Open Letter to Councillors

Dear Councillors,

On 24 May you are meeting to consider the Executive’s recommendation that the draft Submission Local Plan be issued for Regulation 19 public consultation. I know you have a huge amount of information to digest and to consider, but I am writing to urge you to look closely at the proposals for the so-called ‘Strategic Site’ (‘A46’) in Normandy Ward and ask yourselves whether you think they are reasonable and fair. They formed no part of the Regulation 18 public consultation in 2014 and therefore came out of the blue to local residents when this latest version of the Plan was published last month. Our MP, Jonathan Lord, has said he is “appalled and aghast at the proposals” (letter to constituents 3 May); both our Surrey County Councillor, Keith Witham, and our own Guildford Borough Councillor, David Bilbe, have said they oppose them (‘Surrey Advertiser’ 6 May, p2). At the GBC Executive meeting on 11 May Cllr Spooner acknowledged he had received numerous emails from local residents opposing the plans – he thought around 500. Continue reading

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What’s in a Name?

Names matter – and it matters how they are used. I live in Normandy – that’s Normandy in Surrey rather than Normandy in France, by the way – an important difference when you are setting your SatNav. At least I thought I lived in Normandy, until earlier this month when Guildford Borough Council (GBC) published its latest draft Local Plan. This includes proposals to create a massive building site on the green fields between the two settlements of Normandy and Flexford, taking the whole of the resulting conurbation out of the Green Belt. Then I realised that according to GBC I actually live in Flexford; or at least that I live in Flexford for the purposes of assessing my village’s contribution to the openness of the Green Belt, but that I live in Normandy and Flexford for the purposes of evaluating whether I live in a sustainable community or not… Continue reading