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Letter: Support for Development on the Green Belt is Overwhelming in the Town Centre

Published on: 22 May, 2017
Updated on: 22 May, 2017

From David Smith

Someone needed to say what Chris Dalby has said in his letter: No Development Is Not An Option. I know he is speaking the minds of the majority of residents living in Guildford town centre.

We are seeing the quality of our environment eroded by inappropriate infill and mass scale development, whilst we have to witness the minority complain persistently about the prospect of releasing just a small percentage of green belt.

One only has to look at the picture for the story Effingham Planning Appeal Hearing Commences. Where are the parents and school children in the picture who would have benefitted from the redeveloped school? Where are the young families who are looking for more suitable housing to cater for their growing need? And where are the people who are in desperate need of affordable housing?

It’s the same demographic who are objecting all the time, the asset rich, who bear absolutely no thought for the future of our children and children’s children.

Support for development on the green belt is overwhelming here. I sit here struggling to find valid reasons why it hasn’t happened sooner whilst staring at Guildford’s latest hemmed-in luxury development from my bedroom window.

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Responses to Letter: Support for Development on the Green Belt is Overwhelming in the Town Centre

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    May 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    This argument has nothing to do with Guildford per se. As I am sure readers are aware, the green belt was designated for a number of different reasons all of which are necessary for our health and well being, especially our ability to breathe.

    The pressure for housing in the South East has been led by central government. Politicians continue to support only one place in the UK and that’s London. Everywhere else is only here to serve the organisations based in the city. Our local councillors perpetuate that policy by setting unrealistically high housing numbers, increased employment space, stations etc.

    Without green belt as a constraint we would all be living in London by now, as has been demonstrated by other nations who’s cities sprawl for miles and miles and suffer from the complementary smog it creates.

    Don’t be too hasty to label those who wish to save the green belt as “asset rich” as that is not always the case. Possibly, we could label them as “community spirited” as it is these people who are saving our countryside for everyone, not just the odd person lucky enough to have a nice view.

  2. A Tatlow Reply

    May 22, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    It’s not as black and white as David Smith thinks.

    I can personally assure readers that not everyone living in the countryside is asset rich, and they are equally concerned about the future for their families.

    Development is already taking place in the green belt, some of it infilling within settlement boundaries, some abutting the existing footprint, creeping across what used to be open green fields.

    I am facing the prospect of four houses, two pairs of semis, being built on higher ground immediately over the back fence of my terraced house, currently occupied by a single bungalow. The new occupants will be looking straight into my bedroom window. Hardly a luxury development but relatively speaking, a challenge.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    May 23, 2017 at 10:02 am

    On the one hand, there is a consensus that development should be sustainable and subject to rules and the law.

    On the other, it seems, there are those like Mr Smith whose view of the planning process is eschatological: “I know he is speaking the minds of the majority of residents…”

    Whatever the failings of the planning system, we are surely better off trying to find the facts and apply the rules than relying on those with a special gift for mind reading.

    A talent for claiming to speak for the majority and for attacking opposite points of view may be a good qualification for becoming a politician. It’s not so useful in trying to solve real problems.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    May 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    So people in Guildford never get out into the surrounding countryside to enjoy it?

    People in Guildford are not visiting Newlands Corner, The Sheepleas, Merrow Downs, Wisley Lake and woods, the hills above Shere? They are not going to the high places and looking down on a wonderful green landscape? And they are not envious of those who live in the small communities dotted in that verdant scenery?

    I think Mr Smith is not representing the views of the majority of the population of Guildford, but expressing a rather selfish opinion, maybe because someone is about to develop closer to his own house than he would like.

    I have commented before in The Dragon about the wasted opportunity that resulted in the Waitrose car park. It should have been underground with flats above. I have also commented on the “retail village” which GBC seems so determined to pursue while disregarding this as a prime development site.

    The green belt was established for a purpose. Both the government and our local council seem determined to erode it. Those of us who protest are not looking at the next five years but the next fifty. By then, if Mr Smith and his Guildford friends have their way, London will stretch all down the A3 corridor.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    May 23, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    The more developers are allowed to “land-bank” and build on green fields, the less they will improve our towns, as David Smith wishes. This is because concreting over the countryside is so much cheaper.

    Fact: protecting the Green Belt is the key to a high-quality urban environment.

  6. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Well put Valerie Thompson.

    What many people fail to appreciate is that the green belt is protected for the benefit of all, in both town and country.

    Once it has been destroyed, we will all be the poorer for it, in terms of leisure, mobility, health, sanity and wellbeing.

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