Fringe Box



Letter: I Can’t Wait for Development to Start at Wisley

Published on: 1 Jun, 2024
Updated on: 1 Jun, 2024

Wisley Airfield plans. Image: Taylor Wimpey and Vivid

From: Helena Townsend

In response to: Only a Quarter of the Former Airfield Site is Under Concrete

I think Taylor Wimpey’s proposal is great and I can’t wait to see development commence. The current airfield is an obvious opportunity and it’s no wonder it was included in Guildford’s Local Plan.

People talk about brownfield sites, but if anyone visited the town recently they would see all the development of flats about to commence. Native Land have commenced their Debenhams site and Berkeley Homes have committed to starting theirs in the autumn. Guildford Plaza is getting taller every day and most of the sites in Walnut Tree Close have been developed, with one of the last sites the Riverside Business park, which used to house Kwik Fit, in for consultation.

Whilst Wisley boasts it will house a number of affordable homes there is serious demand for small two and three bedroom homes, so many people are looking for homes with gardens and to start a family and flats just aren’t suitable.

We have no option but to start looking seriously at the green belt and the Wisley site is as good as any. It’s so easy to say that sites are within 400 metres of this or that. It’s largely the same for a lot of parts of the town. This site isn’t unique or in my mind any more special than Gosden Hill or Blackwell Farm.

As a taxpayer, I have no idea why Guildford Borough tried to prevent the inevitable by voting against Taylor Wimpey’s proposal, especially after putting it in the Local Plan. Sadly it appears to be a plain case of Nimbyism.

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Responses to Letter: I Can’t Wait for Development to Start at Wisley

  1. David Roberts Reply

    June 3, 2024 at 7:06 pm

    I find it hard to follow the thread of Helena Townsend’s argument but if I have read her letter correctly it boils down to the hope that homes built there will be more spacious than ones built in town. I too hope they are.

    It seems a large leap of logic, however, to say that selling a few homes at 80 per cent of market value will make them “affordable” in anything more than official jargon, or that, with Guildford’s population projected by the ONS [Office of National Statistics] to remain static well into the future, we have “no option” but to wreck the green belt. Big new housing estates will simply drag in population from elsewhere, especially London.

    Ms Townsend says we should “start looking seriously at the green belt”. She seems not to have noticed that, after a bitter debate lasting several years, the Tory Local Plan already ejected most of Guildford’s villages from the green belt in 2019. The current orgy of over-development in villages like the Horsleys (400 new homes) seems to have passed her by. If she lives in town, perhaps she should get out more.

    As for having “no idea” why Guildford Council unanimously opposed the Wisley scheme, she hasn’t been reading The Dragon. I take deep offence, however, to her dismissal of the 1400+ objectors to the project as Nimbies.

    Nimby is a faux-jocular term of abuse only ever used to denigrate people, often harmless elderly people, who have paid a premium to live in a quiet area and who value nature more than she may do. This ugly insult should be avoided as much as any other N word.

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