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MPs Have Made It Clear to the Housing Secretary – Surrey Housing Figures Too High

Published on: 3 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 3 Jul, 2021

Guildford Borough’s MPs (left to right): Michael Gove (Surrey Heath), Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley), Jonathan Lord (Woking) and Angela Richardson (Guildford).

Surrey’s MPs have met with the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick and made it “abundantly clear” that the housing figures for Surrey should be reduced. There is “grave danger that bad decisions will be made on the basis of bad data”.

The views expressed in the “recent” meeting came to light after The Dragon asked the four Conservative MPs, whose constituencies overlap the Guildford borough boundary, whether they were aware of the Coventry MPs’ efforts to draw attention to a similar issue in their area.

Five MPs and the Mayor of the Midlands Andrew Street signed a letter yesterday (June 30) sent by the head of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England in Warwickshire, Sir Andrew Watson to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) asking for an early release of 2021 population data so that it can be incorporated into their planning decisions.

Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick

In the letter, they write: “Given the huge discrepancy between ‘local data’ based estimates and the ONS estimates… there is a grave danger that bad decisions will be made on the basis of bad data – contrary to the stated central mission of ONS, i.e., ‘Better Data, Better Decisions’.

“Even in an approximate way, we urgently need a reality check on the population numbers. Waiting for the scheduled census release in Feb 2022 will be too late…. By then, irreversible decisions will have been made; for example, work has already commenced on a new South Warwickshire Local Plan.”

Responding to The Dragon, Sir Paul Beresford said: “It has been made abundantly clear to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, that Surrey MPs as a group believe that housing figures allocated to Surrey district and borough councils should be reconsidered and reduced.

“Almost all the Surrey MPs very recently had a meeting with Robert where we made it clear that the figures were too high and rather than meeting demand would tend to foster demand.

“We explained to him that he should be concentrating on moving industry northwards and generating housing demand to accompany such action.

“Additionally, it is overdue that Guildford Borough Council initiates a review of their Local Plan as is required every five years. Guildford’s Plan is severely damaging to the nature of the villages in the Guildford Borough Council wards within the Mole Valley constituency.

“I have written twice to the past Liberal leader of GBC and once to the current Residents 4 Guildford and Villages leader of the council asking for this review. This action was in the manifesto promises of the R4G councillors who are elected in these wards and action is well overdue and should have commenced immediately after the last GBC election.”

Woking’s MP Jonathan Lord responded to explain that Sir Paul and Angela Richardson were taking the lead on the issue in Guildford Borough. Michael Gove has, so far, not responded.

No response to our request to comment was received from MPs Angela Richardson or Michael Gove.

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Responses to MPs Have Made It Clear to the Housing Secretary – Surrey Housing Figures Too High

  1. David Roberts Reply

    July 3, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    So, to sum up, the Tory position is:
    – Angela Richardson: no response.
    – Michael Gove: no response.
    – Jonathan Lord: nothing to do with me.
    – Sir Paul Beresford: I’ve had a word with SoS Jenrick, (famous for his close association with property developers).

    This passivity is not going to save villages like the Horsleys from the destruction that is already taking place. Our MPs’ Midlands colleagues put them to shame.

    Meanwhile, Cllr Spooner, the pilot of the politically suicidal Local Plan, is back in charge of the Guildford Tories. Enough said.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    July 4, 2021 at 9:01 am

    I suggest that not just Surrey’s figures are too high but also those of most other counties in England.

    The mass building would not be necessary if the government was firmer on immigration.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    July 6, 2021 at 11:22 am

    To address Mr Barnes’s point, I suggest we accept the migrants but deport the xenophobes instead.

  4. Lesley Bushnell Reply

    July 6, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Why has it taken four local Conservative MPs almost a year to catch up with one proactive and savvy Liberal Democrat district councillor?

    Margaret Cooksey, Cabinet member for Planning at Mole Valley wrote to Robert Jenrick on July 28 2020 about the housing numbers in this area? Incidentally, our local MPs refused to support her then.

    These Tories are playing political games whilst the Liberal Democrats are working hard for the future of Mole Valley.

  5. Matthew Jones Reply

    July 8, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    There are 288,000 households in England that are homeless or in imminent danger of becoming so.

    Over 500,000 households in the UK own a second home.

    If we ration toilet rolls when there is a shortage, why not houses?

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