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Guildford Borough Council

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications - Part 1: Policies

1. Introduction


1.1 Planning decisions determine where new homes, offices, business, shops and leisure facilities will go and how we protect our countryside, historic environment and open spaces. These choices shape where we live, work, shop and play.

1.2 Our new Local Planfor 2015 - 2034is central to delivering Guildford's vision for the future. It deals with key issues of local importance and gives direction to deliver a high quality of life in a sustainable way. Planning applications will be determined against the policies and proposals of the Local Plan once it has been adopted.

1.3 The new Local Planconsists of two parts. This document, the 'Local Plan: strategy and sites', sets out our vision, aims and strategy for the borough up to 2034.The document contains overarching planning policies and allocates land for housing, employment, community facilities and other types of development. The second part of the Local Plan, to be known as the 'Local Plan: development management policies', will be produced following the adoption of this document and include detailed development management policies.

1.4 The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (and amendments in subsequent Acts) sets out the requirements and consultation processes needed to produce a Local Plan. We must also have followed the processes outlined within The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

1.5 The new Local Plan must be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF instructs us to prepare a plan that is positive about development and requires councils to cooperate with neighbouring authorities when producing their plan. The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) has also guided us in the plan-making process.

Plan- making

1.6 Local Plans must comply with the law as set out in the Localism Act 2011 (covering the Duty to Cooperate and Neighbourhood Planning) and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. They also need to consider national planning policy and guidance set out in the NPPF and NPPG. Other legal frameworks, including the European Habitats Directive, are also relevant to the plan-making process.

1.7 Specific plan-making requirements are set out in The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. For this Local Plan to be found sound by a Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, it must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy. We can only formally adopt the Local Plan once it has been found sound by the Inspector.

1.8 This Local Plan: strategy and sites document is informed by the Council's strategic visions and plans including the Corporate Plan, Economic Strategy and Housing Strategy. It is also based on a collection of research and information documents called the evidence base. We have also engaged with specific consultation bodies, organisations and our community to develop the Local Plan.

1.9 The Localism Act 2011 and Local Plan Regulations 2012 introduced a new Duty to Cooperate. This requires us to engage in constructive, active and ongoing dialogue with neighbouring local authorities and other organisations concerned with sustainable development during the plan-making process. To demonstrate how we have addressed this duty, we have published a Duty to Cooperate topic paper that describes who we have cooperated with, the matters we have discussed and when and where we met. We have produced the topic paper alongside this Proposed Submission Local Plan and will submit it to the Secretary of State for consideration and Examination in Public.

1.10 The challenges facing our borough are complex and there is often not an easy solution. However, by working with our partners and stakeholders, we have produced a positive plan for the borough. The policies included in the Local Plan aim to address our challenges and set out a spatial strategy to deliver the borough's strategic priorities.

1.11 The plan should be read in whole. Each policy is accompanied by a reasoned justification to explain its context and how it should be applied.

1.12 Many of the policies contained within this plan supersede the saved policies of the Guildford Local Plan 2003. Appendix E lists the policies of the 2003 Local Plan that will be replaced by the policies of this document and will cease to have effect following the adoption of this plan. Remaining saved policies of the 2003 Local Plan will continue to be used in the determination of planning applications until such time that they are replaced by policies of the Council's forthcoming Local Plan: development management policies.

Neighbourhood planning

1.13 England and Wales operate a 'plan-led' planning system. This means that the development plan is the first consideration in determining planning applications. Our Local Plan: strategy and sites document also sets out allocated sites for development in the borough across the plan period and provides an up-to-date framework for local communities who are preparing Neighbourhood Plans. Parish Councils or Neighbourhood Forums can create Neighbourhood Plans to set out a local vision and planning policies for a designated neighbourhood area. Neighbourhood Plans must be consistent with national policies and the strategic policies of our Local Plan. Once adopted they will form part of the statutory development plan and be a key consideration in the determination of planning applications in their area.

Policies map

1.14 We will publish a Policies Map alongside the Local Plan that will:

  • identify areas we want to protect including the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Special Protection Areas and the Metropolitan Green Belt
  • illustrate safeguarded sites and designated safeguarding areas identified in the Minerals and Waste Development Framework
  • identify strategic sites and strategic infrastructure
  • set out the areas to which specific policies apply.

Key diagram

1.15 Our key diagram in section 2 illustrates the broad locations identified for strategic development within the borough over the plan period. The symbols on the key diagram are indicative and do not represent precise locations or sites. More detailed diagrammatic information is illustrated on the Policies Map.

Evidence base

1.16 The NPPF requires us to base our development plan policies on up-to-date and relevant evidence. Since preparation of the plan began, we have continued to develop our evidence base as we progress towards the Examination in Public. Our evidence base is comprised of documents that have informed past stages of the Local Plan and new evidence which has helped identify our objectively assessed needs.

Monitoring indicators

1.17 We need to assess whether this Local Plan is meeting its aims and objectives, and have appropriate mechanisms in place so that we can recognise if it is not and actions can be taken accordingly. To help achieve this, each policy in this document is accompanied by monitoring indicators.

1.18 Where policies are failing to deliver the strategic objectives of this plan, necessary actions will be identified in our Annual Monitoring Report. Amongst other things, the Annual Monitoring Report will show the number of homes and amount of employment and retail space that have been delivered (on an annual basis) against our objectively assessed need.

1.19 We will review the Local Plan, if required, by using the outcomes of the Annual Monitoring Report(s). As part of a review, we will consider the proposed level of new homes and employment land. We will examine all available information and, if necessary, undertake further work to develop our evidence base. Should evidence suggest that we are not meeting our objectively assessed need, various options, including identifying potential new site allocations and requesting assistance from neighbouring authorities, will be considered.


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