One Response to Council To Look Again At Sites For Development in Draft Plan Reassessment – What has changed?

Council To Look Again At Sites For Development in Draft Plan Reassessment


Lisa Wright gives her comment to Guildford Dragon News article (shown below) 

November 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

“Surely, based on this statement, GBC can now state whether Blackwell Farm, Wisley or Gosden Hill are still part of this Local Plan.

If they can’t or are unwilling to decide if the three major Green Belt sites are removed from the Draft Local Plan at this point, then I don’t see that anything has changed and don’t hold out much hope for any of the other PDA’s.”

Guildford Dragon News article:

Guildford Borough Council is to undertake a reassessment of its Draft Local Plan, including a re-evaluation of all sites proposed for development.

Local Plan Consultation logoThe council has announced that the re-assessment follows, firstly, the widespread opposition to building on the green belt in the light of responses it received as part of the draft’s consultation process, and secondly, based on recent clarification to the government’s planning practice guidance.

The leader of the council, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, said: “I can state categorically that no site will come forward for development within the green belt, 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 council states that with about 15,000 of the 20,000 Draft Local Plan consultation responses now processed, the views of the many local people who took the time to comment are very clear.

It adds that since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was first published by the government in 2012, advice from barristers and all other planning policy advisors was that the council had no option but to look at revising green belt boundaries to comply with the obligations of both national policy and guidance.

It’s latest statement notes: “This was also the position faced when we successfully challenged the South East Plan’s proposal to allocate green belt land for 2,000 houses north-east of Guildford. However, the government has now placed greater emphasis on sensitive constrained green belt locations, such as Guildford, where the objectively assessed housing need can now be weighed against a set of compelling constraints.

“Based on the high number of consultation responses and the clear guidance from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the current Draft Local Plan will be reassessed. All proposed development sites will now be re-evaluated against the constraints highlighted in the revised Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) planning practice guidance. We will then publish a new version of the Draft Local Plan for consultation next year.”

Items within the reassessment that will be covered:

  • The housing number set out in the revised Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) will be reassessed against the local constraints and the test of harm.

  • Every potential development site will now be re-assessed against the new national planning practice guidance test “to take account of constraints such as green belt, which indicate that development should be restricted and which may restrain the ability of an authority to meet its need.”

Cllr Mansbridge added: “I would like to add that this has been a difficult time for all concerned and inevitably the challenges in framing a policy compliant Draft Local Plan have caused immense worry and concern to many local people.

“However, we now have an alternative route map to review the extent to which we can meet the housing need identified in the SHMA. We are also reviewing the SHLAA as part of revising the Draft Local Plan and this should allay those fears. We must continue the current process towards having a sound Local Plan in 2016.”