Fringe Box



Letter: We Should All Discuss And Consider Local Political Issues

Published on: 18 Oct, 2017
Updated on: 18 Oct, 2017

From Peter Shaw

I can empathise with George Dokimakis’ position [Opinion: We Need to Stop Talking About Dongying] but I do not totally agree with it.

Issues like the Dongying partnership itself, the Cllr Reeve disciplinary farce, hidden SHMA calculations, M3 LEP’s “Guildford Growth Hub” statement are all connected by the belief of this council Executive that Guildford needs to grow over the next plan period by around 18% in housing stock.

The government backed New Homes Bonus, a scheme where the government will match council tax payments on any newly built home for a six year period, allows GBC to use money from the scheme on any spending activity they wish.

With council tax across the borough varying from approx £1,145.29 (Band A, Wisley (Meeting)) to £3,640.20 (Band H, Normandy), every new house built will net the council between £6,871.74 to £21,841.20 in bonus payments from the Government over the six year period (please note: there is an intention to eventually reduce this to a four year period).

So there is a bias in the New Homes Bonus towards building houses with a high council tax band (i.e. 4-5 bedroom houses). With a lot of these homes being ear marked for green belt even higher council tax charges can be levied for a particular band.

The Local Plan suggests Guildford Borough adopts an unconstrained total new home build number of 12,426 homes in Guildford borough from 2015 to 2034. This would mean from the New Homes Bonus Scheme alone, a total amount of “free” money would be somewhere between approx £85 Million to £271 Million.

No wonder why the GBC Executive are chomping at the bit to build large expensive new homes in Guildford, with the tag that they will be “affordable”. The definition of “affordability” is 80% of market value. In Guildford that still equates to a home that is overpriced and out of reach of any new family or the young wanting to get on to the housing ladder.

We need a strategy for more council houses and homes in the £200k to £300k price bracket, not the so-called “affordable homes” GBC keeps on harking on about.

What does the above have to do with Dongying, Cllr Reeve, hidden SHMA calculations and the M3 LEP Guildford Growth Hub statement? They all show the extraordinary measures the GBC Executive will go to not to listen to the public, shut up and punish dissenters, keep transparency at a minimum, pay lip-service only to public consultation, bypass council processes and procedures, all so they can bulldoze their vision of Guildford upon us.

The GBC Executive should stop fuelling the South East housing crisis and instead of building homes for Londoners, build homes that Guildford citizens can actually pay a decent mortgage/rent and still lead a comfortable life.

Wake up Guildford and at the next elections think carefully on who you vote for to represent your views!

Until the next elections hold the GBC Executive to account by talking about these subjects with friends and family, so at the next election they make an informed opinion.

Don’t stop talking about it, keep talking about it and inform all those who will listen! Lets make sure all Guildford citizens know it!

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Responses to Letter: We Should All Discuss And Consider Local Political Issues

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    A brilliant exposé of the council executive’s motives by Dr Shaw.

    If only we had some on the GBC Executive with the intelligence and analytical abilities of Dr Shaw and Cllr Reeve.

    Instead we have arrogance and mediocrity, coupled with a sense of entitlement.

    Oh Guildford, how I mourn for thee.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    October 19, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Absolutely right. We should not ignore the ‘less important’ issues; all are indicative of a general attitude.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    October 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Hopefully, the GGG will be able to field a few more candidates at the next local elections, as they are the only party trying to preserve the best of the borough while realistically considering what it needs in the future.

    As Peter Shaw says, there is no “need” for lots of 4- and 5-bedroom houses, but GBC will gain financially from such development. They are refusing to build social housing in the form of flats and small dwellings, either for rent or to buy, though this is what the public knows is what is truly needed around Guildford.

  4. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    October 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Peter Shaw hits the nail on the head.

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