When we were all locked down Government keyboard warriors were winding up their computers to devise yet another algorithm. Haven’t they learned anything following the A-level and GCSE debacle?
So what chance do our green fields here in Waverley have against the concrete mixers?
Having failed so miserably with one set of algorithms that have gone into the trash bin – now Ministers are reviewing another that is at the centre of a backlash from Tory MPs.
We understand from a couple of our friendly moles that even Guildford and Waverley’s to Hon Angie and SW Surrey MP Jeremy Shunt, are beginning to tremble at the outpourings of anger from residents.
Both MP’s with considerably reduced majorities at the General Election will become thinner if the proposed changes to planning laws get the go-ahead.
Local discretion over the rate of housebuilding will soon be removed and Government will “distribute” an annual target, at present 337,000 a year, between local councils, which includes ‘Your Waverley.’ Councils will be required to designate enough land to meet that target whether they like it or not!
Analysis by Lichfields a well-respected planning consultancy, reveals much of the development outside London will be concentrated in – yes, you guessed – the constituencies of the Hon Angie and Jeremy Shunt.
We understand Jeremy is not nearly as concerned as Angie Richardson as a good deal of his support comes from Farnham which has the Special Protection Areas around the town. Though he needn’t be too complacent because Surrey County Council’s bid for Unitary Authority status – includes half a dozen growth areas. One of which is the Blackwater Valley area and Farnham! Surrey has also earmarked the Hon Angie’s patch in Cranleigh see from the link below. Cranleigh and the Dunsfold corridor become Strategic Opportunity Area No 5. No wonder so many trees are being felled to make way for the bulldozers.
Farnham is now experiencing traffic chaos never before seen, and drivers are beating their heads against their steering wheels in frustration. This week Waverley’s Leader John Ward pilloried the road barriers in the town-centre and wants them removed. Saying: “Something needs to be done – and done soon.” Even Jeremy wants them removed – so things must be bad!
Here at the Waverley Web, we see another U-turn coming before the ink is even dry on the Consultation White Paper. Because the housing ministry, under ‘Bob The Builder,’ has already accepted ‘that a more refined formula is needed.’
In other words, is that the sound we hear of yet another algorithm going down the pan?
However, the government is retaining its central objective of building more homes in areas with the worst affordability – like many towns and villages in Waverley.
This means that there will be a significant rise in the number of homes in relatively affluent, predominantly Tory-controlled areas such as ours.
The reforms have been met with opposition on all sides of the party. In London, Tory MPs are concerned that they will have to accept a huge increase in new homes in their constituencies, leading to concerns about quality.
Elsewhere Tory MPs argue that more homes need to be built in city and town centres, on brownfield sites rather than on greenfield sites.
According to Lichfields, new housing will be built predominantly in London and the southeast. The number built in London would nearly treble, to 93,532, and in the southeast would increase by 57 per cent to 61,000.
The increase in the East of England would be 52 per cent, the East Midlands 33 per cent, the West Midlands 25 per cent and the South West 41 per cent. The North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber would all have lower overall numbers of homes built than the present three-year average.
There are significant disparities within regions under the model. In Leicester new homes would fall by 32 per cent, compared with a rise of 70 per cent across the rest of Leicestershire. In Nottingham housebuilding would fall by 30 per cent, but for the rest of Nottinghamshire, it would rise by 73 per cent. In Liverpool, new homes would fall by 59 per cent.
Mr Johnson has promised to rejuvenate the economy with a “build, build, build” strategy. Councils are to be given up to three and half years to designate areas for growth, renewal or protection. Once agreed, however, local politicians will have little or no say over specific applications that fit the rules.
Ministers have insisted that local residents will be consulted about how land is designated. They are braced, however, for opposition from councils, especially Tory-controlled local authorities. Requirements for developers to provide affordable housing are to be relaxed.
Mr Johnson and his senior adviser Dominic Cummings have long railed against the planning system, which they argue puts Britain at a disadvantage against international competitors.
A spokesman for the ministry of housing said: “The Planning for the Future White Paper sets out longer-term reforms which will bring forward a simpler, more transparent planning system with a much greater emphasis on good quality design and environmental standards.
“In addition, the consultation on changes to the current planning system sets out the elements we want to balance when determining local housing need, including meeting our target of delivering 300,000 homes, tackling affordability challenges in the places people most want to live and renewing and levelling up our towns and cities.”