Bring us your huddled masses: housing target rises yet again

So the Government has come up with yet another cunning plan to encourage more housebuilding. Communities Minister Sajid Javid is consulting on a new, simpler method of calculating housing targets to be applied across the board for housing targets to ensure that the ‘right homes [sic]’ get built in the ‘right places’. Bizarrely, in the newspeak that the political class is so keen on, this new centralised system of imposing housing targets will ‘give local communities greater control’.

In reality of course, as well as doing nothing of the kind, it also won’t result in the ‘right homes’ in the ‘right places’. This is because the Tories are still trapped by their ideological obsession with private market delivery. They cherish the delusion that their developer chums and their mates in the construction companies will ‘solve’ the housing crisis once and for all. If only they build enough new houses prices will plummet and everyone will then miraculously be able to afford a home.

The imposition of local targets, carefully calibrated for every local authority, implies that the Government thinks there are lots of tiny housing markets scattered across the land that respond solely to local supply and demand. The consultation document is backed up with technical reports that are in turn littered with questionable counter-factual data based on unproven assumptions. One such is the assertion that increasing housing stock by X% will then produce a X% price fall. If that were the case then Cornwall, which has seen a huge increase in its housing stock, at a faster rate than virtually all English counties since the 1960s, should have rock-bottom house prices.

We don’t. Because the Tories fail to take into account supply-side factors or the wider effects of local price changes. They prefer instead to put their faith in a naive neo-classical market model where house prices respond solely to demand (equated to number of people + income) and supply (planning permissions granted). Nothing to do with political decisions, interest rates, mortgage company policies, marketing strategies etc. then.

Even if prices were to fall by pushing the number of houses built in Cornwall through the (yet to be constructed) roof, this would merely result in an increased demand from the ‘let’s buy our Cornwall [sic] lifestyle’ brigade. Especially as estate agents, developers and construction companies aggressively market the surplus supply to exactly that lifestyle market. To prevent this, and incidentally begin to protect the Cornish environment and heritage, the market has to be regulated, while massively extending public provision of social housing to meet genuine local need. But that’s not on offer.

So how does all the fiddling with the figures involved in Sajid’s new simple sums apply to Cornwall?

Let’s remind ourselves where we are. In 2015 Cornwall’s planners finally convinced councillors not to contest the Government’s (and their) wishes, throw in the towel and feebly accept a 20 year housing target of 47,500. This was already around 34-35,000 more than was needed to meet the demand for extra housing arising from within existing Cornish communities. The majority was to go to meet external demand, thereby locking us into the continuing spiral of rapid population growth required in order to fill the houses and meet this disastrous target.

This was then bumped up to 52,500 by the Government’s hatchet-man Inspector. Now we have this latest wheeze and – surprise, surprise – up goes the target by another 5,000 or so, to a staggeringly irresponsible 57,780. Sajid is giving the screw yet another turn, even though there’s precious few pips willing to squeak about it any more.

How does Cornwall compare with other places?

If we look at the percentage change now proposed when compared with the previous ‘locally [sic’] assessed need’ figures we find that the uplift of 10.1% in Cornwall is above the average but not the highest. Two groups of English counties, in the westcountry and in the south east, will see increases higher than Cornwall’s. The largest is in Greater London, where the Government wants to increase the target by an unlikely 62%. Wherever will they fit all those houses? Hyde Park perhaps? Or the under-occupied housing and grounds at Buckingham Palace?

More usefully, we can calculate how many houses the Government want to see built in relation to the existing population. As we can see from the map, apart from Somerset (which is only very, very slightly higher than Cornwall), all the areas with a greater proposed housing target in relation to population are found in the over-heated and already over-populated south east of England.


Cornwall stands out. We seem to be part of South East England in housing terms, except that that we’re geographically distant and a hell of a lot poorer. This unusual combination – high population and housing growth together with economic deprivation – needs unique policies and special treatment. But we’re not going to get that either, just more centralization, more population growth and more colonialism. Maybe Cornwall Council will begin to demand that special treatment and respect for the national minority status of the Cornish. [Joke?]

