Advanced search

To hate Nimbys?

(88 Posts)
AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 11:51:11

"A campaign group has started a petition calling on Guildford Borough Council to ditch a study which proposes building 800 new homes each year.

Guildford Greenbelt Guardians (GGG) claims the draft strategic housing market assessment (SHMA), which was prepared by consultants GL Hearn, is not fit for purpose"

I had a look at their website, which is here:

The address in question is here:,+hogs+back,+guildford&hl=en&ll=51.234918,-0.626478&spn=0.027892,0.052314&sll=51.241515,-0.565423&sspn=0.111121,0.209255&hq=down+place,+hogs+back,+guildford&t=h&z=15

accessed via this nice private road:,+hogs+back,+guildford&hl=en&ll=51.228527,-0.618625&spn=0.006974,0.013078&sll=51.241515,-0.565423&sspn=0.111121,0.209255&hq=down+place,+hogs+back,+guildford&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=51.228527,-0.618625&panoid=TulwkXGRLLz76fMWXMOy1A&cbp=12,353.2,,0,0.66

As they say on their other website, (same address) this 'forms part of London's Green Belt'.

AIBU, or is it a but fucking hypocritical to complain about development on the green belt, when your own house is on the self-same sodding land?

If they lived in a flat in the middle of Guildford, and wanted to preserve the countryside for all, I would have a great deal more sympathy. But these people just want it all for themselves! 'No building on the green belt except for the buildings that we own.'

I would feel a bit sick if I signed up to this campaign and then realised it was just someone trying to preserve the value of their own house at the expense of hundreds of people needing homes.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 11:51:34

Sorry news link ref the original quote:

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Tue 11-Feb-14 11:53:47

Agreed but you're probably going to get a flaming!
(great name by the way!)

cricketpitch Tue 11-Feb-14 11:59:35

Everyone wants to protect the place they live. I would hope that you too would want the place you live in, whether green belt or city centre, to be nice.

Just because some houses were built at some point and someone lives in them doesn't mean that all land should therefore be built on.

The attitude, (not yours OP, but generally), that as long as there is land we can build on it because "people need homes" leads to problems further down the line, (schools, flooding, transport, etc)

winterhat Tue 11-Feb-14 11:59:51

YABU. Brownfield sites should be used first, and empty homes restored.

Why shouldn't someone who lives on a "nice private road" be concerned about the erosion of the greenbelt?

I doubt whether the residents themselves chose to have their own homes built, it would have been decided by builders and developers who got planning permission some time ago.

ConferencePear Tue 11-Feb-14 12:00:32

I know nothing about Guildford except that it's in Surrey.
As for the NIMBY bit I'm not sure. When I see some of the awful things that have been built and areas that have been spoiled I sometimes wish that the people who lived near them had been more nimbyish.
After all, if we don't look after our own back yard, who will ?

cricketpitch Tue 11-Feb-14 12:04:36

Exactly Pear who will?
Agree also about the empty homes. A;so it is not about lack of homes it is purely about developer profit. They want to build in Surrey because they can sell them at high prices. There are whole areas elsewhere where homes could be built but won't sell for mega-bucks.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 12:12:19

Where are these brownfield sites coming from winterhat? Homes are getting smaller and smaller. Turning gardens into flats isn't nice at all.

The arbitrary constraint that we should continue to live on the same land we lived on 60 years ago makes no sense given our population increase. Towns and villages grew up as needed over centuries. It didn't ruin our country, in fact it made it what it is today

There is a need for homes in Surrey. Prices are out of reach for people to buy. There is also lots of empty land, which is of little commercial value as is. It's nonsense to say that all of this empty land has immense public utility. I have done a lot of walking around Surrey, there are thousands of paths, and most of them are barely used, and those are probably the more popular ones (the people behind these campaigns always like to trot out the lie that this land is being used by tens of thousands of ramblers each weekend, when in reality it's a dull field on the side of a dual carriageway) - the fact is much of this land is inaccessible to the public either legally or in practice, if they built homes there that would be far more useful and sensible than leaving the land empty for the benefit of half-a-dozen home owners and nobody else.

Somewhere like this, on the side of a dual carriageway and on the edge of town at an elevation of 500 feet (not at risk of flooding) is a very good spot for building.

