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Letter: The Council Really Needs to Take a Fresh Look at the Local Plan

Published on: 22 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 22 Jun, 2020

From Michael Aaronson

In response to: Guildford ‘Strategic Sites’ Riddle After Whitehall Abandons Plans to Widen A3

I was interested to read Cllr Caroline Reeves’ reply to Karen Stevens’ letter and in particular the conclusion: “This review will determine whether the proposed transport measures or additional transport measures can mitigate the cumulative impacts of development traffic on the A3.”

In other words, GBC in conjunction with Highways England, will be considering whether other road developments can compensate for the lack of development of the A3, which was one of the assumptions on which the Local Plan was based.

Am I alone in being surprised that the new council is not reflecting more on (a) our heightened awareness of the extreme danger faced by the planet from climate change (GBC itself has declared a Climate Emergency);  and (b) the obvious consequences of the current Covid-19 emergency, which cannot fail to have enormous economic and social implications for the way we live our lives in future?

Does the council really believe the planning assumptions regarding, for example, the amount of retail space required in the town centre, or the balance between home-working and travelling to work in an office, have not been affected by events since the Plan was drawn up?

I absolutely appreciate the need for us to have an Adopted Local Plan, not least to protect the countryside from rapacious developers who, sadly,  have not gone away, but is it not possible for the council to revise its own Plan in a sensible way without incurring this risk?

If this nettle is not grasped we risk seeing unnecessary development of green belt sites, which itself will create additional greenhouse gas emissions, as well as damage to our lived environment. Surely the council understands the necessity of taking a fresh look at its Plan to bring it more into line with our changed circumstances?

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Responses to Letter: The Council Really Needs to Take a Fresh Look at the Local Plan

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 22, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Having read Part 2, while it has some errors, it is a great shame Part 1 was not written in the same considered manner. It is Part 1 which needs the rewrite; it is shot through with anomalies and poor foundation for arguments and conclusions. Despite meeting legal requirements it is a travesty to call it a Local Plan. We would have been better off without it.

    For now, we have lost forever three green belt sites and have an STW [sewage treatment work capacity] 1,000 below current need and no sign of increasing capacity for 10 years. Better Bristol planning inspectors than the current plan which cannot be ‘decommissioned’.

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