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Letter: Far Too Many Houses Are Being Planned for the Former Wisley Airfield

Published on: 1 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 1 Jan, 2021

From: Liz Shaw

In response to: Local Doubt Over Taylor Wimpey’s Second Public Consultation on Former Wisley Airfield

I have never been involved in commenting or objecting before but I am recently really concerned at the underhand way Taylor Wimpey are trying to get the former Wisley Airfield planning through.

They have been sending out “consultation” pamphlets with results from pseudo surveys claiming to say what people want. Locally we do not want this. Their surveys are irrelevant. The glossy brochures show an attractive infrastructure of roads – with no houses. They try to hide the fact that the actual plan is to build 2,000 houses. It’s way too many.

Look at the scale of their glossy brochures (with no houses), against some of the pre-existing local houses, to see what an absolute monster that this will be.

How dare Taylor Wimpey come here and ruin our local area to line their greedy property developer pockets?

They should scale this development down so it will not completely dominate and ruin our locality. Five hundred houses is the absolute maximum number that should be built here. I think many people would agree to that.

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test 25 Responses to Letter: Far Too Many Houses Are Being Planned for the Former Wisley Airfield

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 1, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Applications are now on the planning page at GBC’s website for roundabouts and roads and the provision of a SANG at Wisley, before a detailed application has been put in for the actual development. See: 20/P/01708 and 20/S/00005 (note that the documents relating to this second application are not available to view yet).

    Please look at and comment about these plans.

  2. Alan Robertson Reply

    January 1, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    The pending May local election could help to deliver a more acceptable, reliable and honest, group of councillors who can preside over any future chicanery from Taylor Woodrow.

  3. Ross Connell Reply

    January 1, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    There is a considerable need for new housing in Surrey. Each time new housing is proposed the Nimbies come out in force.

    Of course, these Nimbies own houses in Surrey and their houses gain in value as demand exceeds supply. Are these Nimbies childless and so don’t care where other peoples’ children could live locally?

    The important aspect is that new housing should be a mix of affordable rent, rent/buy and buy as per housing associations.

    At least Wisley Airfield is not green belt or do the local Nimbies prefer green belt housing for Surrey?

    • George Richardson Reply

      January 1, 2021 at 7:00 pm

      100% agree. Ask people who need a home, not those already in their own castle with their draw bridge drawn up.

    • David Roberts Reply

      January 2, 2021 at 6:48 pm

      Please don’t use the N word [Nimby]. It is gratuitously insulting and demeans the person using it. As has been conclusively shown many times, local house prices have very little to do with supply and demand.

      Furthermore, no-one (including my children) has the right to afford to live locally.

      I think Liz Shaw is being immensely generous in proposing that as many as 500 houses might be built on this site, which would still be in the green belt were it not for the chicanery of the last Tory borough council.

      If only Taylor Wimpey were as flexible and reasonable as Ms Shaw is. They could save immense costs and possible total defeat by taking an axe to their ambitions now.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      January 3, 2021 at 9:43 am

      I challenge the ‘need’ for housing in Surrey the SHMA overestimated the real need at 47,500 houses there is no company or group of companies demanding 47,000 workers so why bring people into the area. And where would the 4.5 million cubic metres of water come from every year?

      Mr Connell can label me a Nimby if he wants, but it shows his narrow-minded house number approach to the problem. Water, air, road capacity, transport, nature jobs, food, waste disposal and history were all aspects considered while I stood before the barrister at the Foxley Wood appeal/consortium developments in the 1980s, when the term was first coined.

      No one was left homeless because the five new villages, were not built on greenfield sites.

      • Ross Connell Reply

        January 3, 2021 at 5:00 pm

        When new houses are built it is obvious that there needs to be accompanying infrastructure. This is not as such a greenfield site issue. I recall Send inhabitants opposing building plans in their area and likewise denying others what they enjoy. Nimbyism is rife in Surrey and it is selfishness.

