A SURVEY has revealed Effingham residents to be almost unanimously against the village losing its green-belt status.
The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser reports that:
The Effingham Residents’ Association published the results of a questionnaire it sent to 1,000 homes this week as the consultation period on Guildford Borough Council’s Local Plan ended on Monday.
The first draft of the document, which will set out plans for the borough over the next 20 years, was published in May and proposed 16 villages, including Effingham, be removed from the green belt.
Of the 350 people who responded to the survey, 97 per cent wanted Effingham to remain within the green belt, while 89 per cent were against proposals to almost double the settlement area.
Chris Dick, chairman of Effingham Residents’ Association, said the results “paid testament to the strength of feeling” among village residents when it comes to safeguarding the green belt.
“The results surprised me and many committee members,” he said. “We were also stunned by receiving as many as 350 replies, which shows how highly the green belt is thought of here.
“We were concerned about the council’s plans for the village and needed to know how residents felt about Effingham’s future.
“Now we have had the results back and they are fairly unanimous. It reveals Effingham residents hold very strong views on the issues we’re facing.”
The questionnaire also discovered that 97 per cent were against the borough council building a car park on Effingham Common, an idea which has been mooted as part of the local plan.
Meanwhile, 93 per cent of residents opposed Howard of Effingham School’s plans to demolish its existing site and relocate to Effingham Lodge Farm, an 80-acre green-belt site on the opposite side of Lower Road.
The proposal would be funded by the development of 310 homes on the former school site and the three-acre Browns Field, and would increase the student capacity from 1,600 to 2,000.
Mr Dick said: “We’re looking at an increase of about 30 per cent in the number of buildings in the village if this plan goes ahead, on two green-belt sites and one brownfield site.
“The village accounts for ten per cent of the students, but is expected to take 100 per cent of the development so Effingham would be paying the price for an expansion all by itself.”