GRA Meeting with Candidates: Thursday 11 April 7.30 pm Assembly Room, Guildford Institute:
GRA is inviting representatives from all parties standing for election to Guildford Borough Council in May to this event.
The audience will be representatives of our 25 RAs and 8 parish councils. Our objectives are to enable RAs to appreciate what the various parties standing for election in Guildford propose for our Borough and to make candidates aware of RA priorities and concerns. We will welcome the views of the parties on our GRA Election Expectations which were agreed at our March meeting.
GRA is, of course, an apolitical organisation and well placed to engage neutrally and fairly with all parties fielding candidates.
We propose to structure the discussion around 5 topics, each introduced by a question, giving each party an equal opportunity to respond. The topics, linked to our Expectations, will be:
1 The Local Plan – Oversupply of Housing, Green Belt and Infrastructure First.
2 The North Street Development & Building Heights
3 Student Housing
4 Character of Guildford – Town Centre, Residential and Countryside
5 Community Assets – In Safe Hands?
Each party has been invited to have one representative speaking on all the questions or to “hot seat” with different candidates responding to different questions.
The Examination in Public re-opens on 12-13 February 2019!
Due to the changes in population forecasts, the Examination in Public will be re-opened on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 February 2019 at Guildford Borough Council Offices. (www.guildford.gov.uk/newlocalplan)
The Inspector will not be opening up the hearing for any other items, other than the housing number. Everyone is able to attend.
GRA will be presenting a strong case for a lower housing number, which would take away the need for three major developments proposed in the Green Belt, whilst still allowing housing needs and economic growth to be fulfilled. Removing three large areas from the Green Belt to allow three major developments can no longer be justified, even using Guildford Borough Council’s own figures.
GRA members are encouraged to attend the hearing if possible, and give their support.
Following the Examination in Public of the draft Local Plan which took place this summer, GBC has published its proposed changes to the Plan.
It will consider these changes at their Executive Meeting on Tuesday 4th September and Amanda Mullarky will speak on behalf of GRA. This will be followed by a final six week consultation in September on the changes endorsed at the meeting . We hope as many members as possible will respond to the consultation.
Among other issues, we have a very strong case for arguing that the new housing figure in Policy S2 of 630 dwellings per annum for the next 15 years to meet Guildford's need, plus 42 extra homes a year for Woking's unmet need, is too high. An inflated housing figure has implications for many aspects of the Plan including infrastructure, and the extent to which early supply needs to be boosted by the extra sites proposed.
GRA thanks all its members for their very supportive comments and contributions to our work.
The Examination in Public hearings which took place over 12 days are over, concluding on 5 July. The Council has until 23 July to respond to the many points raised by the Inspector Jonathan Bore.
Guildford Residents Associations were represented at every session of the hearings and huge thanks are due to Amanda Mullarkey for so ably representing GRA and putting our views across over the whole of the EiP. Member associations were present throughout the hearings and made valuable contributions on a range of issues.
Neil McDonald was present for the initial discussions on the housing target and was in a position to interpret the newly published 2017 mid-year population estimates issued by the Office for National Statistics towards the end of May. We are most grateful to Neil for his invaluable and very effective contribution and for the further work that he is doing for the GRA on the new population estimates.
The outcome of the hearing is that the Inspector found that the plan was basically sound, and not much is likely to change. On the plus side, we are likely to avoid a significant increase in the annual housing target. The Inspector has asked for an increase in the housing provision in the first five years of the plan and suggestions on this can be found on the GBC website. Also, the Council has been obliged to introduce a new policy dealing with the town centre.
We are looking forward to reading the Council’s responses on 23 July. There will be a further consultation on the changes to the revised plan in the autumn – maybe in September.
GRA is now preparing its strategy for the forthcoming Examination in Public of the Local Plan. All consultations on the Local Plan have now ended.
The Examination begins at 10 am on Tuesday 5th June in the Council chamber at Guildford Borough Council Offices, Millmead House, Guildford. The independent Inspector appointed by the Government, Mr Jonathan Bore, will consider at the Examination whether the Plan is sound. An independent programme officer appointed by the Inspector will manage the Examination process.
The Inspector has sent questions to Guildford Borough Council (GBC) prior to the beginning of the Examination process to which GBC has responded. He has also sent questions to those who responded to the Regulation 19 consultation. These are on the GBC Local Plan website together with all information about the Local Plan Examination process.
The above responses to consultations, reports and press release are our contribution to helping local democracy flourish in our borough, by assisting and encouraging all Guildford's residents who share our vision to have their voice heard in the consultation on the Submission Draft Local Plan.
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 June 2016
GUILDFORD RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
UNITED IN OPPOSITION TO LOCAL PLAN ACROSS TOWN AND COUNTRY
Guildford Residents Association (“GRA”), which represents 26 residents’ associations across Guildford town and country, has agreed its strategy for addressing and commenting on the latest and controversial version of the Guildford Local Plan.
Says Keith Meldrum of GRA, “This Plan is growth gone mad. It destroys our countryside and fails to prevent town cramming. It would destroy the qualities that make Guildford a good place to live and work. This plan provides too much land for development and does not do enough to ease congestion. Developers will drive a coach and horses through loosely-worded policies promising no growth without infrastructure first. Why do we need a 40% increase in retail space in the era of the internet when that land could be used for homes? Why are our politicians, who promised to protect Green Belt, offering up so much countryside for development and making so little progress in better planning the town? This Plan is such a blunt instrument that even though it proposes to expand Guildford by a quarter, it cannot be relied upon to provide the types of homes needed locally. It will not protect the character of our borough.”
INFRASTRUCTURE: Too little too late
HOUSING: Inflated, ignores constraints and doesn’t address needs
Concludes Keith Meldrum, “We simply do not understand why our Councillors have made a political choice to open the floodgates to expand Guildford on the damaging scale proposed. GRA believes this Plan to be unsound and unsustainable. We are calling on Councillors to make improvements to the Plan before it is too late and irreparable damage is done to our beautiful historic town and the surrounding countryside which frames it.”
CONTACT: 07706 062026
3. GRA wants to see the following changes in the Local Plan: