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Letter: It’s Time For the Council Leader To Get ‘On Message’

Published on: 23 Nov, 2017
Updated on: 23 Nov, 2017

From David Roberts

By proposing to plaster over Guildford’s countryside with housing estates, this draft Local Plan is out of line not only with public opinion but also with government policy.

Here is what the Prime Minister told Parliament on 15 November: “We have been very clear about our position in relation to the green belt, and indeed we confirmed that in the housing White Paper that we set out, where we were very clear about that too.

“We want more homes to be built in this country. It is important that we see more homes being built particularly in London, but there are many opportunities to do that that do not affect the green belt.”

And here is what the chancellor said in his budget speech: “Solving the housing challenge takes more than money. It takes planning reform. We will focus on the urban areas where people want to live and where most jobs are created, making best use of our urban land, and continuing the strong protection of our green belt. In particular, building high quality, high density homes in city centres and around transport hubs.”

It’s time for Cllr Spooner and his colleagues to get on message.

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Responses to Letter: It’s Time For the Council Leader To Get ‘On Message’

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Mr. Roberts is spot on.

    The local plan just voted in could not be more at odds with government policy, their own party’s policy, or their own GBC manifesto pledge “Conservatives say greenbelt to stay”.

    We have never had any explanation of, or apology for, the ditching of this pledge, so I guess it was just a cynical election ploy, which we must all remember.

    They are going to look rather foolish, ill-informed, and ill-advised, when the inspector compares policy, including the NPPF, with their disastrous plan, and will need to go back to the drawing board, and start over yet again, at more enormous cost to us, the tax payers.

    I have to ask, have any of them even read the NPPF? There’s an important bit in there about greenbelt development only to be considered in ‘exceptional circumstances’. No such circumstances have been evidenced for any of the green belt sites.

    We won’t be fooled again!

  2. Andrew Procter Reply

    November 23, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Yes, the key part is: “In particular, building high quality, high density homes in city centres and around transport hubs”. The Local Plan fails completely to exploit fully the development density opportunity of Walnut Tree Close, Woodbridge Meadows, Slyfield, North Street, local authority owned car parks and Guildford Railway Station etc.

    The problem is the articulate and very effective opposition, over many years, within the town against any development over five storeys. Guildford has been completely held back over the last 50 years.

    It is interesting that Sir Paul Beresford MP has been banging on about developing Guildford for years and I rather agree with him. The well researched review of the Allies and Morrison Masterplan in 2015 by the Guildford Greenbelt Group which argued for 7,000 homes in Guildford is also still very relevant.

    What is the point of preserving Guildford in aspic. You don’t have to tear out its attractive historic heart but you do need to catch up a bit. A development competition building on the previous but relatively unambitious work by Allies and Morrison (they were hampered by a restrictive terms of reference by GBC) is long overdue.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    November 24, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Even if the flats were only five stories high, enough could be built on brownfield sites in central Guildford to house hundreds of people. Why is it not happening?

    After the Surrey Advertiser article regarding the utter failure of the disastrous “Village” shopping site, is it not time for GBC to consider this as prime land for much needed flats with shops below.

    GBC could fulfil its housing requirement for the next few years by developing town centre sites.

    When these are finished there might be a new, truly democratic council in place who would honour the Conservative’s declared intention of preserving the green belt, or even re-consider the inflated SHMA numbers, so all the excessive demands for housing in the borough could be reduced.

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