Fringe Box



Letter: What Alternative Is There To Building More Homes?

Published on: 25 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 25 Sep, 2014

Local Plan Consultation logoFrom David Smith

3,000 responses out of a population of 130,000 is quite an interesting statistic.

We cannot criticise the council for its open invitation to comment on the Local Plan, I mean there has been extensive advertising and even a shop in a prime street in Guildford town centre which has been welcoming interaction with the community. Do we assume the lack of response is that people don’t care?

Obviously there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction from those affected in the green belt but we have heard little from people in the more urban areas, where the suggestion is to build yet more homes in already densely populated areas.

One such site that has come forward in recent weeks is land at Guildford Cathedral where 150 new homes are planned by Linden Homes and there seems to be a mention of building flats in Walnut Tree Close – a road which in my mind is already at maximum in terms of traffic and also in the flood plain.

If these green belt campaigners want to be taken seriously they really will have to come up with some real and viable alternatives of where new housing should be provided.

Stephen Mansbridge for all his faults – and quite frankly I’d never of voted that shower in – has said that we face difficult decisions. You cannot argue with the facts: we have a high proportion of green belt, almost 90 per cent, and a massive shortage of homes being supplied which has fuelled ridiculous house prices preventing many even on good salaries being able to purchase and a lack of credible brownfield sites.

What alternative do we have?

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Responses to Letter: What Alternative Is There To Building More Homes?

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    September 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I don’t think it’s the lack of houses that has pushed the prices up in Guildford. More likely, it’s the proximity to Heathrow, Gatwick, the M25, M3, a good selection of well performing state and private schools, the amount and quality of employment, the beautiful countryside and the ability to live rurally while still being within a stone’s throw of a major shopping area. Why wouldn’t anyone move here?

    Similarly, prices in other commuter towns are high. The nicer parts of London are also overpriced but no ones suggesting we build on Regents Park or a block of affordable homes in Knightsbridge. Unfortunately, Guildford is a victim of its own success.

    If we want house prices to fall I suggest we ask employers to move out of the area, ask Network Rail to cancel all train services, take out the M25/ Wisley junction and cut down all the trees, that may go some way to reduce house prices in Guildford.

    Other than that we could look at history which shows us that getting a good education, a decent job and working enthusiastically will help you save enough money to get on the housing ladder.

    Yes, perhaps not everyone will be able to afford a flat in Guildford but that’s mainly because we haven’t built enough flats or apartments in the area? Thus, young professionals turn to look at either Woking, Aldershot or Staines where property is slightly cheaper whilst the Londoners bank their profits and buy a big house in Guildford instead.

    Which brings us full circle. Profitability is why developers prefer to build executive housing on green belt rather than regenerate brownfield for our young people.

  2. Andrew Whitchurch Reply

    October 24, 2014 at 12:57 am

    I’m getting fed up of house price inflation being blamed on supply side issues. There are already more houses than households in the UK.

    The issue is demand side. When the previous generation wanted to buy a house, their parents invested in equities and bonds (normally via a final salary scheme paid for by their employer, made possible because they didn’t live as long). Today, our parents generation doesn’t get as good a return on this type of investment and expect to be retired on average for about 25-30 years. So they buy property instead.

    If you want to fix the house price crisis, then the answer is to tax property investment like any other; impose much stricter tenancy laws and rent controls on landlords and to raise interest rates. It also helps if you have the balls to let house prices drop a lot, instead of artificially propping them up at the expense of those who don’t own a house.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    The Rent Act of past did just that!

    That was of course before the days when so many of our “affordable” housing stock was bought up be investors to be used as student dormitories.

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