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The Local Plan: Lib Dems Urge Tories to ‘Get On With It’

Published on: 7 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 11 Mar, 2013
Article on the Guildford Lib Dems Website

Article on the Guildford Lib Dems Website

Liberal Democrat councillors at Guildford Borough council (GBC) are urging their Conservative counterparts to ‘get on with’ public consultations on the new Local Plan which they say, were expected to start to begin after Christmas.

It is known that big decisions are pending on the redevelopment of the bus station and North Street area and the railway station. And Lib Dems say that the Local Plan also has to decide on such things as future housing numbers, where they will be built, traveller sites, play areas and sport facilities as well as the balance of office and retail development.

Cllr Monika Juneja, Lead Councillor for Development and Governance, said: “We are committed to providing a Local Plan that is right for Guildford. We must ensure that local people and businesses can give us their views on the future direction of our borough.

“We are now preparing for the next Local Plan consultation. The Plan is a detailed and very important long-term document and we want to engage with as many people as possible, in an easy to understand and effective way.

“We will announce the consultation time scales and information as soon as possible. As this is such an important subject, we want to take time to ensure we take into account the latest census data. This affects our evidence base and calculations and is being released on a piecemeal basis by the Office of National Statistics.”

In an article published on their website Guildford’s Lib Dems say that Guildford is now lagging behind other local areas in updating its Local Plan. The article states:

“These broader decisions are vital for Guildford’s future.

  • How far do the proposals go towards meeting the town’s two main needs – better traffic management and more affordable housing?
  • Can we do anything about the gyratory system?
  • Do we have to make incursions into the green belt – if so where?

“For the town centre there is talk of a new John Lewis store in addition to the Waitrose development.’

Hon Alderman Gordon Bridger, a former Lib Dem councillor for Holy Trinity, is quoted in the article: “Guildford’s future lies in promoting new enterprise and new technologies, not in more retail  development. We need to be supporting the university and the science park and building houses for the people who will work there.”

Borough Councillor Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas), who is a member of the group working with the planning officers on the Local Plan is quoted as saying:: “I do urge everybody, including younger people who will, after all, be the future residents we are planning for, to view the proposals when published and tell the Council what they think.”

Gerald Bland, Guildford Vision Group commented: “The existing Borough wide Local Plan is ten years out of date and its successor is unlikely to be adopted for at least two years. It’s vital that void is filled by an overarching framework informed by community engagement.

“This is particularly important with North Street where there has been no attempt to establish whether the community want Guildford to compete with Reading and Woking as a regional shopping centre by increasing retail floorspace by up to 65%. We are on notice that the Council envisage a legal agreement being in place with their preferred developer before the year is out by which time the pass will have been sold.”

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