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CAMPAIGN UPDATE DEC 2011

The close of yet another year and where are we and what have  we achieved?

First and foremost, it's another year where the threat of Housing Development has been pushed back. The 2003 GBC Local Plan, which was the first advice anyone had that the Allotment site was under threat, is over 8 years old. The original date for development to start, 2006, is 5 years past.

The GBC Council Leader, Tony Rooth, managed to avoid meeting with us earlier in the year which was to say the least most discourteous but hey ho, that's politicians!

We did meet GBCs' Head of Economic Development, Chris Mansfield at meetings relating to the Slyfiled Regeneration Programme (SARP).

The interest value to WBDRA in SARP was the closure of the Bellfield Allotment Site whose many tenants include a good number of Westboro' and Worplesdon residents - all of whom would be left without an Allotment and the Aldershot Road site has 39 empty ones (ie, the housing development area) and of course, it would be a no-brainer to accommodate these people by opening up these fallow plots.

We corresponded with Chris on a number of clarification points and he said this about the Aldershot Road site: "I can also confirm that there are currently no plans that I am aware of to make
any changes to the allotments at Aldershot Road. As previously explained, removal of the site for housing will be dealt with through the emerging Local Development Framework".
The relevant letters are in the Library section.

This sounded pretty positive & encouraging so we wrote to Jenny Wicks, GBCs' Lead Councillor for Planning and this is what was said:


"Dear Mr Bird

I think that there is some misunderstanding here.

No decision has been taken on the future of the Aldershot Road site.  It will be considered, along with all other potential sites for housing in Guildford Borough, during the Local Development Framework process.  At that point it will either remain on the list of future sites for development or be removed from that status.

I apologise for the delay in replying: I have been away for a few days.

Kind regards

Jenny Wicks

****

From: David Bird [mailto:wbdra@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: 31 July 2011 15:17
To: Jenny Wicks
Cc: anne milton; GAS
Subject: Aldershot Road Allotment Site

Dear Councillor Wicks

I am contacting you as Lead Councillor for Planning & Development about the Planning & Development Dept's intentions re the above Allotment Site

WBDRA have been in correspondence now with GBC for several years about the future of this site - and recently during my time as Chair of Guildford Allotment Society (GAS), I have been in touch with Chris Mansfield.

I have attached 2 letters from Chris for your reference from which you will see there seems to be a suggestion that the site will be removed from being considered a site for housing in 2014. Could you confirm that it will be so removed please?

Thank you for your attention

Regards

David Bird
Chairman - WBDRA

(Copies of all the relevant correspondence are in our Library section)

****
So, what have we achieved? Well apart from rattling Cllr Wicks (again), it seems that the Aldershot Road site will be considered for removal from housing as part of yet another Planning Process (haven't we had enough of these?) in 2014. So dare we hope that the site remains safe for another 3 years? But then again between now and 2014 there might be some other Planning Consideration and the site may not be removed at all

But what of the Allotment Waiting lists? Well, we learnt at our AGM from Cllr Bob McShee that SARP has been canned due to legal problems with Thames Water and it may be another 10 years (or more) before it comes up again! So it looks like the Bellfields Allotmenteers are safe for a few more years BUT there are still 50 or so individuals waiting for a plot on the Aldershot Road Site - so GBC, what of them and your statutory obligations to provide Allotments?.

It looks like another year of badgering politicans & GBC is on the cards. As Churchill said in WW2 to one of his commanders (in abbreviated form) - "JKBO" !!! And that's just what we'll do


CAMPAIGN UPDATE - April 2011

AS @ 25th April, we can confirm that Guildford Allotment Society (GAS) has written 3 times to the the GBC Council Leader, Cllr Tony Rooth, asking for a meeting to discuss the future/way forward for the Allotment Site.

Apart from a belated acknowledgement of the first GAS letter from Cllr Rooth, which relates to back to 2010 - there has been no reply to GAS and certainly no offer of any meeting.

Obviously GBC either do not want to meet and discuss openly anything to do with the Allotment Site - or are certainly in no hurry to do so.

Come on GBC, what's the problem? 

