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From Andy Smith, Surrey branch director, Campaign to Protect Rural England.
The decision by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to “reassess” its draft Local Plan has been welcomed by the Surrey branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
We, the CPRE, say that GBC’s policy reversal reflected overwhelming public opposition to any removal of green belt protection from the countryside around Surrey’s villages.
We welcome the statement from GBC leader Cllr Mansbridge and hope that the council will stand by its new policy and not allow it to be watered down under pressure from developers.
Councillors must come to terms with the strength of feeling among local people. The green belt is cherished as a vital safeguard for our countryside and open spaces. It should not be compromised.
The council, after trying for so long to force local communities to accept its plan for a massive roll-back of the green belt, now appears to have ditched this unpopular and discredited plan. It is a very welcome U-turn. It is late in the day, but better late than never.