Surrey council's local plan timetable slips again

A Surrey council is unlikely to have its new local plan in place until at least 2018 after it announced that it is to launch a fresh consultation on the document in summer 2017.

Guildford: local plan unlikely to be in place before 2018
Guildford: local plan unlikely to be in place before 2018

Guildford Borough Council announced in late 2014 that its draft local plan would be reassessed in response to updated government guidance reinforcing green belt protection and a high number of consultation responses stating "widespread opposition to building on the green belt".

In April, the council published its revised local plan, which it said contained significant changes "that reflect over 20,000 comments and questions received from local residents" during a consultation held in 2014.

A timetable for the adoption of the document had proposed that the plan be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2016, with adoption scheduled for December 2017.

But the council has how said it will consult again on changes to the document, pushing the schedule back by at least a year.

In a statement the council said that the "targeted consultation" would take place next year and was intended to be completed by summer 2017.

The council said that, before the consultation it would also "revisit" its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), Employment Land Needs Assessment (ELNA) and Retail and Leisure Needs Study update.

"This will ensure the evidence underpinning the local plan is robust, up-to-date and accurate when we submit it to the secretary of state. This review will also take into account any Brexit implications and the publication of the new 2014-based population and household projections".

The statement added that the council would publish a revised timetable "as soon as possible".

Paul Spooner, leader of the council, said: "We have listened to feedback from residents, businesses, community groups and stakeholders and we now need to follow this up with a targeted consultation about specific changes we propose to the latest draft local plan."

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