However, putting housing on Blackwell Farm, Wisley and Effingham Lodge Farm (one missed in the article) is at odds with the Conservatives’ promises to protect the green belt, freely given in their election publicity materials.
Without final counts it’s not possible to say definitely that the share of the vote enjoyed by the Conservatives in the local election was lower than that of Anne Milton’s in the parliamentary election, but that is how it looks.
Many different interpretations can be placed on this, but it seems likely that locally, the Conservatives were not entirely trusted, no doubt due to their proposal to “roll back the green belt”.
This was the foundation of the now dormant Draft Local Plan: very much at odds with election pledges to protect the green belt. So voters were entitled to be puzzled by this contradiction.
Turning to the vision projected, it’s obvious that the developments listed would do nothing for the young people who campaigned for more affordable housing. These developments will be market housing, predominantly two bedroom and above, and in the case of Wisley and Effingham, remote from the town centre.
These developments (and the housing outlined for Blackwell Farm) will not provide what is needed for Guildford’s young people, who would be much better served by housing developments in the areas of Walnut Tree Close, North Street and the station.
One of the many puzzles thrown up during the campaign was the support given to building on the green belt by vociferous young campaigners – who simply did not recognise that this would not provide any sort of solution for them. So I suspect if the vision comes to pass the young people of Guildford will feel betrayed.
The Guildford Dragon NEWS has an important role to play in shaping Guildford’s future, by trying to keep elected Conservatives honest by reminding readers of the pledges they made to protect the green belt during their election campaign – and by highlighting gaps that may exist between what is proposed as the local plan takes shape and what is actually needed to ensure Guildford has a vibrant future, inclusive of those young residents who need affordable housing, preferably within reach of the town centre.
Achieving this, whilst protecting our biodiversity, our heritage assets and our countryside should be a common goal for all. So please keep up your good work at The Dragon.