Letter: Housing - Let people decide

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At the Wealden Core Strategy examination at the National Golf Resort Uckfield, the words ‘growth’ and ‘affordable housing’ were mentioned a number of times. In my opening remarks I quoted that the railways are creating a centralised base to control all the signalling systems in the South East. Later I added we have online banking and tax returns, the benefits department are also bringing this in, and this week I am told the milk delivery companies are making 230 people redundant as they too are having a centralised base.

Those of us who remember the early sixties will recall we were told with all the gadgetry and technology coming on stream by the end of the century we would have so much time on your hands life would be all leisure.

At the examination, some developers said we may have to wait some years before an upturn in the housing market.

I brought some recent headlines to the inspector’s attention. They were, ‘4 million think they will never afford a home’, ‘Nation of mortgage slaves’, ‘Two million children growing up without a parent working’, ‘£200m bill for bed blocking’, ‘2,250 hospital beds are blocked by patients fit enough to go home’, ‘Generation driven to drink to help fill the long lonely days of retirement’.

The Core Strategy does nothing to solve these issues. While there may be some financial problems, the fact is there are a lot of people out there who have so much money they just don’t know what to do with it. They buy houses to let to make even more, while tenants receiving housing benefit cost Wealden £26 million a year and the nation £20 billion a year, there are 4.5 million on the housing waiting list and all we do is build market housing. Developers at the enquiry said they thought 35 percent affordable was deliverable.

What rubbish. We need to build a million council houses nationally but call them something else. Employ the developers to build them, let the people decide what we want, not the developers.

There is now yet another consultation on the option sites for development over the next 20 years. You only have till February 24 to get in your comment. May I invite those on the waiting list and those who oppose all our land being built on, to get on the case. Let the people put in the planning application, apply the new localism act. No house will cost more than £90,000, and once you have paid for your house you can save for a pension pot, work less, or enjoy that leisure time they promised us in the sixties. Let’s have houses to live in and land to feed us. I have mentioned a Land Community Trust scheme to the inspector and the council. It just needs support, go to www.campaign-for-change.co.uk for details.

Laurence Keeley, Herstmonceux