Fringe Box



Letter: Where Else Can New Houses Go, Other Than On The Green Belt?

Published on: 27 Jul, 2016
Updated on: 27 Jul, 2016

Hands off the green belt featureFrom David Smith

I believe there is a great deal of support within the town for development on the green belt.

What’s not sustainable is to think that all our housing needs can be met by building on the brownfield sites in Guildford town centre. Where are all of these wonderful sites?

Some that have been identified are: Guildford Plaza – purchased by Pegasus Life for an over 55s development; Guildford Station – an opportunity although refused for a second time by planners and fiercely objected to by residents; and Guildford Cathedral – over 100 objection letters received for a scheme prepared by Linden Homes.

Meanwhile sites on the river side of Walnut Tree Close have all been classified as a flood risk and so are deemed unsuitable for residential.

So this leaves us with no option but to start squeezing houses in garden plots and pulling down original buildings for flats, this is happening along the Epsom and Farnham Roads where we have lost three original Victorian buildings for flats in the last 12 months.

Why should our town’s character be eroded through over development and why should we be forced to take all of the housing? Perhaps a new sign could be made to say: “No more development in the town centre.”

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Responses to Letter: Where Else Can New Houses Go, Other Than On The Green Belt?

  1. Neville Bryan Reply

    July 28, 2016 at 11:30 am

    To dismiss sites like Walnut Tree Close so easily shows how easily the building sector play the game. If the land is so utterly incapable of being built on due to flooding, please explain how so much of northern Holland is occupied when under sea level, especially when Guildford land and house prices are considered.

    A good design team would solve the problems through solutions like ground level car parks and the rest.

    To dismiss sites like North Street, the car parks, the station areas, and the rest just to get developer hands on green belt is environment sabotage.

    The town needs houses and redevelopment to live and breathe, as well as a traffic solution. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.

  2. Gordon Bridger Reply

    July 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    David Smith makes some important points about the location of new housing. This is a very high priority need not only to keep our public services staffed by but also to be able to recruit the young professionals who have over the last three decades played a key role in in making Guildford one of the most prosperous and dynamic communities in Britain.

    The problem is that the Government does very little to help us to provide the “affordable” houses which are most needed as they restrict council house development, and allow the “right to buy”. We in Guildford further restrict land availability by 89% of land being in the green belt – which means that house prices are largely made up by the high costs of land.

    Under these constraints a 40% “affordable” target is going to be difficult to achieve unless we release some green belt land, as indeed is proposed in the Local Plan – just 1.6%, not a significant amount of the 89% total.

    There is certainly far more scope for housing in the town centre, instead of 45,000 sq m retail, but this land has retail value and the amount of funding one could get for affordable housing is limited – though still possible from very high quality apartments – though it is not an area particularly suitable for families.

    The council has a formidable task in trying to reach its target, as Cllr Rooth, lead member for housing has pointed out. Housing needs to be provided at an affordable price and which does not allow fortunate tenants to buy the property. There should be ways to achieve this.

    There are solutions, as he suggested, but this needs close cooperation with planners to ensure that the new Local Plan is strengthened by highlighting the very serious economic and social problems we face as a result of the housing scarcity.

  3. Stuart Barnes Reply

    July 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    According to Migration Watch (in my view the only truly impartial body studying the effects of migration) 75% of the requirement for housing comes from projected levels of immigration prior to the referendum.

    However, now that we have instructed the government by voting to get out of the EU that open door immigration must close, surely the levels of housing need must be reassessed?

    Our green belt should be sacrosanct and any building on it should be in dire emergency only.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    July 29, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    So if you put all the new houses GBC wants to impose on green belt land in the villages, are you prepared for the increase in traffic, pollution, congestion, etc. as people try to get into town to work?

    This subject has been debated for years and the ridiculous idea that school children, the elderly, the disabled, housewives and suit-wearing businessmen will walk or cycle into Guildford from villages more than five miles away is not even worth considering.

    Just accept that a town is a town; it has flats and higher-rise buildings than are appropriate in villages.

    Accept that the density in towns is and should be greater than in rural areas. Accept that brownfield sites, particularly if, as in Guildford, most do not have to be decontaminated of difficult chemicals following industrial use, but are often open spaces with car parks which should be developed first.

    Most of these brownfield sites are in the town. Why does anyone think that the character of the villages should be eroded by over development?

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