Fringe Box



Letter: This is the Type of Housing Guildford Should welcome

Published on: 27 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 27 Mar, 2023

Illustrative view of the proposed new houses by Guildford Cathedral.

From: Nic Allen

In response to: Again, Cathedral ‘Survival’ Plan in Doubt as Council Planners Recommend Refusal

Obviously, there is a large amount of debate about the Guildford Cathedral development.

In my opinion, this is a modest-sized housing development that has been carefully designed and refined through a number of iterations.

The design proposed is significantly superior to many of the housing schemes that are built in the Borough of Guildford. It is interesting and individual. Also, it includes much-needed houses which all of the research on Guildford’s future, shows is vital. Most of the current schemes such as North Street, St Mary’s Wharf and Solum have only flats.

This is a sustainable development with 40 per cent affordable, located close to the town centre, hospital, university, and with good access to public transport. I believe it is well and carefully integrated into the site, with its quite complex slopes and existing landscape features as well as being respectful of its highly important heritage setting with the cathedral.

Most cathedral towns and cities have development close around their cathedrals tying them into their towns or cities and making them integral to those places’ life and townscapes. New carefully designed development closer to the cathedral should be seen positively.

I believe that the planners’ reasons for recommending rejection of this application are completely at odds with their support of St Mary’s Wharf and North Street both of which significantly will or would damage the heritage of Guildford and are significantly out of scale, overdevelopment of their respective sites.

This is the type of housing development that Guildford should welcome.

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Responses to Letter: This is the Type of Housing Guildford Should welcome

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 28, 2023 at 6:50 am

    We can only judge if the so-called “affordable” housing is such when Vivid will disclose the proposed prices.

    “Affordable” is often considered to be 80 per cent of the prevailing prices. Let’s say a house there will be £500k, is £400k affordable to a key worker?

    We need social housing, not fake “affordable” homes.

  2. Helena Townsend Reply

    March 28, 2023 at 7:16 am

    You have to wonder why the key sites in Guildford, including Gosden Hill and Blackwell Farm, are taking so long to come forward when other development in the Horsleys and villages is coming forward (often in less sustainable locations) so quickly.

    The writer is correct – this scheme would have provided much-needed housing instead of the usual flats. In my opinion it would have made the stark grounds surrounding the cathedral more inviting.

    This recommendation from the planning officers is welcome I dare say, with it so close to the local elections.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    March 28, 2023 at 11:54 am

    The problem is the lack of social housing, also known as council housing. The Local Plan ignored this.

    Central government continues to ignore this for doctrinal rather than practical reasons. Councils continue to be obliged to sell off council houses to tenants who have a right to buy. Much or most of the money is remitted to central government rather than re-invested in new council housing.

    A shortage of council houses is not a justification for putting houses on the wrong sites in the wrong places.

    To create sustainable housing it is necessary to satisfy two conditions simultaneously: 1) sustainable houses ie energy efficient and suitably sized 2) sustainable locations ie close to jobs and mass transit networks (ie buses and trains, not cars).

    One without the other does not meet the definition.

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