GGG objection to Send marina

This is the text of the Guildford Greenbelt Group objection to Send Marina. This development will lead to building on flood plain, increase flooding and increase road traffic congestion.

 

 

25 January 2015

 

Planning Department

Guildford Borough Council

Millmead House

Millmead

Guildford

Surrey GU2 4BB

 

Dear Planning Officer

 

Planning application REFERENCE 14/P/02289

Location: Send Marina

 

I am writing to you on behalf of GGG (Guildford Greenbelt Group), of which I am Chair.

 

GGG objects to this application reference 14/P/02289 re Send Marina.

 

This is land in the Green Belt outside the settlement boundary. Under NPPF80 Green Belt should protect countryside from encroachment, under NPPF79 the fundamental aim of Green Belt is to prevent sprawl by keeping land permanently open; essential characteristics of Green Belt are openness and permanence. This building/development would fail all these tests. It is inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

 

Under NPPF87 inappropriate development is by definition harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances which have not been demonstrated in this case.

 

Under NPPF 89 a local planning authority should regard constuction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt – this does not meet any of the permitted exceptions.

 

The land in the area meets all the five purposes of Green Belt as set out in NPPF 80.  To build on this land would be to encroach onto countryside included within Green Belt.

 

Guildford Borough Council has recently announced that “we have decided to adopt a policy approach which will exclude all development in the green belt, unless it can be demonstrated that the list of constraints in the revised planning practice guidance (including green belt, AONB, flood risk, green space and heritage) can be overcome”. (GBC press announcement published 12 January 2015). We hope that Guildford will implement this policy, exclude this development from the Green Belt and so reject this proposal.

 

As noted by NPPF 83, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.

 

Under NPPF 88 “When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. “Very special circumstances” will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.”

 

This proposal will substantially increase traffic congestion in an area already subject to serious congestion. It will also seriously increase the flood risk, which should lead to a presumption of rejection.   The infrastructure cannot cope with the proposed development.

 

The prospect of causing serious pollution should be considered as part of the environmental assessment of this project, including its impact on human health.

 

As a result this should not be given planning permission. GGG considers that no special circumstances apply which should lead to permission being given.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Susan Parker

 

Chair

Guildford Greenbelt Group

 

 

 

 

Specific objections which are endorsed fully by GGG

 

  1. It involves double storey workshops and buildings, toilets and showers, changing rooms and laundry on a green belt site. Guildford has recently been reminded that there is a presumption against development on the green belt. This application ignores it. Exceptional circumstances have to be proved for building on green belt and this application does not begin to do that.

 

  1. There is provision for 53 parking places for cars and lorries visiting the site. Tannery Lane, off which the new access road would be built, is narrow and twisty and totally unsuitable for any increase in traffic at all. A big increase in traffic would exacerbate the existing hazard at the junction with Send Road, worsen the traffic problem for Papercourt Lane and threaten the Papercourt Marshes site of special scientific interest. The lane is already at its maximum traffic capacity. It cannot take more.

 

  1. It will increase the risk of flooding in Tannery Lane, Wharf Lane and possibly Send Road. This is because the developer does not propose to remove the excavated soil but to raise the level of adjoining land by up to two metres with no surface water abatement. There is flooding already.

 

  1. Construction could involve disturbing landfill sites and releasing harmful methane gases. This will be detrimental to the health of Send residents. The proposals are ignoring the noxious, rusty coloured water which oozes out of the landfill and that the proposed buildings would be adjoining a contaminated field.

 

5.The proposal is massively out of scale with moorings for 80 narrow boats – considerably more than is needed locally. There is insufficient demand for this huge number and it makes no economic sense unless to serve another purpose, namely to open up our precious green belt for housing. The proposed access road would do exactly that.

 

  1. A huge marina would destroy the much loved beauty and ambiance of the Wey Navigation. This is supposed to be a Protected Area. It is enjoyed by many Send residents. The existing character and beauty of the stretch from Cartbridge to the Tannery would be destroyed.

