Because the Local Plan removes the settlements of Normandy, Flexford, and Walden Cottages from the Green Belt (they are now ‘inset’ rather than ‘washed over’) we can expect to see more proposals for ‘limited infilling’ within the settlement area.

Planning application 19/P/00167, which was an outline application to consider access for change of use and creation of up to a total of eleven dwelling houses at Wanborough Business Centre. This was refused by GBC,

Pirbright Institute have submitted a new planning application for further buildings at the Ash Road site for the construction and operation of a hazardous waste incinerator. In July 2016, the Pirbright Institute was granted Outline Planning Permission (OPP) (ref: 15/P/00604) by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) for the demolition and redevelopment of part of its Campus in Pirbright, known as the Pirbright Campus. 

As with all outline permissions, the content of the final proposal is unknown until the applicant submits their proposals. The Institute is now submitting its proposal to GBC [17/P/02579] for the development of a high containment large animal facility [HCLAF] in a plot in the south east corner of the site.

The proposed 2018-19 budget and other financial plans will be discussed for recommendation at the Executive meeting on 23 January, for final discussion and approval by the Full Council on 7 February. This will include the council's investment strategy. It appears the western wards of the borough may be surprise recipients of council largesse. However, when looked at against the background of the submitted Guildford Local Plan sites there might be a hidden agenda.

GBC has revealed that it is working with sources of external joint funding such as the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Surrey County Council and Network Rail on key infrastructure projects such as

  • new Guildford West station in Park Barn
  • improving the A331/A31 Hogs Back road junction
  • new road bridge over the railway in Ash

These particular infrastructure projects appear to enable those parts of the Local Plan (before it has even been examined and approved by the Planning Inspectorate) to the west of the town concerning

  • the expansion of Surrey Science Park by University of Surrey
  • the proposed housing development by University of Surrey at Blackwell Farm and its associated secondary school
  • the need for rail service access to expanded University of Surrey accommodation on Manor Farm, the expanded Surrey Science Park and the new settlement with its school
  • the need to remove the traffic flow blockage of Ash level crossing on the A323 as more and more housing is pushed into Ash and Ash Green. 

The trajectory of the Guildford Local Plan was set in 2010 and it looks as if it hasn't changed much.

Local press reports indicate Guildford Borough Council [GBC] has entered into talks with the University of Surrey [UniS] in regard of the provision of student accommodation. According to the UniS Financial Statements in 2016/17, it is planning to invest £80 million in accommodation on its Manor Park campus over the next two years, to provide 1,150 rooms, but there appear to be budgetary constraints. The council's investment strategy outlines plans to invest an estimated £81 million in student housing by 2020-2021 and is to be presented for approval at the beginning of February. GBC is looking to make the investment over a three-year period.

This investment might lead to some reduction in the reported 1,700 properties in the Guildford urban area dedicated to student lets, releasing them for local families and essential workers, potentially reducing pressures generated in the submitted Guildford Local Plan to build a high proportion of new homes in the Green Belt.

Much comment has been generated by the decision of the planning inspector [APP/Y3615/W/16/3161412] to approve on appeal a proposed £150 million scheme of Solum Regeneration [14/P/02168] to rebuild Guildford's railway station complex to include 438 new homes in high-rise blocks up to 10-storeys high, new office space and a multi-storey car park. Guildford Borough Council appear particularly disappointed. There have been suggestions that the council might consider initiating a formal Judicial Review of the inspector's decision.

Other groups such as GVG [Guildford Vision Group] and Guildford Society have consistently drawn attention to the potential impact on traffic flows in the town centre and views into and out of the town from the south-west being significantly affected by the mass and height of the proposals. More than 200 people objected to the plans during the public consultation period, as well as groups such as CPRE [Campaign to Protect Rural England], GRA [Guildford Residents' Association] and the Holy Trinity Amenity Group.

The active opposition by nearby residents, resulting in over 70 letters of objection, is likely to have contributed to the refusal of this planning application (17/P/02372), as weight of comment on 'material considerations' is important, and it also meant the GBC Planning Committee had to consider the application. This demonstrates how vital it is for local residents to make their views known.

Residents have objected strongly to the planning application 17/P/02372 for a change of use for the stationing of caravans for residential purposes at the site known as Pineside Piggeries, Pirbright Road. Over 70 comments objecting to the proposals have been submitted to GBC.

Planning application 17/P/01916 was refused in November 2017. The site was identified as being located in the 400 metre exclusion zone of the TBHSPA and being inappropriate development in the Green Belt. In particular, it was judged that it would reduce the 'openness' of the Green Belt. 

A substantial area of Green Belt agricultural land on the north slopes of the Hog's Back at Wanborough, has been sold to a land investment company, which has parcelled it up into a series of lots for onward sale. The area is entirely within the Area of Great Landscape Value [AGLV] and is due for consideration for inclusion in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB].

