New homes near Clayhill Road Burghfield

I attended the consultation and presentation of plans for a development of around 100  new homes in Burghfield Common.

I encouraged them to increase the proportion of affordable homes for sale with the affordable section of the plans, and favoured styles and finishes for the houses that blend with local styles.

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  1. Adam
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    100 fresh homes are welcome, but the rate of fill is beyond affordability.

    If net migration means 244,000 new people arrive each year, the rate is 668 per day.

    Housing 3 persons per home consumes 222 homes per day. So the 100 Burghfield Common vacant homes would be used up in a single morning, with another 100 needing building for accommodation in the afternoon; every day somewhere in the UK.

    • Hope
      Posted May 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      JR would have had more credibility if he opposed the build on the grounds of unnecessary over build, insufficient infrastructure, local people clause so families can stay together to look after each other and not be a further drain on overwhelmed public services, not parachuted in on a point system forcing local families out and to separate.

      Moreover, when are the Tories going to act on their repeated promises to cut immigration and use an accurate method for counting people in and out which would fulfil the secure border notion which impacts on our safety and national security? You copped out JR and failed to address the many points you recently made in blogs on this site i.e. Clean air, transport, water etc. Shame on you.

      Reply Not true. I have raised all these isuues with local Councils and the government

      • Hope
        Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        You make no mention in your blog that the affordable homes were specifically for local people, nor do you highlight if there is a clause within the local authority plan to do so. Therefore make your position clear before claiming it is untrue. Then we can make judgement if you walk the talk or just talk like so many of your untrustworthy government ministers. Moreover is the consultation a lip service exercise to tick a bureaucratic box and the decision is made irrespective as is the case in so many local authority alleged consultations.

        Reply It is a public exercise where all interested can see the plans and give their comments. It will be a decision for Councillors.Not everything is a plot! If you have an interest in this project then write in to them with your views.

        • Hope
          Posted May 31, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          So it is an unnecessary tick the box exercise where you wasted your time and now have made that point in the hope it might show you were supporting affordable homes, not stating for whom. No plot suggested or implied. Your government’s mass immigration policy continues while it deceives the public it will cut to tens of thousands. That is a fact not a plot.

  2. agricola
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I cannot comment on the specific desirability of these 100 new homes except to say that we do need homes and lots of them. On design and architecture I will be more specific. Copying or mimicking styles of the past is not good thinking. Good architecture of the present will hold it’s own against good architecture of the past. Do not condemn it because it looks different. Do not assume that something well designed is going to be more expensive than a repeat of the 1930s semi. With the technology available today, the running cost of a well designed modern home should be much less than it’s predecessors. Good architecture should allow people to flourish and be inspired within it ,not just exist

    • Adam
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      You reveal an important point, agricola. Creative designers are a rare breed. Too many opt to follow others’ stagnant rigidity. New housing design could transform functional efficiency & present itself aesthetically in juxtaposition with earlier quality styles. One wonders what cars would be like if the fixed-mind designers defining them had not seen the output of others.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Who get the affordable homes and how will they allocated? In my experience they are not very fairly allocated at all often there is effectively corruption. Government distorting the markets unfairly yet again. Why should the people buying the full prices houses have to subsidise others as well as paying for their own (plus Hammond’s absurd stamp duty tax) on top?

    Governments doing this nearly aways does far more harm than good. As we see in transport, health, social housing, education, the BBC and the appalling NHS. It is clearly not remotely fair competition or a level playing field. So why not competition authority investigation when the state distorts the market so damagingly?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the affordable homes should go to Council, housing association tenants wishing to downsize from large three-bed homes into smaller one and two bedroom terraced style homes with smaller gardens or a communal garden to upkeep, then the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ people have somewhere nice to move to, their bigger home will house a family that’s been on the waiting list for years and years paying extortionate private rental. BUT only give them to people who have looked after their council/housing association home for more than ten years, always paid their rent on time, always kept a tidy home and just no longer have the requirement for housing benefit to provide a big family home for them.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Italy alas no longer “to challenge Euro austerity” it seems (for a while anyway) as the President has foolishly intervened to veto the will of the people. He clearly thinks he is a monkey for the EU and not the President of Italy.

    Needless to say BBC radio 4 found someone to assure us how pro EU and pro EURO the Italians really are. This is not my experience (with all my wife’s Italian relatives and their friends at all).

