Fringe Box



Letter: Is It Time to Take Away Planning Responsibility from the Council?

Published on: 1 Nov, 2017
Updated on: 1 Nov, 2017

From Colin Cross

Lib Dem borough councillor for Lovelace

In response to: Dragon Interview: Anne Milton Speaks About Her New Role and Guildford Housing

Let us at least agree with Anne Milton on one thing, there is still a huge opportunity in Guildford town centre for significantly more housing in so many areas.

It is literally littered with dozens of surface car parks, both council-owned and private, around its parks, the university campuses, the Research Park, the major supermarkets and hospitals, etc.

What were we doing having Waitrose develop a major site in the epicentre of town and then allow them the luxury of yet another surface car park? Even small towns like Cobham get them to go multi-level.

Added to this, we continue to prevaricate on the North Street and town centre redevelopment, planning more retail when all the evidence is that the traditional High Street needs are shrinking with the mounting growth of online shopping.

When the case for this is put by the Guildford Vision Group they too get ignored.

Is it perhaps time to take our towns planning responsibilities away from being solely the remit of politically driven councillors and create a broader platform of expertise who may just make a better and speedier job of it?

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Responses to Letter: Is It Time to Take Away Planning Responsibility from the Council?

  1. Fiona Yeomans Reply

    November 1, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Can’t believe that GBC is proposing more retail space for North Street – crazy. Haven’t they read the trends on online retailing? Build residential accommodation there.

  2. David Smith Reply

    November 1, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    A broader platform of expertise? Is Cllr Cross referring to himself or the various unelected individuals which seem to suffocate our town?

    Planning should absolutely be left to our elected councillors. Tonight’s planning committee was a perfect example of why. The right decisions were made on both the Guildford College and Portsmouth Road sites.

    • Harry Eve Reply

      November 7, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I agree with Mr Smith so far as the influence of the unelected M3 LEP on GBC is concerned. That will certainly suffocate Guildford with inadequate infrastructure, loss of countryside, and worsening air quality.

      The reason why so many other individuals are finding it necessary to “get involved” is that they can see the flaws in the evidence used to support the aggressive growth agenda. Many councillors seem to accept whatever evidence is put in front of them – without question or scrutiny.

      Just because evidence is provided by Surrey County Council, a recognised authority, or a consultant, that does not mean it is necessarily satisfactory. It must be scrutinised in detail by those who are able and, if councillors are incapable of doing that then residents can, and should, “get involved”. To suggest otherwise would be akin to saying that accounts prepared by an accountant should never be subject to audit.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 2, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Mr Smith point is interesting, but who do our elected representative represent the party line or the people that elected them.

    The planning committee served the electorate more efficiently when each ward had a member serving on that committee, for those councillors were the people who know the needs and feelings of their people.

  4. Colin Cross Reply

    November 2, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Let me clarify, I meant it to read “our town planning responsibilities” ie the macro-plan for the town centre, not the routine planning responsibilities dealt with daily.

  5. John Perkins Reply

    November 18, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Councils cannot increase their income by building subsidised homes but they can by allowing more expensive properties. Is there a conflict of interest?

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