Guildford Residents Associations
Guildford Residents Associations

The Evidence Base

The Evidence Base sets out to describe the factual current situation in the Borough along with projects as to how this will change in the future, that the Local Plan seeks to address. The Planning Inspectorate will judge how well the Plan addresses the issues set out in the Evidence Base and if it does not (as was judged the case with the Waverley Plan), then the Local Plan will be rejected.

 

We understand from Cllr Juneja that the Evidence Base will comprise 15 documents.

 

Those currently visible on the GBC website are shown below along with a short summary of their content:

 

1. Infrastructure Baseline

Infrastructure is the range of services and facilities local communities need to function. Services and facilities include:

  • Physical assets such as roads, train stations and sewerage systems
  • Social assets such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and schools
  • Community assets such as cemeteries and public open spaces.

 

This infrastructure baseline study is an audit of existing infrastructure provision. It is not a plan of the infrastructure GBC needs to provide to support development in the future. GBC will prepare an Infrastructure Delivery Plan to do this at the next stage of preparing the new Local Plan.

 

This baseline considers the quality and capacity of the existing physical, community and social infrastructure, which supports the borough’s resident and working populations. It examines each type of infrastructure, reviews existing capacity, and for some infrastructure types, also notes the current firm plans of infrastructure providers.

 

GBC Key Findings:

  • Traffic congestion on the local and strategic road networks and overcrowding on rail services are symptoms of transport demand being densely concentrated on certain parts of the road and rail networks at certain times of day.
  • The availability of school places, within Guildford borough is a growing issue due to the rising birth rate over the last decade.
  • An expanding population will need additional burial space.
  • Guildford needs a new library centrally located in the town.
  • More suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) is required in particular to support new housing in medium sized developments which are not large enough to provide their own SANG
  • Businesses, residents, voluntary and community groups in some of our rural areas need higher speed broadband than they currently have. 

 

2. Settlement Hierarchy  and Settlement Profiles. 

The settlement hierarchy will help GBC decide the location of future development in the borough. GBC will then use technical studies to determine the right amount of new development that is appropriate for each settlement. It aims to make sure the scale of any new development planned by the new Local Plan is appropriate for the settlement in question and that it is adequately supported by physical infrastructure and services.

 

The main reason to establish a settlement hierarchy is to promote sustainable communities. Settlements that are sustainable places to live, need to have enough homes to support local facilities, and new facilities which can improve the quality of life in villages.

 

The document sets out GBC’s settlement hierarchy by:

  • Explaining the existing characteristics and functions of each of our settlements, and
  • Helping to assess the opportunities to provide new sustainable development and improve infrastructure (also see our separate Settlement Profiles document).

 

3. Green Belt and Countryside Study

 The Pegasus Group commenced work on the Guildford Borough Green Belt and Countryside Study in March 2009, with the final draft version, consisting of four volumes, submitted to the Council in December 2012.

 

The March 2009 brief to Pegasus from GBC was to ‘Provide a robust, independent assessment of Guildford Borough’s Green Belt and ‘countryside beyond the Green Belt’ with a view to potential release for development purposes in the longer term, should this be necessary within the Guildford Local Development Framework Plan Period 2006-2026 (and up to 2030), identifying realistic sustainable location(s) for green field release.’

 

Initially, the Study focussed upon potential development on the edge of the main urban areas of Guildford, Ash and Tongham. In May 2011, the Council requested additional work be undertaken to assess whether villages across the borough could appropriately accommodate additional development. In June 2012, further work was instructed by the Council relating to whether villages should be ‘inset’ or ‘washed over’ by the Green Belt designation and the identification of Green Belt boundaries relating to the villages as required.

 

GBC Key findings:

  • There are a number of areas that provide opportunities for the development of some 9800 dwellings within the surroundings of urban areas at Guildford, Ash and Tongham.
  • There are opportunities to appropriately accommodate development of 4876 dwellings on the periphery of certain villages across the Borough.
  • A total number of 16 villages of the 24 assessed have been identified as being suitable for insetting within the Green Belt

4. Economic Strategy 

 Guildford Borough Council and its partners (including SCC, RSCH, UNIS, Guildford College etc.) have developed this revised economic strategy.

 

Surrey County Council supports headline ambition to double the value of the Surrey economy to £52 billion by 2030 (based on an economy worth £26 billion in 2010), through supporting Surrey’s key growth and globally competitive sectors to achieve smart economic growth. The County Council is also working with the Enterprise M3 and Coast to Capital LEPs to secure investment in economic growth in Surrey as well as trying to attract (foreign direct) inward investment.