    J Rees-Mogg tells us May is like Geoffrey Boycott, well perhaps but she is clearly batting determinedly for EU bureaucrats not at all for England or the UK. Brexit clearly means nothing to T May. (Just like Cameron) after she bundled last election the “Eurosceptic”, “Brexit mean Brexit”, “low tax a heart lies were thrown out and she reverted to being a EUphile socialist.

    Rather like President Sergio Mattarella. It surely will not end well for them – either in Italy or the UK.

  5. mancunius
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Not off-topic, I think. A friend who lives in a large house in the Thames Valley area (not in your constituency) has for many years, together with his neighbours, been fighting off a development plan to build ‘affordable’ homes in a very large empty plot of land on the other side of the main road. He maintains (not without some justification) that the schools/shops/traffic infrastructure for this development has not been adequately pre-planned. But basically, he and his neighbours just don’t want less well-off folk in large numbers in their vicinity, lowering their house prices and affecting their untypically amenable and peaceful surroundings.
    I am not judging that – but what I can’t help noticing with some wry amusement, is that he and his neighbours are europhile, angrily opposed to Brexit, and share bien-pensant laissez-faire views about immigration. They genuinely cannot see the self-contradiction inherent in their views.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a typical Libdim approach. It is just fine to have open door immigration so long as it does not affect them personally. Just the poor working class people whose wages are thus depressed and whose schools/GPs/Health services etc. they overload.

  6. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’d have thought all homes are affordable by somebody – it depends on the market you’re catering for. So this term is a misnomer. If you mean Smaller Houses, then fine. Call it what it is, not by the PC term please.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 30, 2018 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      Many years ago, when the can phrase ‘affordable homes’ was dangled in front of the state employee electorate by the Blair government, a Spectator cartoon showed a smart, well-to-do middle-aged couple reading about them in the newspaper. The woman says, raising an eyebrow: ‘Well, if they’re that affordable, I’ll buy two of them…’

      • mancunius
        Posted May 30, 2018 at 12:47 am | Permalink

        ‘cant phrase’

  7. graham1946
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with that. They say they will then half way through the build they welsh on the deal. Among the 3500 new houses being built round our market town they had contracted to put in a new relief road and flood defences which the government had ignored for years as they were building partly on a flood plain. Guess what? Now they have started, they can’t afford the flood defences and there is no sign of the road.

    The councils don’t seem to have any weapons against this sort of thing, once planning permission has been granted. Weak government, weak councils, money just walks all over them.

    • Alison
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Picking up the point about non-fulfiment of promisses: Up in one of the county towns here, big new housing development, the developer promised £3m to the council. After deductions, £1 million was what the council got, and the town got multiple infringements of important and highly sensitive conditions. The local community is extremely angry and now minded to oppose every single application that comes in for housing developments.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Well the reason property is so expensive is these planning restrictions and demands (which are often absurd), the affordable homes requirements plus all the green crap OTT building regulations. They are effectively another tax on people buying the houses (the ones that are sold at full price anyway) and they already have up to 15% stamp duty to pay on top thanks to Hammond.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 28, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


      The Council can’t even do the simple task of checking out that potholes have been filled properly, what chance checking on new developments.

      Ref your Planning comment.

      Most councillors on any Council Planning committee cannot read a constructional drawing properly, so they do not really know what they are looking at, or voting on, thus they seek advice from other Councillors who say they do.
      I speak from experience having put forward nearly 200 applications for different projects as part of my design and build remit in the construction industry.

      Plans are now submitted and drawn to a scale, but do not have to show even simple dimensions like height, width or length !

      • graham1946
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink


        I can understand that and don’t expect Councillors to be expert in everything (or anything much at all in reality), but a relief road and a flood alleviation scheme is not hard to see on a plan and in any case it is made part of the planning permission. The builders having got what they want (vast profits) then just tear up the proposals. My point is that councils are toothless because of the cost of hiring barristers etc and the government let it go on. Builders who can pay their CEO 100 million in bonuses don’t have this problem. Big money always wins and the little people suffer for the profits of big outfits.

        • alan jutson
          Posted May 30, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


          Councils are only toothless because they choose to be so.

          If something is on a plan, and that plan is given approval then, if it is missed out, the development has not been built according to the plan, its that simple.

          Indeed some development have caveats which say this part must be constructed first, before anything else is started, so why not inspect the development at regular intervals, comment if not going according to plan with a warning.

