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Letter: The Lack of Objective Testing in the Local Plan Beggars Belief

Published on: 24 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 24 Oct, 2020

From: Julian Lyon

In response to: Why the Former Council Avoided Sustainability in the Local Plan

I think, to understand the sustainability of the proposals in Guildford’s Local Plan we need to look more closely at the Sustainability Appraisal (SA).

Successive iterations of the plan and it’s SA examined a series of options but in all of them they kept the base provision of homes in the top five or six tiers of the hierarchy unchanged (ie in the town centre, urban areas, etc.).

It beggars belief that there was no comparison between, say, building higher in the urban area versus spreading out in the countryside; it is possible the answer would have been the same but the question needed to be asked. There was no big urban regeneration scheme to be brought forward in years 5 to 15 instead of the green belt scheme. This was despite the six years or so that it took to deliver the Local Plan.

Without this form of objective testing, it is clear that the failure to embrace sustainability comes from scenario choices made entirely by the then council. I can understand the frustration.

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test 3 Responses to Letter: The Lack of Objective Testing in the Local Plan Beggars Belief

  1. John Perkins Reply

    October 24, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    I know I’m cynical but my belief is that decisions were based purely on the desire to build “executive” homes in the countryside. If necessary, high-rise affordable homes on brownfield sites can be built later using the huge profits from earlier development.

    • S Callanan Reply

      October 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      Are the builders of “executive” homes really going to plough their “huge profits” into the building of “affordable” high-rise homes when there are dividends for shareholders and bonuses for directors’ to be paid? I doubt it.

      There already exist many high-rise homes (which may or may not be affordable) which their owners would love to sell, but because of the perceived fire risk, no-one will offer a mortgage on them. There must be a solution to this problem and finding it would free people to move.

      A further strand to this debate is that without the building of social housing we’re never going to have a stock of homes which those on low incomes can afford. We used to have good social housing in this country.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    October 25, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Social housing used to be built by Borough Councils. That was in the days when they did not waste money by investing in property, when they have no idea of what the market might do, or wasting money on planning to ruin areas of natural beauty, eg Newlands Corner, on wooden sculptures around the town, which will soon rot away, on new bridges, eg that between Walnut Tree Close and the Odeon Cinema, partnering Guildford with a town in China, which has no similarities at all, or on putting setts on a perfectly ordinary road, eg Tunsgate. I could go on.

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