EFFINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL CHAIR CALLS ON GUILDFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL TO HONOUR LOCAL PLAN PROPOSALS MADE TO THE PARISH COUNCIL IN MARCH 2014
At a meeting on 31 March 2014, called by the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) leader, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, and the then lead Councillor for the development of the GBC Local Plan, Cllr Monica Juneja, Effingham Parish Council (EPC) Chairman, Arnold Pindar and Vice-chairman, Ian Symes, were consulted on the GBC Local Plan proposals for Effingham.
There appeared to be a constructive discussion on the plans proposed by GBC which proposed small and logical additions to the Effingham Settlement area. Cllr Mansbridge assured the Effingham Councillors that lands relating to the Howard of Effingham School/Berkley Homes redevelopment of the school with enabling housing development had been specifically excluded from the Effingham section of the draft Local Plan. The Effingham Councillors were also told they would be sent copies of the plans discussed with the request that they explain the GBC draft proposals to the residents of Effingham. Shortly after the meeting EPC was refused access to these proposed plans but the EPC Chair fulfilled GBC’s request and explained the proposals to meetings of the Council, the Effingham Residents Association and Woodlands Road Residents Association. Based on comments received, he wrote to GBC providing further comments on GBC’s proposals.
Effingham Parish Council was, therefore,astounded and extremely disappointed when the draft Local Plan was circulated to GBC Councillors on 7 May 2014. The plans for Effingham bore no resemblance to those proposed by GBC to EPC just weeks previously and large areas that had been excluded from the plans proposed by Cllrs Mansbridge and Juneja on 31 March were included in the inset/settlement area. During the discussions in the meeting at March the EPC Chairman had specifically asked whether other options were being considered and was assured that there were n
EPC’s attempts to find out what changes had taken place between 31 March and 7 May that led to this major change of policy have failed. The EPC Chairman’s letters of 30 June and 31 July to Cllr Mansbridge remain unanswered.
Said Arnold Pindar, Chairman of Effingham Parish Council: “I have been directly involved with negotiating National and European Regulations, European Directives, national and international Standards for over thirty years. Never before have I been treated so shabbily. The core planning principles set out in NPPF 17 include the fundamental principle that planning should be genuinely plan-led, empowering local people to shape their surroundings. Effingham Parish Council calls on GBC to reinstate and honour the plans they proposed on 31 March 2014 taking into account the written comments made in the Chairman’s letter dated 30 April 2014. “
“Personally, following this experience, I have no confidence in the word of Cllr Mansbridge and from anecdotal evidence from across the Borough, I cannot see how any Borough or Parish Councillor or resident could trust his word in the future.”
EPC Clerk: Clare Ritchie firstname.lastname@example.org
EPC Chair: Arnold Pindar 01372 454911
Arnold Pindar worked for the Department of Trade & Industry (Now Department for Business, Innovation & Skills) for 30 years. Much of this time he was involved with the development of Regulations, European Directives and Standards for consumer and public safety. He then worked for the British Standards Institution for almost 10 years as Head of Consumer & Societal Policy. He had been Chairman of the National Consumer Federation for the past 6 years and President of ANEC, the European Consumer Voice in Standardisation, since 2011.