Fringe Box



Milestones to Measure Progress of New Local Plan To Be Set Out

Published on: 1 Sep, 2015
Updated on: 5 Sep, 2015

Local Plan Consultation logoLocal people and businesses will have another chance to comment on and help shape the next draft of 20-year Local Plan for Guildford in June-July 2016.

To date, the Local Plan has proved to be one of the most controversial subjects on the council’s agenda. It has even led to the creation of a new political party, the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) whose central policy is that there should be no development on green belt land. Consensus within the borough remains, it would seem, a long way off.

But the Local Plan is a very important document which will shape the way the borough develops over the next two decades.

With no plan in place some councillors have stated fears that it could become harder to resist planning applications from developers and milestones to finalise the plan have been set out in an updated Local Development Scheme

The Local Development Scheme is a legally required public document, which details the remaining stages to deliver both parts of the new Local Plan and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which replaces section 30 payments. It explains when everyone can get involved and have their say.

Another public consultation on the final version of the Local Plan is scheduled for next summer.

According to a council press release: “The revised timetable creates the opportunity for the council to fully review and respond to the issues raised in the 20,000 responses from the last round of public consultation. It will also allow sufficient time for the Local Plan to build in feedback on the draft Town Centre Masterplan.”

Councillor Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham), lead councillor for planning, said: “The Local Plan must be fit for purpose and robust before we submit it to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent planning inspector. So it’s vital that we take the time needed to strengthen and confirm the evidence that supports the plan’s policies and proposals, and show how these meet the borough’s ambitions for future growth, prosperity and quality of life.

“We have continued to progress the Local Plan since the last round of consultation, particularly in relation to our evidence base and understanding our infrastructure needs. People told us they’re concerned about traffic congestion and want to improve other aspects of town and rural life, so we’re responding to that feedback.

“Public consultation on the draft Town Centre Masterplan starting in October will help inform the next version of the Local Plan. We’re also producing a fresh corporate plan for the next three years.

“Where possible, we’re already starting to act on key issues, such as securing the Government’s commitment to upgrade part of the A3 and developing proposals to increase capacity and improve safety on A3 slip roads.

“We have to balance social, economic and environmental interests in ways that benefit all Guildford’s residents and businesses. I’m determined that in producing the final Local Plan we have engaged and involved local people, and that the plan satisfies community needs and helps our borough to thrive.”

The council’s customer and community scrutiny committee will consider the Local Development Scheme on September 8 2015, before it goes to the Executive for approval on September 29.

Cllr Susan Parker (GGG, Send) said: “This exercise will expand the evidence base and development management policies for the last draft.   This will not be a completely new plan, even though we still don’t know how many houses Guildford actually wants, or can accept.

“The Executive’s proposal is to move forward with a “Regulation 19” Local Plan next summer [2016]. Because it is this form of consultation, it will be based on the version which attracted more than 20,000 mostly negative responses in summer 2014, rather than a completely new Local Plan.   The opportunities to change the next draft subsequently will be very limited.

“This is not what the current Executive promised prior to the May 2015 election.

“Guildford Borough Council has obtained the opinion of barristers confirming that this is legal – but it is not democratic.”

Bill Stokoe of the Guidford Vision Group (GVG) said: “The Vision Group notes the publication of the revised Local Development Scheme leading to the new Local Plan. GVG is currently assessing the newly-released Town Centre Masterplan (TCM) so is delighted that the council is committed to the TCM featuring in the new Local Plan.

“It is so important that the critical elements of the TCM, once agreed and adopted, are included in the final Local Plan. In planning terms this will pave the way for vital infrastructure improvements and exciting new development in the Town Centre.”


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Responses to Milestones to Measure Progress of New Local Plan To Be Set Out

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    September 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    So let’s understand this – a plan which received over 20,000 complaints and objections is going to be forced through with ‘minor changes’, with the codicil that it is undemocratic but legal. Wonderful.

    I guess the failure to consult with members of the public prior to this disaster will be brushed under the table.

    This will result in, of course, roads in the wrong place which have never been discussed with members of the public until there is a fait accompli, undemocratically hid from the public.

    The head of development at GBC (recently departed) refused to disclose to me his strategic intentions for roads within Burpham and the north of Guildford under freedom of information with the excuse they wanted a “safe space” to formulate their plans away from public scrutiny, presumably in case there are objections or proposals for better, more sensible options.

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