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Parish councils and resident to challenge adoption of Local Plan over deletion of Green Belt land

Three claimants are seeking a planning statutory review of Guildford Borough Council's decision to adopt a local plan which they say deletes an excessive amount of land from the Green Belt.

The plan was approved in the final days of a Conservative administration that lost power to other parties in May’s elections.

Law firm Richard Buxton Solicitors is acting for Compton Parish Council, Ockham Parish Council and local campaigner Julian Cranwell.

The firm said all three were acting under section 113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

They argue that Guildford is heavily constrained by the Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and by metropolitan Green Belt land, but that brownfield and urban sites could easily accommodate the 10,000 homes required over the plan period to 2034 without sacrificing countryside and releasing substantial areas of the Green Belt for development.

“All three claims share common ground -  namely the excessive deletion of land from the Green Belt in the borough and the lack of exceptional circumstances to justify the over allocation of housing land available for development,” the firm said.

Ockham PC seeks to quash deletions of land from the Green Belt and the allocation of land for a new settlement at the former Wisley airfield, while Compton PC challenges the lawfulness of the plan, its adoption and the inspector’s report on it, principally over the release of land at Hogs Back, and the harmful impact of a new road and junction on the Hogs Back on the AONB.

Mr Cranwell argues that the release from the Green Belt and allocation for housing-led development in the local plan is unlawful being based on a misinterpretation of the national Green Belt policy requiring exceptional circumstances for release of land.

A Guildford spokeswoman said the new council administration was yet to take any decision on the local plan it had inherited.

Mark Smulian

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