The first AGM under NAG's new committee structure took place on 26 November 2018 in Normandy Village Hall. Thanks to those of you who attended to help us take stock of what we have achieved to date and to look ahead.

Following the public consultation at Normandy Village Hall, a new application for 30 new dwellings at Elm Gardens Centre in Glaziers Lane has recently been validated by Guildford Borough Council [17/P/02326]. This site is previously developed land in the Green Belt and as such any decision is likely to involve consideration of the impact on openness of the Green Belt of the proposed development when compared to the current site use (see NPPF para 89).

In a published decision [APP/Y3615/W/17/3173871], a planning inspector dismissed the appeal against the refusal of outline planning permission for 30 dwellings at land behind 140 Glaziers Lane. The inspector highlighted the impact on openness of the Green Belt of this proposal, the development likely to be at odds with the linear development along Glaziers Lane, and the location of the site within 1 km of the Thames Basin Heaths SPA and the lack of available SANG at the time of the decision. In addition, the very special circumstances required to justify such development in the Green Belt had not been demonstrated.

To the dismay of residents in areas in the west of the borough threatened by housing developments on Green Belt land within the 5 kilometre buffer zone of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area [TBHSPA], an appeal to overturn the rejection of a planning application [13/P/01453] by Guildford Borough Council planning committee, to convert the 34.5 hectares of Russell Place Farm into Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace [SANG], was upheld by the planning inspector.

Residents have been surprised to learn that the property previously known as "Chyfields" at the far end of Flexford Road on the north side of the North Downs railway line towards Guildford has had its name changed to "Chimney Farm" and has new occupiers who have submitted a planning application [16/P/02246] for a change of use for the extensive property. 

Guildford Borough Council [GBC] Planning Committee recently refused an application at Long Reach, East Horsley [16/P/01459] (similar to that at Russell Place Farm, Wood Street), for the creation of a "nature reserve" to "facilitate a SANG" (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace)

A busy back route for HGVs, from A31 Hogs Back to the A323 Aldershot Road via Flexford Road and Glaziers Lane, avoiding the restricted-height bridge in Westwood Lane, will have street lights switched off 12.00 midnight - 5.00 a.m.; Westwood Lane remains unaffected. Most of Flexford will go dark.

Last month, members of the county council’s cabinet approved the proposal to switch off 44,000 street lights in residential areas of Surrey between midnight and 5am, helping the council save £210,000 per year of the £3m annual cost (7%). The first phase of the controversial project is set to begin December 2016.

This ‘private’ SANG proposal [16/P/02134], reclassified as a “nature reserve” by GBC officers, is pivotal in GBC’s draft Local Plan to offset loss of Green Belt land for 1,300 new homes [Draft Local Plan - Infrastructure Delivery Plan] in the 400m-5km mitigation zone of Thames Basin Heaths SPA. As a large site of 34.5 ha, its sphere of influence is up to 5km, covering in particular 900 proposed new dwellings in the Tongham/Ash Green area.

The two most senior officers at Guildford Borough Council are to leave their posts; the Managing Director, Sue Sturgeon is to retire in May 2017 and Deputy Managing Director, Satish Mistry to spend more time with his family at his London home. As yet there is no indication as to their replacements.

On Thursday, 19 November, the three elected representatives for Normandy ward were welcomed to Normandy Village Hall at 7.30pm by NAG and local residents. Jonathan Lord MP, Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor and David Bilbe, Guildford Borough Councillor were invited to address the meeting, introduce themselves and outline how their current political experiences affected our community.

Ash Parish Council had initiated a Judicial Review [JR] of the decision by Guildford Borough Council to approve a planning application (12/P/01973) for 

(a) Outline Planning Permission for the development of up to 400 residential dwellings on 22.1 ha of the site including the creation of an access point from Ash Lodge Drive,

This week it was revealed in the local press that Guildford Greenbelt Group has confirmed their submission to become a political party had been approved by the Electoral Commission.

This will enable the Green Belt campaigning group to endorse candidates and comment on political matters in the run up to an election.

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