Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Cornwall Council sets a housing target of 42,250

The pre-submission draft of the Local Plan – which will set out Cornwall’s planning policies for 2010-2030 – was debated at Cornwall Council today.

As the Chairman of the Planning Policy Advisory Panel (PPAP), I presented a series of recommendations.  These included higher affordable housing targets, a commitment to more affordable housing when public land is redeveloped, the inclusion of Areas of Great Landscape Value and Areas of Great Historic Value, a commitment to carry out more work on the cumulative and other impacts of renewal energy developments, as well as revised policies on landfill, infill sites in rural areas, and retail developments.

I was pleased that most of these recommendations were accepted with a handful of rather limited further tweaks. The meeting did then descend into a certain amount of chaos as the housing target for the next twenty years was considered.

At the start of the debate, I spoke in favour of PPAP’s recommendation of 38,000, which we have consistently backed up with a range of detailed evidence.

The first amendment was for the officers’ latest recommendation of 45,400 – down from their earlier recommendations of 54,000, 49,000 and 48,500. This was voted down by 60 votes to 42.

A further amendment for a housing target of 29,000 was moved by Bert Biscoe and overwhelmingly defeated.

At this point, representatives from Bodmin, Falmouth and Newquay argued for higher housing allocations for their towns. An amendment was moved, adding 1,900 housing units to Bodmin, 1,100 to Falmouth, and 1,300 to Newquay, bringing the overall housing target to 43,250.

My fellow MK councillors and I could not support this increase and voted against the amendment. It was however passed by 58 votes to 33.

The document will now be consulted upon once again, with the results reported back to the new Council after the May elections for the newly-elected members to refer it to the Secretary of State so that it can be presented to the Planning Inspectorate for the necessary Inquiry.

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