        • Jim Allen Reply

          January 4, 2021 at 10:00 pm

          And therein lies the problem. Mr Connell accuses me of being a Nimby but fails to understand that the infrastructure is not sustainable. I have carried out research. Rainfall simply cannot supply the drinking water necessary for the number of people planned to arrive under the SHMA.

  4. Phil Stubbs Reply

    January 2, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    It was green belt until it bizarrely had that status taken away [when the Local Plan for Guildford was adopted]. It’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), part of a designated protection area for three heathland breeding birds.

    Ross Connell’s comment suggests he insufficiently informed.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 2, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    GBC deliberately ignored brownfield sites and central urban locations when designating areas for development after they ruthlessly removed large swathes of villages from the green belt.

    Town centre housing is preferable in many ways, fewer cars required, slightly higher-rise buildings are more acceptable, keep the ‘lungs, of London’ – the green belt, less light pollution in sensitive areas. I could go on.

    More housing is necessary, particularly when young people want their own places, there are more divorces, each partner now needing a home, downsizers need smaller homes releasing the bigger houses for families, but why do people whinge about house owners in the rural areas not wanting their environment destroyed.

    The incoming councillors, who replaced the Conservatives promised to review the GBC Local Plan. They were going to look again at the removal of green belt status. They have not done so. I hold out no hope for any new councillors doing any better.

  6. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 4, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    In response to Ross Connell, people enjoy the open spaces around the villages. People enjoy green fields. Once you build on them there are no more empty places to enjoy. You cannot then share your countryside with those whose houses now fill the fields.

  7. Ross Connell Reply

    January 4, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    GBC is 88% green belt while golf courses occupy more land than does housing. There is more than enough open space.

    • John Perkins Reply

      January 5, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      Guildford Borough may well have been 88% green belt, but it’s rather less now since the Conservative-controlled GBC removed that status from so much of it in their Local Plan.

      The villages that have been removed from the green belt are not open space they are living places with housing.

      Golf courses are not open space either; they are privately owned and do not allow non-members to access them.

      I’m sure the previous council would not approve of being described as 88% green.

      • JS Palmer Reply

        January 8, 2021 at 3:53 pm

        This myth that golf courses occupy more land than housing has been rebutted by the CPRE. This is from “Green Belt myths: CPRE’s guide to what you need to know” August 2015.

        “A BBC Radio 4 ‘More Or Less’ programme, broadcast on 30 May 2014, explored the argument that more of Surrey’s land area (2.8%) is taken up by golf courses than housing (2.1%). Most land outside urban areas in Surrey is classified as green belt.

        “As the programme went on to highlight, the figures quoted for land area of housing do not include gardens, or access roads. If these are added, then about 14% of Surrey’s area is taken up by housing. Nationally, more than five times more land is used for housing when gardens and roads are included, than for golf courses.

        “A wide range of leisure activities take place in the Green Belt, not only golf but also horse riding and other outdoor sports. These all reflect in some way the value of a belt of open land to the people in the urban areas the land surrounds.”

  8. Hazel Barker Reply

    January 5, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Why did Taylor Wimpey purchase the Wisley Airfield site, given the fact that the council, had refused the application for the infrastructure to go ahead, on the A3.

    I believe, GBC had taken the Wisley site out of their local plan, but it would seem its back in again.

    I would be overjoyed, if the Wisley Airfield was left as farmland, for people to walk their dogs and to enjoy the wildlife there.

    There are many other counties that land could be developed on but I suppose Surrey would fetch higher prices.

    We’re already living on top of one another, in Surrey. In my opinion, we need more spread out housing between towns and villages, so we could better cope with another future coronavirus, heaven forbid, we get another epidemic.

    Cllr Jan Harwood, Lead Councillor for Climate Change responded:

    “The former Wisley Airfield was first proposed as a potential site for housing in the draft Local Plan 2014. Since then, it has remained in the Local Plan which was found sound by an independent Planning Inspector in 2019, following a year-long examination period and was adopted by full Council in April 2019.

