Local Plan Review

25 January 2024

After 5 Years Review Required.

The Council is required to review the Local Plan: strategy and sites (LPSS) within five years of adoption to decide if an update to the Plan is required. GBC Officers have considered changes since the adoption of the LPSS in 2019 and are recommending to the GBC Executive and full council that the Local Plan should be updated. The GBC executive agreed on the 25th January 2024 that a Local Plan Update should be proceeded with.  This is recomendation was approved by full council on the 21st February.

Why an Update

Changes identified that cause a update to be proposed include:

  • The level of local housing need based on Government’s standard method calculation, which differs significantly from the LPSS housing requirement
  • Changes in the economy
  • Slower progress, than anticipated on delivery of several strategic sites
  • Changes in planned delivery of supporting infrastructure notably the A3 as it runs through Guildford.

Planning legislation has also changed since the 2019 LPSS was adopted.  This is caused in the main by the recent, passing into law of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 (LURA). These changes, which include a new NPPF and National Development Management Policies and other regulations, will impact on plan-making to the extent that ‘new style’ Local Plans are proposed.

Next Steps

If the council accept the proposals to update the Local Plan, a further report will be prepared to propose appropriate timing for and budgetary requirements  (Which may be in the region of £1m) of the Local Plan update. This would also consider planning reform proposals including Government’s timescales for initiating ‘new style’ Local Plans alongside the impacts of changes on the nature and form of plans and supporting evidence.

See Officers Report and a presentation as attached documents.

The Society’s View.

Broadly we can see the requirement to update the LPSS but do have issues that we would like to see addressed.

  • There is an obvious risk with opening up the Housing Numbers debate particularly in a period of high uncertainty with very unclear government policy, and no clarity from the opposition either.
  • The evidence base also needs to include documents produced since the LPSS was adopted e.g. Town Centre Views SPD and the outputs from the Shaping Guildford’s Future Exercise.
  • The current LPSS2019 is based in part on a very old evidence base.  Circa 50% of the Documents in the evidence are at least 10 years old.
  • An updated LPSS will take time to complete and there are urgent areas that need quicker progress e.g. a heights policy for the town centre.  Consideration needs to be given to these urgent requirements with the option to write the resulting document into the Local Plan Update.
  • Any new policies in the ‘A’ Series detailing sites for development should be written with greater detail on council aspirations for the sites to guide development more effectively. 
  • The current plan has been severely impacted by other organisations failing to fulfill commitments notably plans for the A3 - GBC will spend considerable Time and Costs on the Plan update and there needs far better commitment from other govenment bodies to proposals included in a Local Plan.  

The Society will be monotoring developments closely particuarly the scope of the update, and validity of the Evidence Base.

Several organisations spoke at the Full Council Meeting.  You can find our 3 miniute speech below.


Share this article

Help us make Guildford better

We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.

Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.

Support Us

Getting involved allows the society to continue its work.   We welcome new members, from every age and background.  Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.