 

  1. Because of such poor site access the construction upheaval would be prolonged and disruptive. The ongoing noise and light pollution would be deeply damaging to the wildlife on Broadmead and Papercourt Meadow, in particular to the protected bats species which are especially sensitive to this type of disruption. We are fortunate to have a local habitat suitable for some rare birds like lapwings and other wildlife. This can be easily destroyed but can never be recreated. Yet the application has the affrontery to claim that the proposal would improve the habitat and create diversity.

 

  1. Some of the land is the best agricultural land in the borough – grade 2 since Guildford does not have any grade 1. It is currently used for growing crops and protected by our current active local plan.

 

  1. The application papers, although overwhelming in volume, are riddled with inaccuracies. In some drawings existing houses are shown on the wrong side of the road or not shown at all. Tannery Lane has changed its alignment. What are said to be scale drawings are not to scale at all. The so-called “community consultation exercise” claims virtually one hundred percent support but those who expressed concern have been erased from the records. There may be seventy five documents (which can be purchased for £220!) but quantity is no substitute for integrity.

 

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GGG candidate will stand in Guildford as candidate in general election

Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG)

Press announcement Wednesday 21 January 2015

 

GUILDFORD GREENBELT GROUP (GGG) LEADER SUSAN PARKER CHOSEN TO STAND FOR GUILDFORD IN GENERAL ELECTION

 

Guildford Greenbelt Group is pleased to announce that it has selected Susan Parker to stand as its prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Guildford.

 

GGG stands for protection of our Greenbelt and the countryside, for respect for our environment, and for working in harmony with nature on a sustainable basis, while also being financially and economically realistic, socially responsible and fiscally conservative.

 

Susan has led GGG since its formation in 2013. GGG has raised issues and objections to the proposed local plan in Guildford, seeking to get a better and more workable local plan, for more than a year.

 

GGG has a local focus. Guildford Borough Council and Waverley Borough Council have been very enthusiastic proponents for the plans to build over the greenbelt and countryside within the boroughs. The local plan was introduced by the then lead councillor for planning who noted: “There are some areas of the green belt which are not very nice and maybe we could roll back the boundaries” .

 

Despite apparent consultation, and supposed reconsideration, in practice the plans for large-scale development are rolling on regardless.  Developers have put forward proposals for Cranleigh, for Effingham, for Wisley and for the Hog’s Back. Brownfield areas have not been properly considered for development but are being allocated for commercial development instead, pushing housing into green fields. This will result in drastic or catastrophic change, and a huge increase in urban sprawl, which is hugely unsustainable.  This is why GGG candidates will be standing for local councils. GGG is seeking to participate in local decision-making to reflect the views of local people. We represent genuine Localism.

 

However, it is also clear that the problems within the planning system are not just local. Part of the problem lies within the current coalition government, which is seeking to build its way out of recession on the countryside that we all value. There is no other genuine strategy for economic growth. What is disconcerting is that this view of the “need” to build on the countryside seems to be shared by most of the larger parties, without much foundation.

 

While housing is a national need, it is not at all clear that the only sane option for housing provision at an affordable level is erosion of our countryside. There are options such as brownfield development, targeting “buy to leave” housing to reduce the impact of this, and utilisation of empty homes. Experts have confirmed that the brownfield land available in our larger cities is a huge resource, which offers a better, more sustainable way of providing housing, leaving most countryside available for food provision, fresh air, carbon capture, leisure, flood defence and environmental protection. Current need for housing is not being properly provided by commercial development, and the mechanisms within the NPPF for ensuring provision of much needed housing are very limited and inadequate.

 

GGG feels that no other political party is prepared to stand up for the countryside and the environment, certainly no party with a fiscally conservative, economically responsible slant. It is interesting that candidates for most other political parties are now asserting their interest in protecting the Greenbelt – but all other political parties have been remarkably silent about this over the last eighteen months through the Local Plan process.

 

Most of the values that GGG cares about are traditional “conservative” values, but these seem to have been abandoned by the current administration, which does not seem to share any of our concerns.  Conservative politicians, both local and national, are now claiming that they will protect the Greenbelt, but it is under their administration that our countryside is being threatened. Unless those in a position of power are reminded that the voters care about traditional Conservative values, the administration is unlikely to change its values or its policies.   As a result, GGG has decided to express local concerns by putting forward a prospective parliamentary candidate.

