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Letter: Profit Remains the Major Driving Force for Developers

Published on: 10 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2021

From: Sue Reeve

In response to: We Need a Wholesale Shift in Our Housing Policy

And what’s more, it seems that the developers have no interest in climate change whatsoever. They all cloak all their presentations and marketing in doublespeak about the environment.

For example, statements about electric car charging points, solar panels, landscaping, encouraging sustainable living etc. always appear. But when it comes to building homes that really address the problem of climate change, that is not in the developers’ plans. After all, these houses will probably last into the next century.

On Tuesday evening (July 6) we had just such a presentation from Taylor Wimpey who own a site for potentially 110 dwellings in the centre of East Horsley (and also the former Wisley Airfield site for 2,000+ houses).

In answer to a question from one resident, whether all homes would be 100% carbon neutral, the answer was that the borough council’s requirement was 20%, and that is what they plan to provide.

It was explicitly stated that all houses would have gas central heating and that they expected to start selling homes by the end of 2022. The government delayed the requirement for new homes to be heated by electricity (and not even be connected to the gas grid) until 2025 – it had been 2023.

According to a recent article in The Guardian, Taylor Wimpey was the major developer to support this delay. One wonders whether there will be more pressure to delay it even further as the 2025 deadline approaches.

Do developers not realise that climate change is a serious matter? I would have thought recent events in western Canada, where record temperatures have been recorded, was evidence enough.

Clearly, profit is more important to developers, and in the Horsleys, profit and prices will certainly be at a premium. The so-called “affordable housing” (according to the government definition) will certainly not be within reach of the people who need genuinely affordable homes.

Developers lack the aspiration required to move us into a safer future. They have the opportunity to lead the way but profit seems to be a greater driving force than the wellbeing of the community and our planet.

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Responses to Letter: Profit Remains the Major Driving Force for Developers

  1. Shelley Grainger Reply

    July 11, 2021 at 9:13 am

    That is why we need a huge national council house building programme, as we had in the post-war period, funded by national government and administered by local government.

    “Right to buy” needs to go as it diminishes existing housing stock. And the existing stock needs to be retrofitted, again with funds from the national government granted to local authorities.

  2. Sue Reeve Reply

    July 11, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Shelley Grainger. The right to buy scheme, while a laudable aim, failed. The majority of the sale price was not returned to the Borough Council which built the homes, but mainly to government coffers.

    No wonder local councils cannot afford to build more social housing.

  3. Guy Murray Reply

    July 15, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    GBC declared a climate emergency in 2019 yet they are approving applications for large developments where gas boilers are being installed instead of electricity. For instance, Manor Farm development in West Horsley was approved last night, (July 14).

    The council is fundamentally missing the point. Its own strategy documents highlight the importance of climate change where housing is concerned. But it is all empty promises and lies.

    On the surface, their strategy looks appealing but in reality, they are not adhering to it. Developer profits and contributions are evidently more important than the impact of climate change. Very disappointing.

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