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Letter: Effingham’s Neighbourhood Plan Is Not Flawed

From Liz Hogger

Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham

Perhaps I should feel flattered that J Dickinson, in his or her comment on Paul Kennedy’s letter: The Effingham Decision Was Taken Under the Conservative Regime, appears to believe that I personally, as one borough councillor out of 48, could have worked constructively to achieve the funding needed to rebuild the Howard School – all £31 million of it. Sadly, that is quite beyond my powers.

And to suggest that the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan is flawed and could in some way have delivered the necessary infrastructure is quite ridiculous. Far from being flawed, the Neighbourhood Plan is extremely positive in planning for housing to meet local need to the maximum extent possible for a village ‘washed over’ by green belt, but also sadly the Neighbourhood Plan has limited powers to deliver infrastructure.

A flawed neighbourhood plan would not have been approved by the Examiner, and would not have achieved 94% support at the referendum, as Effingham’s Plan achieved. The planning policy weight of the Neighbourhood Plan was reduced in this appeal decision because Guildford Borough has only 2.1 years of housing land supply – that problem is way beyond the powers of either an individual borough councillor or a Neighbourhood Plan to fix. It can only be sorted when Guildford finally has an up-to-date Local Plan.

When reading the Secretary of State’s letter giving his reasons for allowing this appeal, it is quite clear that Paul Kennedy is correct. The Conservative government is prepared to break their promises and sacrifice green belt for “enabling development” and override local democracy, rather than providing proper funding for our state schools.

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One Response to Letter: Effingham’s Neighbourhood Plan Is Not Flawed

  1. Ciaran Doran Reply

    April 5, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Quite right Liz. Only a short time before this decision the Conservative Secretary of State was hailing the wonders of Neighbourhood Plans and how he and his government would protect the green belt.

    It’s a farce – nice pronouncements in the national press but when it comes to hard decisions on the ground they seem to be swayed, as usual, by big business.

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