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Letter: We Should All be Asking ‘Where Is the New Local Plan?’

Published on: 22 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 22 Mar, 2024

Angela Richardson posing her question to the Prime Minister BBC Parliament

From: Angela Richardson

Conservative MP for Guildford

In response to a comment from Lib Dem councillor George Potter on the article Guildford’s MP Raises the Issue of Unpopular Housing Developments at PMQs

Councillor Potter may have missed the article in yesterday’s Financial Times with the headline: “Housing developments axed as Tory planning reforms take effect” quoting changes in both Conservative run Wiltshire and Labour and Lib Dem run North Somerset.

Excuses have been made by councillors at GBC since May 2019 as to why the Local Plan could not be reviewed even though many stood and were elected on that promise, meanwhile, I was working with colleagues and government to change policy and remove top down housing targets and succeeded.

We should all be asking the question, “Where is the new Local Plan?”

Time for bold action rather than tinkering around the edges by this zombie Lib Dem administration.

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Responses to Letter: We Should All be Asking ‘Where Is the New Local Plan?’

  1. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    March 22, 2024 at 6:55 pm

    Angela Richardson actually hits the nail on the head though the ambiguous nature of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) could be better couched so that housing development happens with or after infrastructure and after priority is first given to brownfield. Clauses such as “unless exceptional circumstances” should be excluded and clarity prevail.

    A standard method based on outdated incorrect 2014 projections should not be in the document at all.

    I can well understand Angela Richardson and Jeremy Hunt tying their flag to the green agenda and trying to save the countryside, such an asset to the area.

    Many recall it was a Conservative Local Plan 2019 but with Labour now offering top down imposed targets and the Lib Dems stagnant and becalmed I can well see how their road to Damascus conversion is so timely.

    Ramsey Nagaty is the chair of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG)

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    March 23, 2024 at 11:36 am

    The excuses have been continuous ever since Cllr Mansbridge wrote a letter to The Surrey Advertiser stating that the Local Plan was the result of force majeure – exerted by Central Government.

    In 2015, when the council commissioned its Strategic Housing Market Assessment to work out its “Housing Need” I asked to see a copy of the calculations. I made a Freedom of Information request “for a copy of the GL Hearn housing projection model”.

    This is what the Council replied: “As you are aware, the model was produced for Guildford Borough Council by a third party and is not held by the council. The model is the intellectual property of that third party and is commercially sensitive. They do not want to make the model publicly available. On that basis, the information is exempt under the EIR [Environmental Information Regulations]…”

    The calculations have never been subject to public scrutiny – not even by councillors! The Conservative administration later set a Housing Target at the top end of the possible range. That range was based on Office for National Statistics projections. The ONS has since acknowledged that its projections for Guildford are objectively false because they fail to make any correction for the student population.

    How good is that? Diabolically bad.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    March 24, 2024 at 4:39 pm

    To sum up our present GBC was elected by people unhappy with the way that Cllr Mansbridge and his cronies forced through the disastrous Local Plan.

    Those elected in 2019 promised to review the Local Plan.

    Have they done this in any meaningful way? No!

    The public is now in the unenviable position of deciding who, of the failed political groups should be voted for next time. It is a seriously problematic dilemma.

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