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200,000 new homes needed in Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 07, 2012

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An investigation by the Western Morning News in March revealed that Westcountry councils want 200,000 new homes built across the region in the next two decades.

But today's report by the National Housing federation shows that the number of houses being built is lagging further behind the need, as identified by lengthening waiting lists for social housing.

When the Coalition Government came to power it scrapped the regional Spatial Strategy and left housing targets to individual councils.

Proposals being prepared by 16 councils will replace unpopular and arbitrary regional targets, which forced councils to build more houses than they believed were necessary.

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Cornwall Council is considering a target of between 38,000 and 57,000 over the next 20 years and Plymouth City Council 17,250, while Torbay Council has proposed a 500-homes-a-year building rate. In the rest of Devon and Somerset, smaller district councils are in charge of housing – Taunton Deane is eyeing 17,000 new homes by 2028 and West Devon just 4,500.

But tensions have simmered over a number of building schemes, from 100 houses and a Waitrose on Duchy of Cornwall land on the fringes of Truro, to the 5,500-home Sherford "new town" close to Plymouth.

Today, Cornwall Council's newly-formed cabinet will decide what figure to adopt as a target for homes to be built over the next 20 years.

A policy committee at the authority last month recommended a lower figure of 38,000, from the three proposed, to be agreed.

Mark Kaczmarek, the council's housing spokesman, will today urge fellow members of the executive to rubber stamp at least 48,000.

"That is the bare minimum we can go on without it being thrown back by the Government with a higher figure," he added.

"We need to build more houses to keep prices down – we must think strategically and not resort to silo mentality."

However, a new pressure group, Our Cornwall, is campaigning against the over-development of the Duchy and wants to see the lower figure.

The group predicts "massive estates" on greenfield sites and "soulless car-dependent suburbs" if development moves too fast.

The situation across the country has prompted the Government to intervene with help for targeted schemes to get construction moving.

In Devon, the new town at Cranbrook, near Exeter, has been offered a £20million loan to accelerate growth by building a school and town centre ahead of schedule.

The development could now see 6,500 new homes, including affordable properties, by its completion in 2030.

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  • D-Head  |  November 07 2012, 5:52PM

    We are clearly being failed in a big way by Cornwall Council. Someone once said in this online spot that MK was at his best hitting granite with a lump hammer at South Crofty. History tells us that promoting people above their capabilities is a recipe for disaster.

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  • Regennotdegen  |  November 07 2012, 5:01PM

    Spot on Mr Angove. We don't need more Housing just less people who need us to pay to house them. Make some of the unused and vacant properties available and only build on brownfield sites if you must build new housing. It's also about time that council housing was not provided for life. I know of many council tenants who could easily afford to get a mortgage and move out of their low rent properties making room for others who cannot but they will not as it's the easy option.

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  • caroclemens  |  November 07 2012, 4:53PM

    Mark Kaczmarek has been taken in by the developers' spin. There are twice as many houses in Cornwall as fifty years ago and the population has gone up by around fifty percent as a result. Current plans mean it will double. Our natural population growth is predicted to be (wait for it)nothing, a slight fall in fact, and all of this ongoing growth is driven by speculative building and marketing to people outside Cornwall. Based on local housing need we need no more than 10,000 houses of specific types. Our councilors seem spineless and poor at maths.

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  • Big_Ger  |  November 07 2012, 9:25AM

    Well said Roger!

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  • roger_angove  |  November 07 2012, 9:08AM

    "Mark Kaczmarek, the council's housing spokesman, will today urge fellow members of the executive to rubber stamp at least 48,000." So we continue to pay this ill tempered thug £800 a week of our money to 'rubber stamp' permission for the environmental vandals to clean up by concreting over more farm land and building more houses. We don't need more houses, we need fewer people. The UK government still allows immigration at the rate of half a million a year and we, the tax payers, are supposed to fund their benefits and watch our landscape being destroyed so that the profiteers (like the eco-Prince) can snigger all the way to the bank for vandalising our country.

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