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Local Plan – thousands of public comments and impact of latest consultation

7th November 2018

We received over 5,500 comments in the recent consultation on the main modifications to our new Local Plan.

Cllr Paul Spooner, Leader of the Council, says: “Getting more public feedback to the independent Planning Inspector is another important step in providing sustainable places to live and work in our borough, supported by vital infrastructure and a great environment.

“The government’s Inspector found our plan to be substantially sound on all key tests during this summer’s public hearings, which form part of his examination. As with many other hearings, he recommended that we make some changes and consult on these before his conclusion and final report. This led to over 5,500 comments in the public consultation during September and October. I would like to thank everyone who got involved in this latest opportunity to help shape our borough’s future.”

We will send this latest feedback to the Inspector, who will then review the comments before completing his examination and final recommendations to the Council.

The Inspector has also indicated that he will consider our latest documents about the new Office of National Statistics (ONS) household projection figures alongside the comments from the recent consultation.

We think that the potential reduction in homes based on the ONS figures means that it is now possible to meet our borough’s housing need, without having to allocate any of the new greenbelt sites proposed in the recent main modifications consultation. He also intends to hold a further public hearing session to discuss the housing requirement and the possible implications arising from the latest household projections.

Impact of government consultation on methodology to calculate number of homes

Our submitted Local Plan is being progressed under a transitional arrangement in terms of calculating the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) for the total number of homes needed each year in our borough. The government is now consulting on what will be the new standard methodology applicable to future plans.

Cllr Spooner explains: “Our plan is about more than providing much-need local homes, but it is important to understand the potential and significant impact of proposed changes in how many homes our borough needs.

“The previous consultation on standard government methodology resulted in an OAN for Guildford of 431 homes and many were calling for the plan to be withdrawn to take advantage of this new lower figure. However, it was made clear by the government that the methodology would need to change, potentially resulting in an increase in the annual total figure for Guildford.

“This has proven to be the case and the number of homes calculated for our borough in the latest government consultation has gone up significantly to 752. This vindicates our decision to progress the Local Plan under the transitional arrangements and an OAN figure 562.”