Reader's Letter: A housing shortage?? Don't think so!


The rape of north Cheshire East's, and Wilmslow's and Handforth's, Green Belt will be unchecked thanks to the continuing disregard of the real facts of the so called national housing shortage by government, councils' incompetent planning departments and so called "independent" Planning Inspectors.

All these are fuelled by bullying, greedy, uncaring builders/developers/land owners and their equally grasping land agents (no names mentioned). The victims, local communities, will see their green fields disappear under concrete, gone for ever to fuel greed on an industrial scale.

According to a U.N. report, circa 2010, on world population growth, the UK has 1.8 children per couple. As the report points out, this is not growth, quite the opposite. So I ask, where has the purported demand for housing come about? Not from Britain's inhabitants.

A recent report by Ian Mulheim, Director of Consulting at Oxford Economics and a former Treasury economist, informs the world that in truth Britain has 1.4 million EMPTY homes (some of these will be "second homes"). He asserts "the reality - or at least, the best evidence......... is that the number of UK households has been growing at ONLY 152k per year since 2008. Consequently we now appear to have a whopping 1.2 million FEWER households....... than we anticipated in 2008."

Mulheim shows that far from the builders bullying planners to get their paws on ever more Green Belt, the opposite is true. There is no real demand, it is all a gigantic financial stategy of deceit. They don't need the Green Belt, communities such as ours do.

All this before we even consider the builders stocking up on their land-banks. The corrupt scenario is that a council refuses planning, miffed builders dash to appeal, throwing big money at such whilst councils have to use tax payer resources to defend. The builders argument is that "the council cannot show it has a 5 year supply of development". The builder wins BUT does not necessarily start building, instead banks the land. And repeats the strategy after every planning decision against development.

It is about time Government saw through this grubby charade of land banking. Tough financial penalties are needed to deter such anti-social practice - build now or suffer massive fines, money does have a habit of focusing the mind.

Government repeatedly states that the Green Belt "is safe" in its hands. Is it really? The reality is quite the opposite. We do not need to sacrifice any Green Belt locally, the housing projections are very badly flawed and there are ample Brownfield sites around the north of the Borough. Of course, developers being lazy and always looking for the most profitable sites, will prefer to put their diggers into pristine Green fields - much cheaper all round and helps massively to inflate their selling prices and swell profits.

If the Conservative government strategy is now to renege on its manifesto promise, it shouldn't be surprise when its core voters turn away.

When will somebody in government, in council planning, even a Inspector, open their eyes to the reality and see clearly that the building industry's argument is akin to "the emperor is starkers!"

Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) has consistently argued the case that projected growth, housing and commercial build, are all overstated. But we are battling against closed eyes and against a vested commercial interest. Unfortunately for Wilmslow's voters, the town's and Borough's Conservative councillors have fallen in line with the Party's continuing deception of the electorate. RoW is determined to put Wilmslow's residents first, not Party first as we see elsewhere.

Ian Mulheim's article may be read here.

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Reader's Letter


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Stuart Gallaway
Sunday 19th February 2017 at 4:19 pm
I quite agree with all your comments on this matter. Planning Departments have been inconsistent with their decisions for similar sites and there appears to be no recourse for the general public in finding out why these contradictions occur.