Care home and 148 houses to be built on green belt land in Guildford

November 8, 2018
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A 70-bed care home and 148 houses will be built on green belt land in Guildford after narrowly securing planning permission.

The large development for land off Keens Lane and Tangley Lane in Worplesdon was bought back to Guildford Borough Council on Wednesday (November 7).

Members had previously deferred the decision having ordered developers to improve the look of the care home and include more two-bed homes. The plans had also generated 117 letters of objection.

Nine councillors voted in favour of the amended plans, while four voted against and two abstained at the planning committee meeting.

But before granting permission, members were still in disagreement over whether it was an appropriate use of green belt land.

Any inappropriate development proposed for green belt land must be approved where there are very special circumstances which clearly outweigh the harm that would be caused.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Bob McShee, ward councillor for Worplesdon but not a member of the committee, said: “This is a balancing exercise between the benefits of the development and the substantial harm caused by inappropriate development in the green belt.”

He said the change in population projections by the Office of National Statistics had changed the balancing act with the population of the borough growing at a “slower rate than previously expected”.

The development by Ashill Land Ltd includes a mix of housing from one-bed to four-bed dwellings with 41 per cent being affordable homes.

Cllr David Elms said: “I’m still not convinced by the special circumstances, an essential requirement required before green belt build can be granted. I don’t think the special circumstances have been proven.”

Members were originally worried about granting permission for the development of the site before the draft Local Plan was formally adopted.

This is an allocated site for development in the document and the inspector did not raise any objection to it being included during his inquiry.

Council leader Cllr Paul Spooner said: “Because this is green belt land it will be deferred to the Secretary of State anyway and it will be reviewed. So if it is found to be premature in the way some of us may think then that will obviously find its way through that process. So we should be viewing this application in its own right – good, bad or ugly.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr McShee said he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

He said: “I understood that it was the council’s policy not to build on the green belt, but this decision indicates that special circumstances can outweigh the harm to the green belt.”

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/care-home-148-houses-built-15387798


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