Fringe Box



Letter: The Local Plan Review Is an Enigma

Published on: 26 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 26 Sep, 2021

From: David Roberts

Residents for Guildford and Villages (R4GV) rode to power on the promise of greater transparency and a new way of doing local politics.

So when the Local Plan review was announced in May, I suggested six very simple ways for them and their LibDem coalition partners to make sure it would be meaningful (see: Changes to Flawed Local Plan Will Decide Guildford’s Destiny):

1. Councillors should recognise over-development is already wrecking village communities and that urban regeneration is impossible without switching development away from our countryside;

2. The Planning Committee must take account of the new doubts about the ONS’s population figures in deciding planning applications;

3. The Local Plan review needs to have the clear objective of cutting the housing target, rather than just securing more government funding for infrastructure;

4. All relevant terms of reference and consultancy contracts for the review should be open to scrutiny, especially to the full Council, before being approved;

5. Consultants and council officers committed to the Plan as it stands should be reminded of councillors’ manifesto promises and legal arguments to kick the matter into touch should be dismissed; and

6. GBC should press for early release of 2021 census figures on Guildford’s population and engage in the national work necessary to correct the data and revise local housing targets, including removing the 20% buffer no longer required by a shortfall in Guildford’s five-year housing supply.

Their response to these fairly obvious and easily implemented suggestions? Silence.

What does this mean? Do R4GV and the Lib Dems perhaps think that, amid our general national shipwreck, people have forgotten about the Local Plan? Have they already decided to fob us off with a cosmetic review that leaves the Tory Plan’s objectives unchanged? Do they really think the review can be rigged behind closed doors without any electoral consequences?

To us residents, the answers are a total enigma.

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Responses to Letter: The Local Plan Review Is an Enigma

  1. Linda Parker Picken Reply

    September 28, 2021 at 12:02 am

    It’s really quite astonishing that the wheels that should be urgently turning to progress the review of GBC’s Local Plan seem to have a tight brake on them.

    While it appears that there’s a general consensus that the figures on which Guildford’s housing need, and thus its housing target, were based were fundamentally flawed, hundreds of houses on allocated sites are being approved at planning meetings and our green belt is disappearing before our eyes.

    Please let us at least have a moratorium on development here until the review – anticipated since May – actually happens.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 28, 2021 at 7:52 am

    An update on the promised review is long overdue. With no update, we can only assume that no progress has been made.

    Either the current leadership is merely paying lip service to a review, or they have placed it in the ‘too difficult’ box.

    Either way, we are owed answers.

    This is beyond urgent, given the pace of development now concreting over our villages.

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