Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Housing Strategy

Cornwall Council today adopted a Cornwall-wide Housing Strategy. It is a comprehensive document and one that I welcomed. I did however raise a number of issues about how the document could be improved.

I pointed out that, in many ways, Cornwall Council was being a strong critic of the Regional Spatial Strategy and the ridiculous housing numbers planned for Cornwall. But at the same time, there were documents such as the Housing Strategy which referenced the RSS uncritically and I this was unacceptable.

I made it clear that I did not want to see the Council allowing permissions for thousands and thousands of houses, with developers arguing that they cannot afford to do affordable housing because of the economic climate and sitting on the permissions until a later time.

I also used the opportunity to challenge council officers to be stronger in opposing housing schemes which masquerade as affordable housing schemes but are not. I brought the attention of the meeting to the evening meeting of the West Sub-Area Planning Committee which had an ‘affordable’ scheme up for approval. It included proposals for 3-bed properties priced at £137,000, with the owner also having to pay £20 a week rent for some equity retained by the developer.

There was agreement that this is simply not affordable and makes a mockery of our efforts to house local people on low incomes in housing need. I can report that the Planning Committee threw out the application.


Badham Farm said...

It would be nice to know a definition of exactly what is 'affordable' housing. It must relate primarily to average wages for acouple in Cornwall and relate to the size of the property in square feet. - thus affordable can become £x per sq. ft. Has this been already worked out ?. If it has it is not widely known about.

Rich Penrose said...

I am very pleased to see that you, unlike many other councillors, attended this meeting and got some good work done. Your actions speak louder than words. I commend you.

Anonymous said...

Well done Dick!

How can they possibly build any more on Cornwall - affordable or not. Cornwall is full!

Kernow X - Mebyon Kernow Yowynk said...

@ Badham Farm, I believe affordable is termed as being "less than open market Price" but don't quote me on that.