New developments should be much more able to avoid flood risk than old ones, because we have more data to make the decision where to build - all these flooded homes on the news aren't exactly new build estates are they?

TheXxed Tue 11-Feb-14 12:17:06

Everything Agapanthers said. I hate the culture of closing doors behind you. I managed to get a foot on the property ladder with a nice home, great space and garden but you need to lower your expectations have no garden and live in a box.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 12:22:56

cricketpitch, building homes in Stoke is not very helpful if you live in Surrey. My friend makes £8/hour, her son is at primary school in Godalming, just south of Guildford.

The cheapest 2-bed flat in Godalming is £215k.

Yes she could take her son out of school and go live in Stoke or Darlington. But then who is going to do your nails or cut your hair? And how much do you want to pay them?

And how exactly are developers' mega-profits in Surrey going to be cut-down if selfish nimbys refuse to let them build any homes?

Did you know Surrey has 141 full-size golf courses? Or that more land is allocated to people playing golf than it is to housing?

Perhaps when her husband is off playing golf and hiding his assets from her, he enjoys a wry smile.

Land is very scarce in Knightsbridge or even Hackney. There is no shortage of land whatsoever in Surrey. The only shortage is purely artificial, constrained by nimbys/the planning system - agricultural land runs only £10k/hectare, but building land in Surrey costs £millions/hectare.

The ONLY reason developer profits exist in Surrey is because there is a huge shortage of land with planning permission for it, even though there is in fact plenty of land. Not the developers fault that, not at all.

Ultimately a house would cost the same in Hartlepool as in Surrey if it wasn't for nimbys.

Callani Tue 11-Feb-14 12:30:53

"I hate the culture of closing doors behind you" - exactly! This is exactly what it is and you've phrased it perfectly.

There is a place for protectionism, but you find that the same people who insist that they've got to protect the walkways (and property prices) are the same ones who've no interest in helping the Rambling Association to keep the walkways in good condition (because no-one uses them anway).

Joysmum Tue 11-Feb-14 12:39:27

All NIMBY's should be shot. I'm the only person in the world who should never be judged for being a NIMBY.

It's only natural to want to protect your bubble, no matter how annoying or hypocritical that may seem to others.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 12:43:13

I looked up the 'Susan Parker' quoted on GetSurrey

She's old enough to have purchased her current pile when prices were much cheaper (£640k in 1998, I guess it would be £2m today), so why would she give a shit about anyone not in her privileged position?

It must be difficult to combat these people though. They are rich, successful, well-educated. They are used to getting what they want in life.

Wonder how many hundreds of millions they are collectively worth.

Homebirthquestion Tue 11-Feb-14 12:45:59

Hmm. The University of Surrey have already massively developed the land next to it in recent years so locals have already had their back yard taken away to a large extent. Admittedly they aren't completely surrounded. Yet.

The A3 at that point is also an absolute nightmare as is the whole 50mph stretch through guildford. I can't see the town would function in rush hour a development that size.

It won't solve the problem of people living in boxes because anything affordable will be. The developers will make sure of that.

Guildford does desperately need more housing though.

Maybe ok if the developers were to pay to extend the A3 in that section to three lanes. Unlikely!

jacks365 Tue 11-Feb-14 12:48:55

Ultimately a house would cost the same in Hartlepool as in Surrey if it wasn't for nimbys.

This wouldn't happen, if housing was the same price you would get an influx of people which would just put the price up again. Do you just continually build. What happens to companies who made the decision to locate further north because it's cheaper, they may as well move south for the rest of the conveniences so thats more workers needed in the south so another influx so more housing so prices increase etc etc. It isn't as simple as just saying there's land so build on it.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 11-Feb-14 12:55:17

I have to admit, it annoys me too. Where I live there are some stunningly ugly blocks of flats - ok, fine, they provide a place for someone to live.

Then there's a big open park, which is admittedly very pretty.

And then there's the town, and on the edge of it are build some pretty ugly blocks of flats.

The people where I live have the bloody nerve to be objecting to the flats in town saying they spoil the 'historic skyline' and the look of the green space! I keep biting my tongue every time someone knocks on my door to ask me to sign petitions against them - I've tried suggesting gently that the flats here are at least as much of an eyesore, but they just don't see it.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 12:56:43

Why are there no young people protesting?

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Feb-14 13:02:52

jacks365, why would companies move down south if they are established up north? It's not inherently better down here you know.

