Stag Hill - Subject to Appeal

27 October 2023

Cathedral appeals the Refused Scheme

Guildford Cathedral has submitted an appeal against the refusal of the planning application (21/P/02333) by GBC, for the housing scheme on Stag Hill.

The acting dean Stuart Beake, the previous Dean Dianna Gwilliams retired in September, has mentioned the appeal in a recent post on the Cathedral Website as one of his critical issues to resolve.

The Dean states - On Wednesday of last week, a formal appeal was lodged against the decision of Guildford Borough Council planning committee to turn down planning permission at their meeting in May.

As many of you know, we are working with Vivid a social and affordable housing provider – not a profit-making developer. In the contract we have with them, it provides that, if a decision is taken to go to appeal, Vivid foot the bill – and that is a sizeable amount – possibly a quarter of a million pounds – when the decision was taken Vivid, who are so easy to work with, asked that we keep the decision confidential until they had prepared everything necessary and the appeal was lodged. It is now in the public domain.

There will be a public enquiry – who knows when? the optimists have suggested February/March. After that we will have to wait for a decision.

That decision is crucial for us financially – if planning permission is granted it will mean that our reserves will receive some much needed funds as we can recoup all the money we have spent on fees and surveys and the like – and it will mean that an endowment will bed established which will provide funds for the routine maintenance and upkeep of the Cathedral and that in turn means that our annual budget will start to break even or be in surplus.

The appeal is not yet published on the GBC planning Portal.  GBC refused the scheme on 5 grounds.

  1. The proposed development would harm the setting of heritage assets………..
  2. The proposed development due to the design approach, layout and appearance fails to take the opportunities available to respect the context and identity of the surrounding areas ……………
  3. The built form on the southern side of the Eastern Meadows would have a residual, adverse effects on views………..
  4. Lack of detail on the possible impact on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBHSPA) ………..
  5. In the absence of a completed planning obligation the development fails to mitigate its impact on infrastructure provision…………….

The full letter of refusal is attached at the foot of the post.

I will be interesting to see how the appeal addresses the reasons for refusal which are documented by GBC.


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