 


CAMPAIGN UPDATE - late Dec 2010

Two things of note to report.

The first being that Guildford Allotment Society (GAS) have written to the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) Leader (Cllr Tony Rooth) asking to meet and discuss the Housing proposals for the Aldershot Road site with a view to open up the whole site once more for cultivation & Allotments.

Obviously a very busy man, several weeks went by and no reply so GAS wrote to Cllr Rooth again. Anne Milton MP has also written to Cllr Rooth asking to be copied in his eventual reply to GAS.

GAS have now received (Dec 21st) a holding pattern letter from Cllr Rooth where he has undertaken to talk to Guildford Parks Dept about GBCs published Allotment Policies.

Secondly WBDRA wrote to GBC Planning for an update on the Housing situation following the collapse of the SE Plan. What they wrote back to us is copied below - typically neutral response but at least they have publicly acknowledged the support for our campaign.

 Basically what they are saying is the Local Plan of 2003 (the one where the GBC Housing proposals were first revealed) still applies.

This is the GBC e-mail:

 RE: Site Allocations ConsultationTuesday, 7 September, 2010 15:50

From: "Heather Sandall" Add sender to Contacts

To: wbdra@yahoo.co.uk

Dear Mr Bird

Thank you for your email. Carol Humphrey has asked me to respond on her behalf.


We recognise that the uncompleted Site Allocations process is of concern to many who suggested sites or responded to the consultation. We received an overwhelming number of responses to the consultation in 2008, and therefore appreciate the level of interest in this work. However, since then, we carried out a legal challenge of the South East Plan, which resulted the borough’s housing targets being ‘struck through’ in May 2010. There has since been significant changes to policy (full revocation of Regional Strategies and amendments to Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing) following the change of Government, and discussion of changes to the planning system, on which we are awaiting more information in the forthcoming Decentralisation and Localism Bill. It has, therefore, proved difficult to move forwards with the Site Allocations work within this context.


When we have sight of the Decentralisation and Localism Bill in the autumn, it will hopefully give us the information we need to start developing local housing numbers for Guildford Borough, and preparing an updated Local Development Scheme (timetable for the GDF). We will then be able to provide more detailed information about anticipated timescales for the Site Allocations DPD, which will follow behind the Core Strategy.


Until a Core Strategy is adopted, the Local Plan remains the current Development Plan, in which the Westborough Allotment site is an allocated site for housing and open space (Local Plan Policy H3). However, the Council is fully aware of the demand for allotment sites and the level of responses received through the Site Allocations consultation in opposition to development of this site.


If you have any further questions, please contact us.


Kind regards

Heather.


Senior Planner

Planning Policy Team

01483 444465

www.guildford.gov.uk/planningpolicy

 From: David Bird [mailto:wbdra@yahoo.co.uk] 

Sent: 30 August 2010 17:53

To: Carol Humphrey

Cc: anne milton

Subject: Site Allocations Consultation

 

Dear Ms Humphrey

 

Many of our members and supporters are wondering what has happened to the 2008 Site Allocations Consultation?

 It is two and a half years since the consultation deadline passed, we have seen the South East Plan scrapped and the 260 or so local participants, who all spent a lot of their time responding to the consultation papers, think it must now be time for the Council to recommence its review of the sites featured in the Consultation.

 As you will recall the main concern of local Worplesdon and Westborough residents remains the Aldershot Road Allotment Site. An overwhelming number of 260 locals all said No to Housing and Yes to the restoration of the untenanted portion of the site to be used as Allotments and Open Space.

 As Guildford Allotment Society will confirm, the waiting list for Allotments in the Borough does not diminish and at last enquiry there were some 50 local people waiting for a plot on the Aldershot Road Site. The overall Borough waiting list is in the region of 400 and the restoration of the Aldershot Road site to full allotment use would certainly address a significant portion of the Waiting List.

 WBDRA and its members would be very grateful for any information you can share regarding the Consultation exercise.

Thank you

Regards

David Bird

Chairman - WBDRA

Westborough, Broadacres & District Residents Association

tel: 0799 994 4601 (24 hrs)

web: www.saveouropenspaces.com

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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