Memorandum by Burpham Community Association
The community of Burpham is located to the north
east of Guildford, adjacent to the A3. The Burpham Community Association
(BCA) has an interest in the above Inquiry as a consequence of
our concerns in respect of the recent Surrey County Council Draft
Spatial Strategy and the proposal to build 6,000 additional new
homes in the Guildford locality. It is our understanding that
this housing comprises part of a requirement by the Deputy Prime
Minister that Surrey must build 35,400 new homes (13,000 more
than the County considers it can reasonably accommodate) by 2016.
The local community is opposed to the provision
of 6,000 homes on three new sites around Guildford in the manner
being proposed by Surrey County Council and is particularly concerned
about the proposal to build 2,000 new homes in the vicinity of
Gosden Hill, Burpham, which is seen as wholly inappropriate.
The reasons for objection include:
Such a massive building requirement
is unnecessary. Drawing upon an article at page P2 of the Daily
Telegraph, Saturday, 3rd August 2002, ". . . the Government
estimated in 2000 that 763,900 homes are empty nationally, surprisingly
many, 327,100 were in the flourishing South-East, South-West and
East." 6,000 new homes in and around Guildford is a mere
flea bite against this huge number and yet such development would
have a massive and totally disproportionate impact upon all aspects
of our community and town life. Urgent efforts must be made to
return this empty housing stock back into use to provide homes
and regenerate run down areas.
Towns across Britain are becoming
retail and commercial deserts, dominated by a few major companies,
with little or no provision for residential occupation or opportunity
for the small business. More must be done to regenerate run down
areas, stimulate housing provision to restore a "living heart"
to our towns and cities and encourage smaller and more diverse
retail and commercial enterprise.
Further, significant and prompt action
must be taken to utilise brown field sites for residential use.
In our particular case, Guildford
is already large and densely populated enough. Whilst the town
must evolve to meet the needs of a changing society, it is bounded
and constrained by geographic features, supported by the Green
Belt. Further significant development in the manner envisaged
would irrevocably change and damage the very nature of our town,
which is already under acute stress.
Any erosion of the Green Belt and
consequent intrusion into the countryside will have a significant
impact upon local amenity and the enjoyment of our green space.
It will weaken the separation of our various communities and result
in an amorphous urban sprawldeath by "Croydonisation"!
The recent "clarification"
provided by the Deputy Prime Minister that housing densities must
be increased to preserve the Green Belt would have a very different
but equally destructive outcome as our attractive and desirable
town would be slowly strangled and suffocated if each available
space was to be infilled with high density housing. Clearly such
housing would be appropriate and desirable in certain developments
within the town to meet specific local needs but not as a general
rule to cram in the massive housing allocation that Government
and County seek to impose on Guildford.
Clearly the proposals to build 6,000
new homes in the locality would have tremendous implications for
traffic volumes. In Burpham we already suffer the consequences
of shortsighted planning when a partial movements junction onto
the A3 was permitted at Clay Lane in preference to an all movements
junction further north. The consequence being that high volumes
of traffic are forced to cross in the centre of our community
with the resultant congestion and pollution. A further 2,000 new
homes at Gosden Hill with the inevitable increase in vehicle numbers
would be the last straw with vehicle "movement" all
but impossible at peak times.
There can be no doubt that these
developments would have a profound and negative impact upon a
whole range of existing facilities and services. The Royal Surrey
hospital and local schools can scarcely cope today and a whole
range of community provision will be placed under enormous stress,
reducing availability and undermining the quality of life for
Despite reassurances to the contrary,
members of the Burpham Community Association have grave reservations
about the ability of Surrey County Council or its developers to
finance and provide the necessary infrastructure to support the
proposed developments in our locality.
The Burpham Community Association and all those
we represent are totally opposed to the proposals of the Deputy
Prime Minister and Surrey County Council to build an additional
6,000 new homes between Guildford and Woking. Clearly we accept
that Guildford, as with all towns and cities throughout Britain,
must evolve and develop to meet changing needs but this must be
done in sympathy with the existing environment and in accord with
the aspirations of local government to meet the needs of the resident
It is a reality, recognised by those who established
the Green Belt, that demand for property in the South East of
England is insatiable, irrespective of provision. The proposals
presently under consideration will do nothing to constrain house
prices or address the urgent need for affordable or "key
worker" housing. Alternative and quite separate strategies
are needed to address this issue.
A critical juncture has been reached in this
part of Surrey (and elsewhere I suspect). Our essential services,
education, health, police, transport, etc., are subject to the
most stringent and worsening financial constraints, whilst demand
increases unabated. We teeter on crises in all areas of social
provision yet plans envisage ever increasing numbers of houses,
whether by urban sprawl or increased density. There is simply
not the resilience in the local infrastructure to cope with the
population explosion that will result and assurances that such
will be provided with the development are fallacious as those
proposed, including possibly new shops, primary school and doctors'
surgery, are geared to meet only the proximate needs of the new
population and not the consequences for Guildford as a whole.
Burpham Community Association
4 November 2002