Barratt David Wilson Homes (BDWH) and Neil Milburn need to apply more professional morality and less selective ambiguity in relation to the New Hartley application.
The main concerns from residents were not about highways. They were about the unsustainability of the project in its entirety and issues the applicant could not respond to at the public meeting, most of which were technical and impeccably researched.
According to Mr Milburn, this project fulfils a “desperate need for new homes” in the region.
Three simultaneous three-year projects might adequately meet that claim.
One ten-year project cannot fulfil “desperate need” based on contemporaneous demand, any more than it can know from the same data how that need will alter through the actions of other developers over the same period.
Next come claims of investment, jobs, and social and environmental benefits.
The investor is BDWH and they will invest in themselves as developers seeking to exploit a prime location for profit via sales of their own houses.
Underpinned jobs go hand-in-hand with development; the one cannot occur without the other, wherever development takes place. It is not a benefit, but an intrinsic necessity resolved by BDWH with contractors they do not employ permanently.
Also, BDWH has no way of knowing if (or how many) new jobs will be created by contractors in the tendering process.
A social benefit to the build would be an enhancement to sustainability, like a Metro link, shops or a pub, none of which are mooted.
There is no social benefit to 286 houses beyond that gained by the people who buy them.
The environmental benefit is the perfect example of a Pyrrhic victory: to acquire a seven-acre wildlife zone that’s already there in the form of a natural pond, BDWH bury 20 acres of arable land under bricks and Tarmac.
We have no objection to BDWH making money from development per se. We take umbrage that they infer their right to destroy farmland for short-term profit, ranks higher than ours to protect it for the long-term production of crops.
Stephen Hislop RVM