15 January 2015
Guildford Borough Council
Surrey GU2 4BB
Dear Planning Officer
Planning application REFERENCE 14/P/02109
Location: Effingham Village, development of 295 houses and a new school building
I am writing to you on behalf of GGG (Guildford Greenbelt Group), of which I am Chair. GGG objects to this application reference 14/P/02109 re Effingham village.
We note the concerns expressed in the leaflet attached at this link prepared by Effingham Parish Council and Effingham Residents’ Association and endorse these views fully: https://www-media-streetlife.s3.amazonaws.com/conversations/b4/b4b3629549749560bb818aec05b6dd361ea43eaf_o.pdf . This document includes information relating to local direct assessments of actual local housing need which should be taken into account in the planning process and which should be regarded as material considerations in any decision.
This is land in the Green Belt outside the settlement boundary. Under NPPF80 Green Belt should protect countryside from encroachment, under NPPF79 the fundamental aim of Green Belt is to prevent sprawl by keeping land permanently open; essential characteristics of Green Belt are openness and permanence. This building/development would fail all these tests. It is inappropriate development in the Green Belt.
Under NPPF87 inappropriate development is by definition harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances which have not been demonstrated in this case.
Under NPPF 89 a local planning authority should regard constuction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt – this does not meet any of the permitted exceptions.
The land in the area meets all the five purposes of Green Belt as set out in NPPF 80. To build on this land would be to encroach onto countryside included within Green Belt.
The proposals increase urban sprawl, and would lead to the future coalescence of settlements. The problems with the infrastructure within Effingham caused by the new school would be severe, in terms of both sewage capacity and transport. The need for this number of additional homes in this location has not been demonstrated.
Guildford Borough Council has recently announced that “we have decided to adopt a policy approach which will exclude all development in the green belt, unless it can be demonstrated that the list of constraints in the revised planning practice guidance (including green belt, AONB, flood risk, green space and heritage) can be overcome”. (GBC press announcement published 12 January 2015). We hope that Guildford will implement this policy, exclude this development from the Green Belt and so reject this proposal.
As noted by NPPF 83, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.
Under NPPF 88 “When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. “Very special circumstances” will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.”
As a result this should not be given planning permission. GGG considers that no special circumstances apply which should lead to permission being given.
Guildford Greenbelt Group