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Letter: Localism Is A Great Idea… But Not For Guildford

Published on: 13 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 13 Jul, 2014

Draft Local Plan image 1From Pete Knight

(In response to Opinion: We Need A Better Guildford Not A Bigger Guildford.)

Localism is a great idea, or at least I thought it was. But since it was introduced it’s quite clear it can never work in Guildford.

The over privileged in this town who have the loudest voices use it as a vehicle to halt much needed economic growth and development and desperately needed housing.

Have I forgiven the likes of the Guildford Vision Group yet for costing the GBC taxpayer money in legal bills and delaying a scheme that, let’s face it, Guildford wanted? Probably not.

Do I agree with the constant planning objection letters for 99% of all schemes in the town from the likes of the Guildford Society? No.

And do I have sympathy for all those in the borough complaining of infill development (I mean look at Burpham at the moment)? No. It’s so clear that we need to release green belt. Until we do this will keep happening.

My generation don’t want shared ownership housing (how does that help when the other share keeps growing and becomes out of reach) and we don’t want to live in flats while those that try and decide our town’s fate are empty-nesters in big five bedroom houses.

Guildford needs more two and three-bedroom houses with gardens and new schools and amenities. Guildford is only densely populated because we are not expanding the town into the green belt and just keep subdividing plots creating a higher overall density. This can be solved quite quickly.

I genuinely hope we start to giving serious consideration to the Gosden Hill site, in Burpham, and the university land to provide homes for the future. The biggest fear for my generation at the moment is affordability of homes not the issues cited in the article which I’m sure are well meaning but fail to understand the problems facing the youth of today.

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Responses to Letter: Localism Is A Great Idea… But Not For Guildford

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    While one has to have sympathy for the writer, less than 25 people have taken to trouble to comment on the Burpham Neighbourhood Plan which has been out to consultation for six weeks despite 3000 notices being distributed to Burpham residents.

    Clough Williams Ellis said candidly, in the 1940s: “No one else can quite do this sort of thinking for you, because no-one else knows just how you live, or would like to live. To say what it is you, the customer, require, because if you do not do this “loudly and insistently” then, it will scarcely be the planners, fault if they dish up something you don’t want at all”.

    Sadly, Guildford planners don’t seem to be listening. Perhaps we need to replace their hearing aid batteries?

    As for Gosden Hill Farm, they should be careful what they wish for. The current sums for this and other sites north of Guildford include:
    – 3800 cars ‘on site’ over night;
    – 1000 cars visting the park and ride day time plus the commercial traffic and Train station traffic;
    – 300 LGV’s per day passing through to Slyfield;
    – 1600 vehicle movements from the Aldi ‘project’.
    All these vehicles will be over and above current traffic levels and all will contain people trying to shop in Burpham which will become the main shopping hub for the site. Thank you planners!

    In the plan no infrastructure land is set aside for access on the west side of the A3 to allow north bound access, while an unneeded road across the Wey Valley flood plain and green belt is forced through by planning officers, who appear to have no idea what is happening on their doorstep or are turning a blind eye to other plans within the borough.

    Sadly, it looks like Burpham will get dumped on while the green belt NIMBYs have the money and the knowledge are simply shouting, selfishly for their patch and no one else’s. They want to stop any building in their under-developed locations that do have adequate facilities to take a few of the much needed homes. It seems preferable for one location to take the lot in one lump so Burpham’s green belt will suffer again, like it did in the 1980s with homes, but no facilities. But that’s all right, that’s the way to build happy communities… isn’t it?

  2. Lisa Wright Reply

    July 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    The cost of living is not a new argument.

    In my early twenties, I moved 15 miles from home, bought a very cheap ‘doer upper’ which cost me every penny for the next few years to fix up. My mortgage was extortionate at 11%. I worked a lot of overtime. I didn’t go out much and certainly didn’t have a holiday for years.

    I would like to know who, between the ages of 18 and 25, really thinks it’s a possibility to buy a property in Guildford? My kids certainly don’t.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but as soon as you make somewhere nice to live it gets filled with all the people who can afford to move there, pushing up prices. The same applies in the nicer parts of London and anywhere else within 25 miles of London. It also applies on our coastal towns and villages where properties spend the majority of their time empty as holiday homes.

    Building thousands more houses in Guildford will not make much difference. They will be filled by those who wish to move out of the M25 zone and London. I’m sure if you visit your local estate agent they will tell you the percentage of people coming to Guildford from outside the area; I understand it’s about 30%.

    What will make a difference is when the coalition government starts treating all areas of the country with equality. By giving tax incentives to large companies we can share them out a little better across the land, providing employment for everyone and filling empty houses. However, the government, and it seems the southern councils of England, like to keep ‘their’ wealth and their council seats.

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