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Letter: Effingham Eye Is Not Correct

From Liz Hogger

Lib Dem borough councillor and parish councillor for Effingham

There are some factual errors in Mr Dick’s account (Effingham Eye: Aftermath Of Homes And School Planning Decision) which should be corrected for the record.

Although CPRE originally objected to the inclusion of Effingham Lodge Farm (ELF) in the Neighbourhood Plan (NP), they swiftly withdrew that objection once they had met with parish councillors and understood the reasons for the allocation. In fact, the NP policy ENP-SA3 allocates a small part of ELF for just six houses, mainly on brownfield land, with derelict glasshouses and other buildings cleared from the rest of the land so there would be a net increase in openness of the green belt.

The Secretary of State agreed that the appeal proposals were contrary to ENP-SA3, but gave this only moderate weight because of the lack of a five-year housing land supply in the borough as a whole. Effingham Parish Council was quite correct in pointing out the NP now carries full weight as part of Guildford’s Development Plan, but unfortunately, we were let down by fact that Guildford’s Local Plan still carries little weight and Guildford only has a 2.1 year supply of housing land.

Mr Dick suggests that paragraph 364 of the Inspector’s report says that the parish council in its NP agreed that the greater site (Effingham Lodge Farm) should be removed from the green belt. This is totally incorrect.

As is clear from the preceding paragraph in the inspector’s report, paragraph 364 is referring to the existing Howard of Effingham School site and not Effingham Lodge Farm. The school site would be inset from the green belt under the emerging Local Plan, which the NP accepts. However, the NP strongly supports ELF staying in the green belt, as evidenced by ENP-SA3.

At the end of the day, the Secretary of State decided that the lack of housing land should outweigh harm to the green belt, and a new school should be secured by effectively selling the green belt for development rather than providing government funding. In his eyes, a Neighbourhood Plan supported by 93.5% of residents at referendum counted for very little.

Finally, I would point out that it is incorrect to state, in relation to the S106 funding to rebuild part of the KGV Hall, that “These plans offered little to meet the needs of a growing number of residents.” On the contrary, the plans were acceptable in planning terms precisely because they were designed to meet the needs of a growing number of residents.

The plans propose the provision of significant new community space for functions, meetings and activities such as dance, with disabled access (currently lacking) as well as updated and extended changing rooms and showers for sports users.

Both EVRT and the parish council are committed to wider consultation with residents on the final detailed plans for the KGV rebuild, should the S106 funding eventually materialise.

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One Response to Letter: Effingham Eye Is Not Correct

  1. John Perkins Reply

    April 14, 2018 at 11:30 am

    It’s worthy of note that the Secretary of State believes that a lack of housing land outweighs harm to the green belt.

    That seems cavalier given that green belt is intended to restrict housing.

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