CLA debate: Housing in Surrey - how can we squeeze it in?

16 August 2019

Housing in Surrey – how can we squeeze it in?

That is the topic of the CLA’s 2019 Surrey debate, on Wednesday 18 September 2019, from 5pm to 8pm.

It will be held in Seasons Café at Guildford Cathedral and supported by Smith & Williamson, whose tax partner Luke West will chair the evening.

The debate will focus on the pressing issue of housing and how to meet growing demand in a geographically small and biodiversity-rich county.

Some boroughs and districts in Surrey are virtually covered by designated land, with Tandridge 94% Green Belt, the highest percentage of any local authority in England. Meanwhile the average house price in Surrey currently stands at more than £400,000, pricing many young people and families out of the area.

The speaker panel includes Andrew Shirley, Chief Surveyor at the CLA; Councillor Jan Harwood, lead member for planning, planning policy and housing delivery through planning at Guildford Borough Council; and Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE. Steve Culpitt, land and planning director at Seaward Properties, and David Lock, founder and strategic planning adviser at David Lock Associates, complete the panel.

CLA South East represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses across Surrey and the wider region.

Acting Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “We held a very successful debate on land value capture in Surrey last October, and we are looking forward to getting stuck into the complex issue of housing this time.

With AONBs, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Local Nature Reserves, Biodiversity Opportunity Areas and other valued landscapes dominating the county, how can new developments be delivered in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way? It is said more land in Surrey is dedicated to golf courses than housing, so is it time for a radical rethink?”

The evening will conclude with a drinks reception and canapés. It is free to attend with donations to the CLA Charitable Trust (charity number: 280264). All places must be booked in advance by clicking here.

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.

Media are welcome to attend the debate. To secure a place please contact Mike Sims, CLA communications manager for the South East, on 01264 313434 or email