The Joint EAB was invited to consider the Submission Local Plan: Development Management Policies. The Lead Councillor with portfolio responsibility for Strategic Planning introduced the Plan, which was the second part of the Borough’s overall Local Plan. Once adopted the Plan would, together with the adopted Local Plan: Strategy and Sites document, fully supersede the existing Local Plan 2003 and become part of the Council’s Development Plan. The Plan provided the more detailed policies to be utilised by Development Management in the determination of planning applications and contained chapters relating to housing, economy, protection, design, and infrastructure. The Plan had been considered by the Local Plan Panel on two occasions and been subject to a Regulation 19 public consultation.
In his introduction to the Plan, the Lead Councillor invited comments thereon from the Joint EAB, drawing attention to the fact that it consisted of a suite of policies that were interdependent to a certain extent and that individual policies should not be considered in isolation. The Joint EAB was advised that there were three main response options open to councillors, namely to:
1. Support the recommendation in the covering report to the Executive that the Plan be approved for submission to the Secretary of State for examination in public by an Inspector.
2. Seek significant modifications to the policies within the Plan, which would require a further Regulation 19 public consultation delaying adoption and implementation of the Plan.
3. Suggest minor amendments as improvements to the Plan, which could be submitted to officers and the Inspector for consideration without incurring the need for a further public consultation exercise.
Having discussed the Plan, the Joint EAB agreed to support option 3 and requested that the following suggested minor alterations be put forward for consideration as improvements to the Plan and that the other related points be noted:
a) With regard to Policy D14: Carbon Emissions from Buildings, the terminology be strengthened from the word ‘encourage’ to ‘expect’ to add more weight to the policy and reflect possible future climate change scenarios. However, this would need to be balanced against any associated viability implications such as a reduction in affordable housing provision.
b) Whilst passive heat control measures are supported, the possible need in some developments for mechanical methods to tackle overheating, such as conventional air conditioning, be recognised in the Plan.
c) The sharing of the Plan with Waverley Borough Council and possible future collaboration in this area is welcomed.
d) In relation to Policy H8: First Homes, there is concern that this policy, in conjunction with first homes being the Government’s preferred discounted market tenure needing to account for at least 25% of all affordable housing units, will lead to limited availability of affordable social rented housing.
e) Regarding Policy D9: Residential Infill Development Proposals, some of the definitions do not appear to accord fully with sections of the Borough’s Local Plan: Strategy and Sites document and this should be rectified.
f) The proposed implementation of minimum garage dimensions, under Policy ID11: Parking Standards, is welcomed.
g) Attention is drawn to the previously circulated points raised by Councillor Catherine Young which have been considered by the Local Plan Panel.
h) An incomplete document consisting of the responses to the Regulation 19 consultation circulated to all councillors requires some further work to inform policies in the Plan.
i) Maximum height standards for developments should be included in the Plan to protect affordable housing viability and views etc.
j) The Plan should reflect the preference for development in Guildford town centre in order to protect the villages, green field sites and the green belt.
k) There should be stronger protection, such as extended buffer zones, for ancient woodland, as recommended by Natural England.
l) The settings of historic buildings and non-designated heritage assets should be clearly defined for their protection.
m) The wording of the Plan should be strengthened to assist the Planning Committee when determining planning applications.