          Developers will soon get the message once it starts to cost them, problem is they have been getting away with it for years, because Councils are simply incompetent.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Have you any idea what it’s like to live next-door to banging all-night parties and police whizzing round ?

  9. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Affordable – a nonsense word. If I were to buy a house within my resources it would be affordable. If they are subsidised or discounted then say so, let’s have a truthful description. Don’t risk your integrity. We know the use of ‘affordable’ is a political deceit.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      All the houses sold are affordable or the sale would not go through. What people want is houses below maket price subsidised by other tax payers. Who wouldn’t?

      The way to lower house prices is to relax planning and OTT greencrap building regs and to build some more where they are needed. Also reduce stamp duty and other taxes and bank lending regulations that deter this.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        The way to lower prices is to build and sell with a reasonable mark up, not build for relative peanuts in large numbers, all more or less the same and sell at so called ‘ market price’ which is really just an inflated price because of the shortage of available properties. Builders will always keep them in short supply. Did you see what profits one of the biggest house builders are making and the 100 million bonus for their CEO? How many homes would that have built or have been able to be reduced in price?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 30, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          The reason there is a shortage of property is every more people and OTT planning restrictions restricting supply hugely.

          • graham1946
            Posted May 30, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Houses are going up everywhere you look. There are many Planning Permissions granted where no building has taken place. I think recently the government were minded to force delivery when PP had been issued and no starts made. Personally if they don’t start within a year I’d cancel the PP altogether rather than the three years plus extensions as it now stands.

    • Bob
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Quite so, the word is subsidised, in the same way that self funders in care homes subsidise those who are being taxpayer funded.

      Political doublespeak, unworthy of our host.

  10. L Jones
    Posted May 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Did you also encourage the expansion of the local medical facilities, Dr Redwood? And perhaps the increase of school places? And perhaps other infrastructure increases that are required when a huge number of new homes is suddenly thrown up in any settled area?

    Reply. Yes.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      This is another one of the builders’ cons. They always say they will build new medical facilities and in fairness they often do, but do not allow for the fact that no doctors etc are available to run it. Our two local practices have closed lists and if offered another building on a new site would never be able to run it and cannot find enough GP’s to cover for retirement of existing ones, often taking early retirement due to the imposition of paperwork from the botched government reforms of 2012.

  11. a-tracy
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I like lots of the new architecture, I especially like that some builders are building into roof space putting extra cladding on the ceiling rather than have all that space wasted. I like some of the terraced style homes being built in semi-circles around gardens in an old-fashioned style but with mod-cons. I also like art-deco homes although flat roof buildings cause problems in the rainy North and should be avoided without a slight run off tilt.

    Years ago builders used to put nice brick designs and architectural features in homes, now they just think they have to build us square boxes with no character – if new homes are in keeping with that style you can keep them.

  12. Peter Parsons
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    What’s needed is not affordable homes, but to make homes affordable.

    The government’s Help to Buy scheme is simply propping up price levels, as shown by the report yesterday that says the average income for Help to Buy is close to£50,000 nationally and £72,000 in London.

  13. Bob
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    With the rain hammering down again today it brought to mind Mr Redwood’s recent article on water rationing. Before planning further expansions to our towns and cities, perhaps the govt should give more thought to the infrastructure required to support hundreds of thousands of new residents arriving each year under the auspices of Mrs May, Mrs Rudd and Javid Sajid.

  14. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    and favoured styles and finishes for the houses that blend with local styles.

    For heaven’s sake, WHY? We’d still be living in mud huts if somebody hadn’t said ‘hey, let’s try bricks instead’. Why can’t we have contemporary houses that reflect the fact they were built in the 21st century – instead of these awful mock this and mock that pastiches put up by nearly all developers. Let’s see the design elements we see on Grand Designs brought into housing for the masses. If I build a house next to another house, why does my house have to look like the one next door? Why does it have to be in ‘keeping’. In some enlightened places you can walk down a road at marvel at the architecture of the houses – every house is different. Why do they all have to be the same?

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    The planning system is corrupt. I have to jump through hoops to get a simple construction approved; ‘in keeping’ is a nice ‘hide behind’ for the planner so he/she doesn’t have to do much thinking and can exercise control over the little people.

    But when someone well connected and well heeled wishes to build in a rural and otherwise unspoiled location, they are allowed to build whatever they wish.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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