In December 2016, Waverley Borough Council gave planning permission for up to 1,800 homes at Dunsfold Aerodrome. On 18 July 2017, a public inquiry into this decision begins its work.
The Morning Show on BBC Radio Surrey has followed this story closely and invited Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the House Builders Association (HBA), to discuss the housing crisis in the region. Wojtulewicz took part in the interview which featured comments by local campaigners and Michael Gove, secretary of state for environment and MP for Surrey Heath.
Gove explained how the main challenge consists of finding the “right range of sites”. The Environment Secretary said: “We must be savvy in where those developments are located and recognise we can’t have some of the development, on the scale that’s been envisioned, without equivalent investment and appropriate infrastructure.”
Wojtulewicz agreed with Gove saying:
“Where you build the homes, as Mr Gove said, is actually really important and that is down to your local authority to work out where are the best sites and what will benefit the local community best. It’s not just about these very large sites, it’s about fitting two or three homes in here, or twenty here or thirty homes there. Planning must be deliverable!”
Wojtulewicz also pointed out that building on smaller sites enables the assessment of housing needs in other areas of the community, but that this process requires local authorities and residents to back good developers who can deliver the homes they both need and want.
When asked whether the HBA is opposed to large sites, Wojtulewicz responded:
“We’re not against large sites as there is a housing crisis. But we need to build in the right places. Surrey requires more regional investment to make sure the south east is more prosperous for the people of the south east, and not just commuters.”
The interview, which took place at 8:05am, can be found at this link.