A proposed major new housing development threatens the rural character of Normandy. Should you intend to comment on the proposal as part of the consultation you may wish to consider the following points:

  •  GBC has not spelt out the ‘exceptional circumstances’ that are needed to redraw the Green Belt boundary in Normandy, given:
    • Expert opinion that the overall housing number in the Local Plan is exaggerated, in particular failing to take into account the latest housing projections from the Office of National Statistics (these suggest the numbers in the Plan are overstated by 45%).
    • GBC’s failure to capitalise on brownfield sites in Guildford town centre and elsewhere in the Borough and instead to propose more building on greenfield sites. This despite a new town centre policy (S3) inserted at the behest of the Inspector that accepts that more houses than previously anticipated are likely to be built in the town during the Plan period.
    •  The lack of a convincing justification for this site in particular; it appears to have been plucked from nowhere purely to respond to the Inspector’s challenge. A large part of it is a fishing lake and it is not even clear that all of it is available for development.
    • The fact that previous refusals of planning applications on this site have stressed its extreme sensitivity and the damage that would be done to the openness of the Green Belt should development be permitted on it.
  • While it might be tempting to think that a development on this site would safeguard Normandy from larger scale development elsewhere (such as the now discarded and much larger Site A46), we believe this to be a wrong assumption. A64 would be the thin end of a long wedge; by starting to close the gap between the distinct settlements of Normandy and Flexford, it would eventually lead to the urbanisation of our village community.
  • Although this new site has been included as a ‘Main Modification’ to the Local Plan, GBC have not proposed any accompanying improvements to infrastructure. The road and sewerage systems in Normandy are already overloaded and 7% more houses – all to be built over a three-year period - will create a significant additional burden.
  • The site is adjacent to the Strawberry Farm waste management site and there is no assessment of the possible environmental hazards and necessary mitigations.
  • The proposed development would have an adverse effect on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB]. In order to deliver the number of houses required it would probably be necessary to build 3 or even 4 storeys high. This would be completely out of keeping with the rest of Normandy/Flexford and would have an adverse impact on the vista from the Hog’s Back in the AONB.
  • The Sustainability Assessment that accompanies this proposal admits that of all the sites proposed for additional growth in this latest version of the Plan Flexford is the smallest and most rural; it states that “There are no existing facilities in Flexford and so it is not possible to argue that development would help to secure the long term future of village facilities, and hence contribute to village vitality in this way.”

  • In short the site places long term strain on the community without conferring any countervailing benefit.
  • The way this proposal has been inserted into the Local Plan at the last minute makes a mockery of the extensive consultation of previous rounds. Normandy residents have shown in their responses to previous Local Plan consultations that they care passionately about preserving the rural nature of their community. They believed their voices had been heard, but now it would appear they count for nothing.

You can respond to the consultation on the GBC website.

Friday the 16th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template