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Letter: Local Plan Brings No Joy for the Celebrated Compton Phone Box

Published on: 2 May, 2019
Updated on: 2 May, 2019

From Fiona Curtis

The various incarnations of a phone box in Compton have made local and national news lately. The box was mentioned on Radio 2 by Zoe Ball who drives past it on her way to work. It even has its own Instagram account on #comptonphonebox.

But there are very few smiles in Compton and some other villages affected by Guildford Borough Council’s controversial Local Plan after finding out, very late in the day, that changes to planning policy affecting 11 villages were introduced under the radar.

In addition to removing huge swaths of the green belt for development, 15 villages were “inset”, which campaigners say is double-speak for removed from the green belt. Eleven villages remained protected, which meant that only “limited infill within the settlement boundary” was permitted.

But the last rendition of the Local Plan had made the subtle but somewhat radical addition of allowing the same “outside the settlement boundary but within the village”. This change was made without red-lining which made it difficult to notice and meant it could not be commented on under the last consultation (which was open for comments on red-lined changes only).

Of course, GBC will no doubt try to reassure residents that “limited” means “limited” and that other protections are in place for some areas (such as AONB) but the erosion of protection against development, seems to possess no bounds and is continually open to case law.

As developers tend to have deeper pockets than residents this is very worrying for residents who feel betrayed, not only by the change but by the way in which it has been done.

The policy states: “Limited infilling” shall mean limited infilling within the identified settlement boundaries, as designated on the Policies Map, of the following villages. Limited infilling may also be appropriate outside the identified settlement boundaries where it can be demonstrated that the site should be considered to be within the village.

This covers Albury, Compton, East Clandon, East Horsley and West Horsley (north), Gomshall, Holmbury St Mary, Peaslake, Pirbright, Puttenham, Ripley, Shere, West Clandon and Worplesdon.

 

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