    “The adopted Local Plan: strategy and sites 2019 (which includes the former Wisley airfield site) is allocated for approximately 2,000 homes and a range of supporting infrastructure including primary and secondary schools, community uses, open space and a package of sustainable transport initiatives.

    “Taylor Wimpey is currently developing a scheme for Wisley airfield and intend to submit a planning application later this year. There will be further public consultation as part of this process.”

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      January 6, 2021 at 7:15 am

      The comment by Cllr Harwood of “approximately 2,000 homes” is ominous. Given the warning given by Cllr Moseley that housing numbers are a guide, not a cap, I expect Taylor Wimpey to up the number as far as 3,000, should they get planning permission. It is what developers do.

      This development is neither needed or wanted. What is needed is to retain this highly fertile land for agriculture. Given recent events, it is clear we can no longer afford to import 60% of our food.

  9. Lisa Wright Reply

    January 6, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    The big question is why Taylor Wimpey bought the former Wisley Airfield site, given it has been refused planning permission, has a wealth of other constraints/costs; traffic, M25 pollution, Jct 10 improvements, public transport access, protected woodland, arable land etc. Did they still think that it was a good investment?

    Seems that the previous Tory GBC in forcing through the site under the Local Plan was enough of an incentive to invest millions. Maybe they’re hoping the new R4GV/Lib council will be just as supportive?

  10. Paul Jarvis Reply

    January 7, 2021 at 7:58 am

    Wisley Airfield is an eyesore. Putting some houses on it sounds like the best use of the space. There are many, much prettier, areas in the local vicinity to go for walks.

    Obviously, people local to the site won’t support it, that’s hardly a new phenomenon in house building. It shouldn’t stop something going ahead though. The focus should be on delivering a decent quality of design to the buildings and the site.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      January 7, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Far better use would be the third runway for Heathrow and second for Gatwick.

  11. Adam Aaronson Reply

    January 7, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Ross Connell is entitled to call people Nimbys or any other silly names if he wishes. But perhaps he could clarify whether he is the Ross Connell who works for Savanta, one of whose clients is Taylor Wimpey?

    • Ross Connell Reply

      January 8, 2021 at 12:54 pm

      I do not work for Savanta and have no connection with anyone engaged in this development. As such I have no financial interest whatsoever in this housing development. I do however wish to see more affordable homes in Surrey such that Surrey children have the chance to buy locally.

      Those who object to this development would gain as their own house values would increase as housing demand in the area exceeds supply. So is Mr Aaronson a Surrey house owner?

      • Adam Aaronson Reply

        January 8, 2021 at 6:47 pm

        I thank Mr Connell for the clarification which is very helpful.

        In answer to his question, I am not a Surrey house owner. My strong objections to this development were made, in common with several thousand other people when the original planning by Wisley Property Investments Limited (WPIL) to build on the site was rejected unanimously by the Guildford Borough Council in April 2016, a decision that was then upheld by the Secretary of State on appeal June 2018. That should have been the end of the matter.

        It remains a complete mystery to me and to many others as to why the former leader of the council allowed it to remain in the Local Plan. We will never know the answer but one suggestion that has been made is that it was owing to political pressure from central government.

  12. David Smith Reply

    January 7, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    When you see the number of homes being built in Cranleigh where quite frankly there is no infrastructure at all, this suddenly looks like it makes sense.

  13. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 8, 2021 at 10:41 am

    In response to Paul Jarvis, I do not understand why he says “Wisley Airfield” is an eyesore. Most of the land is still farmed.

    The concrete, which was meant to have been removed after the war, when it was requisitioned to make an emergency airstrip, is just a piece of concrete, a bit like a road. Are all roads eyesores?

    • Paul Jarvis Reply

      January 10, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Crumbling concrete with no purpose is an eyesore, yes. It is not beautiful green belt which should be protected at all costs.

      Surrey has many beautiful areas which need protecting. This isn’t one of them.

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