Last week I went to a consultation at our local village hall. The consultation was about plans for development on a patch of land just across the road from where we live.
We live on what is classed as a new estate, our house was on the last phase to be completed and it is almost 7 years old now. We own our home, well I say we own it. After jumping what seemed like endless hoops with mortgage brokers, solicitors and credit rating checks (you can check yours when you open this link) we managed to get the mortgage required to buy our house. But I know that lots of the estate is taken up with buy to let properties.
I went along to the consultation with high hopes that they would be developing the land into a much needed mix of retail and leisure facilities. Our town is a big one and we have to drive out of town if we want an evening out. There are no bowling alleys, cinemas or any chain restaurants. Well that is actually a lie, we do have a Pizza Hut. But that is it. Building these types of things would be a real credit to our community, and really help boost the local economy.
But sadly, that was not what was presented to me. Instead I was shown around lots of artists’ impressions and big information boards about yet more housing. 220 homes to be exact, just what we need. NOT. Aside from the leisure facilities that we all long for, practically, what is already desperately needed is another School (I am thinking Primary but I know others are looking at Secondary) and a Doctors surgery. Surely creating homes for 220 more families is only going to fuel the problem even more?
Of course I put my concerns to the developer, and they told me that those kinds of concerns were simply not their problem! It was down to the council to decide if those extras are needed within the community. All the developer was interested in telling me was how it was going to create some more much needed homes.
I do agree with that in some respects, as they were telling me that some of the homes will be for shared ownership affordable properties. It was explained to me that these types of homes were essential to help first time buyers to get onto the property ladder. It was also explained to me how so many first time buyers, who after checking their credit are struggling to get mortgages with low deposits or struggling to even get mortgages at all. Having gone through similar when buying our home I can sympathise. So by offering shared ownership it will give more of a chance to get people on to the ladder, and in turn that will help the housing market. Actually, before I had the children, I was a Secretary for an estate agent so I do agree with that.
However, I do not agree that they need to cram so many houses with so little parking facilities onto that area of land. From the plans I could see that just like our new housing estate everything was carefully squashed in to fit as many homes as possible. I actually think this is very greedy of the developers, they are already making a good profit per home so why not make it more spacious so that people have better parking facilities and feel less cramped?!
Why cant the Council and the developers look at the bigger picture and work together to come up with a solution that will be good for everyone?! Surely it would benefit both parties?!