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New Draft Local Plan – Small Reduction in Housing Targets – More in Brownfield Sites

Published on: 10 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 14 Apr, 2017

Part of GBC webpage on the new draft Local Plan (click image to link)

Housing targets for Guildford Borough are slightly reduced in the latest draft of the Local Plan published today (April 10). And the council is reinforcing its commitment to a “brownfield first policy”.

In a statement from the council, it said the housing target has been reduced by 1,400 units from 13,860 to 12,426 for the period of the plan ending 2034.

This means a reduction in the annual figure from 693 to 654 units per year.

Certain sites for possible development have been removed from the plan – primarily for homes in rural areas such as a site in Normandy and Flexford which had been earmarked for 1,100 homes.

Changes have been made following the two public consultations. The latest consultation conducted last year (2016) produced 32,000 comments from 6,500 respondents, far higher that the the level of response given to similar consultations held by neighbouring Elmbridge (4,000 comments) and Waverley Borough Council (4,00 comments).

It has also updated sites with reduced numbers of homes during the plan period – primarily in green belt areas such as Gosden Hill Farm and Blackwell Farm, with 300 fewer homes at each site, due to phasing of delivery expected beyond 2034.

This has been balanced by an increase in the numbers of homes – in other sites, primarily brownfield, in Guildford town centre, such as 200 more on the North Street redevelopment.

The new draft updates sites for student accommodation and travellers (show people) – such as Guildford College, changing from 100 homes to 200 student accommodation units instead, and land at Garlick’s Arch site in Send that is now accommodating six travellers’ plots.

And there are new sites for employment floor space/industrial land – such as around Burnt Common warehouse in Send.  This is a new site for 7,000sqm of industrial land moved from the site at Garlick’s Arch.

The idea for a new railway stations or halts near to Park Barn, on the Guildford to Reading line, and at Merrow remain included.

The council notes the reduced total growth requirements from last year’s draft Local Plan as being: housing – by 1,400 units. Office and research and development floor space – by between 1,100 and 3,500sqm. Industrial employment land – by between 1 and 1.2 hectares. Comparison retail floor space – by 5,955 sqm (meeting needs to 2030 due to uncertainties in the long term forecasting).

The council said these revisions have been made “for good planning reasons based on consultation comments or changes in circumstances or the supporting evidence.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, leader of the council, said: “Local people need a great environment, homes and jobs along with transport and other vital infrastructure to support them. It’s crucial that the Local Plan we submit for independent inspection balances these community needs and tackles local issues, wherever anyone lives or works in our borough. We have reviewed the comments from last year’s consultation and made a number of significant changes to the plan and proposed sites, as well as updating the supporting evidence and policies.

Council leader Paul Spooner and lead councillor for planning

“We remain committed to fundamental principles, such as a ‘brownfield first’ policy of proposing sites with past development, and some of the changes increase the number of homes in the town centre with reduced or removed housing sites in the greenbelt.

“Providing a great borough where people can thrive is about more than places to live, we have also included new sites for employment and infrastructure such as the proposed Guildford West railway station in Park Barn.

“Our local and strategic partners must complete their supporting transport and other infrastructure projects so we can deliver the Local Plan in full and we are working with them to help make that happen.

“We now need to share the latest plan with councillors via the relevant committees before seeking final Council approval in May. After this, in June and July, we are planning a public consultation targeted on just the updates to the plan that will allow people to give their feedback about the specific changes we propose. This is another major step forward in providing much-needed future homes, jobs and leisure opportunities for people across our borough.”

The council’s economy and infrastructure executive advisory board will consider the latest version of the Draft Local Plan at its meeting on April 20.

Part of GBC webpage on the new draft Local Plan (click image to link)

You can view the agenda for the meeting on April 20 and the Draft Local Plan item at under ‘Minutes, meetings and agendas’ or 

You can view more information about the new Local Plan at

Members of the public have the chance to speak at the meeting. Registration to speak will be accepted by email only until noon of Wednesday, April 19. Send your email to

The council asks you to include in your request to speak, a brief outline of the issues you will be specifically addressing as part of your speech. Each speaker will be allocated three minutes each. Six people will be permitted to speak and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Check back for: New Local Plan – Councillors React and an exclusive interview with council leader Paul Spooner


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Responses to New Draft Local Plan – Small Reduction in Housing Targets – More in Brownfield Sites

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I would like to ask GBC for the new calculations on the SHMA. Someone has re-done the maths so this should have been done to council contract terms i.e. data owned by the council, and no subcontracting.

