Greenbelt house-building plans quashed in Guildford and Mole Valley
3:08pm 24th November 2014
(Updated 7:22pm 24th November 2014)
Victory for Greenbelt campaigners in Guildford and Mole Valley.
Plans which could have seen thousands of homes built in the countryside appear to be dead in the water.
Both Guildford and Mole Valley councils had proposed building on the Greenbelt to meet housing need.
Campaign groups sprung up and legal challenges were mounted.
But today, both councils say the plans are changing in light of new information from the Government.
Westminster now says protecting the Greenbelt should be a priority, even if it means missing housing targets.
In essence, it means it is now much less likely the Greenbelt will be built on.
Stephen Mansbridge, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, said: “I can state categorically that no site will come forward for development within the Greenbelt, any Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or area of flood risk unless it has been fully reassessed against the tests set out in the planning practice guidance as amended in October this year.
“The housing number, land availability and each development site will be rigorously reassessed against the test of harm set out in the revised guidance.”
Councillor John Northcott, Executive Member for Planning at Mole Valley District Council, said: “The Housing and Traveller Sites Plan would in all likelihood have had to propose taking some land out of the Greenbelt and allocate it for housing development.
“Recent statements by Secretary of State Eric Pickles about the Greenbelt have emphasised the Government’s view that when planning for new buildings, protecting the Greenbelt must be paramount and priority given to brownfield sites.”
Guildford Borough Council says it will draw up a new Draft Local Plan which will go to consultation in 2015.
Mole Valley District Council is recommending that it starts work on a Draft Local Plan to replace its Housing and Traveller Sites Plan. A decision will be made by the Executive on December 9th.
Eagle Radio has contacted Waverley Borough Council which says its Local Plan process is unaffected as it has not yet gone past the consultation stage.