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Lib Dems Will Be Supporting an Amended Motion to Defer Local Plan Adoption – Reactions

Published on: 8 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 8 Apr, 2019

Reactions to the news that the Lib Dems are to table an amendment to the Independent’s motion for a deferral of the decision to adopt of the Local Plan on April 25, just seven days before the borough council elections, were sought by The Guildford Dragon NEWS. Both the Lib Dems and the Independents are seeking deferral. Here is what party representatives said…

Cllr Paul Spooner.

Paul Spooner, Conservative leader of Guildford Borough Council and lead councillor for planning said: “I am very surprised that the Lib Dems are now issuing a press release, in advance, on an amendment at a forthcoming full council. Clearly, the appropriate place for debate on this proposed amendment is the council chamber.

“I would add that Cllr Hogger and Cllr Reeves were both significant contributors during the Local Plan process and both sat on the Local Plan panel.

“The inspector makes the position clear in his report in relation to the buffer and he is requiring this provision to provide himself some assurance that GBC can meet housing targets during the first five years.

“We will review the plan after 3-5 years and will propose adjustment of the buffer accordingly depending on performance at that time.”

Joss Bigmore

Joss Bigmore of Residents for Guildford & Villages said: “R4GV welcome Liberal Democrat support for our motion to defer adoption of the Local Plan until after the council elections on May 2nd. The Inspectors report was published on the 27th March and comprises 225 paragraphs based on a 585 page Local Plan.

“This Local Plan is the most important decision facing the residents of Guildford and Villages and affects all our futures. The Conservative council leadership want to rush through this momentous decision on 25th April, only seven days before the election.

“R4GV wish to deliver more housing, including affordable housing in the town centre where it is needed.

“We want to challenge the current inclusion of green belt sites to avoid our green belt being lost forever. The proposed 37% housing buffer to year 2034 is a gross inflation of the NPPF guide of 20% of five years’ housing need.

“Minor modifications are allowed which could solve problems if given time. The council should not rush through this highly political decision at this time. R4GV agree this Local Plan is simply not yet ready for adoption.

Cllr Susan Parker

Susan Parker, leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group said: “This seems a cynical political ploy from the Lib Dems.

“Bob McShee’s original motion proposed deferral. If passed we’d avoid making this controversial decision just one week before local elections. GGG had already agreed to support the Independent group’s amendment. We’d discussed the draft.

“It is odd that the Lib Dems have not opposed the high housing number or green belt allocation before. Now, just before the elections, they  want credit for delaying the Local Plan, even though they’d previously accepted all aspects of the plan till.

“We do agree the plan should be reviewed after a new council has been elected. People are angry. The plan will damage our communities and our countryside.  It shouldn’t be forced through, one week before the election, by a frightened Executive which doesn’t expect to get in after the election.

“Whether this amendment is passed or not, GGG wants adoption of the Local Plan postponed until after the local elections.”

Guildford Labour were invited to comment.

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