Here are some draft slides showing something of the nature of Guildford’s constraints:




Is it any wonder there has had to be some thought about incursions into the Green Belt (whatever the political ramifications may be).

Here are some supporting statistics:


Does anyone have any ideas where even 345 homes per year would go in the long-term?

This is not for the faint-hearted, so pity the poor Councillors when they arrive at Millmead after May 7th!

NPPG amended to reflect new household numbers

Change in NPPG ensures both that new data should lead to updated numbers in Local Plans

Reference ID: 2a-016-20150227
Methodology: assessing housing need

New version

How often are the projections updated?
The Government’s official population and household projections are generally updated every two years to take account of the latest demographic trends. The most recent published Household Projections update the 2011-based interim projections to be consistent with the Office for National Statistics population projections. Further analysis of household formation rates as revealed by the 2011 Census will continue during 2015. Wherever possible, local needs assessments should be informed by the latest available information. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that Local Plans should be kept up-to-date. A meaningful change in the housing situation should be considered in this context, but this does not automatically mean that housing assessments are rendered outdated every time new projections are issued. The 2012-2037 Household Projections were published on 27 February 2015, and are the most up-to-date estimate of future household growth.

2012 Household Projections much lower

Updated 27 March 2015:

The early interpretation of data from today’s publication of the 2012 Household numbers is that the number of households in Guildford Borough expected to be required from 2012 to 2037 goes from 54,662 (2012) to 57,281 (2017) to 59,911 (2022) to 62,392 (2027) to 64,839 (2032) and finally to 67,145 (2037) – an average of an additional 500 households per year, and a period growth rate of 524 (2012 to 2017); 526 (2017 to 2022); 497 (2022 to 2027); 490 (2027 to 2032); and 462 (2032 to 2037).  For the plan period 2012 to 2032 the statistics show an average household need of 509 homes per year (Table 427).

As a sensitivity analysis this shows a reduction in the number of households from 2012 to 2021 is 6,574 to 4,262 (from 731 to 474 homes per year) before adjustment for local factors (2012 population numbers based on 2011 household formation rates – Table 429b).

On the face of it this looks promising.

The period increase for Woking, Waverley and Guildford is 10,377 in the 2012 data set versus 15,448 in the old data set.

We should guard against premature enthusiasm.  These figures do not take account of other factors that have surprised us before.

GL Hearn will need to rework their numbers but it was clear that employment numbers were driving the higher household numbers in the most recent draft SHMA.


JDSL 27/2/2015


Guildford Society SOLUM Presentation

Attached below as a Powerpoint Show is the slide pack and audio from the event of 21st January organised by the Guildford Society with support from Guildford Residents Associations at the Millmead Centre.


Well in excess of 200 people attended and the discussion was objective and well-mannered although feelings were clearly running strong.

The file is large (about 140Mb) and the slides should advance automatically but can be advanced manually by a click of the mouse.  The showing can be ended by pressing the Escape key.

West Surrey SHMA keeps numbers high

On 18th December the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for the West Surrey Housing Market Area (HMA) was published.

Summary Report:


Full Report:


IT IS WORTH REMEMBERING THAT THIS IS A CONSULTANT’S OPINION and whilst this will be adopted by the three local authorities (Guildford, Waverley and Woking) it is merely GL Hearn’s version of an Objective Assessment of Need (OAN).

The next stage of the process is to establish whether we can actually provide sufficient supply to meet the need, and this will require us to take a good look at the triangle of forces (housing, economy and infrastructure) restricted by availability of land and the constraints of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Thames Basin Special Protection Areas (SPA), Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Flood Risk Areas and Cross-Boundary issues to name but a few.

It is not enough to simply say ‘No’ to development because NPPF requires us to plan positively.  Equally, it is not appropriate (based on the previous consultation process) to simply say ‘Yes’ to development which cumulatively meets the target number provided.  These next few months are critical to strike a balance (not necessarily a compromise) between going out, up or maintaining existing constraints.

Two images from the report is consistent with the criticisms of the dataset that have been made on this site and by others:




These charts show that, despite the Office for National Statistics protesting that their figures screen out students (by using their non-term-time addresses, there is very much a spike at undergraduate student age (Figure 17).

When that is applied to the data behind Figure 16, it seems there is still an expectation that, over a twenty year period those inward migrants have fallen in love, set up homes, and had children – a perfectly natural cycle but one which still seems exaggerated as a phenomenon.  It is also at this age when the gap between earnings and house prices is at its greatest, placing more urgency on providing affordable housing.

It will take much more reading than this to analyse the impact but the long and short of it is that GL Hearn consider there is minimal adjustment to make for the student demographics effect and arrive at a ‘draft conclusion on the overall need for housing’ in Guildford Borough at:

620 to 816 Homes per Year

…that is equivalent to 1.5 to 2 Solums in town every year or a Wisley every there to four years out of town.

It is now time to talk urgently about our CONSTRAINTS because very few people think we could actually cope with growth on this scale without completely changing our character and probably forfeiting a large portion of our quality of life.



Local Plan Consultation Initial Feedback

The Council has published the first look at the types of comments received in response to the Draft Local Plan.

The sheer volume of responses means that it will take some time to assimilate them all, but the initial summary is available via the link below:


The Local Plan timetable has been reviewed and it is expected that the next iteration will not be available for public review until the second half of 2015.

