Preliminary analysis of GL Hearn SHMA housing figures and an appalling identification of their commercial bias

War will recommence in the new year

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There are SIX points in this edition to close out the year, the very first being the most serious. The new draft Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is now out, and at a time to minimise press impact. I think we can take it as a given war will recommence in the new year on that one.  I have also included the link to the GGG structure petition in item 5.

1.     Dec 2014 “Draft” SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment)

Peace did not last long…  On Thursday evening Guildford Borough Council finally published the revised SHMA – Cllr Mansbridge and GBC’s Christmas present to the people of Guildford. We now know why GBC have sat on it since September – as we expected, it is pretty well unchanged, despite all the criticism and errors of the previous one.

• Guildford – 620 – 816 homes pa

• Waverley – 512 – 649 homes pa

• Woking – 390 – 588 homes pa

GL Hearn’s expectation is that the population of Guildford will grow at a higher rate than England as a whole or even than the South East. GL Hearn expects that growth due to increased economic activity in Guildford will be the cause for a significant proportion of new housing (despite the fact that they recognise significant commuting as a pattern). Interesting that in reality we are also already pretty close to Full employment ….  You can view the Draft West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment at www.guildford.gov.uk/shma

i.       These numbers are still “draft” and will be reviewed when Government publishes the 2012-based Household Projections

ii.      They do not account for the promised constraints, but not sure that means too much.

iii.     The complete secrecy of GBC and GLHearn to release the calculations (in an open process) on how the figures have been derived is now subject to a legal case. In other words…. GBC leadership do not want us to know why they want to destroy our Green Places.

2.     Note on GL Hearn

We should not be too surprised. You take the same process inputs (direction, author, etc etc. ) you get the same outputs. The leopard has not changed his spots, developers own the land, council need the money, etc..  I found the GL Hearn (authors of the SHMA) web site really interesting – GBC have contracted a PRO BUILD consultancy for an independent needs study – should we really be surprised of the result.

·        http://www.glhearn.com/developer/Pages/Overview.aspx  “We act for many of the leading developers and are currently advising on schemes totalling  over 3m sq ft.  We have a team of over 100 people directly involved in the development sector.”

.        http://www.glhearn.com/developer/services/Pages/PlanningDevelopment.aspx

“The practice has in-depth experience of development projects.. this wide-ranging commercial track record is of great benefit for developer clients… We take pride in our ability to drive development projects through to delivery and problem solving with a commercial focus.” 

·        http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/Overview.aspx

“With a client base that includes landowners, developers, investors, Regional Development Agencies and Local Authorities, we approach each project first by fully understanding and then striving to achieve our clients’ objectives.

·        http://www.glhearn.com/publicsector/Pages/Overview.aspx

“G L Hearn is increasing its work with the public sector providing a consultancy approach with a strong commercial aspect.”

·        http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/Residential.aspx

We have a proven track record in the delivery of housing ranging from small residential schemes to larger, complex mixed-use developments, and the longer-term promotion of strategic sites.  We provide comprehensive advice on residential strategy, from site identification through to the delivery of planning permission.”

.       http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/DevelopmentAdvice.aspx

“Good development advice requires solid planning and development expertise, together with specialist knowledge across the full range of property sectors.  We have the in-house expertise to assess development potential and obtain the required permissions”.

.       http://www.glhearn.com/services/planning/Pages/ApplicationsandS106Negotiations.aspx

“Our expertise and experience in preparing outline and detailed planning applications and our skill and determination in negotiations have secured consent for proposals in all sectors of the development industryThis is often the case where success may have seemed  improbable before our involvement.  Undertaking S106 negotiations and the provision of viability advice in connection with them, which has become significantly important to secure such consents, regularly feature in this work… Our clients include some of the largest and most active developers in the UK.”

3.     Draft Local Plan consultation responses

 GBC also published the key themes from the consultation yesterday. These can be viewed at:www.guildford.gov.uk/draftlocalplan

I had a look through this 30 page document, and was pleasantly surprised that most of the key points appear to be there. One or two like the absence of a “University” policy might be queried, but on the whole OK. Please feel free to read and make observations (it is about 30 pages).

4.     Daily Mail Media coverage

There was another despoiling of England article – this time in the Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2876845/Despoiling-England-ruthless-no-win-no-fee-developers-exploiting-new-planning-rules-threaten-historic-countryside.html#ixzz3MAFiznQ5

5.     Local Council Structure.

Link to GGG petition link is one the Guildford Greenbelt Group Page attached – please can you print (Last page) then complete and sign…. then return to address on form, or drop it to me at 3 Frog Grove Lane….http://guildfordgreenbeltgroup.co.uk/

GBC themselves have a meeting in late January, and I shall be going as part of the GGG representation. If you have any comments and input you want represented – please let me know.

6.     GGG Want to turn the ANOB into a National Park

What an excellent idea – It will get GBC’s grubby hands off it and remove temptation…  http://www.guildford-dragon.com/2014/12/07/campaign-groups-calls-surrey-hills-become-national-park/

Many Thanks

Neville Bryan

Chairman – Wood Street Village Association