Local Plan public hearings start for independent inspection

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council, says: "We are very proud of the Local Plan we submitted to the inspectorate and look forward to it being tested through the examination process and the public hearings that start today (5 June).

"Change is not always easy, and difficult decisions have had to be taken to balance community needs across our borough. It's a critical plan for everyone's future and many people and groups got involved and made their feelings known in the extensive feedback to our public consultations. The majority accept that Guildford needs an up to date Local Plan and the Council has been determined to ensure it has one. Recent decisions made following planning appeals have already shown what can happen if you do not have a plan in place.

"Meeting the borough's housing need in full, in the most sustainable way and with a focus on affordable homes, has been challenging, especially in the early years of the plan. Alongside this we must also achieve an appropriate balance between housing, employment and retail needs, whilst protecting the heritage and character of our borough.

"It's also important to remember that the plan isn't just about housing numbers. Clearly that has been the dominant issue in many people's minds. Our plan is about creating sustainable places, jobs and growth that create opportunities for all our communities to flourish.

"Sustainable growth also requires the delivery of necessary supporting infrastructure. Not just for transport, but also primary and secondary schools, waste transfer facilities, health facilities and large areas of accessible open space in the countryside for local people.

"We believe our plan gets the balance right, directing growth to appropriate sites and safeguarding what makes our borough such a special place to live, work and visit. We are pleased to have reached this important stage in the process and look forward to working with the Planning Inspector to help examine the Local Plan and move to adoption by the end of this year".

The public hearings agenda and other examination documents are available to view online on our Local Plan Examination web page

Published on Tuesday 5 June.