Guildford Residents Associations
Guildford Residents Associations

GRA Responses to the Views Consultation, the Quadrant Application and the Application to change the use of Burchatts Farm Barn

Town Centre Views SPD GRA Comments.docx
Microsoft Word document [45.4 KB]
The Quadrant Application.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [108.7 KB]
GRA Burchatts Farm - Appeal.docx
Microsoft Word document [40.0 KB]

Local Elections - Meet the Candidates!

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.

Last Opportunity to Reduce the Housing Target to Sensible Levels.

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.

URGENT - Last Chance to Comment on the Local Plan.......... Deadline Noon 23 October

The GRA Response to Consultation
GRA has asked the Inspector to re-open the Examination of the Local Plan in the light of the latest government data. The latest data shows that Guildford's housing figure should be lower. We now await the Inspector's decision.

GRA thanks all those residents who have responded to the consultation and all those who have contributed funds for our expert Neil McDonald.

Our response to the 'Local Plan Main Modifications' consultation is above:
GRA Response to Main Modifications Consu[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [276.9 KB]
GRA Flyer - Time To Speak Out
Deadline for responses: Noon 23 October 2018. Open this file for full information.
GRA Flyer Time to Speak Out fv.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [324.4 KB]

Latest Situation on the Amendments to the Local Plan (September 2018)

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 of the Local Plan (July 2018)

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.

Examination in Public of the Local Plan (May 2018)

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.

 

www.guildford.gov.uk/newlocalplan/examination.
 

The GRA Response to the July 2017 Consultation on the Local Plan

GRA Response to the July 2017 Consultation
GRA RESPONSE 2017 Revised Guildford Prop[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [446.0 KB]
Review of GL Hearn’s Guildford Addendum to the West Surrey SHMA
Review of GL Hearn's Guildford Addendum [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
GRA Flyer July 2017
Local Plan GRA Last Chance Response Flye[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [462.1 KB]

The GRA Response to the July 2016 Consultation on the Local Plan

GRA Response to the Proposed Submission Draft Plan July 2016
We are grateful to all of our members who contributed to the attached GRA response to this consultation.
GRA RESPONSE Guildford Proposed Submissi[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.1 MB]
GRA Flyer July 2016
GRA Local Plan Response Flyer v3.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [425.8 KB]
GRA Review of the West Surrey SHMA June 2016
GRA Report FINAL.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
GRA Comment on Transport Infrastructure July 2016
Commentary on PSLP and transport infrast[...]
Microsoft Word document [41.0 KB]

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 on Local Plan  Immediate Release 7 June 2016

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

  • There is no new road bridge over the railway for our physically divided town and no central, all-directions bus interchange.
  • Vague proposals for a “Snake” (Sustainable Movement Corridor) and A3 improvements offer too little too late.
  • Land is not safeguarded for A3 tunnel entrances or the “Snake”.
  • Residents are disturbed that no one has had a chance to look at a crucial piece of evidence that should have informed the Plan - the long awaited Strategic Transport Assessment.   

 

HOUSING: Inflated, ignores constraints and doesn’t address needs  

  • GRA members are deeply concerned at the high Housing Target proposed in the Plan – over 13,500! 
  • At 693 homes a year, this is over double the previous figure of 322.
  • The Plan’s proposed growth is based on a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) report which inflates so-called need, is distorted by student numbers, and is based on commercially confidential modelling assumptions that cannot be checked.
  • All other Councils in Surrey, apart from Guildford, are applying “constraints” to reduce their overall housing figure (*see notes).
  • The National Planning Policy Framework allows the overall housing target to be reduced to take account of protected wildlife areas (eg Thames Basin Heath SPA), landscape areas (Surrey Hills AONB), Green Belt, flood risk and significant infrastructure constraints, all of which apply to Guildford.

 

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.”

 

ENDS

 

                                                                                                CONTACT: 07706 062026

Notes:

 

  1. GRA, an umbrella organisation of Residents’ Associations which also enjoys the support of four parish councils, came together to agree shared priorities for the new Guildford Local Plan amid concern that the voice of residents was being lost.

 

  1. The Resident’s Associations forming the GRA are: Abbotswood RA-CC, Beechcroft Drive RA, Bicknell Close RA, Burpham Community Association, Chantry View RA, Clandon Society, Cranley Road Area RA, Downsedge RA, Fairlands, Liddington Hall and Gravetts Lane Community Association, Ganghill RA, Holy Trinity Amenity Group, Jacobs Well RA, Merrow RA, Normandy Action Group, Ockham & Hatchford RA, Onslow Village RA, Perry Hill RA, Ripley Society, Rookwood RA, St Catherine’s Village Association, Send Action Group, Shalford  Conservation Society,  Stoke Next Guildford RA, Tyting Society, Westborough, Broadacres & District RA, Weyfield RA, Weymount Neighbourhood Group, Wood Street Village Association.

 

3.    GRA wants to see the following changes in the Local Plan:

 

  • A realistic housing target that focuses on the needs of Guildford and takes full account of the constraints of being a congested gap town. 

 

  • High priority given to providing attractive campus accommodation so 80-90% of university students will want to live on campus freeing up hundreds of affordable homes in the town within 5 years.  

 

  • A bus interchange which means you can travel easily in any direction from one central point without needing a car.

 

  • Another crossing over the railway and river for our divided town and firm plans for an A3 tunnel.

 

  • Guildford’s green setting, tree lined approaches, fine views, historic centre and riverside maintained as valued and distinctive features of the town. 

 

  • Proper account taken of the permanence of Metropolitan Green Belt as well as the protection of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 
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© Graham Hibbert