Reproduced from the letters page of:
I am appalled by the possibility of our precious Green Belt being given up for housing. Despite the Government appearing to harden its stance on defending Green Belt boundaries in recent weeks, I am not convinced that either Guildford or Waverley Borough Councils have taken note.
Landowners have been encouraged recently by both Councils to offer up agricultural land for development, which judging by the huge number of passionate objectors, of whom I am one, they must take note. Binscombe village, of which I am a resident, comprises of less than 50 households, most of which lie within a Conservation area has amassed over 600 signatures objecting to the irreversible building on greenfield sites close by, within the last 10 days alone.
The Greater London Authority have been assertive enough to exclude all designated Green Belt land for further development and I sincerely hope that other Councils up and down the land, including Guildford and Waverley, have the courage to do the same.
In recent years, WBC has commissioned a review of the Green Belt within the borough. The final part of this report was not published until September of this year leaving only six weeks for the public to scrutinize hundreds of pages of complex and complicated documents before the deadline for objections by 17 October. Unfair most would argue.
There are many reason why the various sites in and around Binscombe, Farncombe and Compton should never be considered as a viable for housing, all of which have been voiced most eloquently in previous letters.
However, it is the Government’s recent statement “that Green Belt boundaries may only be altered in very exceptional circumstances” that is key. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of exceptional circumstances, particularly if one considers the number of brownfield sites yet to be fully assessed, let alone developed. Furthermore, there is no argument to suggest that building land is in short supply. According to their annual review, England’s major house builders are sitting on vast areas of land with planning permission that could provide 280,000 new homes.
When are our councils going to put residents’ opinions above those of profit-motivated developers?
From Stephen Clarke