At its meeting on 19 January Guildford Borough Council’s Planning Committee refused the application 17/P/01413 for the construction of 9 new residential units with associated parking and gardens on land to the east of Glaziers Lane, Normandy, GU3 2EB.

The Elms Gardens site in Glaziers Lane, Normandy is identified among the 53 sites listed in the new Guildford Borough Council Brownfield Land Register.  This land is currently subject to a planning application 17/P/02326 for 30 dwellings.

The Government maintains that Brownfield Land Registers will provide up-to-date, publicly available information on brownfield land that is suitable for housing and to include all brownfield sites that are suitable for housing development irrespective of their planning status but puts the decision as to what land is included in the register in the hands of local authorities.

The second planning application [16/P/02134] for change of use from agricultural land to Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace [SANG] at Russell Place Farm, Frog Grove Lane, Wood Street has been refused by Guildford BC Planning Committee, overturning the recommendation of the case officer.

15/P/02063 Rathfarnham House, East Flexford Lane, Wanborough, Guildford, GU3 2JP

Change of use from residential (C3) to Care Home (C2) for a temporary period of 3 years

Approved 04/01/2016

The use hereby permitted shall be discontinued on or before 01/01/2019

No objection from Surrey CC Highways Authority


Michael Cox, Renaissance Support Ltd (not listed as Director but June Conn is minority shareholder)

Julie Conn, La Vita Nova Care Home, Crann Dara, East Flexford Lane, Wanborough GU3 2JP

Surrey Heath BC

CASE NO: 2015/0684


PROPOSAL: Change of Use from C3 (Dwelling) to C2 Residential Institution) for 5 residents with learning and physical disabilities. (Amended plan rec'd 14/08/2015).

TYPE: Full Planning Application

APPLICANT: Mr Michael Cox, La Vita Nova

OFFICER: Mr N Praine

Registration Date 06/08/2015

Earliest Decision Date 09/09/2015

Statutory Expiry Date 01/10/2015

Surrey County Council are currently working on producing a new Rural Strategy for Surrey and would like our views.  The consultation is based on an on-line questionnaire (an empty PDF version available for download is attached to this article). Originally the deadline for completion was set to 4 January 2016 but because of the intervening Christmas and New Year period, the county council have conceded to requests from the public to extend the period to give greater opportunity to submit responses.

Ash Residents' Association [ASHRA] circulated their members on 8 January 2016, reminding them that Bewley Homes and a2dominion obtained outline planning permission to build up to 400 homes on the land known as Ash Meadows to the south of Ash Lodge Drive in the Green Belt in 2014.

ASHRA indicated that these companies will hold an exhibition at the Tongham Community Centre on Thursday 21st January 2016 from 3:30pm to 8pm. This exhibition is to display their progressed plans, prior to their submission of a detailed planning application, known as a "reserve matters" application, to Guildford Borough Council.

This of interest to Normandy and Flexford residents as the original proposals contained the designation of 24 hectares of land as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace [SANG] only 3.8 kilometres (approximately) from the lately refused North Wyke Farm site.

On 8 December 2015, an appeal outcome (APP/Y3615/W/15/3132375) against 15/P/00293 was published by the Planning Inspectorate that decided in favour of the appellant Taylor Wimpey for the building of 26 dwellings at Minley Nursery to the west of Spoil Lane, Tongham adjacent to Ash Manor School; the original application was for 55 dwellings.

In that judgement the Inspector states that GBC indicated the 24 hectares of SANG proposed by Bewley Homes at Ash Lodge Drive was available, in contrast to the the Officer Report for North Wyke Farm, Normandy decision on 14 December 2015 that indicated the proposed SANG was unavailable.

The CIL rates below are set much lower for greenbelt land than for urban land and still show “strategic sites”, including the as yet unconfirmed Blackwell Farm, Gosden Hill Farm and Wisley Airfield:

♦ Guildford Town  £500
♦ Ash & Tongham  £100
♦ Rural areas and villages  £300
♦ Slyfield £150
♦ Strategic sites £400
Purpose built student accommodation:  £75
Assisted care housing:  £100
Retail: £200
Other forms of floorspace:    £0

This suggests that town centre development will almost all be “other forms of floorspace”, or retail, or student accommodation, as it is significantly cheaper to develop than residential, forcing residential development into Ash, Tongham, Slyfield, the rural areas and the strategic sites. 

The consultation period closes 31 March 2015.

The Chancellor and the Housing Minister have proposed 10 housing zones outside London using 'brownfield' land; a shortlist of 29 areas has been published, each of which have bid to become one of the housing zones.  Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has been quoted as saying "this would protect the Green Belt"

Wednesday the 17th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template