Campaigners welcome High Court decision on Waverley Local Plan

Campaigners welcome High Court decision on Waverley Local Plan
The Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has welcomed the High Court decision on July 12 to proceed with a judicial review of the Waverley Local Plan. CPRE Surrey and the Protect-Our-Waverley campaign group both challenged Waverley Borough Council’s decision to adopt a Local Plan with inflated housing figures imposed on it by Planning Inspector Jonathan Bore, supposedly to meet “unmet housing need” from Woking Borough Council. The additional 1,500 new houses would mostly have to be built in “protected” countryside.
 
Andy Smith, Surrey Branch Director of CPRE, said: “This is a nationally important case with far-reaching consequences, so we were pleased that the High Court agreed on July 12 that our application for a judicial review of the Waverley Plan should go forward. The key issue for CPRE is whether a borough such as Waverley, with significant constraints on growth (Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Areas of Great Landscape Value, Metropolitan Green Belt. and countryside beyond the Green Belt) should be forced to accept an arbitrary increase in its housing numbers in order to meet the ‘unmet need’ of another borough, in this case Woking. The 1,500+ additional houses would have nowhere to go but in ‘protected’ AONB countryside, and this is surely unacceptable. In our view the housing targets being imposed on Waverley – and indeed Woking and Guildford too – are excessive and unsustainable, and made more so by the Inspector’s decision to add these ‘uplifts’ to the borough’s housing target without considering the impact on the Surrey Hills. We look forward to the opportunity to present our arguments fully in court when the time comes.”
 
Responding to Waverley Borough Council’s latest comments, Mr Smith added: “Today’s statement from Waverley Council concerning the High Court’s decision is highly misleading as it describes the matter of Woking’s ‘unmet need’ as merely a ‘technical issue’. In fact the housing numbers are the very crux of the matter. In both the Waverley and Guildford local plan examinations it was clear the Inspector imposed ‘uplifts’ to the housing numbers for various matters including Woking’s so-called unmet need. We do not yet know if Guildford Council will accept the uplifts imposed on them, but Waverley Council did so, adopting the Plan with the increased numbers, and that was one of the main reasons we needed to challenge them, as we knew that such an increase in the borough’s housing target would have grave consequences for the AONB and Green Belt countryside in particular.”
 
It is anticipated that the case will be heard in the autumn.
 
-ENDS

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