Questions To Council Leader On Latest Moves Over Local Plan
I write in response to Cllr Stephen Mansbridge’s recent press release with regards requesting that Guildford Borough Council (GBC) can spread their past shortfall in housing over the life of the Local Plan rather than have to meet this shortfall within five years.
It is my belief that this is purely a ploy to continue to woo the electorate in the run up to May and have them believe he is listening and will afford the green belt the protection it should be given.
I am bewildered that Cllr Mansbridge states GBC will rigorously reassess sites using the existing evidence base. The same evidence base which is very much biased in favour of excessive development and the same evidence base which is flawed on many counts, prepared by consultants who also work with developers.
How are we expected to believe that the next draft Local Plan will be any different to the last? Surely one of the things GBC should be doing is rigorously re-examining and amending, where necessary, the existing evidence base to ensure we do have a sound Local Plan for Guildford.
There is no need for Cllr Mansbridge to remind us of the many constraints for Guildford, such as 89% green belt and major infrastructure problems. These are things action groups, parish councils and residents have been shouting from the rooftops about since 2013. Things that Cllr Mansbridge chose to ignore when insisting that the Draft Local Plan must go to consultation.
A few things which ought to be mentioned are the major shortfall in funding for Surrey County Council to meet its existing school place requirements moving forward, let alone the many thousands more that would be required due to excessive new housing.
The leader of Guildford Borough Council, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge.
Surrey Police have a major funding shortfall and are being forced to reduce numbers of front line officers. What effect will a large increase in the borough population have on the crime rate with dwindling police resources and a worrying lack of police presence which is already prevalent on our streets?
I have a couple of questions for Cllr Mansbridge. Firstly, can he please advise who at GBC is being held responsible for the wasted £140k cost of the last consultation period? Had you listened this money could have been put to better use.
You are now expecting Guildford residents to foot the bill and pay for yet another consultation which clearly could have been avoided. Secondly, when are you going to credit Guildford residents with the intelligence to see through the facade of your promises to revise the Local Plan, conveniently delaying this until after the election?