LETTER: Rampant building

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I am deeply concerned about the report of a huge trading estate development in Horley. However, it is of no surprise as this Tory Government appears to be hell bent on destroying the countryside.

It is not just the Tory Government, but Tory councils who are also complicit (Reigate and Banstead, East and West Sussex). It is as if the commands went out several years ago from Tory Central Office infecting the whole of the Tory Party, especially those who hold office at the various levels - ministers and councillors.

Tories, of all the political parties, could be relied on to protect what many of us in the Grey Vote value, the countryside.

However, times have changed and with it, there is a new breed of Tories who are wedded to the market philosophy, in the pursuit of economic growth. They are blinkered and do not seem to see - or care about - the big picture in that they are destroying the countryside, which will impact the lives of future generations.

It is the mind-set of most contemporary politicians, in all parties – short-termism and saving their political skins.

The driving force for this current building bonanza is from the developers who fund the Tory Party. It is their pursuit of greed profit and Chancellor Osborne’s strategy to pretend that there is economic growth. Of course, for decades, we in the Grey Vote have seen it all before - the housing booms and busts. As I travel around the country, I see developments mainly on green fields. These are prime sites for developers as they create maximum profits, being cheap and easy to build upon - compared with Brown Field sites - and in very desirable often rural locations.

At Prime Minister’s Questions , the Tory MP for Banbury and Bicester smugly praised her party for the huge development of the once pretty, sleepy, little country town of Bicester, into a Garden City, on the edge of Oxford.

Residents in other parts of the South East might shrug their shoulders, with a sense of relief. However, if Thatcherism taught us just one thing, it is that nothing is safe! De facto garden cities are already in the making in Surrey and Sussex. Crawley and Horsham and the surrounding areas are clearly going to link up. Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Keymer, Ditchling, etc. are well on the way to being another de facto Garden City.

Similar to Cameron physically putting a bulldozer through the Nimrod aircraft development (2011), he intends (metaphorically) putting a JCB through the planning laws. These have protected our countryside and wildlife for decades. The sanctity of the Green Belt will be a thing of the past and will be gleefully accepted by the developers. They are making huge profits out of the “anything goes,” rampant building sanctioned by this and the last, coalition governments. The resultant countryside devastation may galvanise the Grey Vote against the Tories. When the housing bubble bursts, Osbornes “growth” will hit the buffers and we could be in yet another recession.

Returning to the Horley example, if the commercial development is going to create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, where are they going to live? It will mean yet more house building and it becomes a self-sustaining problem.

Vic Parks, Redhill

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