Settlement Hirearchy is another document essential to the evidence base of the Local Plan process for Guildford borough.  The Local Plan process carried out in 2003 created settlement boundaries drawn around each defined settlement in the borough.  A settlement is not necessarily contiguous with a village or parish boundary.  In 2003 settlement boundaries were drawn tightly around the developed curtilage of built development in order to maximise Green Belt protection.  The NPPF proposes the core concept of “sustainable development” without actually defining what that means as it is in fact an oxymoron.  In the Local Plan process each settlement is assessed for what facilities it contains, and what facilities are within 1km of the boundary.  These facilities determine if each settlement can operate as a self-sustaining community with shops/doctor surgery/schools/public open space etc within easy walking/cycling distance for residents, has access to methods of public transport and so reduce carbon emissions that result from car-based commuting.  These facilities are then scored and the settlements ranked for “sustainability”.  The more “sustainable” a community, the more likely it to be targeted for new housing development.

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