Sunday, 3 February 2008

Objecting to the RSS

I am pleased to be able to report that, this week, a leading committee of Restormel Borough Council has hit out at plans to massively increase house-building in Mid Cornwall as set out in the latest draft of the Regional Spatial Strategy.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the planning policy committee (Policy and Scrutiny 4), of which I am the chairman, councillors supported my proposal to make immediate representations to the Government stating that the “Council does not support the proposed increases which it is considered are excessive and inappropriate to the needs of local communities.” It was also agreed to contact the other principal councils in Cornwall to make similar representations.

As I stated in a previous post on this blog, the original RSS produced by the unelected SW Regional Assembly in 2006 proposed that 45,000 houses should be built in Cornwall up to 2026, but an ‘Examination in Public’ has upped that figure to 68,700. Of these, it expects 15,700 properties to be built within the Restormel area.

In advance of this week’s meeting, I looked closely at the figures. The overall increase in house-building for the ‘South West region’ is 23%, while for Cornwall it is 53%. In Restormel however, it is an even unsustainable and unwarranted 83%. This equates to a 35% increase in Restormel’s housing stock in only two decades.

The full motion passed by the meeting was as follows:

“Policy and Scrutiny Committee 4 recommends that Restormel Borough Council sends immediate representations to the Department of Communities and Local Government on the figures for house-building in the Regional Spatial Strategy stating that the Council does not support the proposed increases which is considered are excessive and inappropriate to the needs of local communities; contact Cornwall County Council and the other five district councils to request that they make similar representations; note the remainder of the document and start work on a detailed response to the panel report in advance of the official consultation.”

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