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Guildford publishes revised local plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Wisley airfield

Guildford Borough Council has published its revised local plan, including plans for a disused airfield, following 20,000 comments and questions received during the 2014 public consultation.

With 89 per cent of the borough being designated green belt, the council said major consideration has been given to “protecting this land”.

Instead, development is being directed at making better use of land that has already been built on under a ‘brownfield first’ preference and 1.6 per cent of greenfield land will be taken from the green belt for development.

The revised local plan, which outlines the borough’s needs until 2033, states that development will be directed at Guildford town centre, urban areas, inset villages and “identified green belt villages”.

It notes though, that these locations alone are unable to accommodate a “sufficient level of development” to satisfy the area’s growth needs. The plan identifies four additional options to help contribute to meeting the area’s need: countryside beyond the green belt, urban extensions, a new settlement at the former Wisley Airfield and development around villages.

The inclusion of Wisley Airfield as a potential location for development follows planners at the council deeming a proposal for 2,000 homes on the airfield to be “inappropriate” and recommending it for refusal. The council are holding a special meeting today (6 April) to consider the application.

According to the plan, Wisley Airfield falls into the yellow (medium sensitivity) bracket. It states: “Given the sustainability merits of strategic sites due to the infrastructure that can be provided alongside them and the NPPF support given to this development option, this site would also remain in the plan.”

Paul Spooner, leader of Guildford Borough Council, said the council received a “tremendous” response during the public consultation and “every comment has been considered”.

“We listened to opinions and have changed the plan considerably to take account of feedback,” he said, with the responses to comments made to be published in May.

A consultation statement will also be issued in May this year, while the revised local plan will be considered at a meeting of the borough, economy and infrastructure executive Advisory Board on 13 April. It will be considered by the executive and the full council in May.

The revised plan can be viewed on the Guildford Borough Council website.

Image credit | Peter Trimming