Something rather strange and illogical happened at GBC.s Planning Committee Meeting on 17 May. An application for one house in Horsley classed as ‘back land development’ was refused. Another application, for a development in Recreation Road, Guildford to create one two-bed home, one three-bed home and two four-bed homes on an infill piece of land was approved.
The first application was for a net zero eco-home submitted by a Grand Design’s crew member. It incorporated many energy saving features and was a great example of what can be achieved with some creative thinking and the desire to develop sustainably. The second application was for standard dwellings. This urban development was specifically labelled by planners as back land development but officers recommended approval The planning officers commented “"The site is in a sustainable location within the urban area where the principle of new residential development is acceptable."
We’d like to make it clear that GGG is not at all against appropriate development in the Green Belt and that the accusation of NIMBYism is false. GGG Cllr Catherine Young, in a letter to the Guildford Dragon, said “When I first saw this application, my initial reaction was ‘not another back land development’, especially when locally we have lost our green belt designation, and are trying desperately to save our villages from over development on what remains of our green fields.
However, on closer look this application seemed to me to provide exceptional reasons which far outweighed the planning harm of garden development, namely that of the need to build new homes in a sustainable manner that will protect our world for the future of our children….. I stay true to my belief that this home would have been something that Guildford Borough could have been proud of, an innovative house that would show us how to build to protect our climate and our environment.”
GGG Cllr Ramsey Nagaty said he was left feeling "totally perplexed" by the two applications and voted against the Recreation Road application. He said: "I find this a dichotomy that I cannot live with."