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Letter: We Can’t Build Our Way Out of the Housing Problem in Guildford

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 13 Jan, 2021

From: David Roberts

In response to: Check the Reality of the Weyside Allotments, Not the Fiction

Cllr Potter paints a heart-rending picture of destitute young borough councillors struggling to get on the housing ladder.

Would he like to explain how ten or even twenty thousand new homes under the current Local Plan are going to make housing any cheaper, given rising population pressures, artificial demand stimulus by the government in the form of Help to Buy etc, the overhang of a London property market awash with foreign investment, record national household savings rates of over 15% and an abundance of cheap credit in an economy with virtually zero interest rates?

It might just about work in Carlisle, Norwich, Taunton or Durham. But housing demand in Guildford is effectively infinite and we can’t build our way out of it.

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test 8 Responses to Letter: We Can’t Build Our Way Out of the Housing Problem in Guildford

  1. George Potter Reply

    January 13, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    For the record, I’m not asking for any sympathy. There are plenty of others who are far more deserving sympathy than I.

    I also completely agree with Mr Roberts that the biggest drivers of high house prices are artificial government stimulus, cheap credit, foreign property investment and the spillover of the London housing bubble.

    None of these can be tackled at a local level, and unfortunately, a plurality of the country as a whole (though not a majority) voted to ignore these problems at the last general election.

    However, it is also the case that if you build zero houses locally, or less than are needed to at least meet projected local population changes, then matters locally will only get much worse.

    Housebuilding is not going to magically solve our problems, but 1,500 odd new homes, a significant proportion of which will be social houses, council houses or affordable homes, is definitely not going to make matters worse, and will at least get a couple of hundred families off the housing register and a few hundred local families a place to live.

    People who use “the biggest problems are at a national level” as an excuse to oppose any local housebuilding are, to my mind, being very disingenuous.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      January 15, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      For the record, I would ask Mr Potter to tell us precisely how much is the “significant proportion” of affordable homes this will offer. We can then call him to account at the next election. It is well proven that developers water down the affordable content to little or none, on the grounds of “financial viability”, as allowed in the ruinous Local Plan.

      Also, developers have been given carte blanche by GBC to inflate the housing figure, so expect 2,000 to 2,500 homes to built on this site.

      GBC would do better to listen to You and Yours on Radio 4 (Jan 15), with a report of a highly successful scheme in Bristol to build affordable stilt housing over existing car parks, of which there are plenty in Guildford.

      This has zero land acquisition cost, as the land is already council-owned, making affordable housing truly affordable.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    January 13, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    I couldn’t agree more.

  3. Stuart Barnes Reply

    January 14, 2021 at 8:53 am

    The only way to stop building infinite numbers of houses, not just in Guildford but in many other places as well, is to stop virtually unlimited immigration and to deport those here illegally.

    That is one reason (amongst many others) why the majority of our country voted for Brexit.

    • Ross Connell Reply

      January 15, 2021 at 3:52 am

      37% of the electorate voted for Brexit so what majority? As to immigrants, many NHS workers are immigrants and are especially essential in Covid, and other, times.

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 14, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Cllr Potter appears to be supporting this dreadful Local Plan for purely parochial reasons. Not very edifying for one elected to represent all residents, the vast majority of whom do not want this overdevelopment, as it will be the ruin of the borough.

  5. Ross Connell Reply

    January 14, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    If we cannot build our way out of the housing problem then maybe we just have to let nature take its course as pestilence, famine and Covid cull the older housing occupants. I expect to make my contribution via my demise in the near future.

    What other solution does Mr Roberts have, beyond posting notices on all entrances to Guildford: “Please, no more babies, only oldies welcome”?

  6. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 15, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Perhaps with the new plans to re-develop North Street with mainly residential properties the villages could be left out of the equation.

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