Fringe Box



Letter: I am Not Sure There Has Been Any Compromise On Planning

Published on: 16 Nov, 2017
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2017

From David Smith

With the exception of Ash, which let’s face it has had an exceptional amount of housing (planned and delivered) dumped on its doorstep, I am not sure there has been any compromise at all from other wards, especially those in the north-east part of the borough.

These green belt settlements are determined to save their own immediate environment for themselves hiding behind the argument that they are doing it for the good of everyone. At the same time, their demands are causing the erosion of the residential areas within Christchurch, Holy Trinity and Friary & St Nicholas wards.

Of course, Guildford town centre can take some more residential development, but we can’t just keep building flats. The market for these is starting to become saturated with so many schemes under construction or in planning. They also don’t lend themselves to small families many of which have one car and need outside space for children.

In the areas immediately outside of the town centre, we are seeing family homes demolished to make way for multi-house schemes and flatted developments. This is destroying the character of these areas and will continue to happen until we release green belt land for houses.

In Maori Road, this week permission has just been granted for the demolition of an attractive 1920s house for seven new build houses. This is metres away from 78 Epsom Road – a Victorian house recently demolished for flats, 78a Epsom Road – a two-storey house demolished a few years earlier for the same and 80 Epsom Road – another Victorian property demolished for 14 flats currently on the market with Savills. Soon these Victorian and Edwardian streets which are unique in character will be nothing more than a spaced out Merrow Park. The picture below, in Fort Road, whilst better spaced, is showing what’s happening.

So it’s not just flats we need to build – there is a massive shortage of family homes, in particular, two and three bedroom homes. These cannot be built in the town centre on the brownfield land, that so many people talk of.

Finally, I’d like to add that Guildford is in part successful because of its retail offer. Guildford is the luxury shopping capital of the UK, according to research by Experian. People like shopping and the High Street has bucked the trend with a significant amount of retailers either waiting for space to come up or signing up for new premises this year.

We should not be accepting the trends seen in other areas as online demand increases. Do we all want a dormant High Street? Or do we want shops, boutiques and cafes? The addition of retail space to our centre will continue to ensure it’s a thriving centre for many years to come as we try and draw in brands that create footfall and cement Guildford’s reputation as the major retail destination of the south-east.

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Responses to Letter: I am Not Sure There Has Been Any Compromise On Planning

  1. Paul Bishop Reply

    November 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I have to agree with David Smith. Any green belt development gets a huge amount of opposition, driven by the local residents who I always feel are more interested in preserving their own house prices rather than genuinely saving a bit of open land.

    I’ve never seen any credible alternative to some green belt development. As Mr Smith rightly points out, the town centre does not have the space for the types of housing we need.

    • John Perkins Reply

      November 17, 2017 at 10:31 am

      The town centre is exactly the right place for the type of development needed. There is no need for executive homes, only demand: the need is for homes available to those not lucky enough to be able to afford half a million.

      Nobody has ever suggested that there be no development on the green belt; the scale of what is proposed is what causes concern.

      It’s an easy gibe to suggest that people are only concerned with the value of their own property or the view available to them. There are people who don’t think only in terms of money, though developers are unlikely to be amongst them.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    November 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    It isn’t the value of our property that we are concerned about but the value of leaving villages as small communities, with character and charm. We resent the idea of swamping them with ticky-tacky developments all over the fields, or building vast family homes for people leaving the larger conurbations.

  3. Graham Richings Reply

    November 18, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    It is arrogant of David Smith to say that those of us who want to preserve the green belt are “hiding” behind the argument that we are doing it for the good of everyone.

    That is exactly why I am doing it. Who is he to tell me my reasoning?

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