Fringe Box



Letter: We Need a Plan Residents Can Support

Published on: 7 May, 2024
Updated on: 7 May, 2024

From: Ramsey Nagaty

chair of the Guildford Greenbelt Group

Michelle Gardner in her comment on the letter: It’s a Sad State of Affairs is right to question “Future Guildford”. It was a scheme started with good intentions by the then Conservative administration but has proved to have had serious consequences.

The financial savings or extra costs, as with the joint working with Waverley, are questionable and not yet fully clear.

The truth is that there is a fundamental problem with the way Guildford is run. Councillors are fed information and clearly seen as merely to be reported to on past decisions and actions just to be rubber stamped after the event.

Sadly, with the Lib Dem leadership under a leader not regularly, if at all, speaking to the press or residents or laying out a vision and programme to achieve it, the council is effectively run by officers with no accountability.

The architect of the dreaded Local Plan 2019 was the planning policy team, under the leadership of the former Conservative leader Stephen Mansbridge and the disgraced Monica Juneja (found guilty of pretending to be a barrister), the same planning policy team now tasked with updating the Local Plan.

It’s time elected councillors were consulted, listened to and responded to formulate a way forward that can be progressed with the support of residents.

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Responses to Letter: We Need a Plan Residents Can Support

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 12:53 am

    It is time the team read the 80,000 comments on the Local Plan. They are still relevant.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    May 8, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    The ‘officials’ don’t even try to listen to the public. Look at the 2,000 plus objections to Wisley Investment Properties Planning Application No 15/P/00012. In addition to the objections from “ordinary” members of the public, Elmbridge BC, Woking BC and Mole Valley BC and all surrounding parish councils objected. Did it make a jot of difference to the officers at GBC?

    Fortunately it did make a difference to Planning Inspector Clive Hughes, who threw out WIPL’s appeal with some choice comments about the site not being “on a sustainable location”.

    Part of the problem is that the then councillors in charge of the 2019 Local Plan, Cllrs Spooner and Furniss, were forcibly promoting their Local Plan. It is not clear whether the officers were just following orders and not asking the right or any questions.

    It would be a start if the officers just followed the National Planning Policy Framework. When they removed the Site of Nature Conservation Importance from Three Farms Meadow in the face of objections from the SCC wildlife department and Surrey Wildlife Trust they were clearly in breach of the NPPF. The ‘Note’ from the Local Plan Inspector, Mr Bore, was never published on the Local Plan Inspection website – until I obtained it a long time later by way of a Freedom of Information request.

    It is all reminiscent of the way that Post Office Ltd behaves to “protect its brand”.

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