Fringe Box



Letter: We Do Need More Houses and a School In Normandy

Published on: 2 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 2 Jun, 2016

emails letterFrom Clive Winter

Normandy and Flexford certainly require a local shop as the closest at present is 2.5 miles away.

When I am older and unable to drive I would hate to feel isolated in a village that I can’t even hop on a bus, close to my house, to get to the station or walk to any local shop to buy the essentials. If you can’t drive in Normandy, you are truly marooned.

Eight years ago when my daughter was moving up to secondary school, places were limited and we were very lucky to get her first choice of Guildford County. I strongly believe a new local school in Normandy and Flexford would benefit the overall community providing much needed expansion in this area.

When I moved to Normandy 20 years ago there were two shops, one pub, one fuel garage and a post office.

There are none of these now as the community is not large enough to support a small business and the sites where these were located were built on for housing.

As a young person I could not afford to live in this village any longer after my divorce, which goes to show that demand is high and houses have to be built.

I feel that the young people will not stand up and air their views in the public consultation as it’s not of interest to them at present as they have no understanding of how difficult their futures will become with a housing crisis.

As a local businessman, it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate commercial premises for a smaller business in the local area.

Do we build on all the brownfield sites and reduce our opportunity to expand our businesses? If so, where are these new people going to work?

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Responses to Letter: We Do Need More Houses and a School In Normandy

  1. Roger Wisbelake Reply

    June 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    A valid point of view well made by Mr Winter. It is utter madness for an entire community to be allowed to stagnate simply because of a Nimby attitude.

    I suffer from a lack of access to even the simplest of services and would dearly love my village to expand and grow.

    Don’t deny us all a future.

  2. Angela Gray Reply

    June 2, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Mr Winter owns fields on the beautiful green belt that is the least spoilt in Normandy and Flexford which he can sold for a lot of money if the go ahead is given for development.

    I have lived in the village for 23 years and had children myself that had no problem getting into one of the three secondary schools nearest to the village. Figures show there there is no need for a secondary school as currently there would only be 50 students attending from Normandy/Flexford or Wyke for the 1,050 places.

    We have been told by Cllr Paul Spooner that this land is classed as ‘red sensitive’ and will only be used for housing if there was a need for a ‘free’ secondary school provided by the developers Taylor Wimpey. There is still plenty of spare capacity in these local secondary schools.

    With regards to a need for a shop and pub, in my 23 years living here we have had three pubs and three convenience shops all of which were obviously not used enough by village folk to make them viable, which is why they all eventually closed.

    So there is no need for a shop. Instead people prefer to have supermarket home deliveries, or visit the many larger supermarkets all within a few miles of the village and the less able folk being able to take the village mini-bus three times a week to the local supermarkets.

  3. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I feel sad that Mr Winter believes that we need to build on precious greenbelt land in Normandy because he would like a shop for ‘when he gets older’.

    In the survey supported by the parish council three years ago villagers were invited to reply and overwhelmingly said that they would like a shop… but then they did not use it.

    That is why three pubs, a petrol station/garage and three shops have all closed in the administrative area of Normandy in the last ten, or so, years. They were not used.

    The last was our own Duke of Normandy which when it closed the the parish council tried to preserve for retail. Even though it was on the main road A323 no one was interested in purchasing the site and absolutely no interest was shown in the village to preserve it as a community project.

    The Therapy Garden at Normandy sells freshly produced vegetables and bedding plants and Hunt Hill Farm who support Farmers Markets sell meat but few in the village use them so what does Mr Winter expect?

    The simple fact of the matter is that retail and commercial is changing. We are seeing less presence on the High Street and shopping centres and more presence on the internet.

    People work from home and offices are smaller with “hot-desking” and other practices utilised to the full.

    Why? Because of the he misery of traffic hold ups and expensive parking. More housing and a large school built to serve the needs of children and families living three to four miles away will just add to the misery we already suffer.

    • Clive Winter Reply

      June 7, 2016 at 11:14 am

      In reply to Peta Malthouse and Angela Gray:

      You may not know this, but the school leaving age since 2015 has been raised to 18.

      The extra capacity now stretching the schools with sixth forms has prompted the government to set aside £500 million to increase capacity.

  4. Clive Winter Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Before this was published, it was a comment on another page and was requested to be used as a published article. I was hoping it was going to include the following:

    Please note that I have an interest in the plan as a land owner as well as a long term resident of Normandy.

    I have farmed 8 aces in Normandy for the past 20 years and find the sudden and all consuming interest from local residents, in the bats, birds and small mammals (that I have personally tried to encourage to thrive) most baffling?

    Why have these individuals not asked the other local farmers to let their hedges grow and not use 
    herbicides or pestisides to encourage wildlife?
    I have purposely chosen not to cut my hedgerows over the last 20 years for the main reason of encouraging wildlife.

    There is very little wildlife in the open fields, it is the hedgerows and areas of natural woodland that need our protection.

    If the residents of Normandy and flexford were so worried about the wildlife in the area they would have been trying to encourage biodiversity over the last 20 Years and not only when a potential residential development is in the plans. 

    Perhaps the residents are only interested in protecting their own inflated house prices? Supply must meet demand to stabilise the housing market otherwise no young people can afford to live in these villages. Basic economics people!

  5. Ben Paton Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Mr Winter bemoans the loss of local shops and feels disadvantaged. Is the solution to build more houses?

    The reason local shops have gone is the greater economies of scale and scope in the retail trade which allow supermarket chains to provide more services at lower prices. They benefit from centralised buying and distribution.

    It is not plausible that building a new housing estate (or two or three) is really going to result in a change in the structure of the supermarket business. Even if the new housing estates are built (perhaps on Mr Winter’s land) the likelihood of local corner shops reappearing is about as likely as snow in August.