 

Jules Cranwell, committee member of Guildford Greenbelt Group, commented:

“This strategy has been determined following a detailed analysis of the track record of incumbents with regard to the greenbelt. The policy of the incumbent of the national Guildford seat, Anne Milton, has been one of sitting firmly on the fence, with regard to greenbelt matters, apart from very recent pronouncements, in the build-up to the May election.

 

In terms of the borough strategy, we hope to contest all seats where support for the greenbelt has been lacking, where the incumbents have been too sympathetic to developers, and those where the incumbents have been found to have acted without integrity or probity.”

 

Michael Bruton of GGG and East Horsley comments:

“Last Saturday Mole Valley Conservatives delivered leaflets here in East Horsley proclaiming their passion for Green Belt protection. I recall that all three of the Horsley and Clandon Councillors voted for the initial ‘Issues and Options’ paper which proposed the rolling back of the Green Belt and the removal of most of GBC’s villages from the Green Belt ? They helped to give birth to this monstrous process.  If my Councillors feel as strongly as they claim to do now, about Green Belt protection they could abandon the Conservative whip and sit as Independents for the remainder of their tenure ? After all, I understand that two of the Horsley and Clandon Councillors are standing down anyway.

 

Has the unpopularity of Tory-led Guildford Council on the matter combined with the approach of Elections in May,  encouraged Mrs Milton’s  and Conservative Councillors’ sudden passion for Green Belt protection?. Or has the formation of the Guildford Greenbelt Group and its decision to stand in these elections made other Parties suddenly discover the virtues of the Green Belt/Countryside and its protection? Voters will remember that in May 2011, Guildford Conservative Councillors campaigned and were elected on the basis of ‘Green Belt Protection’. They took me in in 2011 with that promise which turned out to be worthless. I will not be ‘taken in’ again in 2015.”

 

 

Susan Parker said:

The planning system is broken. We need real localism, for local people, so that communities can choose the development that really meets their needs, and not suffer plans imposed centrally or by inspectors on behalf of government. Localism as it is offered at present is just so much spin.

 

“We have repeatedly challenged the Government to change its policy and to respect our concerns, but we have not been heard. We feel it is time that the Government – and the next Government, whoever that may be – start to listen. That is why I am standing as a parliamentary candidate.  Until parliamentary seats are threatened, government policy (or that of the opposition) will not change. We are challenging an entrenched system that discriminates against local people. ”

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

  1. Background to Guildford Greenbelt Group

 

Guildford Greenbelt Group formed more than a year ago in the borough of Guildford in response to the Local Plan. Members and supporters across the borough came together because the Greenbelt and countryside within the borough are subject to a major assault by the local council, under the National Planning Policy Framework.

 

More than 13000 homes are proposed for the borough of Guildford in the period to 2031, an increase of approximately a quarter compared to current housing. Almost three quarters of this increase is proposed to be sited on the Greenbelt or countryside. Target sites include the pretty hamlet of Ockham (2100 homes), the village of West Horsley on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (700 homes), and Blackwell Farm on the nationally important Hog’s Back, a famous landmark which is actually within the Surrey Hills AONB itself (more than 3000 homes).

 

GGG spent a year using the formal processes of writing to councillors, participating in discussions and meetings, addressing Guildford Borough Council, preparing research, submitting detailed responses to consultation, including written responses to the draft Local Plan which ran to some 500 pages, and participating in the parliamentary select committee considering the operations of the National Planning Policy Framework. Our founder members initially came together during the Issues and Options consultation during the autumn of 2013, and worked closely together at that stage.

 

It has become clear that Guildford Borough Council is unwilling to listen to the population of Guildford. No matter how engaged in the consultation process the people have been (and there were more than 7000 participants generating thousands of responses), there has been minimal change from the council on all issues raised. Responses which look positive are, on closer investigation, almost always a matter of spin. It is clear that the proposals to defer the next draft of the local plan until after the next election are a matter of kicking the issue into the long grass.

