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Letter: The Local Plan Will Exacerbate the Housing Problem For the Lower Paid

Published on: 19 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 19 Jun, 2016

Guildford Housing House NumberFrom Roland McKinney

Cllr Reeves, in her letter, There Is An Urgent Housing Need In Guildford puts her finger on one of the reasons why house prices are so high – housing benefit: almost £1 billion a year paid out as housing benefit is paid to private landlords. Without it, rents would have to fall, and with lower rents, house prices would fall too, as “buy to let” would become less profitable.

Cllr Reeves notes that cuts in benefit mean that many people, especially young people, cannot afford to rent “affordable” housing. So much for all the “affordable” housing that is to be built under the new Local Plan, most of which will be in the countryside, outside the town – not where those who need it want to live.

What Cllr Reeves did not discuss was what was to become of those who cannot afford to rent “affordable” housing. If the Local Plan she voted for comes to fruition, many more low paying jobs will be created, in retail and in warehousing and distribution. So where will these people live?

emails letterAlthough the council has kept control of their social housing, the number of houses has fallen as additions to social housing stock has been pitiful during the last ten years, even though the surplus income from rents has recently been in the order of about £3 million/year.

If “affordable” houses are so unaffordable, why on earth does Cllr Rooth trumpet GBC’s plans to build 160 new homes on Guildford car park, with 40% of these “affordable”, as some sort of social benefit? This scheme does nothing for low paid residents – and this group is not catered for in the Local Plan, despite the ambition in the plan to create more low paying jobs.

Why not build a mixed development of social and market housing, so that there is somewhere available for existing lower paid workers? Do not aim to create more low paid jobs which will just exacerbate social housing problems.

In response to John Ferns [who commented on Cllr Reeves’ letter] – please read Cllr Reeves’ letter again, before parroting Cllr Rooth’s triumphalism. What part of, “Sadly it has been shown that although there are very many housing applicants that would love to live in these properties, they simply cannot afford to do so,” does he not understand?

The workers he refers to need social housing, not faux affordable housing and the GBC Guildford car park development will do nothing for these workers, nor will the Local Plan.

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Responses to Letter: The Local Plan Will Exacerbate the Housing Problem For the Lower Paid

  1. Margaret Ferns Reply

    June 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Well I’m alright Jack, but what hope do we have of providing sufficient affordable housing?

    As far as I can see “affordable” is a total misnomer when applied to housing. Tongham’s new houses are advertised and sold for c.£500,000. I suspect the “affordables” are around £400,000.

    Beware – it appears that the Sec of State thinks we can’t just build the “affordables” but have to include “unaffordables” in any housing development, even though they may not be required.

    See link below for a planning application for 94 affordable houses allowed by a planning inspector, but called in and disallowed by Sec of State. (This was in Suffolk, but I imagine what goes for Suffolk also goes for Surrey.)

  2. George Potter Reply

    June 20, 2016 at 11:26 am

    My understanding is that the affordable housing to be built on Guildford Park car park will actually be social housing. This means it’s probably one of the very few occasions where affordable housing in a development will be genuinely affordable.

  3. Roland McKinney Reply

    June 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Query for George Potter – what is the source of your information? I have checked the entry in the draft Local Plan for this site and there is no mention of social housing. So I suspect your understanding is not correct.

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