Coun­try­side cam­paign­ers say pri­or­ity should be given to brown­field sites

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

COUN­CIL­LORS should be do­ing more to pro­tect and en­hance the green belt, a cam­paign group has said.

Fol­low­ing the clo­sure of Guild­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion on the draft lo­cal plan, the Sur­rey branch of the Cam­paign to Pro­tect Ru­ral Eng­land (CPRE) has gone pub­lic with its let­ter of ob­jec­tion.

In its re­sponse to the con­sul­ta­tion, CPRE crit­i­cised the coun­cil for its fail­ure to give proper con­sid­er­a­tion to what is says is the wide­spread and se­ri­ous con­straints on de­vel­op­ment within the bor­ough.

Among CPRE’s ob­jec­tions to the re­vised draft plan is the coun­cil’s ‘fail­ure’ to en­sure op­ti­mum use of land within the bor­ough’s built-up ar­eas.

Tim Har­rold from the group said: “CPRE recog­nises there is a need for af­ford­able hous­ing in Guild­ford but be­lieves that this short­fall could be largely over­come if the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey would give pri­or­ity to the build­ing on its cam­puses of the mul­ti­ple oc­cu­pancy ac­com­mo­da­tion for stu­dents it has promised.

“This would free up cheaper-priced hous­ing al­ready lo­cated within the town and in­ci­den­tally lead to an in­crease in tax in­come for the coun­cil.

“CPRE main­tains that pri­or­ity should be given to the de­vel­op­ment of brown­field sites for hous­ing, which could in­clude land al­lo­cated for sur­face park­ing in ur­ban lo­ca­tions.”

The Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey pre­vi­ously told the Sur­rey Ad­ver­tiser that it was acutely aware of the need for any de­vel­op­ment to be sym­pa­thetic to its sur­round­ings.

A spokesman for the bor­ough coun­cil said: “The con­sul­ta­tion on the Pro­posed Sub­mis­sion Lo­cal Plan (2017) closed on July 24. This sought com­ments on pro­posed changes made to the Pro­posed Sub­mis­sion Lo­cal Plan (2016).

“We are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing all com­ments to un­der­stand whether any fur­ther changes are re­quired.

“Our cur­rent timetable sets out that we aim to sub­mit the plan to the sec­re­tary of state for ex­am­i­na­tion by an in­de­pen­dent plan­ning in­spec­tor in De­cem­ber 2017.

“When we sub­mit the plan, we will also sub­mit all of last year’s con­sul­ta­tion com­ments, along with the re­sponses to this sum­mer’s con­sul­ta­tion about the pro­posed changes.”

The spokesman ex­plained that after the in­de­pen­dent plan­ning in­spec­tor had com­pleted ex­am­i­na­tion of the plan to as­sess whether it met the re­quire­ments of na­tional pol­icy, a re­port and rec­om­men­da­tions will be pro­duced.

As part of this as­sess­ment, the in­spec­tor will be eval­u­at­ing the over­all im­pact of the lo­cal plan on the bor­ough.

The spokesman added: “We will then con­sider any changes they may have and the full coun­cil will be asked to de­cide whether to adopt the new Lo­cal Plan.”

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