Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tory game playing rejected. Local plan moves forward

Cornwall Council has moved a crucial step closer to a local plan as members voted overwhelmingly today for the proposal made by the cabinet.

A local plan is vital because it provides extra control for local communities about what is built and where. So when Launceston agrees to allow development in our town, we want to be able to steer it to acceptable areas (such as South of the Link Road) and away from unacceptable areas (such as to the West of Upper Chapel).

The debate today was taken up by discussion over the number of new houses that will be built in Cornwall over the next 20 years. The trouble is that this debate is largely out of our hands. The government decrees that any plan must be approved by an inspector and that inspector has been demanding very high housing numbers before the plan gets the sign off. Our colleagues in Wiltshire have seen their plan returned to them as unacceptable. That is why our officers have recommended that any number lower than 47,500 would be impossible to be approved by the inspector.

Having our local plan returned as unacceptable would be the worst possible result. It would mean that we have little local control over development and a developers free-for-all.

So when the Conservative group put forward an amendment to cut the number of new homes to 33,000, we entered the territory of an unacceptable plan. I know there are people who are genuinely in favour of smaller numbers, but Cllr Dick Cole spoke for these when he said that it was impossible to support the 33k proposal as it would simply mean having no plan at all for at least two years.

The Conservative game playing was comprehensively defeated at today's meeting with at least four Tories voting against their own amendment. Credit is due to Scott Mann and Daniel Pugh who were among those who voted against their group and in favour of local community decision making.


1 comment:

David said...

This number of houses in 20, 30 or 50 years cannot be accommodated within Cornwall. I only hope you guys in Cornwall Council are smart enough to be playing a fickle and duplicitous game with regard to Westminster and once their bureaucrats have signed you off you may get down to the business to laying every device to not doing that which is bidden from our centralised government. At the level of town and parish we should be the ones to decide our housing needs not those corrupt politicians in far away in Westminster