Full council approves draft local plan

Last night the Full Council voted to approve the Local Plan for consultation.

You can view the webcast here: http://www.guildford.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/139101

(It takes a minute or two to get started!)

It resulted in a vote with 28 councillors voting to approve the plan going to consultation, 14 opposing, and one abstention.

Both our local ward councillors, Richard Billington (who is on the Executive) and David Wright (who is on the Scrutiny Committee) voted to approve the plan going forward for the consultation process.

That sounds more definitive than the (very long) debate would imply.

Most of the public speakers were subjected to some questioning, but it wasn’t all hostile -although a student who said that she would rather commute than build on green fields was subject to a fairly savage technical grilling, which seemed rather unfair given that she must be around 20 years old and just expressing a personal view (but she held her ground brilliantly). If you want to see this, it’s not flagged (perhaps the councillors were actually ashamed of the treatment they gave her – they should have been!) – but if you set the timer to about 1 hour 17 minutes you can find that speech.    On the other hand the consultant acting for the University of Surrey, who may not even be resident in the borough (he refused to answer a private question on this) was given some fairly easy questions.  No councillor even asked him if he was resident, despite the crowd asking for that information.  Bias? surely not.  See what you think.

Many councillors expressed concern about the current content of the plan and said that they would not approve it if it were the plan as it stands, but it would be acceptable as a consultation document.  That does slightly beg the question about when the housing number will fall, since it has been at this level since around January, despite a lot of comment and criticism.