Fringe Box



Letter: Strategic Sites Have Been Selected to Limit Opposition

Published on: 17 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 17 Jan, 2017

From Stephen Walker

Jim Allen asks, in his comment on the letter: Guildford Borough Council Should Learn Lessons From Spelthorne, whether it is the councillors or the professional planners working at the borough council who have ultimately chosen the Local Plan’s trajectory.

I believe the first “Regulation 18” plan produced for consultation in 2015 was prepared primarily by the planning department and put to the councillors. However due to the uproar from the electorate (not just during the Regulation 18 consultation but also the 2015 local elections) I believe the councillors took control of the “Regulation 19” spatial strategy.

The strategy changed away from many smaller village sites to one which now sees the bulk of development proposed on four large strategic sites. I believe this was done in order to limit political exposure across the wards and the same is happening all over the country.

There is no doubt in my mind that the second Regulation 19 plan is highly political because it lacks planning sense.

Apart from the crazy new proposal at Flexford it is the future residents of the houses proposed at Garlick’s Arch that I feel sorry for.  You could not choose a more noxious field to build on anywhere else in the borough.

It sits in a dip alongside the A3 at Burnt Common, with its daily three lane traffic queue up to the M25 interchange. The fumes and the noise will be unbearable for those unfortunate souls.

I can’t believe any of the lead councillors have visited this site at 8am in the morning to witness the smog.  If they had they would not have proposed housing on the site and would have rather more sensibly looked into their compulsory purchase powers to acquire the land required for the slip roads.

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Responses to Letter: Strategic Sites Have Been Selected to Limit Opposition

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    January 17, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Signs of political manipulation include:

    1) deliberate failure to obtain a copy of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment [SHMA] housing needs models so that they can be scrutinised by councillors and by the public – hardly transparent government.

    2) singling out Ash (Ash South & Tongham is represented on the Executive by the council leader/lead member for planning, Paul Spooner) for a new area of green belt. Not a single exceptional circumstance to justify its creation has been set out. And the location is as far as it is possible to get from London within the Guildford Borough. How can it protect the London Metropolis from urban sprawl?

    3) the council leader promoting the inclusion of a new town at Ockham (second least sustainable settlement in the borough according to the “Green Belt and Countryside Study”) in the Surrey Advertiser. The site is promoted by Mike Murray – a well known Conservative borough councillor from the Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire.

    4) Of course the whole “affordable homes” initiative is based on political dogma that seeks to promote two so-called Conservative objectives: wider home ownership and private provision of housing. It is fraught with problems: it does not address the shortage of social housing; it’s just a one of subsidy to the first buyer of the new house – not a long term remedy; it requires 100 houses to be built in order to obtain 40 so-called affordable homes.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    January 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Well that sums it up neatly in one phrase: “It lacks planning sense.”

  3. Felicity Cousins Reply

    January 20, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Wisley, Garlick’s arch and Flexford are all along way away from shops, schools, parks and housing there will result in everybody jumping in their cars for anything, creating greater traffic chaos.

    If the proposed spatial strategy had any planning sense it would have located new housing sites as close to these facilities as possible and encourage people to walk or take public transport.

  4. George Williamson Reply

    January 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    The council do monitor the air quality in the borough by way of fixed diffusion tubes placed strategically around the borough. Theses devices produce an annual air quality report which can be found on the GBC website.

    Unfortunately there are no diffusion tubes close to Garlick’s Arch Copse, so there is no date available on this proposed site.

    Maybe the council should start collecting independent data from this site? It would seem to make sense, rather than wait for the future developers figures (not saying they would be skewed at all).

    Maybe local councillor Colin Cross could put this to the council as I’m not sure a regular citizen asking would get very far.

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