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Council Leader reacts to Guildford Railway Station planning appeal decision

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, says: "The Planning Inspector's appeal decision, to overturn the Council's Planning Committee's unanimous refusal for permission and allow the Solum scheme at Guildford's main railway station, is extremely disappointing for our whole community. Alongside poor design and little gain for users of the station, it is a blow to our aims for more affordable housing in the town.

"The Inspector recognised the 'strong and well-presented' arguments we put to the Inquiry, which reflects the high calibre of work by Council officers and the external advice we received from experts led by Morag Ellis QC and her team. This is also the type of outcome that illustrates the critical importance of having a Local Plan in place. This site and area of the town is included in the plan we submitted for inspection last month and supports the strategic approach we take for future design and development.

"We agree with the Inspector's conclusion that this proposal has 'polarised opinion' and will cause some 'shock', especially as market housing appears to outweigh the critical need for affordable housing in our borough. Whatever the final result of the scheme, we will continue our work with Network Rail and other partners to provide the supporting infrastructure vital to our borough's future. Our aim remains to balance the needs of everyone who lives or works in Guildford and we will consider all options open to us regarding this depressing decision."

Published on Tuesday 23 January.

Watch Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, reacting to the Guildford Railway Station planning appeal decision.