    Could the council also give us notification of where the drinking water reservoir is being sited and further confirmation of what road junctions are proposed for the A3 to cope with the traffic level.

    Clearly this plan has no resemblance to the previous one, so it needs to be ‘commented on at regulation 18 – not Reg 19. This is clearly still a draft – not the final document as required by Regulation 19 /20.

  2. Lisa Wright Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    GBC should proof read their own Local Plan documents?

    On the sites document – – page 61 (according to my browser) is about land to the east of White Lane, Ash. It appears the pages relating to Blackwell Farm are missing.

    Page 62 is, in fact, the writing relating to Blackwell Farm.

    I haven’t checked to see what else is missing as the format doesn’t correspond to the content list/ site listing on pages 2,3,4 etc.

    If they are able to miss pages out what else is wrong?

  3. S Farquharson Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    It looks like the GBC Local Plan webpage needs a revisit as well.

    This is the message I received when trying to view it:

    “Sorry, an error has occurred on the website
    The details have been emailed to us and we will work to correct the problem as quickly as possible.

    “System.ArgumentOutOfRangeException: Index was out of range. Must be non-negative and less than the size of the collection.
    Parameter name: index
    at System.ThrowHelper.ThrowArgumentOutOfRangeException()
    at System.Collections.Generic.List`1.get_Item(Int32 index)
    at iCMRender.iCMRenderHttpContext.DetermineArticleId()…”

    The same thing happened when I tried to view it this morning. I reported it to the GBC PR team who were unable to replicate the fault. However after that occurrence the problem appeared to resolve itself. Ed

    • Jan Messinger Reply

      April 11, 2017 at 10:48 am

      I had the same. I am going to try to view online as have not been able to so far.

  4. A Atkinson Reply

    April 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    On the day that another High Street retailer goes into administration, I’m staggered to see that priority will be given to retail space over housing if the two cannot be catered for in the North Street development.

    To quote from the draft plan: “Site allocation A6: North Street redevelopment, Guildford 6.4 The site was allocated for 45,000 sq m of comparison retail floorspace, 3,000 sq m of food and drink and 200 homes. To reflect the latest retails needs study and evidence of demand, the comparison retail floorspace has been decreased to 41,000 sq m whilst the food and drink element has been increased to 6,000 sq m. The housing capacity has also been increased to up to 400 homes with the caveat that should it be demonstrated that this overall scale of development cannot be appropriately accommodated on the site, the residential element will need to be reduced to ensure that retail needs are met.”

    This is perverse in the council’s interpretation of “need” and just shows which side of the balancing exercise the Council favours. Guildford doesn’t need more retails space, it needs more housing close to jobs and public transport. It should be the other way round.

    Who will be the gatekeeper of this? The developer of course.

    Skim reading also seems to show weakened wording around elements such as affordable housing delivery – changed to “seek” in many places rather than more concrete wordss like insist or demand.

    This is not a plan which will deliver the needs of the borough or indeed the strategic challenges the plan seeks to address.

    Where are the additional infrastructure investments which the council leader said it will insist on being delivered otherwise they would not propose the plan?

    Re softening of the wording on affordable housing: the text of policy tone changed from ‘will be provided’ to ‘seeking’. This is more in line with the consideration of viability and the process of negotiation.

    The developers will get what they want but not the borough – it’s a flawed plan.

  5. A Atkinson Reply

    April 12, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Reading this article, one of many about retail, I continue to be staggered at the flawed logic of Guildford Borough Council, its planners, officers and “leadership” in devoting a massive increase in vital, precious urban space, close to services, transport hubs and jobs, to a declining high street retail industry. Why?

    Rightly the article argues: “These spaces need to be turned into places to live affordably or places that generate social interaction.”

    It goes on to say” “This is better than boarding up lives. Shopping will not save our souls or our towns – we need to live in the spaces where we once used to pay.”

    This is the forward thinking this borough deserves, not the backward, flawed planning of the 90s and 00s where retail was the king maker of any town across the country: those towns have been beheaded. Guildford deserves better, especially for what the years 2030+ will bring.

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