The Guildford Society

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The Guildford Plan Enquiry (Week 1).

The planning Enquiry started on June 5th and sat for 3 Days.  The examiner is Jonathan Bore.  The examiner was very clear that the inquiry was to determine the soundness of the plan, not whether it could be made better.

Represented as participants at the examination during the first 3 days were QC’s representing the Council, and Developers.  The leader of the Council, Chief Executive and Head of Planning were present as observers for all the sessions.  Key community groups notably GRA, GGG, and CPRE represented themselves but with, in some cases, professional assistance.  GSoc was not called to speak during the first 3 days

The first three days were concerned with understanding the overall demand for housing in the Guildford area and how this demand was driven by Economic Demand, Social need (affordability) and Constraints e.g. Guildford’s high proportion of greenbelt.  There was also considerable debate on the need to accommodate housing that Woking cannot.  Guildford, Woking and Waverly are all in one housing area as far as central government are concerned.   

GGG, GRA, and CPRE strongly made the point that the plan was unsound in that it required Greenfield and Greenbelt development, whilst the council had failed to consider and bring forward brownfield sites in the town centre and elsewhere. 

The examiner summed up his initial thoughts on the third day and it appears likely that he will asking further questions as to why Guildford cannot build more housing, and how this housing is allocated.  He may require that Guildford amend the plan to get it adopted. 

Next week the debate will move on to the delivery trajectory of housing and spatial strategy.  We are awaiting confirmation of the final agenda; so, we don’t have confirmation of when GSoc will be participating.

Click Here for the current enquiry timetable.


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