 

The members of GGG determined that the consultation process did not permit proper participation in local decision-making and the concept of “localism” was a fiction. It was therefore decided that the only way to participate in local decision-making was to seek election as councillors, and local representatives could be helped to do this by GGG forming a political party to offer coordination, administration and support. This will enable the voters of Guildford to express their views and to determine their own future.

Since formation as a political party, it has become clear that voters in Waverley are also interested in GGG. Some have indicated that they may choose to use the umbrella of GGG’s organisation to stand as local councillors too, perhaps with a different political description. Waverley is facing many of the same problems as Guildford, with less protection from Greenbelt, and the village of Cranleigh is particularly targeted with huge and disproportionate housing plans. While one of these has recently been refused, there are still thousands of homes proposed for a village which is in the process of being turned into a town.

 

 

Further information on GGG is available on the GGG facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/Guildfordgreenbelt

 

Or on its website:

GGG website http://guildfordgreenbeltgroup.co.uk

 

GGG public meeting open to all members of the public, will be held as follows:

28 January 2015 -Fairlands Community Hall -7pm

 

  1. Information on Susan Parker

 

Susan Parker has lived and worked in the borough of Guildford since moving here in early 1998.

 

She is a Chartered Accountant, married with two adult children who are currently at university.

 

After studying English at Oxford University, she qualified as an accountant, then spent some years working in Mergers & Acquisitions for HSBC Investment Bank (then called Samuel Montagu) in the City. She worked on a number of different and challenging projects before choosing to leave in order to look after her young children.

 

While being a mum at home, she set up her own accountancy practice for which she still works, is Chairman (and founder) of her local residents’ association, was a local representative on an ICAEW committee, as well as participating in committees associated with her children’s education.

 

She has been a committee member of CPRE Guildford for many years and has long had an interest in planning and the protection of the countryside and the environment. She feels that under the National Planning Policy Framework the traditional processes of consultation and debate on planning matters have now broken down. It is no longer sufficient to make a reasoned case for objection on the basis on logic, full information and fairness, within the context of a properly administered planning system. Now, argument seems unlikely to influence an outcome which often seems to be decided behind closed doors. Planning decisions are made at a local level, but are influenced by shadowy groups not necessarily subject to the process of planning inspection and appeal.

 

As one of the principal founders of Guildford Greenbelt Group, Susan has led the campaigning group, which has now formed a related political party, since its formation. She has helped to frame the debate in the context of the local plan over the last year, and has spoken at the council on a number of occasions, which are available on council webcasts.

 

During the course of the year, it has become evident that consultation – as operated in the context of the planning system – is heavily biased against communities and in favour of developers, and that has informed the decision to stand in order to influence the political process.

 

Threat to Send – see details from Save Send Action Group

From the
Save Send Action Group

SEND NEEDS YOUR HELP BY MONDAY JANUARY 26
(the previously advised date 16 January has been extended)

Dear Resident

Send needs your help again, urgently! Planning application 14/P/02289 is to build a very large Narrowboat Basin or “Marina” in the big field between Tannery Lane and Wharf Lane. It sounds harmless. But it isn’t. It’s a devious way of getting permission for an access road to exactly the same green belt land proposed for a large housing estate in Guildford’s Draft Plan – which so far we have managed to delay.

The proposal is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Very few Send residents know about it. Even some residents in Tannery Lane have had no notification from Guildford. But if you can wade through the 75 supporting documents on their website, some of which are 50 or more pages long, it quickly becomes apparent how damaging this development would be for our village. Once breached, Send’s green belt will be doomed. Other sites will go too. So please help Send by writing your objection. Even if you wrote before about the Draft Plan each application is treated separately, so we are asking you please to write again.

HERE ARE SOME REASONS FOR OBJECTING:

1. It involves double storey workshops and buildings, toilets and showers, changing rooms and laundry on a green belt site. Guildford has recently been reminded that there is a presumption against development on the green belt. This application ignores it. Exceptional circumstances have to be proved for building on green belt and this application does not begin to do that.

