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Guildford Borough Council

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017

Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites 2017 - Part 1: Policies

Policy P3: Countryside


4.3.28 Part ofTthe borough has areas of countryside near Ash and Tongham consists of countryside that is not designated Green Belt. Whilst this land does not carry the same weight in national planning policy as Green Belt in terms of resisting the inappropriateness of development, it is nevertheless important that we seek to manage changegrowth in this area.

4.3.29 Originally consisting of the three small rural villages of Ash, Ash Vale and Tongham, the Ash and Tongham urban area has grown considerably in size and now forms Guildford borough's second largest urban area. Given its relative sustainability, countryside to the south and east of the urban area is allocated as a strategic location for development. The sustainability of this area combined with its preference in the spatial hierarchy means a further extension of the urban area, using some countryside, is allocated for development.

4.3.30 We do however wish to ensure that whilst accommodating this growth, we are able to protect the remaining countryside around it from inappropriate development. in order to protect its intrinsic character and preserve the role it plays in maintaining the separate identify of Ash and Tongham.

4.3.31 The remaining land designated as countryside on the Policies Map lies immediately to the west and south of the urban area and forms the natural boundary of the Blackwater Valley. The Blackwater Valley contains the A331, which connects the A31 and Tongham in the south with Ash Vale in the north and Frimley beyond. It also provides an important open gap between Ash and Tongham, and the town of Aldershot to the west.

4.3.32 This area of countryside provides a green corridor and tranquil setting with considerable biodiversity and recreation value. The River Blackwater marks the borough and county boundary and maintains the rural corridor between Surrey and Hampshire.

POLICY P3: Countryside

(1) Within the area of countryside, as shown designated on the Policies Map, development will only be permitted provided it:

(a) requires a countryside location or where a rural location can be justified, and

(b) is proportionate to the nature and scale of the site, its setting and countryside location, and

(c) does not lead to greater physical or visual coalescence between the Ash and Tongham urban area and Aldershot.

Reasoned Justification

4.3.33 National planning policy states that we should recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and support thriving rural communities within it. For this reason, we will seek to limit any development in the countryside unless it can be demonstrated that it is necessary in that location and contributes positively towards the rural economy.

4.3.34 Whilst the Ash and Tongham urban area sits within the wider Blackwater Valley conurbation, it is important that it retains its separate and distinct identity and character. Any development should be designed in such a way that it respects the setting of the green corridor and ensure that it does not visually intrude on the landscape. Any development proposals which compromise the integrity of the gap that separates the Ash and Tongham urban area with neighbouring Aldershot will be resisted.

(4.3.35 Paragraph intentionally blank)

Key Evidence

  • Green Belt and Countryside Study Volumes I - VI (Guildford Borough Council, 2011 and 2014)
  • Landscape Character Assessment (Guildford Borough Council, 2007)





Data source

NumberPercentage of appeals allowed for applications for new buildings in the inset villages

Reduction in the numberpercentage of appeals allowed

Planning applications and appeals