Print this page

PETITION - by Ben Paton - Councils must publicly disclose housing need calculations in Guildford and across England

Councils have a public duty to estimate housing need. Guildford has delegated this calculation to a property consultancy called GL Hearn. Guildford has not disclosed the detailed arithmetic and assumptions to show how the housing need for the borough was calculated and even professes not to hold a copy of the model.

Guildford's Code of Conduct pays lip-service to 'Openness', 'Transparency', and 'Honesty'. Failure to oblige contractors and consultants to disclose their calculations to the public is not consistent with these values. Nor is it an acceptable method of conducting public affairs. It is not consistent with the principles of good public procurement contracting. Failure to explain in detail the assumptions and arithmetic behind the housing need estimates which underpin the Local Plan is a dereliction of public duty.

GL Hearn apparently subcontracted the work to Justin Gardner Consulting. GL Hearn claims to have worked for some 250 planning authorities across England. Failure to disclose may therefore be widespread.

When queried with the Information Commissioner's Office, the ICO decision can be found here.

This has led local resident Ben Paton to initiate an online petition "Councils must publicly disclose housing need calculations in Guildford and across England" seeking local support to for Guildford council to reveal how the Objectively Assessed Need  in the West Surrey Startegic Housing Market Assessment was derived.