Within hours of the press release announcing the publication of Volume 5 of the Green Belt and Countryside Study, the lead councillor responsible for the Guildford Borough Local Plan had to release a denial that the sites identified within the new document were definitely sites to be developed. So much has suspicion and disbelief grown in the borough community to any new information on the Local Plan issued by this council and its paid lackeys, that such a denial was necessary is no surprise. Continue reading
When I first read the Guildford Borough Corporate Plan a number of things struck me.
- Why didn’t I know about it? Like most good political operators, the Council slipped it out last October when everybody’s attention was focused elsewhere on the Local Plan; no fanfares, no publicity, not even a press release.
- Why didn’t I have a chance to comment on it before or after the fact? After all it contains stuff on housing and economic development that has the potential to affect where I live over the next three years and on through the Local Plan period up to 2031.
- How long was it in development, where did the evidence come from and could I trust the sources? You never know, it might have been prepared by the University of Surrey.
Surrey Research Park supports incubation of start ups, SMEs or much reduced corporate offices, such as when a UK world-wide corporation sold out to a European rival on the grounds of maximising shareholder return. Where is the local economic growth in that? Incubation of start ups is a revolving door. When either they grow bigger and outgrow Guildford, or when they submit to the blandings of UK economic development areas that have larger government subsidies for larger sites when they scale up, or when they fail as do many start ups, their premises become vacant for a new start up or SME. For example, there’s one start-up that likely shall be vacating the Science Park later this year or the beginning of next to set up their new enlarged operations in an area where the regional subsidies handed out by central government simply out-compete what Guildford and Enterprise M3 LEP can ever hope to offer. Continue reading
In retrospect, would you believe a minister of the Crown, a judge sitting in the Court of Appeal, or a senior council officer? When it came to Guildford Borough Council planning team trying to justify their evidence base in front of the borough’s own Scrutiny Committee, all bets were off. The ten individuals, to whom the council deigned to give air time for 3 minutes each to raise their pros and cons (mostly cons) on the veracity of the evidence base, certainly had to sit in silence and listen to a determined attack on their legitimate concerns and so here is a bit of a response to the thorny question of Green Belt protection. Continue reading