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Big step forward for Guildford's future

4 minute read
Big step forward for Guildford's future

Published at 7:47am 22nd November 2017. (Updated at 2:28pm 15th December 2017)

Guildford's Local Plan's takes a big step forward - after the Borough Council agreed to submit it to the Secretary of State.

It follows a full Council meeting last night (November 21) -at which they were asked to decide whether the plan, associated documents and consultation comments could be submitted for independent examination.

The Council is aiming to hand it in to the government's planning inspectorate next month.

The planning inspector will then manage the independent examination - which will include public hearings.

He or she will also contact everyone who commented on the draft Local Plan.

The plan is a vision addressing housing, employment, retail and leisure requirements, supported by suitable infrastructure including education, healthcare and transport.  It will be in place until 2034.

Planning has taken a number of years and locals have been consulted along the way.

The proposals include two new railway stations and more housing for the town.

After the examination, the planning Inspector will produce a report - and the Borough Council will then consider any changes that have been recommended.

The full Council will then be asked to decide whether to adopt the new Local Plan.

It is hoped this final stage will be achieved by the end of 2018. 

Council Leader Paul Spooner said : "This is great news and a crucial move forward for the future of Guildford. Our plan is about enabling people to thrive, wherever they live or work in the borough, and I would like to thank everyone for taking the many opportunities to get involved. I would also like to thank the officers for all their hard work in the long but necessary process in producing a new Local Plan.

"This was a very important decision about a complex and integrated framework, which aims to put control about how our borough evolves firmly in local hands. Without a plan in place that allows us to consider the bigger picture there is a greater risk of a piecemeal approach driven by developers or those outside the borough. As expected, it was a lively debate with input from many councillors and public speakers. It's great to see how deeply people care and it is a fundamental part of what local democracy is all about.

"Local people want a range of homes, especially affordable, a successful economy with great work prospects, good education choices and protected heritage and countryside. Alongside better transport and travel options to support them. Our new Local Plan is the best way to provide these and will enable the Council to tackle local issues and balance community needs across the whole borough.

"From the very beginning we have focused on our brownfield first policy to use previously developed land and limit the need to develop within the Green Belt. Community involvement in this is vital and we carefully considered the thousands of comments from individuals and organisations in the various consultations since the Council started developing the new plan. Their feedback has been invaluable, especially in clarifying details about the significant and minor changes we made to the plan during that time.

"We aim to submit the new Local Plan next month and it is then over to the Planning Inspector to manage their independent examination. However, it is still vital that strategic partners complete their supporting transport and other infrastructure projects. That way we can deliver the new plan in full and give our residents and future generations the great environment, homes and jobs they need."






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