Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cabinet backs 48,500 homes target

By four votes to three, Cornwall Council's new cabinet today backed the controversial 48,500 target for the number of new homes to be built in Cornwall over the next twenty years. This recommendation now moves to the full council as part of the draft local plan.

As I've blogged before, I'm not hung up about the numbers per se. But I want to see a greater emphasis on increasing the proportion of affordable homes - particularly social rented homes and new council housing - that are built as part of any new development. The new plan sets a target of just 30% for Launceston and many other towns and I feel that is too low.

I also spoke up for allowing local communities to do more to set their own targets for new development. So long as they can show how they can cope with the additional demands from those on the housing register and so on, I think that our starting point should be to let local communities decide. It appears that the Cabinet has moved towards this idea in Truro - altering the 'target' number downwards to meet the local figure. So why not elsewhere?

I got a comment from one Launceston resident who asks where the schools, medical facilities, jobs and other infrastructure will come from. I agree. I complained during today's meeting that this looks too much like a plan just for houses and that it doesn't address the other needs that communities have. Apparently that information is to come.

What Launceston has said is that we are prepared to have new housing, but only in places (mainly south and east of the Link Road) where they will not place undue demands on our road network and only if they are developed in conjunction with new employment opportunities and all the services and infrastructure that we also need. Thankfully, we got the reassurance from officers that our locally developed framework document would be given planning weight so that it will hold up against inappropriate proposals for development.

The full council debate will be very close.

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