me and my constituents.”

Many of my residents would regard this as a sincere cri de coeur for change to GBC’s current unacceptable proposals for Guildford’s green belt and its numerous affected villages.

Coincidentally, on Monday GBC issued a press release announcing a major change of direction on their plans for North Street and the Friary developments [see article: North Street Plans Change To ‘Primarily Residential’ Due To Retail Problems].  For years they have obstinately refused to budge on their ambition for a primarily retail led re-development, in spite of objections and evidence to the contrary.  Now, suddenly, it is  agreed that this should primarily be a residential-based scheme.

We need that same willingness to listen to the views of residents, to consider expert opinions which challenge key elements of the Local Plan and acceptance that a change in direction is required to save our green belt.

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Responses to Letter: Sir Paul Beresford’s Comments Are a Challenge to the Local Plan

  1. Stuart Thompson Reply

    January 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Another key statement from Paul Beresford was: “It is therefore only logical that, when Guildford Borough Council looks around for locations on which to develop, it should look first at brown-field sites, as it has done. It should look to offset increasing height and density with innovative design; the minister and I know from our local government days that that is possible in some particularly difficult areas of inner London.”

    He appears to want to turn Guildford town into a replica of Wandsworth.

    I look forward to candidates from Guildford Greenbelt Group, Residents for Guildford and the Villages or whoever, turning up on my doorstep to sell that one.

  2. Paul Spooner Reply

    January 20, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Perhaps Cllr Cross should also listen to the ministerial response? The government position was made clear and the Local Plan inspector, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, has already found the plan substantially sound to the point he is not revisiting sites already allocated prior to the public hearings last year.

    It is, however, good that he is revisiting the sites added as a result of direction at the end of the hearings.

    Paul Spooner is the Conservative leader of Guildford Borough Council.

    • John Perkins Reply

      January 21, 2019 at 3:44 am

      Is there any point in a council leader who simply toes the ministerial line?

      30,000 comments from local people count for nothing when stacked against the minister and his inspector.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 25, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Such willingness to listen to residents will not come about until there is a regime change at GBC.

    The leadership has stubbornly failed to listen and has cast out any within its own ranks who have challenged its trajectory.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    January 25, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Why should a regenerated town centre with somewhat denser, well-designed brownfield development – up to 4 or 5 storeys, say – be worse than Guildford’s featureless mess of decaying property? Nimbyism is not confined to the countryside, perhaps.

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