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Local Plan, A plan that misses the mark.

A lot of work has gone into the Local Plan. It is obvious for anyone who has read through the Local Plan that the Guildford Borough Council’s civil servants have done an excellent job with the brief that were given. Unfortunately the brief does not address the borough’s needs adequately.

The situation we find ourselves in and in need to remediate is the result of the short-sighted 13 years of Conservative leadership of the GBC.  We are in need of housing, both social as well as for the professionals in low to average income jobs that support Guildford’s borough; nurses, police officers, retail workers, bus drivers and a raft of other professionals struggle to find affordable accommodation within Guildford. This results in most of them living outside Guildford and commuting into town, resulting in part in the traffic gridlock most of us experience on a daily basis trying to traverse the city centre. The policies put forward by the GBC do not address the needs of our Borough.
We are calling on the Council to evaluate high-rise, high-density buildings within the centre of Guildford before allowing development in the villages and in the Green Belt. Woking is a good example where multi-story buildings blend in to the city’s life and provide a young and vibrant population.
We are calling on the Council to provide innovative housing accommodation for our young professionals such as purpose-built Multiple Occupancy Houses. Where the Local Plan identifies such accommodation may be created, we ask the council to use the Council’s building company to provide such accommodation for our residents.
We are calling on the Council to provide social housing that addresses our current needs instead of mandating a 40% quota of affordable housing which may well not suffice. The “affordable” housing proposed by the Local Plan is not affordable for most of our residents.
We are calling on the Council to provide accommodation suitable for our ageing population also and include policies that protect the existing bungalows used by our older residents.
We are calling on the Council to ensure decent living standards for everyone by mandating that the 12 Building for Life principles apply to every housing development and only by exception allow developments not to meet these standards.
We are calling on the Council to respect the nature and character of our villages and impose a maximum development target of 20% housing every four years (of the total number of houses envisioned in the Local Plan).
We are calling on the Council to increase the land allocated for offices and manufacturing. We envisage Guildford Borough to be a city in its own right and go beyond the commuter town envisaged by the current Executive Committee.
We strongly support the protection of all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and oppose any changes and development that may erode the character of AONB.
We are calling on the Council to put forward a travelling and commuting scheme that encourages and promotes the use of public transport over car usage. We are calling for the areas to be pedestrianised and for more cycling lanes.
We support the Council’s plans to redevelop the bus station and make it a station our residents can be proud of.
We are calling on the Council to include the development of the River Wey to the Local Plan and ensure a holistic development for our riverfront and town centre.
No development can be sustainable without the right infrastructure supporting it. In this we support the Council in ensuring that infrastructure is created alongside or before any development. We are also calling for innovative approaches to providing the required infrastructure such as working with existing GP services to expand current premises or create additional GP branches to support the increased development.
Finally, we are calling on the Council to be transparent and provide a full and detailed analysis of our development SHMA targets. We believe that a good development plan is integral to this Borough’s future and that our residents will support developments where transparency exists and all other options have been considered and exhausted.

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