Transport for New Homes has recently published a report on a project which involved them visiting a wide range of new homes, from large-scale greenfield housing to brownfield sites. As part of the study they looked at public transport, cycling and walking routes, congestion levels on surrounding roads, bus services and day to day facilities, such as provision of schools, shops, recreation and the all-important jobs in order to assess how the building of new homes was mirroring and meeting the aspirations and needs of the people living in them.
Their conclusions were that due to the heavy cost of renovating and, in some cases, decontaminating previously developed brownfield sites and the impact this had on their profits most developers preferred, where ever possible, to acquire and build on greenfield locations.
The biggest problem with this choice, the report concluded – aside from the loss of farmland and attractive, rural green fields – was that it resulted in housing developments being built with little regard to the provision of cycle lanes and footpaths, bus services, shops, schools, GP surgeries and jobs; making new residents entirely dependent on their cars in order to go about their daily lives. Everything from buying a pint of milk and a newspaper, to taking Oliver and Olivia to school, visiting the doctor and that all-important commute to work had to be undertaken by car. Even a simple cycle ride with the children could involve either loading the family’s bikes into the car and driving to a country park or a nerve-wracking ride along busy A-roads to access quieter county lanes and recreation facilities.
HOLD THAT THOUGHT! Because here at the WW – we have been roundly lambasted for our stand that brownfield sites should be developed first. WW has been accused of sleeping with the enemy, trousering money from Trinity College Cambridge, and other, unmentionable activities, too sensitive – even for us blokes to mention.
Apparently, there was uproar at the Alfold’s Neighbourhood Plan Meeting recently when outraged members of the self-interest group which calls itself the Neighbourhood Planning Committee expressed their surprise and anger that they had been pilloried on the Waverley Web. Of course, this was after two members of the public were asked to leave, as the meeting was supposedly not open to the public. Not open to the public! That is exactly what Neighbourhood Plans are all about – Consulting THE PUBLIC. That is why they are called Neighbourhood Plans.
HOW DARE WE?
WHO DO WE THINK WE THINK WE ARE?
How dare we what? Expose their behind the scenes machinations to concrete all over the green fields of a beautiful rural village in order to prevent the further development of a brownfield site complete with two massive concrete runways and acres of ugly post-war buildings and hangars? A site which, on its website, already boasts it is home to over 100 local companies, providing jobs for over 1,000 people?
Does it’s Neighbourhood Plan promote vital local employment? You know, the jobs that people need to pay the mortgages for their new homes?
Who do we think we are? We’re local people who are fed up with minority groups, set up by well-to-do middle-class meddlers, funded by mysterious, unnamed backers with deep pockets, who think they can sell up in Wandsworth and Wimbledon and migrate down the A3, inflating house prices so that they are well beyond the reach of the children and grandchildren of the indigenous population, and then start objecting to a development that will bring affordable homes, a new school, a GP surgery, a new parkland with recreational facilities and even more jobs that will enable those who want to live close to where they work to do so. Where, there will be cycle routes and subsidised bus service, in perpetuity. What’s to complain about that, particularly when that development is compared to the development these plotters one planned to inflict on Awfold at Springbok?
We strongly objected to the Weasel, otherwise known as Chris Little Britton, objecting to development on a brownfield site because it will spoil the view from his house, whilst inveigling himself and his wife onto the Awfold Neighbourhood Plan Committee so that they can promote development, at any cost, at Springbok by Thakeham Homes who, the last time we looked, did not – despite Nik Pigeon’s best endeavours – garner support from Alfold Parish Council, nor from Waverley Borough Council or, when they appealed to the Secretary of State!
Other than inflicting 450 homes on poor old Alfold, and, in the process, attempting to treble the size of the village what, precisely, was in it for Alfold?
Now, with another 56 homes in the pipeline Wyevale Garden Centre – where do its residents go for essential services? Probably Dunsfold Park and Cranleigh?