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Posted in Cornwall Council;, discourses and ideologies, environment, Local Plan, official statistics, planning system, population growth | 3 Comments

Cornwall Council elections to bring little change

So we’ve voted in the local elections. Or some of us. Most people didn’t bother. Others  voted along tribal party lines, not knowing or caring what their preferred party is actually saying about the future of Cornwall. And for the most part, they’re not saying that much. Meanwhile the majority of voters are mired in collective resignation.

Few candidates seem aware of Cornwall’s recent past

Whoever comes out of the elections with the largest number of councillors – Tories, Lib Dems or Independents – it matters little. We can be 100% certain that the devoloper-led coalition of chaos that drives Cornwall Council’s unsustainable growth strategy will still be in charge. The Charter for Cornwall campaign was a last-ditch effort to make the future of Cornwall an election issue. It’s fair to say it was a flop.

The Charter got the explicit support of around 250 individuals and organisations, including a handful of parish and town councils. But most parish and town councils ignored its call for a more balanced, sustainable, less developer-led strategy for Cornwall. Moreover, the hoped-for snowballing of support never really took off. Some early publicity was gained but then the announcement of a general election diverted attention from the ongoing transformation of Cornwall.

Around 75 of Cornwall’s 448 candidates at tomorrow’s election did sign up to the Charter pledges, and if you’re interested you can find out their stances here. But we might be forgiven if we ask how many seriously care about the issues of environmental degradation, unsustainable population growth or colonialism in Cornwall. By the evidence of their election leaflets not many. And of that 75, only a dozen or so took the next step and posted something on the Charter website.

Few candidates are demanding some really fair treatment for the Cornish

Moreover, 348 of the 448 candidates couldn’t even be bothered to reply to the politely worded request asking them if they supported the pledges or not. This was a level of boorish rudeness that hardly augers well for the responsiveness of the next Council. Almost 90% of Tory and Lib Dem candidates and almost 80% of Independents and Labour candidates didn’t stir themselves to respond. Around a third of Ukip candidates did, half of the Greens and almost all MK candidates.

What also struck the campaigners was the political illiteracy of many candidates, who seemed to have little clue about how the political system works, let alone grasp the current details of housing and planning policy. Early on one candidate asked if supporting the Charter would mean he was ‘being party political’. Later, it turned out he was a candidate for that apolitical organisation, the Conservative Party.

The most hostile reaction came from some Liberal Democrat candidates. Although one or two Lib Dems have an excellent record of opposing speculative housing and signed up with no qualms, others with equally sound records got extremely defensive when asked to commit themselves in future to oppose the excessive housing target they and the Government have lumbered us with. It’s clear that most Lib Dems are now lining up behind the 52,500 target. Worse, they’re refusing to commit themselves to lowering it in future, thus locking Cornwall into a spiral of unsustainable housing and population growth.

One Lib Dem candidate, in a bizarre example of petty tribalism, told campaigners that one reason she couldn’t sign up to the pledges was because they were ‘not something I or my party have come up with.’ Another sitting councillor aggressively threatened to make a fairly innocuous email exchange ‘public which I feel will harm your campaign more than my election prospects’, unless the Charter group agreed to remove a statement of fact that she couldn’t sign up to the four pledges. They called her bluff. She backed off.

The Tories are no better. All they say is ‘we understand the need for more homes for local people’, while saying nothing about all the housing that is patently not for local people. This is the local equivalent of the robotic parroting of ‘strong and stable’ that we’re seeing at the UK level. It’s basically meaningless drivel. Meanwhile most Independents seem to think they’re fighting a parish council election. They’re about as likely ever to come up with strategic policies for Cornwall’s voters are of giving up electing Tories.

Not much evidence of innovative policies to reduce the number of 2nd (and 3rd, and 4th) ‘homes’

In short, the vast majority of Cornwall’s candidates are ignoring the big issues facing Cornwall. The fact that on current trends our population will be nudging a million by the end of the century doesn’t seem to concern them. Any vision of the kind of Cornwall we should be building, any alternative to developer-led planning, any practical policies that might reverse the growth fetish of Cornwall Council and protect our heritage are, for most centrist and centralist politicians, just absent.

