Guildford Borough Council

This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition Guildford Borough Council to reject their current aggressive pro-development pro-building strategy. The current strategy would mean building more housing than we need (and also more commercial buildings than we need) because of an incorrect perception that economic growth can only come from building. This strategy is unsustainable and must be rejected. More details

Petition update 2 from the council, 14 July 2014

At its meeting held on 8 July 2014, the Council gave formal consideration to this e-petition and agreed the following response to it:

“The Council RESOLVES:

That its formal response to this petition is as follows:

1. The Council recognises that a significant number of residents are concerned about the future development of the Borough. It does not accept that its strategy is aggressive. Paragraph 20 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires the Council to help achieve economic growth by planning proactively to meet the development needs of business and support an economy fit for the 21st century.

2. The NPPF requires the starting point for the determination of our draft local plan housing target to be set out in a Strategic Market Housing Assessment (SHMA). The analysis of data within the SHMA, such as population and employment statistics provides us with a better understanding of our housing needs in the borough. We use this information plus evidence from other documents to set the housing target. There are a number of constraints that are imposed on us when determining our housing target. For example, we are required to demonstrate that we can, not only deliver sites and therefore new homes through the plan period, but significantly in the 1 to 5 year period. We will also be required to demonstrate that our strategy is deliverable and that if a large site or sites do not become available we have a plan B or indeed a plan C. This has meant that we have suggested the allocation of sites that if all were developed would exceed the target – which after all is not a maximum.


3. The Government published The Plan for Growth, alongside the Budget 2011, and as part of Autumn Statement 2011, announced a programme of structural reforms to remove barriers to growth for businesses and equip the UK to compete in the global race. These reforms span a range of policies including improving UK infrastructure, cutting red tape, root and branch reform of the planning system and boosting trade and inward investment.

4. The NPPF followed in March 2012. The main thrust of which is to achieve sustainable development. The NPPF is clear - development means growth - not just housing but economic. It is entirely appropriate that the local plan positively addresses this matter and continues to create jobs and support the growth in businesses. In order to inform the draft local plan we produced an Employment Land Assessment, which sets out how many new jobs we will require through the plan period.

5. The Council is fully aware that there are constraints on development within the borough such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other environmental designations. These will be taken into account when reaching the final figure for the Borough’s housing requirement, in the light also of the responses received to the current consultation on the draft Local Plan.

6. The Council is not obliged to consult on documents that fall within the evidence base for its Local Plan. However, as it is about to embark on a 12 week public consultation on the draft Local Plan, it would welcome detailed input from the petitioners on how - and why - they consider the draft Local Plan would over-provide both housing and economic development.

7. These issues are matters of conflicting and competing views amongst the local and wider community. The Council has a duty to take all such considerations properly into account, and balance the differing needs and views of people and businesses who make representations in finalising a Local Plan ready for examination for soundness.

8. Inevitably, this may mean some people will believe their views and needs have been given a lower priority than they would wish. The petitioners are therefore urged to express their views fully during consultation, and provide the Council with hard evidence in support of their arguments, so that the issues raised in this petition can be carefully evaluated before the Council comes to a final position on housing levels and economic growth.

9. It is up to the petitioners to feed into the statutory process of consultation, and the Council cannot at this point make a sudden change in policy without justification, or due observance of the prescribed procedures.

10. The Council thanks the petitioners for making their concerns known”.

John Armstrong
Democratic Services Manager
Guildford Borough Council

Millmead House
Millmead
GUILDFORD
Surrey GU2 4BB

Petition update 1 from the council, 12 June 2014

This e-petition will be debated at the meeting of the Council which will take place on Tuesday 8 July 2014 at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 4BB.

Whilst members of the public are welcome to attend all of our meetings, please note that we only have a limited number of seats for the public which will be allocated on ‘first come, first served’ basis. We will try to accommodate as many members of the public as possible. However, the meeting will also be webcasted live via our website:

http://www.guildford.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

Details of the Council's formal response to this petition will be sent to those who signed the e-petition following the Council meeting.

John Armstrong
Democratic Services Manager
Governance
Guildford Borough Council
Tel: (01483) 444102

Millmead House
Millmead
Guildford
Surrey GU2 4BB

More details from petition creator

The current strategy from Guildford Borough Council involves an intention to build more housing than the current population needs (or than they are likely to need in the foreseeable future) and also more commercial buildings than existing businesses in the borough need to meet current requirements. There is no recognition of the real constraints that must be applied in order to preserve the environment we inhabit and no recognition of the legal requirement to ensure sustainability. This strategic direction seeks economic growth by an aggressive building programme, irrespective of the impact on existing residents. This is expressed in the 2013-16 Corporate Plan, in the Enterprise M3 LEP minutes and elsewhere, becoming an element of the Council’s strategic thinking. The 2013-2016 Corporate Plan informs the decision making processes of the Council and has been incorporated in the evidence base for the Local Plan but it has been subject to no public consultation as to whether this is what the residents of Guildford actually want.

Current signatories

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  • Dirk Mercer
  • jeffrey wightwick
  • Peter Shaw
  • Julie Manning
  • Jim Hartley
  • Dr. Paul Cragg
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  • Anthony Ward
  • James Allen
  • Jane McKenzie
  • William Hewlett
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  • Hugh Coakley
  • Stephen Fannin
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  • Rosemary Bird
  • Nicki Murdoch
  • Mrs. G. McCourt
  • Mr. Gary McCourt
  • Hallam Breen
  • Virginia Knox
  • Sarah Smith
  • Donna Collinson
  • Paul Whetton
  • Andrene Aaronson
  • Mrs. N. Armstrong
  • Simon Marshall
  • Mr. G. Armstrong
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  • john w stiff
  • Eliza Pollock
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  • Anthony Rodgers
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