Fringe Box



Letter: Where is Anne Milton’s Influence Over the Local Plan?

Published on: 31 Oct, 2017
Updated on: 31 Oct, 2017

From Peter Shaw

In response to: Anne Milton Speaks About Her New Role and Guildford Housing

I remember a 2015 Conservative borough council election pledge, “Conservatives Say Green Belt to Stay,” as a major election promise, but during the time since then where was Anne Milton’s power or influence over the disastrous Local Plan?

One can only presume she supported and still supports the local Guildford Borough Executive in their development “trajectory”, which includes developing large parts of the green belt.

I wonder if Anne Milton is aware how statistics used in the Guildford Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), part of the Local Plan, has skewered the calculation of the unconstrained Objectively Assessed (housing) Need (OAN).

According to the “2012 Based Sub National Population Projections” published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), if you only consider births and deaths and movement within the UK, the population of Guildford is actually set to decline over the next twenty years.

The vast majority of the population increase for Guildford is due to net international migration of which 57% (nearly two thirds) are overseas students – but do they actually settle here?

The 2011 Census recorded a population for Guildford significantly less than that which had been forecast. The ONS has suggested that this discrepancy was probably due to the under-reporting of overseas students returning home.

This discrepancy is so significant that, if an adjustment had been applied, according to GBC’s own consultants, the housing need for Guildford to accommodate demographic indicators (population change) would be reduced to 239 homes per annum compared with 577 per annum in the draft Local Plan.

The problem would be solved if overseas students were simply removed from international migration statistics on the grounds that they are here only on a temporary basis to study. A recent study published by the ONS entitled “International Student Migration Research Update: August 2017” established that about 95% of overseas students actually return home on completion of their studies.

Another problem with the OAN for Guildford is that, in the 2011 Census, the term time address of students was taken as their permanent place of residence. This means that the population of Guildford appears to have a very high proportion of people in the 18 – 24-year-old bracket who (according to the Department of Communities & Local Government’s Household Projections) are assumed to have a high probability of forming new households and settling in Guildford, when we know that a lot of students normally move away from Guildford at the end of their studies.

This problem would be solved if the permanent home address of all university students was classed as their permanent place of residence.

Any additional allowance for an increase in student numbers is also completely unwarranted because student numbers already have such a profound and distorting effect on calculations for housing need. In any event, students need student accommodation, not housing.

On top of all this, because the university hasn’t provided nearly enough student accommodation, students occupy, the council has estimated, about 1,600 houses in Guildford – properties that would be much better occupied by key workers such as hospital staff, teachers, council workers, police etc.

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Responses to Letter: Where is Anne Milton’s Influence Over the Local Plan?

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 31, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Perhaps, while she is at it, Ms Milton could also tell us where she stands on GBC’s partnership with Dongying and its acceptance of charity from that city.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 31, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Mr Shaw is quite right to remind us all of the Conservative election pledge “Green belt to stay”.

    Also, we should not forget the other pledge made referring to Blackwell Farm: “Conservatives say no to farm development”.

  3. David Smith Reply

    October 31, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    To be fair to her she did work on Dunsfold Aerodrome application and was “pleased” it was called in – so she has fulfilled some of her promises on the green belt.

  4. Ben Paton Reply

    October 31, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    If Anne Milton is not against the draft Guildford Local Plan then we must presume that she is for it.

    That puts her on the side of a local Conservative Party that has hidden the SHMA housing arithmetic and conducted a witch-hunt against one of the few Councillors who had the gumption to research the issue in detail.

  5. John Robson Reply

    November 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    There is no Local Plan. The reason for the fluff, ambiguity and stereotypical politicians’ response is that the government and Anne Milton are driving the national plan to demolish the green belt.

    Granted we need housing, but if you voted Conservative, leafy Surrey won’t be as leafy as it once was.

    The “Local Plan” will only deliver executive housing on the green belt which will be well out of the reach of the key-workers and first-time buyers the reinvented “caring” Conservatives purport to represent.

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