Thousands of new homes to be built in Guildford’s countryside.

Protesters at the council's offices
Image captionThousands objected to the new policy

The new housing policy was backed by Guildford Borough Council in the face of thousands of objections. Opponents believe it permits unnecessary development on rural land.

The council said the plan, which allows the building of 10,678 homes by 2034, would meet rising demand that could not be met in urban areas.

Some 2,000 homes are earmarked for the former Wisley Airfield site, with a further 1,500 at Blackwell Farm off Hog’s Back and 800 in the town centre.

The council said the following villages had been removed from the green belt: Chilworth, East Horsley, Effingham, Fairlands, Flexford, Jacobs Well, Normandy, Peasmarsh, Ripley, Send, Send Marsh, Burnt Common, Shalford, West Horsley and Wood Street Village.

Opponents can lodge a High Court appeal. Perhaps the Campaign For The Protection for Rural England should be launching another Judicial Review?

Georgie Paulson and his mum Katharine
An 11, year-old  joined his mother at a protest against the plan

They were among protesters who gathered outside the council’s offices ahead of the vote. Saying they were so concerned about the loss of the green belt. “We are custodians of the countryside and we need to safeguard the green belt,” she said.

Presentational grey line

What is the green belt?

English countryside

Green belts were introduced after World War Two to stop cities from sprawling and countryside being spoilt. There are tight controls on building in these areas.

The government says the “essential characteristics of green belts are their openness and their permanence”. It is made up of both greenfield sites, which have never been developed, and brownfield sites, which are often on disused or derelict land that needs to be cleared.

About 13% of England is now covered and the 14 green belt areas are meant to be permanently protected – and are only reviewed in exceptional circumstances.

However, it has reduced in size by about 100km2 (39 square miles) since 2010, primarily due to councils adopting new planning policies.

The “Guildford borough local plan” has been years in the making, but opponents criticised the decision to hold the key vote just before elections, which could shift the balance of power in the council.

Former Conservative council leader Paul Spooner agreed the timing was “unfortunate” but said that delaying until after elections would mean “we have to go through the process again” with an estimated delay of two to three years.”On that basis, it makes sense to move forward now.”

In March, a government planning inspector said the plan was sound and it was justified to build on some green belt land to meet a pressing need for housing.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.