    It is all very well noting the changes which have adversely affected residents in small villages. To provide a fair and rounded picture some of the positives must be mentioned.

    The internet allows pensioners to connect to the entire world from the comfort of their sofas. Daily necessities can be ordered and delivered to your door from Ocado, Sainsbury and Tesco. A thousand knick knacks can be provided over night from Amazon.

    In the past shoe leather might have be worn down traipsing from shop to shop looking for a specialist stockist of some tiny but vital part for a curtain, say. Now it can be found with a Google search. The present generation is not worse off than previous generations. It is vastly better off.

    As for saying that hedges have not been cut to help the wildlife…That sounds like self-serving nonsense. Hedges need to be cut annually. If they are not cut they eventually cease to be hedges. When a hedge is not a hedge it much less useful to wildlife. It is precisely the compact form of hedges which provides protection for nesting birds.

    Our friendly local developer tells Guildford Borough Council that it will increase the wildlife value of local land by creating new hedges.

  6. Keith Reeves Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Mr Winter is shot down,somewhat predictably, however, I find the assertion that there is ‘no need for a shop’ a somewhat sweeping statement (to say the least).

    When looking for property in the Guildford area a few years ago one factor which put me off Normandy/Flexford, despite viewing one very nice house, was the lack of a shop within walking distance.

    While shopping habits have continued to change, some of us don’t want to jump in a car, take an infrequent bus or order groceries on line if we want a newspaper, magazine, pint of milk, loaf of bread and a few sundry items.

    It is also suggested that a shop closed because it wasn’t used despite residents stating subsequently that they wanted one. I think what the correspondent really meant to say was that the shop closed because it wasn’t used enough to be viable – presumably some of the locals supported it?

    She also overlooks the fact that footfall alone can’t guarantee success. Aspects such as location, advertising, pricing, stock, opening hours and staff have to be taken into account too.

  7. Paul Bishop Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I think Mr Winter makes a lot of very sensible points.

    Small shops don’t survive in small towns because they don’t have enough customers, build more houses you get more customers and, not only can shops stay open, the whole infrastructure of the area can be improved. It’s quite simple supply and demand.

    I also think he makes a great point that people don’t seem to care how land is used, provided it looks like a field still. The herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals used will and do have adverse effects on the local wildlife. I find it rather naive that people think the only risk to wildlife is new houses.

    The more I read on the arguments around not building on a few select green belt sites, the more I am convinced it’s all about selfishness of the people who are already living in it. It’s OK for them, but no one else should have the privilege. Quite sad really.

  8. Nick Norton Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    If you present people with a wish list of some bucolic idyll, they will agree with it. The reality of their personal choices never match the fantasy.

    You can’t run a convenience store and make an income on selling the odd pint of milk or newspaper to a small number of infrequent customers when most residents get in their car and drive the 6 miles or so to the many major supermarkets in easy reach.

  9. Roger Wisbelake Reply

    June 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    My spaniel, Bertram, and I often wander the fields in question and there is very little wildlife of significant interest – rabbits and pigeons are all that we see and are classed as vermin I believe not wildlife.

    Surely a few houses, some shops, a school and some well needed extra residents are just what the area needs. It would be wonderful to have extra folks to chat to and a joy to be able to wander for a morning paper once again.

    If you accept that development will come to areas so close to Guildford (and London), especially as we are blessed with a railway station, then it is better in the form of quality housing than as industrial or intensive farming.

    I for one would rather see homes for people instead of the development of a maggot farm, the planning for which I have heard from a reliable source is on the council’s desk as an alternative proposal for the east of Glaziers Lane area.

    Give me bricks and mortar over Agri-Protein production any day!

    If that is allowed to progress then all our house prices will suffer and walking Bertram on hot days whilst wearing a mask is certainly not an appealing thought!

  10. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 6, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Of course my comment regarding Normandy and the land in question was made in the light of the fact that until about one year ago I chaired Normandy Parish Council and drafted the village’s response to the then draft Local Plan.

    During that time I can say we issued a number of consultations and arranged many meetings with the villagers as well as conducting a survey with a view to developing a Neighbourhood Plan.

    The situation regarding shops etc is accurately recorded.

    Normandy consists of five separate settlements in green belt. We are farming country.

    I met with Mr Winter in my role of parish council chairman as he was experiencing problems with the planning department.

    I used the opportunity to ask him to cut his hedges which obscured the view across the fields and preserved the openness to the green belt that we have tried to promote.

    He refused saying then that he grew them to avoid rural crime.

    He also said then that he wanted to preserve his way of life which is to farm the land classed as GOOD Farmland.

    It appears his views have now changed.

    None of us in the Normandy administrative area are Nimbys.Affordable homes have been built and the number of households increased by 10% in the last plan period.

    There is however no need to remove any of the land in or area from the green belt.

    Green belt exceptions include building affordable housing, so why cannot it remain the same as it is now?

    In reality there is no need to ‘re classify’ Normandy.

  11. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 18, 2016 at 10:03 am

    We are in the green belt in Normandy and we all need to look at the bigger picture.

    There is an application before Rushmoor Borough Council to develop former MOD land by building 3,800 homes, two primary schools and other community facilities.

    The extra traffic, which the homes are expected to create, could, it is suggested, be met by use of the railway line that runs through Normandy, buses, cycling, walking and the road network. It is proposed that direct access is given to the A331 and this would ease the travellers onto the A323, A31, A3 and M3.

    The application can be found here:, and the advert for the proposed homes is here:

    Affordable homes? You cannot help but laugh.

    We are looking at mass urbanisation of the green belt and, as usual, no infrastructure to support it.

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