Fringe Box



Council Drops Interim Town Centre Framework and North Street Brief

Published on: 1 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 4 Nov, 2012

Guildford Borough Council (GBC) is no longer intending to adopt the two controversial planning documents challenged by the Guildford Vision Group (GVG).

GVG obtained two Queen’s Counsel opinions that adopting the documents would be illegal, causing the documents to be withdrawn at the last minute from the agenda of GBC’s Executive’s meeting on September 6.

GBC has subsequently obtained its own legal opinions. A press release issued by the council falls short of admitting that the GVG opinions have been confirmed. Instead it states that the result of legal advice received makes it: “…unnecessary, at this point, for the council to adopt its Interim Town Centre Planning Policy Framework (ITCF) or North Street Design and Development Brief (NSDDB) as a means of bringing forward the proposals for the North Street site.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are pressing ahead with the necessary steps to progress current and future development of Guildford centre.”

The new council leader, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge (Con, South Ash and Tongham), said:  “The advice received will enable us to press on with the developer selection, consultation and master planning for the North Street site. This process will be separate to the forthcoming Local Plan review and will make sure everyone can benefit from earlier delivery of this vital town centre scheme.

The council intends to review the Local Plan and to begin community consultation in the new year.

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem Friary & St Nicolas) said: “Whatever one’s view of the Town Centre Framework and the North Street Design Brief, both documents acknowledged and incorporated the results of significant consultation exercises.

“If the council is now proceeding to developer selection without those documents, it is important that residents’ views already expressed are still taken into account. We are a long way from any planning applications at this stage, so I wait with interest to see what developers propose for the future of the town, and look forward to seeing how many of the wishes and desires of the residents have been included.

“Residents will also need reassurance that the traffic and highways modelling being undertaken is working in parallel with the work on North Street, as this is fundamental to the success of any development schemes. This is our only opportunity to resolve the existing traffic problems and incorporate the future plans to create a better dynamic for future of the town.

“The new Executive will be under close scrutiny to ensure they are living up to their promise of a new, transparent leadership.”

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