Update, 12 June 2017

Dear all,
Local Plan consultation
A ‘targeted’ consultation on Guildford Borough Council’s Proposed Submission Local Plan (2017) began on Friday and runs to 12 noon on Monday 24 July 2017.  The draft Plan can be viewed on the Council’s website at www.guildford.gov.uk/newlocalplan, and the policy relating to Blackwell Farm (Policy A26) can be found on page 202.
It is very important that everyone writes in to object to this proposal – even if it is just a couple of lines. The Planning Inspector will take into account public feeling when deciding whether this site should be developed, and we need to demonstrate that the people of Guildford want to save the Hog’s Back.
In making your response, please note the following:
  • You can email localplan@guildford.gov.uk or send a letter to: Planning Policy Team, Guildford Borough Council, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, GU2 4BB.
  • You must clearly state that you “object” to Policy A26 (Blackwell Farm).
  • You must include your full name and address.
  • The Council will only consider comments on changes to the Plan, and has stated that all comments should clearly state and identify which paragraph number or policy they relate to in the Local Plan document. To help you with this, a few examples of key arguments are outlined below:
Inclusion of Blackwell Farm as a development site [Policy A26 & para. 4.1.9]:
1) disregards an independent expert landscape study, which demonstrates that part of the site merits Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status following Natural England’s forthcoming boundary review [para. 4.3.8]
2) directs more office space to an extended business park [Policy E4], which will increase peak time congestion – particularly around the hospital and A&E – and will also encourage rat-running through residential areas
3) ignores independent expert traffic studies, which show the impact of development at Blackwell Farm on the local network and question the viability of the development [2.14a]
4) adds to air pollution in neighbouring areas, which already exceeds safe EU limits for Nitrous Oxide [Policy A26].
Traffic study
Compton and Worplesdon Parish Council’s have jointly agreed to fund an addendum to the professional Technical Note, which identified problems with the proposed link road from the A31 to Egerton Road (which will form the sole access to the Blackwell Farm site). The addendum will look at the impact of this new road (and of the entire development) on the surrounding road network in the light of changes to the Local Plan. The planned new road will cross the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an Area of Great Landscape Value, and historic parkland. It will also pass through, or very close to, a belt of ancient woodland. Many thanks to the two parish councils for their contributions.
Question over housing need number
A review of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment commissioned by Guildford Residents Association has identified a flaw in the way that the housing need figure has been calculated. This is outlined in the two paragraphs below:
 “A review of the latest ONS population estimates and projections has found compelling evidence that there are substantial errors in past estimates of student migration flows. It is probable that migration flows out of Guildford, both to other parts of the UK and abroad, have been under-estimated by sizeable amounts. 
“Owing to the way in which migration estimates are used to construct population and household projections, the errors in past migration estimates are likely to mean that the latest demographically-based housing need estimates by GL Hearn overstate the number of homes needed by over 25%.”
Please note that it is important to distinguish between a “demographic need” (births, deaths, migration), an adjusted need figure (which takes into account economic growth and affordability), and the “housing figure” used in the Local Plan (taking account of constraints and ambition). The GRA review is saying that it is a fundamental demographic building block that is wrong.
Day of Action
The London Green Belt Council (LGBC) has today issued a press release announcing its support for the Save Hogs Back campaign. This will distributed to the media on June 12. It will also promote the CPRE film featuring Blackwell Farm. A 30 second abridged version has been tweeted @savehogsback.
Please could all those who use social media retweet this as widely as possible.
The LGBC is also planning a Day of Action on behalf of Save Hogs Back. The date has yet to be confirmed, but it looks likely to be July 3. We will be looking for volunteers to help hand out leaflets at Guildford Railway Station and other strategic locations. In addition, we will be posting ‘consultation response’ postcards through letter boxes across Onslow Village, Wood Street Village, Park Barn, Compton, and the Hogs Back/Flexford area during the consultation period. Please let me know if you could spare some time to help.
New members
Many thanks to Graham and Lisa for their work in helping to boost the Save Hogs Back membership, and thanks also to our new members and all our existing members for their support. If any new members do not wish to be included in the blind-copied circulation list for these updates, please let me know.
Best wishes,