And yes it is a case of building. More supply means lower prices.

And prices don't have to be identical.

I suspect both of these are overpriced for the local market:

£800k, Guildford:
£140k, Hartlepool:

Even double the Hartlepool price would be a huge improvement.

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 11-Feb-14 13:02:53

Difficult really. I live in an area that's seen a lot of new housing built. Not cheap housing in many cases. And it hasn't brought prices down, if anything the promotion of it has driven prices up. So that's done little to help people on ordinary wages.

The surrounding infrastructures aren't being upgraded enough. So one area has problems with sewage drainage and putting more houses isn't going to help that. There's insufficient school places and the new school hasn't been started. Issues with healthcare provision remain etc etc.

So whilst the houses aren't helping the ftb need, they're storing up problems.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 11-Feb-14 13:08:34

Well being a NIMBY hasn't got Donald Trump very hard. Bloody wind farms, ruining his view.

I do think you need to consider the implications for local resources though - you need more school places for a start. And it takes longer to build a school then it does a bunch of houses/flats.

winterhat Tue 11-Feb-14 13:19:41

Developers opt for greenfield sites because they're cheaper to develop than brownfield sites. So if they're left to their own devices we're more likely to end up with a lot of unused wasteland in the country, while developers continue to build on greenfield areas. I think there should be some control of this, such as companies being obliged to build a certain amount of their housing on brownfield sites, or subsidies to encourage them away from greenfield areas. Sadly though, many politicians are London-based and don't really care about the countryside. John Prescott wanting to build a super-city across swathes of the North is one example.

cricketpitch Tue 11-Feb-14 13:22:09

Not everyone who lives in Surrey is rich. Not only rich people want to look after their areas. The poorer "Nimby's" don't usually get so much press though.

Fleta Tue 11-Feb-14 13:33:09

It depends.

When objecting to any sort of planning application you cannot use negative impact on the value of your house as a reason.

I was involved in a campaign against a development of houses. I became involved because the builders were involving in sharp practice. Fortunately the council saw sense and the application was thrown out.

The builders submitted a new - far more honest and reasonable application - not one person objected to this and the houses are currently being built.

evertonmint Tue 11-Feb-14 13:41:13

We have developers trying to build ok fields in our village at the moment. There is a brownfield site in the village earmarked by the council but that's too expensive to clear compared to grass fields so instead the developers are trying to develop the fields which are the last remaining gap between our village and the next one.

The village school is already full to bursting and is having to build on its small field, taking away more green land, just to accommodate the existing children. This estate is big enough to throw another 15 children per year into our schools. Where are they going to go?

The junction by the fields is severely polluted and subject to air quality control measures yet the developers want to add an extra 200+ cars to the mix.

Meanwhile the district council has a sensible plan - they have said they want all green field development on an earmarked site in the town 3 miles away where they can build schools, doctors and have excellent road and public transport access and specifically not on this site which has drainage issues and access issues, but because the district plan has been delayed there is a development free for all and it's likely to go through.

The developers don't even own the land - they have an agreement to buy it from the landowner if they get planning permission. They have no vested interest in this village. Us residents do.

There is a shortage of 3 and 4 bed homes in our village - price jumps hugely from 2 to 3 beds and 4 beds for sale are as rare as hens' teeth. Yet this estate is going to be predominantly 1 and 2 bed flats. It doesn't solve our particular housing issues at all.

In this situation, you'd be a fool not to be a NIMBY.

Dromedary Tue 11-Feb-14 13:46:22

YANBU. There's a huge fuss whenever someone wants to put up even one single wind turbine. There's one due to go up near us, in the middle of nowhere, and there are protest signs up about it. There was someone protesting in the press about solar panels (the types that go on the ground) being put up near Dartmoor, as it would supposedly put people off visiting Dartmoor itself. On the whole I think that people protest because of the worry about the effect on the value of their home, but then use any pretext for the protest that they can think of. In fact I got a leaflet through the door recently, asking me to protest against wind turbines even if I supported the use of them for environmental reasons, for the sake of the value of my house. Let's call a spade a spade. But I do wish we had a government that was supportive of maintaining the beauty of the countryside, protecting farming, rambling, tourism, and just the need that people have to go somewhere beautiful sometimes and have exercise. Once it's lost we can never get it back.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now