 

The GBC Strategy aims to ensure that Guildford continues to be the top-performing economy in Surrey in the years up to 2031 and beyond – with an economy that is innovative, smart, balanced and socially, environmentally and commercially sustainable. The Surrey economy makes a significant contribution to the Exchequer (around £6 billion a year, and second only to London.

 

GBC’s new vision is for Guildford to be a town and borough with strong infrastructure; world class businesses with capacity to expand and deliver growth: an evolving and vibrant economy, which creates a progressive and sustainable environment for people today and for future generations living in an ever-improving society.

 

To support this vision, the strategy focuses on five strategic priorities within the borough:

  • Leadership: leaders of Guildford borough’s public and private sectors working together for the prosperity of the borough.
  • Infrastructure – the need to address the difficulties of congestion causing delays and making journey times unpredictable, car parking, lack of high speed broadband and a shortage of houses for local workers.
  • Enterprise – supporting existing businesses and helping them to address the

problems that are preventing them from growing, helping and developing new businesses – particularly those in high growth sectors, networking with businesses to make sure they are engaging and doing business with each other and identifying skills needs for the future.

  • Innovation – help innovative clusters to advance and create new technologies and businesses, particularly through the University of Surrey and the research park.
  • Skills and Employment – developing the skills that will be needed in the future and finding supportive ways of providing skills and employment opportunities to those, who are finding it difficult to get jobs.

  

5. Employment Land Assessment

 For the period 2013-2031, we estimate the new Local Plan should provide an additional 10.5 hectares (ha) to 20 ha of B use class floor space (net) to meet the borough’s identified employment needs. Employment floor space means all commercial and industrial uses which fall into classes B1, B2 and B8 of the Use Classes Order, and also some Sui Generis uses such as car showrooms

 

Our assessment of potential capacity equates to approximately 7.4 ha. There is not enough supply employment land to meet future growth needs, we are between 3.1 ha and 12.6 ha short, so we must find new employment sites in the borough.

 

If GBC does not provide enough suitable land and enough choice and flexibility the new Local Plan may not meet the needs of the borough’s businesses.

 

GBC Key Findings:

  • In the medium to long term, the Guildford borough Countryside and Green Belt Study states that it has identified potential development areas of which GBC believes that seven may be suitable for future employment use. Using the average figures, these would deliver 16.2 ha to 22.0 ha of additional employment floor space over the plan period.
  • If all seven potential sites were brought forward, they would provide between five and seven times the lower baseline deficit (of 3.1 ha) and a surplus of between 3.6 and 9.4 ha of the upper baseline deficit (12.6 ha).
  • 45% of people living in the Borough commute to jobs outside of the borough. 47% of jobs in the borough filled by people commuting into the borough.
  • The mid-range forecasted increase in employment (all jobs) over the period 2006 to 2031 is approximately 12,400 jobs.
  • Table 13 provides a summary of the estimated changes in the borough’s employee supply over the next twenty years after taking into account both inward and outward commuting patterns. The table shows that the estimated total increase in the employee supply to 2031 will be in the region of 11,600 people. This figure consists of just over 6,300 additional residents working within the borough and 5,350 more people from outside the borough commuting in.

6. Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)

 The primary role of a SHLAA is to:

  • Identify land with potential for housing development
  • Assess the land’s housing potential
  • Assess when it is likely to be developed.

 

The GBC SHLAA sets out all the land in Guildford borough that GBC believes is suitable, available and viable for housing development over the next 15 years.

 

The SHLAA is a technical study. It helps to inform future planning policy by assessing land for its housing potential. The inclusion of land in the SHLAA does not imply that the Council will grant planning permission for housing development or allocate the land for housing development through the new Local Plan. All planning applications must, and will continue to be, determined against the development plan and material planning considerations.

 

GBC Key Findings:

  • GBC believes that there is sufficient land to deliver 11,799 new homes over the next 15 years. Of these, 2,539 new homes could come forward in the next five years.

 

GRA Key Issues:

  • Windfall allowances not included in the SHLAA
  • In contrast to the GBCS, only assessed potential sites in the Green Belt that are outside the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • Not examined countryside land to the south of Tongham and around Poyle Farm, land at the former Wisley airfield, land between the villages of Normandy and Flexford, land at Send.

Must See GRA Documents

Press Release:

GRA United in Opposition to Local Plan Across Town and Country (7 June 2016)

You can see the latest press release here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© Graham Hibbert