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Letter: Current Homeowners Should Not Block All Developments

Published on: 12 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2016

Revised Local Plan Jun 2016From C Dalby

In response to: The Local Plan for Guildford Must Protect Everyone’s Quality of Life

I totally agree that the Local Plan should be providing the homes local people need, rather than what developers want to build which is in order to maximise their profits of course.

More regulations need to be put in place to make sure that we have a fair system for all. Developers should not be able to hold people to ransom. Seeing some of the ridiculously high house prices in recent developments in and around Guildford, that is exactly what they are doing.

Also, the homes need to be offered to those that most deserve them; hard working couples and families with a long term link to the area, for example. Basic common sense to me.

The way things seem to be going recently, it seems that there is little or no hope for the future generations and a lot of it is down to current homeowners blocking all proposed developments due to total and utter selfishness. They are more bothered about what they see as a threat to their way of life, i.e. extra cars meaning extra traffic or the view from their bedroom window being ruined.

About time people grew a conscience and showed a bit of respect and care for their fellow man who also has a right to a decent quality of life.

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Responses to Letter: Current Homeowners Should Not Block All Developments

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    April 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

    The current Guildford revised Local Plan is pushing my children away from Guildford. They want to live in town where they work and the have access to restaurants, shops and clubs. There is no way they could get a mortgage anywhere near the price of a small flat, even with joint incomes and savings. There are very few small properties under 1,000pcm for rent on the market either.

    So whilst GBC may be aiming to build homes, very little is earmarked for young couples looking to dispose of the car and use their legs or bicycle to travel around.

    Mr Dalby is quite right, I am being selfish. I want my kids to stay in Guildford and no, I don’t want the countryside concreted over and I don’t want to waste any more of my precious hours sitting in traffic jams whilst dying from pollution.

  2. Adam Knight Reply

    April 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I am struggling to understand Mr Dalby’s comments.

    From what he says he is well aware that the developers charged with creating the huge amount of new homes in the borough are doing so simply to maximise profit, ie building the most expensive houses they can.

    They are profit making private businesses after all, and they do not and will not care about what the borough actually needs. It’s not their job to care, it’s their job to make profit. Simple.

    Yet you also say that selfish nimbyism is stopping the next generation from having a chance to live and thrive in the area.

    Unless new directives are put in place that compel developers to build social, and properly affordable housing, then there is no way they will do this just out of the goodness of their hearts.

    With this in mind, perhaps it is right, and for the good of the town, that the current home owners are fighting so hard to stop certain developments from taking place.

    What if these new developments were going to be local authority owned social properties, specifically designed for hard working low paid local people? Would these same ‘selfish’ villagers have such a problem with the developments?

    The answer is that we don’t know, and we won’t know, because this is simply not what is happening, and not what is going to happen anytime soon.

    So before Mr Dalby condemns the actions of campaigners who are giving up large amounts of time, energy, and often money, to fight these prospective stock-broker new-towns, perhaps he should aim that anger and disappointment towards a Conservative council (and central government) who are putting economic and commercial growth ahead of true human needs and values.

    5,000 new stock-broker mansions and tantamount to zero provisions for (desperately needed) social and affordable housing??

    Not in my back yard.

    • C Dalby Reply

      April 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      I am pretty sure Mr Knight and I are, more or less, of the same opinion on this. What is needed and what should be done is exactly what he mentions. New directives need to be put in place that compel developers to build social, and properly affordable housing, plain and simple. Surely nobody in their right mind could disagree with that, apart from greedy developers, of course.

      In countries like France, this is already the case, which is why there are properties that are affordable for people of every social class. Of course there are a number of luxury properties there too but France has strict laws in place in order to prioritise for social housing rather than pricing local people out of the market as is happening here.

      I agree too that the government need to be held accountable for putting economic and commercial growth ahead of true human needs and values, and this is a nationwide problem, not just in towns like Guildford of course. An example is newly built apartments in London being sold in large numbers to foreign investors despite a mass shortage of homes for locals.

      I am not condemning the work of campaigners that are against genuinely unethical and unfair plans but I am certainly against those that seem to object to all developments, even though they must know that new homes are much needed.

      Perhaps if campaigners came up with a solid alternative plan to what is put on the table then I could offer my support but that is not the case at the moment. The population in Britain is rising rapidly and like it or not new homes need to be built everywhere, Guildford cannot be excluded. Yesterday’s, and some of today’s, generation had/have the ability to buy a home they could call their own in Guildford so why shouldn’t tomorrow’s generation?

