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Council to raise residents’ concerns over Government planning proposals

Residents are being asked to help the Council and have their say urgently before 1 October on new Government planning rules which will set a requirement of 4,000 new houses to be built across Cornwall every year. 

The proposals for new planning laws, designed to “build more homes, more quickly” in the UK would see an extra 12,500  new houses being built in Cornwall in the next ten years in addition to the current plans – the equivalent of a town roughly twice the size of Bodmin – without time to plan for new growth in the right places there are fears this will inevitably result in poor quality and unplanned speculative development coming forward.  

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Affordable home provision could fall significantly under the new rules. This is because of proposed short-term changes that mean developers will not have to provide any affordable housing on sites of less than 40/50 homes.  This could mean a loss of 300 affordable homes a year for Cornwall’s residents. 

Cornwall Council wants to provide good quality homes that residents can afford, these proposals whilst building more homes risks them being poor quality and unaffordable.  

Rightly the government wants to help small and medium-sized builders in these difficult times. Like many Local Authorities in England we have thousands of homes with planning permission which have not been built.  Unlocking these sites by giving us new powers or funding to build the infrastructure that is needed, will help build these new homes that our residents need. 

In the long-term the government's 'Planning for the future' White paper also outlines how Greenbelt areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty may get the designation of ‘protect’ areas. As many South East authorities will be over 70% Greenbelt, there is a potential risk that this will lead to even greater pressure on Cornwall and other South West authorities. This is not levelling up. 

Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning Tim Dwelly said: “The message is simple. Under these new proposals the overall number of homes being built in Cornwall will rise dramatically. But the number of new affordable homes will fall dramatically. The current planning system gives residents the right to have a meaningful say on the quality and location of new homes - as well as their affordability. The Government proposals will remove this right. That's not on. 

“We are already building our fair share of homes in Cornwall in a careful, planned way. We set a requirement for affordable homes to be part of that mix. We believe we are striking the right balance. The new proposals take away our ability to require affordable homes on sites of under 50. Affordable housing numbers will fall by a third each year - what terrible timing, as unemployment rises across Cornwall because of Covid. Meanwhile, forcing through an extra 1,000 homes a year will lead to speculative development, a rise in land banking and poor-quality homes getting permission routinely."  

We are concerned that residents do not know these things are proposed and we want to help them have their say before the proposals come in and it is too late." 

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for Homes Andrew Mitchell said:  Access to affordable homes is the number one priority of residents in Cornwall and we believe under these proposals, the number of affordable homes will fall. We want to represent your views to Government – and we need your help to do it.” 

Cornwall Council is calling on Government to: 

  • review the new housing formula immediately; 

  • abandon the proposals to raise the affordable housing threshold;  

  • give us new powers or funding to build the infrastructure that is needed to unlock sites that already have planning permission, and  

  • focus on delivering net carbon zero new homes with strict standards being made mandatory so that new build housing market plays its full part in carbon reduction.   

Residents can get involved in three ways: 

  • Respond to our post on Facebook and Twitter– your views will help shape Cornwall Council’s response to Government 

  • Share your views on the Lets Talk Cornwall website - your views will help shape our response to the Government consultation. 

  • Respond to the 'Planning for the future' Government consultation directly.  If you respond via email, please copy us in at  haveyoursay@cornwall.gov.uk 

 

Story posted 18 September 2020