2. There is provision for 53 parking places for cars and lorries visiting the site. Tannery Lane, off which the new access road would be built, is narrow and twisty and totally unsuitable for any increase in traffic at all. A big increase in traffic would exacerbate the existing hazard at the junction with Send Road, worsen the traffic problem for Papercourt Lane and threaten the Papercourt Marshes site of special scientific interest. The lane is already at its maximum traffic capacity. It cannot take more.

3. It will increase the risk of flooding in Tannery Lane, Wharf Lane and possibly Send Road. This is because the developer does not propose to remove the excavated soil but to raise the level of adjoining land by up to two metres with no surface water abatement. There is flooding already.

4. Construction could involve disturbing landfill sites and releasing harmful methane gases. This will be detrimental to the health of Send residents. A similar situation has already arisen in Chertsey which resulted in illness and death. Putting Send residents in such danger for financial gain is wholly unacceptable. Councillors and officials should be held personally liable if they approve such disturbance when they do not know exactly what was buried where. They are ignoring the noxious, rusty coloured water which oozes out of the landfill and that the proposed buildings would be adjoining a contaminated field.

5.The proposal is massively out of scale with moorings for 80 narrow boats – considerably more than is needed locally. There is insufficient demand for this huge number and it makes no economic sense unless to serve another purpose, namely to open up our precious green belt for housing. The proposed access road would do exactly that.

6. A huge marina would destroy the much loved beauty and ambiance of the Wey Navigation. This is supposed to be a Protected Area. It is enjoyed by many Send residents. The existing character and beauty of the stretch from Cartbridge to the Tannery would be destroyed.

7. Because of such poor site access the construction upheaval would be prolonged and disruptive. The ongoing noise and light pollution would be deeply damaging to the wildlife on Broadmead and Papercourt Meadow, in particular to the protected bats species which are especially sensitive to this type of disruption. We are fortunate to have a local habitat suitable for some rare birds like lapwings and other wildlife. This can be easily destroyed but can never be recreated. Yet the application has the affrontery to claim that the proposal would improve the habitat and create diversity.

8. Some of the land is the best agricultural land in the borough – grade 2 since Guildford does not have any grade 1. It is currently used for growing crops and protected by our current active local plan.

9. The application papers, although overwhelming in volume, are riddled with inaccuracies. In some drawings existing houses are shown on the wrong side of the road or not shown at all. Tannery Lane has changed its alignment. What are said to be scale drawings are not to scale at all. The so-called “community consultation exercise” claims virtually one hundred percent support but those who expressed concern have been erased from the records. There may be seventy five documents (which can be purchased for £220!) but quantity is no substitute for integrity.

10. This application is a Trojan Horse. Unless it is stopped now it will prove impossible to fight off later developments, including the huge housing estates and industrial parks which Guildford has planned for Send’s green belt and which the Save Send Action Group is fighting to prevent. This fight goes on but it needs your continued support if it is to succeed.

So please OBJECT to this absurd proposal. You can do so in three ways and every adult member of your household can do so individually:

1. By writing a letter to the Planning Department, Guildford Borough Council, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. Please quote the planning reference 14/P/02289, Land to the North of Tannery Lane, Construction of a Narrowboat Basin

2. By emailing your objection to planningenquiries@guildford.gov.uk. You need to quote the same reference 14/P/02289 and you must also give your own name and full postal address

3. If you can manage to navigate the Guildford Council website you can submit your objection via
http://www.guildford.gov.uk/commentonplanningapplication. To do so you need to register.

There is not much time available. Because it is a major development Guildford have extended the deadline. But objections must still be received at the Council Offices by 4 pm on Monday 26 January. If it is later, your objection will not be counted.

If you are unsure of getting it into the post in time please tell us and we will deliver it to the Council for you.(dougandsuefrench@gmail.com Tel 01483 222935)

PLEASE ALERT YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS who most probably are unaware of the threat posed by this application. Ask them to write as well. We need the numbers. If you want a digital copy of this flyer, to send to friends in the village, we can supply it.

