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Permission for Volvo Pirbright to Modernise Despite Local Objections

Published on: 12 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 12 Aug, 2022

Pirbright Volvo Garage in Guildford Road. Image: Google Street View

By Emily Coady-Stemp

Changes to a Pirbright car garage have been given the go-ahead despite concerns that “local views are not being heard”.

The Lancaster Volvo garage in Guildford Road has been granted permission to knock down and rebuild its workshop, MOT facility and valet, and refurbish its showroom on the site.

Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the application, pending some changes to conditions on the site use, which need to be confirmed by Surrey County Council, as the highways authority.

The meeting on Wednesday (August 10) heard from two objectors to the plans and from the applicant, who said the plans did not represent an expansion of the business but a “modernisation of the property”.

Pirbright parish councillor Mark Watson

Pirbright parish councillor Mark Watson said the parish council felt that local views were not being heard, saying the site, which is in the green belt, had “created one of the most persistent issues affecting the community”.

He raised concerns about traffic management in and around the site, about the proposed building being out of character with the surrounding area and said the plans were a “clear intensification of the use of the site”.

The council had received 41 letters of objection to the plans, including issues such as increased traffic to the site, light pollution and over development of the site.

Charles Slaughter, from Squire Furneaux, the applicant, said the company needed to cater for a new generation of vehicles that involved batteries and software rather than engines and servicing.

He said: “Our plans are not due in any way to an expansion of the business, as has been stated, but it’s very much a modernisation of that property to allow the business to operate more efficiently.”

Cllr Fiona White

Meeting chair Cllr Fiona White (Lib Dem, Westborough) reminded councillors they could not use the application to solve an existing problem, such as the concerns raised about inconsiderate parking in the area.

Councillors on the Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of the application, with amended conditions relating to parking and loading on the site, subject to discussions with the county council.

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