Objection from an unexpected quarter

A kindly compatriot pointed me to the documents received in response to the current planning application 14/P/00135 submitted to Guildford Borough Council [GBC] and in particular drew my attention to that of Natural England.

Natural England is the latest incarnation of English Nature (and others) established in October 2006.  It  is the non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England’s natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved. So it was a bit of a surprise to find them objecting to the proposed development of sixteen 4-bedroom executive homes at 140 Glaziers Lane, Normandy. Continue reading

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Housing Numbers

Very thorough analysis that gives insight into why there is a myriad of different potential targets. Although originally posted in October 2013 and therefore reflective of the 2009 SHMA that was available to the 2013 Guildford draft Local Plan, it raises serious questions that the new SHMA (December 2013) has failed to address.

Guildford Plan

Guildford Borough Council’s paper “How many new homes?” sets out to provide a range of different approaches to calculating housing numbers between 2011 and 2031.  The resulting picture is a potentially confusing one with estimates of NEED ranging from 181 homes per year to 1,066 new households per year.  This seems to be akin to a game of ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ – a blindfold stab in the dark.

Before going on to the paper itself, it might be helpful to review the requirement placed on us by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012.

NPPF (Section 6) Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes

47. To boost significantly the supply of housing, local planning authorities should:

  • use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as…

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It’s all about money

Guildford Borough Council [GBC] and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership [LEP] have a strongly intertwined relationship, with a former leader of Guildford Borough Council and a leading figure from University of Surrey sitting on it’s board.  The council and the LEP have together created a shared Strategic Economic Plan [SEP] that is seeking funding from the EU (initially £38.54 million) and UK government sources (£70.00 million from the Local Growth Fund for housing alone) and further funding steams such as the New Homes Bonus (GBC received £1.5 million New Homes Bonus 2012/2013) plus others from the Homes & Communities Agency ).  The funding streams are contingent on a growth strategy, stimulating employment and thereby driving local housing demand and potentially stimulating new house building. Continue reading