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Letter: Rural England Campaign Group Welcomes Reassessment Of Draft Local Plan

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).

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.

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4 Responses to Letter: Rural England Campaign Group Welcomes Reassessment Of Draft Local Plan

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    December 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I would caution about taking this ‘reassessment’ at face value. Re-assess does not necessarily mean change.

    Remember that the GBC Tories ‘re-assessed’ their position on the green belt, following their 2011 manifesto pledge to protect it.

    This lot has made much of central government changing its guidance on the NPPF/green belt.

    Central government changed nothing. It was always GBC’s interpretation that was at fault and so disastrously favoured development over protection of the green belt.

    Do not expect this leopard to change its spots, despite protestations to the contrary in the run-up to an election.

  2. Stuart Thompson Reply

    December 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    The CPRE is even less qualified to speak for the people of Guildford than most of the other groups who purport to do so.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    December 8, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Perhaps Mr Thompson would like our councillors to speak out (and not toe any party line on controversial subjects) or perhaps ‘commercial operations’ to speak out and explain why they are promoting large housing numbers (without the documented need or ability to supply trades and building materials) and an unneeded link road?

    It is part of a natural democracy for any group or organisation to speak out for what they see as a move in the wrong direction for our community. The CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England), like many organisations which could come under his “less qualified to speak for” umbrella, are speaking out for good reason – like those who speak out against neo-nicotoides killing our Bees and trouble in the middle-east where football stadiums are being built by migrants who are not allowed to leave the country (their passports are seized on arrival).

    If Mr Thompson is happy with the housing numbers (which many deem excessive), the £1.15 million pound low-cost homes currently being built and the 30,000 plus additional vehicles over the next 25 -30 years, with inadequate infrastructure, then he should speak out and explain why. Perhaps he could also say where the water and electricity would come from, what the anti-pollution methods could be used when all the trees are cut down and how are these additional residents going to be schooled and kept in good health.

    He may consider CPRE unqualified to speak out but where would be without these groups – some of which are genuine statutory consultative bodies and many of which have long years of history experience, knowledge and considerable popular support.

  4. Stuart Barnes Reply

    December 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I would rather listen to the CPRE than many of the other interest groups.

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