Please Remember
SEND NEEDS YOU TO WRITE

Guildford Greenbelt Group: GuildfordBC is muddled about “shortfall”

This is the Guildford Greenbelt Group reply to Guildford Borough Council’s announcement:

Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG)

Press announcement 13 January 2015 

GUILDFORD GREENBELT GROUP (GGG) RESPONDS TO CALL RE SHORTFALL

 GGG responds to Guildford Borough Council’s press release asking for the “housing shortfall” to be spread over more than 5 years.

 GGG would like to admit we are puzzled by Cllr Mansbridge’s letter to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Without disrespect, the announcement seems to suggest that the council is a little muddled.

We are not sure that we accept that the timing of the housing shortfall is of fundamental significance. Until last summer there was no shortfall in the housing need. The latest draft SHMA now shows a small total shortfall of 161 homes over the period 2001-13, although we have not yet reviewed this calculation.

The GBC press announcement appears to discuss how that shortfall will be allocated.

We’d like to note that there are two different and accepted mechanisms for dealing with shortfalls in the context of a local plan, both of which are acceptable to inspectors, one of which is the “Liverpool method” and one of which is the “Sedgefield method”. One requires the shortfall to be added to the immediate 5 year supply requirement; the other permits the shortfall to be spread over the life of the plan. Both have been judged acceptable in the past by different inspectors. In other words, there is nothing exceptional about spreading any backlog or housing shortfall over the life of the plan, and this is not necessarily a matter on which it is necessary to consult the Secretary of State,

Is this muddle – or is this just spin to suggest that the council are protecting our countryside, when it isn’t actually proposing to change anything?

If we are charitable, perhaps Cllr Mansbridge indeed meant to echo our call for a revision to the NPPF. Perhaps he is in fact seeking to question the requirement to demonstrate, within the local plan, a five year supply? This is one of the issues which we have raised before. If so, perhaps the question should be carefully rephrased.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 47) states that local authorities should “identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years worth of housing against their housing requirements with an additional buffer of 5%. Where there has been a record of persistent underdelivery of housing [not the case in Guildford] local planning authorities should increase the buffer to 20%.”

So if Cllr Mansbridge wishes to get approval for considering supply on a deferred basis on the basis of Guildford’s special circumstances, we think that the letter to Eric Pickles will need to be redrafted to explain that it is the requirement to provide a five year supply, rather than just the shortfall, which should be spread over the life of the plan- in other words, Cllr Mansbridge may wish to gain a waiver from the requirements of NPPF 47.   We presume that if the letter is revised the revised letter will also be announced. It may be helpful to see the actual text of the letter to Eric Pickles.

We do however warmly welcome the comment that the council is adopting a policy approach which “will exclude all development in the Greenbelt unless it can be demonstrated that… constraints… can be overcome”.

We are not sure that this is saying the same thing as the following sentence, however, which states “We are now undertaking a rigorous reassessment of the potential adverse impacts on each site to assess where these impacts will significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of meeting housing need”. This seems to be in contradiction to the sentence which precedes it. In fact, as stated in the preceding sentence, and as a matter of case law, there should be a presumption against any Greenbelt site, unless there are exceptional circumstances which apply. We think that there is a contradiction between these two sentences. Is there some more muddle here on the part of GBC?

Susan Parker, leader of Guildford Greenbelt Group, commented:

“It is disconcerting and more than a little worrying that there seems to be some confusion among our councillors and the appointed officers.

“We are wary of announcements on housing numbers and issues affecting the Greenbelt from Guildford Borough Council given their historic failure to adhere to promises and commitments. In 2011 Guildford Tories promised unequivocally to protect the Greenbelt in their election manifesto but they subsequently proposed a Local Plan which involved very substantial Greenbelt development. The Council has also refused – despite freedom of information requests – to release the formulae and calculations used by GL Hearn (the consultants who worked on the SHMA) in determining the Borough’s housing needs for the Local Plan, and have not permitted consultation despite indicating that this current SHMA would be subject to consultation. We do not see the need for such behaviour, and question whether the current Council can be relied upon to deliver what they promise?

 “Nonetheless, we welcome this announcement of a change in policy and do hope it will be implemented.

