Guildford planning officials have recommended that the planning application for the Church Street site should be approved. Because 49 letters of objections, including strong objections from EFFRA and the Parish Council, and 32 letters of support were received, the planning application will now go to Borough Councillors to decide at their Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday 3 February at 7.00 pm.
Millgate Developments Ltd first submitted planning application 18/P/01924 on 5 October 2018 to build 23 houses, which was later withdrawn on 23 April 2019. They then submitted new plans on 4 October 2019 via planning application 19/P/01726 to build 20 houses, which was then revised in August 2020 and December 2020 to 17 dwellings.
Details of EFFRA’s objections to the latest revision to the proposed development is available on our post of 19 December here
The planning officials decided that because Effingham Neighbourhood Plan was approved before the Guildford Local Plan when the site was washed over by the Green Belt, and the Local Plan has made the site inset from the Green Belt, that the Neighbourhood Plan Policy for 9 houses on the site can be ignored. It also makes a mockery of policy ENP-H1 for only 50 new houses in Effingham up to December 2030 (ignored by planning officials). This despite the fact that the Neighbourhood Plan was constructed with the full knowledge of what the Local Plan policies would be. They also decided that they would be no significant harm to the Conservation Area, nor to the surrounding historic assets.
As this is a major test for the Neighbourhood Plan policies, how Borough Councillors vote will be closely followed. Will they support the Neighbourhood Plan, or will they support Developer profits?