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Letter: The Attitude To New Housing Proposals Is Selfish and Disgraceful

Published on: 24 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 24 Feb, 2017

From Christopher Dalby

In response to comments on: It’s A Shame the Cathedral’s Planning Application Was Not Approved

As much as I am used to it, it still really shocks and upsets me that the same old kind of people continue to fight and oppose each and every newly proposed, and much needed, housing development.

Attitudes seriously have to change, the population of Britain is increasing by 500,000 a year (net migration plus births) and Guildford like every UK town has no choice but to build new homes in order to support the growing population.

The vast majority of people opposing such new developments are in the latter stages of their working life or are retired, I wonder how they would have reacted when they were young if their elders had spoken up in a way which had the potential to such a massive impact on their futures? Not well, I am sure.

Yes, people own cars but the same old excuse about traffic is a poor one, especially in cases such as this: the proposed cathedral housing would be close to town, the station and a major A road. Traffic may increase but the need for new housing far outweighs that argument.

I would like to make a suggestion that all those that oppose new housing developments come up with alternative ideas on where housing is to be built because currently I find the attitudes of many to be one of total contempt for tomorrow’s generation and is both selfish and, frankly, disgraceful.

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Responses to Letter: The Attitude To New Housing Proposals Is Selfish and Disgraceful

  1. Peter Shaw Reply

    February 25, 2017 at 11:45 am

    In and around the university area this is relatively simple.

    Step 1: Get access to the model and calculations that underpin the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) document, i.e. the “how many new homes do we actually need to build in Guildford every year?”, part of the Local Plan. This work was paid for by the public purse and so we have a right to scrutinize the calculations behind this document in detail.

    I believe the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) Executive is using smoke and mirrors to ensure the model is not scrutinized in public. Data was used incorrectly to inflate the local housing need number, but without full scrutiny of that model, my opinions are just that, subjective opinions. There will always be a shadow of doubt over that document until full scrutiny is achieved that will sour the debate and mar the whole process and plan.

    Step 2: Put regulations in place that would require the university to house all students on campus. They already have the land (with planning permission) to get a fair way towards that objective. Some part of the existing campus accommodation could be redeveloped to increase the housing density. (I’m speaking as an ex-University of Surrey student who knows the campus relatively well).

    Step 3: Put a cap on HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy). Oxford council does this. Make the cap high enough to protect students at Guildford College and small businesses around the town but low enough so that it encourages university students to take up accommodation on campus. Perhaps even break the HMO cap down to the council ward level to help implement this around the town.

    Hopefully this would free up currently rented houses allowing them to go back onto the housing market. They are the type of truly affordable housing that Guildford needs in the places its needed. It should also stop, or reduce, the effects that having a high transient population year in, year out has on the local wards and estates of Onslow, Ashenden Estate and Park Barn and hopefully increase community cohesion.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    It is all very well saying “build more houses” – but where is the the water supply to come from and where is the human waste to go? And then there is electricity supply, road space, school places and NHS resources. All these systems have limited capacity.

    People who come to Guildford, cannot simply expect us to provide all the infrastructure needed regardless. There are constraints.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    February 26, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Well said, Peter Shaw. It is what I have been saying for some time.

    The failure of the Executive of Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to allow even its own councillors to see the research results is appalling. To fail to make the document public, when our taxes have paid for it, is, I believe, immoral.

    Until the studies, leading to the publication of the SHMA have been properly assessed no-one will believe that the vast numbers of houses GBC has proposed to build is either necessary or desirable.

    Furthermore the university should be obliged to build student accommodation. It is up to the GBC to force this issue, and release hundreds of suitable houses in Guildford to solve some of its housing needs. Someone on GBC must have the strength of character to negotiate or demand that this building is done, in accordance with the permissions and land given to the university for this very reason.

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