 “We therefore expect that the current proposals which have been submitted in relation to Effingham and to the Wisley Airfield site, and the Mastervision in relation to the Hog’s Back, will now be formally rejected by the Council, following their announced policy that all development will be excluded in the Greenbelt. Anything else will demonstrate that this press announcement is just spin.”

 Notes for editors

 

  1. Further information on GGG is available on the GGG website http://guildfordgreenbeltgroup.co.uk

Or on its facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Guildfordgreenbelt

 

  1. GGG public meeting open to all members of the public, will be held as follows:
  • 28 January 2015 -Fairlands Community Hall -7pm

3. See the GL Hearn website:

 

http://www.glhearn.com/developer/Pages/Overview.aspx “We act for many of the leading developers and are currently advising on schemes totalling over 3m sq ft. We have a team of over 100 people directly involved in the development sector.” http://www.glhearn.com/developer/services/Pages/PlanningDevelopment.aspx “The practice has in-depth experience of development projects.. this wide-ranging commercial track record is of great benefit for developer clients… We take pride in our ability to drive development projects through to delivery and problem solving with a commercial focus.” http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/Overview.aspx “With a client base that includes landowners, developers, investors, Regional Development Agencies and Local Authorities, we approach each project first by fully understanding and then striving to achieve our clients’ objectives. “

http://www.glhearn.com/publicsector/Pages/Overview.aspx “G L Hearn is increasing its work with the public sector providing a consultancy approach with a strong commercial aspect.”

http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/Residential.aspx “We have a proven track record in the delivery of housing ranging from small residential schemes to larger, complex mixed-use developments, and the longer-term promotion of strategic sites. We provide comprehensive advice on residential strategy, from site identification through to the delivery of planning permission.” http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/DevelopmentAdvice.aspx “Good development advice requires solid planning and development expertise, together with specialist knowledge across the full range of property sectors. We have the in-house expertise to assess development potential and obtain the required permissions”. http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/ApplicationsandS106Negotiations.aspx “Our expertise and experience in preparing outline and detailed planning applications and our skill and determination in negotiations have secured consent for proposals in all sectors of the development industry. This is often the case where success may have seemed improbable before our involvement. Undertaking S106 negotiations and the provision of viability advice in connection with them, which has become significantly important to secure such consents, regularly feature in this work… Our clients include some of the largest and most active developers in the UK.”

 

 

 

Guildford Borough council seek to “spread shortfall”

This is the text of a press announcement issued by Guildford Borough Council about wanting to spread the housing shortfall over more than 5 years
News

Guildford Borough Council
http://www.guildford.gov.uk
Follow us @GuildfordBC

PR 3296
For Immediate Release
12 January 2015

Council wants to spread housing shortfall over more than five years

Leader of the Council, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, to urge him to make representations to planning ministers regarding the borough’s new Local Plan.

Current government planning practice guidance says that any accrued housing backlog must be accommodated in the first five years of a Local Plan. To help alleviate pressure on the green belt and infrastructure, Cllr Mansbridge is asking the government to permit Guildford’s housing shortfall to be met over the full period of the plan.

Cllr Mansbridge says: “All councils with high proportions of green belt or areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) are struggling with the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the supporting planning practice guidance. Guildford, with 89% green belt and acute infrastructure constraints compounded over decades, finds itself in a uniquely sensitive position given its inability to meet its suggested housing need without encroaching significantly on its existing green belt.

“We are therefore taking the government at its word and have decided to adopt a policy approach which will exclude all development in the green belt, unless it can be demonstrated that the list of constraints in the revised planning practice guidance (including green belt, AONB, flood risk, green space and heritage) can be overcome. We are now undertaking a rigorous reassessment of the potential adverse impacts on each site to assess where these impacts will ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweigh the benefits of meeting housing need, using the existing evidence base and comprehensive constraints, in the wake of a highly charged public consultation.

“One of our greatest challenges in preparing our draft Local Plan has been to accommodate the accrued backlog of housing since the start of our plan period in the first five years of the plan, as directed by planning practice guidance. However, we are aware that some inspectors are taking a different approach based on local circumstances, such as at Gravesham Borough Council, where the backlog was apportioned over the whole plan period.

