Fringe Box



Letter: When Will Government Claims That We Need To Build On the Green Belt Stop?

Published on: 28 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 28 Jul, 2014

Green belt land south of GuildfordFrom Diane Maxfield

When will any government, of any political flavour, ever really take the bull by the horns and stop claiming that it is necessary to build on the green belt? It is not – and never has been.

The green belt is not a luxury: it is an absolute necessity. Without green spaces for wild flora and fauna, human beings will die, spiritually and actually. We are constantly being told that high streets are dying because so many of us shop online now. Okay, use the shops in a different way.

Up until about fifty years ago, people who owned shops usually lived on the premises. What’s wrong with going back to that idea?

There is far too much over-priced office space in Guildford and the surrounding area. So, keep the ground floor area as office space and turn the rest into housing. There are too many out-of-town shopping malls being built generally in the UK, and we really, really don’t need them.

Make all such developments into decent social environments with low-cost housing, nursery and primary schools and civic spaces. Sort out public transport and make it easier and safer for people to walk in towns and other areas.

Most planners, architects and developers should be ignored since none of them have any real idea about what needs to be done to create real, living communities. They only care about targets, fashion and profits – none of these things have anything to do with creating a healthy and safe environment in which people can live happy and fulfilling lives.

This is not some dreamy pie-in-the-sky attempt to turn the clock back. If we don’t take some bold, but sensible and humane, decisions about the Local Plan, Guildford Borough will soon cease to be a nice place to live and work.

This is the 21st century, in comparison with those people who founded the settlement of Guildford we have far superior technology but we seem unable to look at what we have and find different ways of using it in cost-effective ways; ways which will save green spaces and still give people somewhere decent to live.

It is not impossible, but we dare not leave it to the politicians.

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Responses to Letter: When Will Government Claims That We Need To Build On the Green Belt Stop?

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Well said Diane Maxfield.

    I wonder if she has thought about applying for the vacant head of planning role? She has spoken more common senses than I have ever heard from Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

    Hers is the vision GBC should be espousing, rather than their obsessive preoccupation with the false god of growth at any cost.

    Unfortunately, her vision will not fill the coffers of GBC. Only giving carte blanche to the developers to build developments over 1,500 homes will do this.

    It’s all about the money.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    July 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Its a pity Guildford Borough Councillors don’t focus on local issues rather than trying to become the ‘growth engine’ for the entire UK economy.

    They need to stick to the local issues which they were elected to see to rather than take on national problems for which they are not equipped.

    If building houses was the universal panacea they imagine they should examine the recent history of Spain and Ireland. Both of these countries have built more houses in the last forty years than in their entire previous history (Yes check readers can check for themselves. For many years Spain was building a million houses a year – yet there are only some 17 million households in Spain.).

    Income per capita in these countries should have overtaken ours and Germany’s and the United States’. But it hasn’t. Their GDP is still below where it was before the global financial crisis.

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