LETTER: Wisbech’s ‘new vision’ is a ‘short sighted vision’
Included in this ‘new vision’ was a fantasy 10 point guide outlining the impact of the plan on the wider community. Here is a more realistic 10 point guide on the impact of the plan.
• New transport links would turn Wisbech into a commuter belt town with people living in Wisbech, but working in and around Cambridge.
• National housing growth targets would be supported, providing expensive housing to outsiders, but not affordable housing for local people.
• Housing pressure in and around Cambridge would be eased but not housing pressure in Wisbech with council waiting lists increasing, forcing up rents in the private sector.
• Better links in the East-West corridor will increase traffic volume and noise pollution to the area.
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• Major retailers would be attracted to the town, rents would increase, forcing local traders out of business and turning the town centre into a ghost town.
• Construction jobs would be created for skilled EU migrants to flood the area, aggravating the social imbalance that already exists. Construction traffic, predominantly lorries, would finally destroy all the roads serving the surrounding outlying villages.
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• Property speculators and developers would be attracted to the area for a quick killing, buying up any remaining green areas and cramming as many houses on a site to make a quick buck.
• The government would bolster tax receipts through business rates which could then be spent on wars and foreign aid.
• The plan would become a model for others to learn from and not to follow. Wisbech would become an embarrassing example on how to spoil a beautiful historic town.
• House prices would increase, pricing local people out of the housing market, forcing them into the hands of the racketeers in the rental sector.
So let’s establish what an extra 10,000 houses would mean. This would produce an extra 20,000-40,000 people, which when added to the current 30,000 residents would, boost numbers to 70,000, potentially bringing an additional 20,000 cars all within a 3.5 square mile area.
The plan is a blueprint for total gridlock. Booking a doctors appointment would become impossible.
The housing crisis is a national issue and should be solved by central government not local authorities. Distinct stand alone new towns need to be built.
No new towns have been built since 1970, that is almost 50 years. The last new town in Cambridgeshire was Peterborough in 1967.
Wisbech is a very old Georgian market town with infrastructure to suit. Building an extra 10,000 homes would turn it into an overcrowded powder keg, waiting to explode. Councillors are voted in by local people, it’s about time they started asking local people what they want, rather than being carried away by such ill thought out, grandiose schemes.