“If we could justify such a consistent approach in Guildford borough, this would enable us to phase our development sites more appropriately, including brownfield sites that have a longer lead in time, and thereby potentially minimising the reliance on green belt sites. This also allows time to address the current deficits in infrastructure and plan properly for any potential future development. Reducing the scale of the immediate five year housing land supply requirement could also potentially minimise the risk of ‘planning by appeal’ rather than through the democratic process.

“We have something of a perfect storm – Guildford is a vibrant retail and business centre with full occupancy and very few vacant sites. At the same time, the housing need has grown substantially. The government is also placing greater emphasis on the need for our Local Plan to align with the growth agenda set out by our Local Enterprise Partnership, Enterprise M3. It is simply not possible to meet the full backlog arising from the increased housing number in the first five years – other than by releasing green belt land, which could irrevocably damage Guildford’s character.

“Therefore we are asking the Secretary of State to make representations jointly to ministers to permit Guildford’s housing shortfall to be met over the full period of the plan. If we can frame a delivery trajectory over the full plan period we can produce a better plan with less impact on the urban and town environments, and on the green belt.

“We believe that our local circumstances are both unique and exceptional, and we urge the Secretary of State to consider making the strongest representations on our behalf, and that of all our residents in the borough of Guildford, so that our future Local Plan is seen by all as being entirely constructive.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

Press contact: Carolyn Patterson, PR and Marketing Manager, tel: 01483 444338 or e-mail: carolyn.patterson@guildford.gov.uk

Guildford Greenbelt Group objection to proposals at Effingham

Address supplied

 

15 January 2015

 

Planning Department

Guildford Borough Council

Millmead House

Millmead

Guildford

Surrey GU2 4BB

 

Dear Planning Officer

 

Planning application REFERENCE 14/P/02109

Location: Effingham Village, development of 295 houses and a new school buildling

I am writing to you on behalf of GGG (Guildford Greenbelt Group), of which I am Chair.

 

GGG objects to this application reference 14/P/02109 re Effingham village.

 

We note the concerns expressed in the leaflet attached at this link prepared by Effingham Parish Council and Effingham Residents’ Association and endorse these views fully: https://www-media-streetlife.s3.amazonaws.com/conversations/b4/b4b3629549749560bb818aec05b6dd361ea43eaf_o.pdf . This document includes information relating to local direct assessments of actual local housing need which should be taken into account in the planning process and which should be regarded as material considerations in any decision.

 

This is land in the Green Belt outside the settlement boundary. Under NPPF80 Green Belt should protect countryside from encroachment, under NPPF79 the fundamental aim of Green Belt is to prevent sprawl by keeping land permanently open; essential characteristics of Green Belt are openness and permanence. This building/development would fail all these tests. It is inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

 

Under NPPF87 inappropriate development is by definition harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances which have not been demonstrated in this case.

 

Under NPPF 89 a local planning authority should regard constuction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt – this does not meet any of the permitted exceptions.

 

The land in the area meets all the five purposes of Green Belt as set out in NPPF 80.  To build on this land would be to encroach onto countryside included within Green Belt.

 

The proposals increase urban sprawl, and would lead to the future coalescence of settlements. The problems with the infrastructure within Effingham caused by the new school would be severe, in terms of both sewage capacity and transport. The need for this number of additional homes in this location has not been demonstrated.

 

Guildford Borough Council has recently announced that “we have decided to adopt a policy approach which will exclude all development in the green belt, unless it can be demonstrated that the list of constraints in the revised planning practice guidance (including green belt, AONB, flood risk, green space and heritage) can be overcome”. (GBC press announcement published 12 January 2015). We hope that Guildford will implement this policy, exclude this development from the Green Belt and so reject this proposal.

 

As noted by NPPF 83, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.

 

Under NPPF 88 “When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. “Very special circumstances” will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.”

 

As a result this should not be given planning permission. GGG considers that no special circumstances apply which should lead to permission being given.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Susan Parker

 

Chair

Guildford Greenbelt Group