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Why does our Local Plan matter?

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Our Local Plan plays a crucial role in shaping the future of our borough. A Local Plan isn't just a bureaucratic document - it's a roadmap for where we're headed. It affects every aspect of our daily lives - from where we live and work to how we enjoy leisure activities. Here's a breakdown of what the Local Plan entails and why it matters to you.

What is a local plan and what does it do?

The Local Plan is important to everyone in our borough. It affects where you live, where you work, where your shops are and where your children play. There are national planning policies about land use set by central government. The Local Plan applies those policies to our own borough. It's based on evidence of what our needs are for things like:

  • housing
  • employment
  • retail
  • leisure.

The Local Plan should also protect what's important in Guildford, like:

  • landscapes
  • heritage
  • biodiversity.

Why produce a local plan?

We're required by law to produce a local plan. It adds local policies to national policy and guidance. It means that there is certainty for everyone about land use throughout the borough.

What are the benefits of a five-year update?

The current local plan was adopted in 2019. A lot has changed since then. An update allows us to consider things like:

  • an increase in people working from home
  • an increase in people shopping online
  • climate change
  • the need for affordable homes.
  • the need to take care of our own health
  • the importance of open spaces with opportunities to relax or exercise.

Why is it important for Guildford to update the plan?

There have been changes in planning policy in the last five years. The updated local plan will focus on those changed policies. If we don't update our plan, developers can point out that our plan is out of date and their applications must be approved. That can mean that we lose our local voice in planning decisions and we end up with unplanned or speculative development.

An outline of the timeline involved for the update

It takes time to update a local plan to make sure it's right for everyone. We've got to gather evidence of our borough's needs and how this fits into land use across Guildford. Current government policy is to shorten the plan-making process to three years. Our Planning Policy team are starting to look at the scope, timescale and budget for the plan update. As part of our democratic process, this will be shown to our Council later in the year. It's important that we carry out the preparatory work well to make sure we can show that our updated plan is accurate and can is deliverable.