Guildford Local Plan: Borough council promises to take all residents’ opinions into account

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Guildford  Borough Council has released a summary report of the feedback from its 12 week consultation on the Draft Local Plan.

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The public consultation began on the 1st of July and ended on the 30th of September. The council received 19,500 over comments from residents.

When the consultation drew to an end in September, it was announced there was going to be a delay to the Draft Local Plan, that will last at least until after next years local elections. The delay could cost up to £500,000.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, said: “The Draft Local Plan raised many comments and concerns, which we are considering most carefully.

“This is not the final analysis of the recent consultation, but it is a good interim summary of public opinion and the key feedback themes from the wide range of responses.

“In the near future, we expect to be in a position to release the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) – the joint document produced with Waverley and Woking Borough Councils – that has also considered the feedback and any comments on our own SHMA.

“There will then be further work – largely around infrastructure – that together with the other applied constraints, will allow the Council to arrive at a housing number. We will continue to use every mechanism to get this number to the lowest sustainable point possible to pass the Inspectorate’s examination.”

“We will also take into account recent statements from the Secretary of State and Department for Communities and Local Government. The Planning Inspectorate has now been given a clear indication and stronger ‘steer’ not to allow development that will harm the Green Belt.”

“We will take great care to ensure that the views of our community are at the forefront of our decision-making process.”

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Speaking about the Draft Local Plan MP for Guildford Anne Milton said: “In many ways the delay in the local plan I think is a good thing.”

“So we can get a proper idea of what vision the council is putting forward for our town. Not just the town centre but also the villages and communities that surround it.”

“How many houses we need, why we need them, whether we need more employment opportunities and how we’re going to accommodate that within our existing road and rail networks.”