As reported earlier here, Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has overwhelmed by comments on the planning applications by Berkeley Homes for 110 more enabling homes on the Green Belt. The formal Neighbour Consultation date ended on Thursday 5 August.
Residents are naturally concerned that their comments have not yet appeared on the GBC website. Liz Hogger, our Borough Councillor has enquired about this and been told that GBC don’t have the resources to put up a large number of emailed comments quickly at present, and they are concentrating on applications which are due for decision soon.
Planning applications typically don’t receive many comments. For example the controversial re-development of the Sir Douglas Haig site has only received 21 comments. Statistics from the EFFRA website show that:
- 21/P/01283 – 623 objections
- 21/P/01306 – 515 objections
GBC has received a huge number of comments on the two planning applications. In addition to people submitting comments via the EFFRA website, comments have been submitted by post, email, and by the GBC website (GBC’s preferred method for receiving comments). However, currently only a small number of these comments have appeared on the GBC website:
- 21/P/01283 – 211 comments
- 21/P/01306 – 208 comments
Hopefully over the next week or so, GBC will be able to put the rest of the comments up onto the planning website.
What happens next, is that GBC planning officials now have to carefully analysis the planning applications and all the comments received. Identifying all the planning points made for and against the application. This is obviously going to take some time given the complexity and scale of the planning applications, and the huge number of comments submitted.
During this period, Berkeley Homes may decide to withdraw the application; amend the application; or just wait for a decision to be made.
When GBC planning officials are ready to make a decision, they will write a report setting out their recommendations and detailed rationale. Due to the number of comments made, the report will then go to Borough Councillors for them to make the final decision. It is impossible to guess when this might happen. Some planning applications can be decided within a few months, others can take a lot longer, especially if the applicant modifies the application.