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First look at updated Local Plan

We continue to make progress in developing our new Local Plan - with significant and minor changes - alongside reduced housing numbers and removed, new or updated sites for homes, employment and infrastructure.

The Borough, Economy and Infrastructure Executive Advisory Board (EAB) will consider the latest version of the Draft Local Plan at its special meeting on 20 April. The agenda and updated plan is published today (10 April) and members of the public who wish to speak at the meeting can contact us from midday - more details on how to do this follow below.

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council, says: "Local people need a great environment, homes and jobs along with transport and other vital infrastructure to support them. It's crucial that the Local Plan we submit for independent inspection balances these community needs and tackles local issues, wherever anyone lives or works in our borough. We have reviewed the comments from last year's consultation and made a number of significant changes to the plan and proposed sites, as well as updating the supporting evidence and policies.

"We remain committed to fundamental principles, such as a 'brownfield first' policy of proposing sites with past development, and some of the changes increase the number of homes in the town centre with reduced or removed housing sites in the greenbelt. Providing a great borough where people can thrive is about more than places to live, we have also included new sites for employment and infrastructure such as the proposed Guildford West railway station in Park Barn. Our local and strategic partners must complete their supporting transport and other infrastructure projects so we can deliver the Local Plan in full and we are working with them to help make that happen.

"We now need to share the latest plan with councillors via the relevant committees before seeking final Council approval in May. After this, in June and July, we are planning a public consultation targeted on just the updates to the plan that will allow people to give their feedback about the specific changes we propose. This is another major step forward in providing much-needed future homes, jobs and leisure opportunities for people across our borough."

Significant updates to the Draft Local Plan - made for good planning reasons based on consultation comments or changes in circumstances or the supporting evidence - include:

  • reduced total housing target by 1,400 units until end of plan period in 2034
  • reduced housing need from 693 to 654 units per year - revised Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing in updated Guildford Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) Addendum
  • sites removed completely from the plan - primarily for homes in rural areas such as a large site in Normandy and Flexford for 1,100 residential units
  • updated sites with reduced numbers of homes during the plan period - primarily in green belt areas such as Gosden Hill Farm and Blackwell Farm, with 300 fewer residential units at each site, due to phasing of delivery expected beyond 2034
  • updated sites with increased numbers of homes - primarily brownfield in the town centre such as 200 more residential units on the North Street redevelopment
  • updated sites for student accommodation and Travelling Showpeople - such as Guildford College changing from 100 homes to 200 student accommodation units instead and land at Garlick's Arch site that is now accommodating six Travelling Showpeople plots
  • new sites for employment floor space/industrial land - such as land around Burnt Common warehouse is the new site for 7,000sqm of industrial land moved from the site at Garlick's Arch
  • new rail station at Guildford West, Park Barn - is now included as a site allocation
  • reduced total growth requirements from last year's Local Plan 
    • Housing - by 1,400 units
    • Office and research and development floor space - by between 1,100 and 3,500sq m
    • Industrial employment land - by between 1 and 1.2 hectares
    • Comparison retail floor space - by 5,955 sq m (meeting needs to 2030 due to uncertainties in the long term forecasting).

Consultation and comments

In this summer's targeted consultation, provisionally scheduled for 9 June - 24 July, we will only be asking for comments about the proposed changes to the plan. These will be clearly shown via track changes and policy summaries in the updated plan.

All comments received in last year's regulation 19 pre-submission consultation about any unchanged aspects of the plan will remain valid, and will not be subject to further consultation.

We will submit all of last year's comments to the independent Planning Inspector, along with the responses to this year's targeted regulation 19 consultation about the proposed changes.

We will continue to keep you updated with the latest progress - and will let you know how you can get involved in the planned consultation.

You can view the EAB committee agenda for 20 April and the Draft Local Plan item at
www.guildford.gov.uk/council under 'Minutes, meetings and agendas' or

You can view more information about the new Local Plan at

Public speaking opportunities at the Borough, Economy and Infrastructure EAB on 20 April

  • Registration to speak will be accepted by email only - from midday on Monday 10 April until midday the day before the meeting on Wednesday 19 April 2017
  • Please send your email to committeeservices@guildford.gov.uk
  • Please include in your request to speak, a brief outline of the issues you will be specifically addressing as part of your speech.
  • Each speaker will be allocated three minutes each.
  • A total of six people will be permitted to speak and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Published on Monday 10 April.