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At a presentation during Normandy Parish Council monthly planning meeting 24 February 2016, residents heard from Guildford Borough Council [GBC] Lead Councillor for Planning that the 'safeguarded land' previously proposed in the draft Guildford Local Plan to be removed from the Green Belt and reserved for future housing development has had this status reversed. In addition, under the newly introduced GBC "sensitivity" analysis of land parcels, based on a traffic light system 'red', 'amber' and 'green', where 'red' is land with the highest sensitivity, this land (located in Land Parcel H12, GBCS Vol 5) has been allocated a 'red' rating. Generally, the expectation would be that this land would not be included in the draft Local Plan for any form of development and remain to fulfill its important Green Belt purpose, preventing the merging of Flexford and Normandy and restricting sprawl.

However, it turns out from the comments of the Lead Councillor for Planning that this land might be considered for development after all, as a location for a secondary school. Apparently, GBC are in discussion with Surrey County Council [SCC] over future provision of expanded secondary education facilites in Guildford borough for up to eight secondary school entry classes. This expansion is derived by SCC from the increased population in Guildford borough over the next 20 years, driven by the 13,000 additional homes proposed under the joint West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment [SHMA] Objectively Assessed Need [OAN] for Guildford (693 houses per year) used as a basis in the draft Guildford Local Plan.

Where new school build is required, the major house builders can be seen to ask for housing in the associated proposal in order to deliver their profitability. Just down the road from Normandy on the A323 near Fairlands on the Rokers 9-hole golf course land, a proposal has been presented to residents recently for a 370 unit housing development accompanied by a 5-form entry secondary school on 'previously developed land' in the Green Belt. It was suggested to the gathered Normandy residents by the Lead Councillor for Planning that if a commercial house builder were to make such a proposition in land parcel H12, GBC would be obliged to consider it seriously.

This calls into question why the council has introduced its "sensitivity" analysis. The hint of this possible school requirement on this Green Belt land makes the application of a "sensitivity" test questionable, to be overturned in the face of a planning application for a school but essentially with hundreds of houses attached for private profit. Instead of removal from the Green Belt at the hands of GBC planners by 'safeguarding' the land for thousands of houses in the draft Guildford Local Plan, land parcel H12 potentially might be removed from the Green Belt for a school and hundreds of houses by the back door, outside the Guildford Local Plan.

 

Monday the 19th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template