PR 3135

For Immediate ReleaseGBC

30 April 2014

Council releases latest Green Belt and Countryside Study

Today we have released the latest volume of a key Local Plan evidence base document – the Green Belt and Countryside Study (Volume V).
The study pinpoints possible locations for housing and other development, if we cannot identify sustainable land in urban areas to meet our objectively assessed housing need and economic growth forecasts. The document forms part of the evidence that will inform the Draft Local Plan, which will be open for public consultation this summer.

Cllr Monika Juneja, Lead Councillor for Planning and Governance, says: “This volume of the Green Belt and Countryside Study includes the latest information on identified sites and options for development. We must help local communities adapt and change for the future, providing the homes, businesses and facilities we need in a sustainable way.

“Our urban areas and villages are the most sustainable locations for new development. However, land is limited. If we need to use some countryside land to provide growth, we must choose the most suitable locations – the study will help us do this.”

The document looks at:
• the potential expansion of settlements in adjoining boroughs, including a site on the edge of Farncombe
• possible expansion or redevelopment of major previously developed sites, and proposed removal of the University of Law, HM Prison Send, Keogh Barracks, Mount Browne, Peasmarsh Industrial Estate, Pirbright Barracks and the Research Institute in Pirbright from the Green Belt
• the possible expansion of villages located within or bordering the Surrey Hills AONB, with potential development areas in Shere and Gomshall
• further consideration of Countryside Beyond the Green Belt, including an additional site south of Tongham
• potential major expansion of the most sustainable villages, with possible development areas in Normandy/Flexford, Send and Send Marsh/Burntcommon
• the potential creation of a new settlement at Wisley airfield.

We also released an addendum to Volume II and re-issued Volume IV with the additional work recently requested by the Joint Scrutiny Committee.

Volume II addendum:
• reviewing the way the following Green Belt purposes were scored – safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, and preserving the setting and special character of historic towns
• consideration of all urban edge land parcels for their development potential.

Volume IV:
• review of the volume and the way insetting was assessed.

Cllr Juneja adds: “It is important to emphasise that we have not made a decision on future development sites. Our evidence base documents provide information on the options available and the level of growth we can potentially accommodate.

“Our specialists Pegasus identified the potential development areas in Volume V through an assessment of sites that may be developed without harming the main purpose of the Green Belt. It is important to note that only those that appear in the new Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) could be made available for future use. We will need to consider the Green Belt and Countryside Study with our other evidence documents to ensure we plan for a sustainable future.

“I encourage everyone to view the documents and give their feedback in our Draft Local Plan consultation this summer.”

You can view the Green Belt and Countryside Study at www.guildford.gov.uk/gbcs

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