Agenda item

Regulation 18 consultation on Local Plan: Development Management Policies


The Council considered a report on the proposed Regulation 18 Consultation on The Local Plan: Development Management Policies (‘the draft Local Plan’), which was the second part of Guildford’s Local Plan. Once adopted, it would together with the recently adopted Local Plan: Strategy and Sites document (LPSS), fully supersede the existing Local Plan 2003 as the Council’s Development Plan. The draft Local Plan provided the more detailed policies to be used by Development Management in the determination of planning applications. Councillors noted that the LPSS included a small number of development management policies where these were necessary in implementing the strategic policies, for example in relation to Green Belt, employment and retail.


The structure of the draft Local Plan was consistent with that contained in the LPSS. The chapters therefore consisted of: Housing, Protecting, Economy, Design, and Infrastructure and Delivery. A list of all the proposed policies and a brief summary as to their aims and how they sought to achieve those aims was appended to the report.


The Regulation 18 Consultation included both ‘issues, options’ and goes on to suggest a ‘preferred option’ for each policy.  This approach was designed to generate meaningful comments and concerns that would enable the Council to move straight to a Regulation 19 ‘proposed submission’ document.   This, in turn, would increase the possibility of being able to progress the plan to Examination without the need for main modifications and a further round of consultation. 


In considering the report, the Council noted that the draft Local Plan had been put before the Place Making and Innovation Executive Advisory Board (EAB) on 17 February 2020.  The report had included the comments submitted by the EAB which had been extracted from their draft minutes – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EAB had not had the opportunity of confirming the minutes by the time of this Council meeting.  Some councillors had disputed the accuracy of some of the comments attributed to the EAB.


It was noted that a further opportunity for the EAB to comment on the draft policies, once developed, would arise during the preparation of the Plan for regulation 19 consultation. 


Councillors noted that paragraph 6.4 of the report referred to the current COVID 19 related constraints under which the Council was operating and stated that we would be unable to provide public events as part of the proposed Regulation 18 Consultation, or make available for public inspection hard copies of the consultation documents during the COVID 19 lockdown.  The report had set out details of how the Council intended to mitigate the impact of this by enhancing the online consultation with the information that the Council was intending to provide at the public events, together with other measures to assist stakeholders in making formal responses to the consultation. 


Having considered this further and with due regard to


(i)    the intended scope of the consultation being open to all residents in Guildford (amongst a range of other stakeholders);

(ii)   the Local Planning Authority’s (LPA’s) obligations in terms of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under s149 of the Equality Act 2010; and

(iii)  the potential issues that may arise in respect of the PSED, specifically the need for the LPA to have due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity,


officers considered that it would be appropriate to further enhance the Council’s consultation process beyond that which was proposed in the report.


In the current circumstances, including the lack of access to hard copies of the document, the aim of these further enhancements was to seek to ensure that both the notification of the consultation and relevant consultation documentation were more accessible to proposed consultees who might find online formats a significant challenge (including the elderly who might be unfamiliar with the technology or those with particular disabilities). In this regard, the following additional activities would be undertaken:


·       Notification of the consultation in the local press, along with relevant Council contact information;

·       Posting letter notifications to all those consultees on the Council’s consultation database without an email address and incorporating additional consultation material as part of this which provided a hard copy summary of the policies similar to Appendix 1 to the report, adapted to allow it to be used as a template for an easy written response that could be submitted as part of the consultation process.

·       Posting letter notifications (and additional consultation material, as above) as well as sending email notifications to all parish councils with a request to make this available to local people, where it was within their means to do so taking into account current circumstances.

·       Including in all notifications, as well as the planned press release, contact information for the Council should consultees have difficulties accessing the online documents and wish to discuss the contents of the consultation document. As part of this discussion it may be considered necessary to provide a hard copy summary of the policies to be posted to them.

·       Maintaining the planned 7-week consultation period


Further to the above enhancements, officers had advised that the Council should, as a matter of good governance, update its Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) to accommodate changes to how planning policy documents will be publicised for consultation purposes during circumstances such as this.  It would, therefore, be necessary to take a report to the next meeting of the Executive on 26 May 2020 to seek approval of an updated SCI.


Upon the motion of the Lead Councillor for Climate Change, Councillor Jan Harwood, seconded by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Caroline Reeves, the Council




 (1)    That, subject to approval by the Executive on 26 May 2020 of updates to the Council’s adopted Statement of Community Involvement including changes to how we will publicise planning policy documents for consultation purposes during the COVID-19 crisis or similar periods of national or local emergency, the draft Local Plan: Development Management Policies document, be approved for Regulation 18 public consultation for a seven-week period beginning as soon as is practicable.


(2)        That the Planning Policy Manager be authorised to make such minor alterations to improve the clarity of the draft Local Plan: Development Management Policies document as he may determine in consultation with the Lead Councillor.



Undertaking a public consultation on the draft Local Plan is a statutory requirement placed on Local Planning Authorities under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (‘Local Planning Regulations’) and will enable the Council to move closer to adopting the second part of the Local Plan.


Under the Remote Meetings Protocol, a roll call was taken to record the vote on this matter, the results of which were 39 councillors voting in favour, none against, and five abstentions, as follows:


For the motion

Against the motion


Cllr Paul Abbey


Cllr Richard Billington

Cllr Tim Anderson


Cllr Colin Cross

Cllr Jon Askew


Cllr Andrew Gomm

Cllr Christopher Barrass


Cllr Ramsey Nagaty

Cllr Joss Bigmore


Cllr Patrick Sheard

Cllr David Bilbé



Cllr Chris Blow



Cllr Dennis Booth



Cllr Ruth Brothwell



Cllr Graham Eyre



Cllr Angela Goodwin



Cllr David Goodwin



Cllr Gillian Harwood



Cllr Jan Harwood



Cllr Liz Hogger



Cllr Tom Hunt



Cllr Gordon Jackson



Cllr Diana Jones



Cllr Steven Lee



Cllr Nigel Manning



Cllr Julia McShane



Cllr Ann McShee



Cllr Bob McShee



Cllr Masuk Miah



Cllr Marsha Moseley



Cllr Susan Parker



Cllr George Potter



Cllr Jo Randall



Cllr John Redpath



Cllr Maddy Redpath



Cllr Caroline Reeves



Cllr John Rigg



Cllr Deborah Seabrook



Cllr Pauline Searle



Cllr Paul Spooner



Cllr James Steel



Cllr James Walsh



Cllr Fiona White



Cllr Catherine Young





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