Guildford 5-yr Housing Strategy

Guildford Borough Council has launched its five-year housing strategy consultation (ends 16th December 2014)

A link to the consultation page is here and the documents are attached below:






Other documents referred to are:




There is perhaps some irony that the Lead Member for housing, Cllr Sarah Creedy, sets great store by the ambition to “maximise the proportion of affordable housing” provided, and yet the development company she owns with her husband was apparently unable to provide a commitment to a single affordable unit in a conversion to nine flats of a building in Central Guildford.  It may be we are not in possession  of all of the facts but here was an opportunity for Cllr Creedy to commit to, say, one of the homes being rented out at 80% of market rent or sold on an equity share basis without substantially diluting their return.

Aim 1.8 sets out the following: “Ensure that the mix of new affordable homes on any development is appropriate for the proposed locality taking account of the existing supply and local need

Of signifcant interest in the Local Plan process is the section on HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) on page 36 of the main document:

“Houses in Multiple Occupation
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) or shared houses provide flexible accommodation for a range of households within the private rented sector. They comprise a significant part of the private rented market in Guildford.
We carried out a mapping exercise in 2011 to identify the extent of HMOs. This indicated that there were approximately 2521 in the borough, of which 1417 were in the Guildford town wards of Friary and St Nicolas, Westborough and Onslow. Moreover, there are likely to be many more HMOs created in the borough since then, due to the introduction of permitted planning rights in 2010. These rights allow a change of use of a house or flat from being occupied by a single household to a HMO for between 2-6 people.
The necessity for HMOs is accepted as an inevitable result of the lack of housing, house prices within the town, and the popular and expanding higher education institutions. While there is often an assumption that HMOs in Guildford are lived in by students, this is often not the case.
Many young professionals who are unable to afford to live in the town without sharing occupy HMOs. For some tenants it is the accommodation of choice. Furthermore, the cost of transport from outside the borough can outweigh rental costs so many people who live in HMOs are working in the Guildford area to avoid commuter journeys, or because of the close proximity to the borough’s rail stations.
The expansion of the private rented sector and HMOs in particular has given rise a number of perceived issues which are affecting residents.
They are the impact of having a high concentration of HMOs in parts of the town can contribute to:
 Poor housing standards in HMOs and non-compliance with housing standards
 Poor neighbourhood relations, including antisocial behaviour
 Nuisance from noise, rubbish and parking

The aspirations in the document (from a cursory read) do not seem misplaced but it is important to recognise that this is a key opportunity to ensure that one of the principal inputs to the Local Plan (demand side) has been reviewed.

As always we welcome comments and feedback.


Guildford Society Local Plan Submission

Set out below is the Guildford Society Local Plan Submission made on 19th September 2014.

The full (rather large) submission includes the previous representations made to the earlier consultations:

20140915_GSOC_LPResponse_FINAL-full (ca 55Mb)

This is made up of:

Cover Letter




Site by Site Analysis


Sustainability Appraisal Responses (Jan 2013)


Issues and Options Response



Strategic Housing Market Assessment



Guildford Society Population Analysis


Guildford Society Analysis of Middle and Lower Super Output Areas


The response is substantial and follows a major consultation exercise by the Guildford Society where six public meetings have been held and the Guildford Society approach and views have been explained.  Not everything in the response is likely to please everyone but the intention is to be as objective as possible whilst trying to ensure the outcome is the best the can be achieved for Guildford.


Julian D S Lyon MBA FRICS

18th September 2014

Draft Response to Local Plan Consultation

At the Guildford Society’s sixth talk on the Local Plan, the Guildford Society discussed its draft representations for the Local Plan.

These are set out below:

Main Document (including Appendices 1-3)

20140915_GSOC_Response_to_ConsultationDraftLocalPlan_DRAFT4a (ca 2.3Mb)

  • Answers to Questionnaire in the format provided by Guildford Borough Council (contained in the body of this response)
  • Policy-by-Policy comments on the Consultation Draft Local Plan (‘the Draft Plan’) (contained in the body of this response)
  • Schedule of specific responses to a selection of the site-specific policies (contained in Annex 1 of this response)
  • The Guildford Society LSOA Land Uses and Statistics Report (Contained in Annex 6 of this response)
  • Paper on the discrepancies between the SHLAA and the Draft Plan (contained in Appendix 1 of this response)
  • Copy of Guildford Vision Group response to the Sustainability Appraisal (22nd January 2013) (contained in Annex 2 of this response)
  • Copy of Response to Issues and Options Consultation (29th November 2013) (contained in Annex 3 of this response)
  • Copy of Response to the Draft SHMA (20th February 2014) and Population Analysis since which time no meaningful amended SHMA has been forthcoming (‘the Draft SHMA’) (contained in Annexes 4 and 5 of this response)
  • A suite of Position Papers prepared (and as yet unpublished) by the Design & Heritage Group of the Guildford Society (contained in Appendix 2 of this response)
  • A summary of the background and constitution of the Guildford Society (to be contained in Appendix 3 of this response)

Annex 1: 20140912_Site-by-Site_Response_DFT4 (ca 4Mb)

Annex 2: 20130122_ScopingDocument-Response_GVG

Annex 3: 20131129_GSoc_LOCALPLAN_CoverLetter

20131128_GSoc_LOCALPLAN_Submission (ca 23Mb)

Annexes 4 & 5: 20140220_LTR_CarolHumphrey-SHMA



Annex 6:  20140904_LandUses-MSOA-LSOA_FINAL (ca 21Mb)

This set of documents will be finalised following feedback from the Guildford Society Meeting and a copy of the submission will be posted in a new post on this site and on the Guildford Society website.



Summary of Local Areas

Having criticised the absence of core data for individual areas in the Borough, here is a summary of the demographics and multiple deprivation indices for each so-called Lower Super Output Area across the Borough.

The file is around 20Mb but it does contain a lot of data!


The Guildford Society will be including it as part of its response to the Draft Local Plan.