On Friday 24 August Guildford Borough Council [GBC] published its modified Local Plan in response to the challenges laid down by the Planning Inspector following the Examination in Public in June/July. Just before the Bank Holiday weekend - a good time to bury bad news, perhaps...

As foreshadowed in an earlier post on Nextdoor Normandy, the proposals, which will be the subject of public consultation starting September 2018, include a "Village Extension" to the Flexford settlement, now described as Site A64, "Land between Glaziers Lane and Strawberry Farm, Flexford”, intended to deliver 105 homes. The details of the proposal, which was approved by the GBC Executive on 4 September, can be found on the GBC website.

Not only is this planned development on land that is 'red-rated' in terms of Green Belt sensitivity, it also creates a significant precedent in that it extends the Flexford settlement boundary north of the railway line, taking it all the way up to Strawberry Farm and perhaps marks the beginning of the end for the historical separation of the Normandy and Flexford settlements that has contributed to the openness of the Green Belt in this area and served to protect us from inappropriate development.

The irony is that applications for development on other sites in Normandy have been rejected on exactly the same grounds as apply to this one: inappropriate development in and negative impact on the openness of the Green Belt, a departure from the existing linear development pattern in Glaziers Lane, etc. Faced with a challenge from the Inspector the planners in Guildford, rather than revisit some of the earlier proposals, have simply plucked out of thin air a site that has not featured in any of the versions of the Local Plan that have gone to public consultation. Easy for them, no doubt, but making something of a mockery of the whole Local Plan process and also denying local residents any say in where they would like to see development in their community. 

As noted above, there will be a period of public consultation on the latest version of the Plan, from 11 September to 23 October. Once Normandy Action Group have had time to study the detailed proposals we will issue some guidance to help local residents to decide how they wish to respond. No doubt the Parish Council will also be seized of the matter. 

This is therefore an alert to what is at stake and to encourages residents to take a look at the proposals. Downloading the "Agenda Reports Pack" PDF document from the GBC website using the above link and searching for “Flexford” reveals a map of the site and the rationale for its inclusion.

Sustainability Report - Addendum Sep 2018 - Normandy & Flexford

Public Reports Pack (extract) - Policy A64 - Normandy & Flexford

Thursday the 15th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template