      We have absolutely no choice but to build on small sections of green belt land in and around Guildford. The green belt protection plan was first put in place in 1955, life has moved on since then and the population of Britain has risen by over 10 million and with immigration as high as it is and with higher and higher birthrates we have no choice but to re-evaluate the green belt protection plan.

      It is unavoidable and necessary in order for Guildford to modernise which is a must. There is a lot of countryside in the area and building on small sections of the green belt will have little or no effect on anything. Simply refusing to build on it has the potential to cause harm for future generations.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    April 12, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    The reason for high house prices in London and surrounding counties is due to over-centralization of businesses. Driving them out into other areas of the country was mooted by Nick Clegg in one of his speeches that made sense but nobody took any notice.

    A possible way would be to put up business rates even higher and offer attractive deals elsewhere in the country. Councils could be empowered to compulsorily purchase houses lying vacant for a year to reduce rental rates. Governments should build council houses as disparity of income would remain for jobs that are now relatively low paid unless a sea change in policies concerning true living wages are introduced. Not a likely scenario.

    As for Local Plans, these are not plans but merely list of wishes and councils have no control over what the developers would actually offer. If there is not enough profit, developers would not come forward and build new houses.

    And there are the new NIMBYs – the NIMGREEBs (Not In My Green Belt). NIMGREEBs can spot all sorts of problems in anything the councils are likely to come up with. Some of them can see street lights ten miles away, see nothing wrong in building houses close or over the noisy railway tracks (they are not going to live there are they?), some advocate stuffing all pockets of so-called brownfield sites with high rise crammed housing with inadequate infrastructures (not a forte of the councils) and the list goes on.

    Should we be worried? I would say nothing much would happen as the record of building on a grand scale shows not much has happened during the last forty years. Last time I looked at the list of houses for which planning approval existed but not built was 1500 in Guildford.

    And where in the world would you find a bridge built before cars were invented serving as the sole bridge connecting the east and west areas of the town? So there, we must rest assured of no change as usual. So, Don’t worry, be happy! as the song goes.

    • John Perkins Reply

      April 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Over-centralization of business may be one reason for high house prices in London, but it is not the only one. Very wealthy people with foreign-registered companies can buy property here and not pay Stamp Duty. Also, their identity is kept secret so it is possible for criminals to launder their ill-gotten gains. Whether or not the money they bring in has been legally obtained.

      This distorts the housing market and the effect ripples out to surrounding areas. Those ripples are reaching Guildford.

      Forcing companies out of London was tried in the 60s and 70s and was followed by the opposite policy of encouraging them to move back in again.

      Allowing councils to compulsorily purchase empty houses is fraught with danger. For example it might be tempting to force somebody into a care home and then buy their house at below market value. Councils should build houses for rent as they did for many years.

      Developers do not need to be tempted to build, it’s their chosen way of life.

      NIMGREEBs? Oh, please. Nobody thinks like that. However, the green belt was defined for a reason and that reason has not changed.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    April 13, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I think Mr Neogi is commenting on my complaint that lighting on a new roundabout, which has been already mooted, if the Blackwell Farm development goes ahead, would be visible from 10 miles away. He thinks that is unlikely.

    As a child I lived in Mayford, and could clearly see, from my bedroom window, the lights of Coombes garage on the A3, not far from where the aforementioned roundabout would stand. That is a distance of at least six miles. The lamp posts would be much higher and the lights much brighter than normal street lighting and therefore visible for at least 10 miles, as I said.

    On the other topics in this stream, we all know that housing is needed, but the main need is for Social Housing, which the Conservatives keep selling off, even requiring housing associations to sell their properties.

    Until there is a change of policy, and Government actively encourages councils to build council houses, there will, forever, be a shortage of ‘low-income’ homes. The NIMGREEBS are, rightly, trying to protect land that should not be built on, not by developers, nor the council. They’re not trying to block all developments, only those which are inappropriate.

    Guildford Borough Council needs the sense to see that Guildford does not need to expand its business and industry extensively, necessitating many new houses for the new workers immigrating to Guildford. If GBC plans for businesses to be built on the brownfield sites the council is setting aside, rather than using them for housing, then there will be a shortfall.

    Because of these policies, green belt land is about to be lost forever.

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