So, whoever you voted for, the planners and developers will still effectively control our future. Until a well-focused and better-organised grassroots opposition emerges, sadly this election is likely to make very little difference to Cornwall’s steady drift into post-democracy. A dumbed-down, resigned electorate will continue to get the representatives it deserves.

Posted in Charter for Cornwall, Cornwall Council;, councillors, planning system, population growth, second homes | 3 Comments

How did we get into this mess?: 11 Conclusions

So how did we get ourselves into this mess? Let’s sum up. During the ‘debate’ in the final meeting to rubber-stamp a housing target of 52,500 houses last November, a succession of councillors lectured campaigners on their ‘lack of understanding’ of how ‘constrained the Council was’. But could councillors have done anything different?

It’s clear councillors weren’t entirely constrained by central government. They had some choices at certain stages of the long process of producing the ‘Local’ Plan. The critical lost opportunity came in the early days of the Plan, when a genuinely ‘robust’ case for a lower target might have been mounted and consistently stuck to. So why didn’t this happen? A number of factors can be suggested.

The planning officers were clearly captured from the beginning by the developers’ lobby and persistently peddled dubious data to undermine arguments for a lower housing target. Their arguments for higher housing targets of up to 54,000 gave the developers a weapon that could be turned back against the Council to undermine arguments for a lower target. Basically, councillors allowed their officers to shoot themselves in the foot.

Those councillors who were concerned enough to work hard for a lower target didn’t coordinate their opposition early enough across party group lines or make use of campaigners outside the Council. At the start the initiative was left to Cllrs Cole and Biggs and the Planning Policy Advisory Panel, while those Conservatives who later argued for a lower target built no bridges to others to persuade them to take up Sarah Newton MP’s claim that the Council could come up with a lower target and call the Government’s bluff.

By the winter of 2013/14, when it was becoming apparent the Government was pressing hard for higher housing numbers and rejecting Local Plans right, left and centre, the only option for the Council was to construct a case for special treatment. The later Framework Convention status granted to the Cornish could have greatly strengthened this. The Council could also have worked with campaigners to challenge the flawed datasets used by the Government. It could have been a lot more forthright in pointing out their inaccuracies when applied to Cornwall. It chose to do none of this. Having effectively thrown in the towel at this point it was then vulnerable to central government bullying.

Is this Cornwall Council’s ‘vision’?

Any arguments against a higher housing target were also fundamentally compromised by the Council’s embrace of a high economic growth strategy. If the latter goes unquestioned, then the former will inevitably follow. This was particularly the case in the 2009-13 Tory/Ind-led Council but did not change markedly when Lib Dems took over, again with the help of Independents.

The developers’ brave new (old) world – more fast food outlets for the extra people attracted by the new houses and supermarkets

As a postscript, a lot more honesty from the Council wouldn’t go amiss. This Plan is a disaster for Cornwall, for Cornishness and for our environment as it guarantees the continuation of a culturally, economically and environmentally unsustainable growth rate. Yet, instead of admitting this openly, the Council assures us the Plan will ‘allow a more sustainable Cornwall to be built’, ‘create sustainable viable communities’. ‘support economic development and the environment while meeting the needs of residents’. People can see this is hogwash. So it’s hardly surprising they blame the Council for the crisis of hyper-‘development’ in Cornwall.

Stop making a banquet from a pig’s ear. If the Government has forced an excessive housing target on us then make that clear. If this housing target meets the demand for profits from developers rather than local needs then admit the truth. The flannel about sustainability fools nobody.

Net migration is on the rise again. The Plan is working!

Posted in Cornwall Council;, councillors, discourses and ideologies, Local Plan | 2 Comments

How did we get into this mess?: 10 The final insult as Council told to add more houses. Or else.

The Government’s Inspector arrived at Newquay to ‘examine’ the Council’s ‘Local’ Plan, which included a housing target of 47,500. Surrounded by a pack of planning agents all baying loudly for a higher target, he was never likely to reduce this target. Indeed, the arguments generated by its own planning officers to justify their earlier preference for anything up to 54,000 houses were thrown back at Cornwall Council by the assembled developers’ agents. There was little place to hide. The only question was how far the Inspector would increase the target.

Cornwall Council has been ordered to build more new houses to allow existing stock to be sold off as second ‘homes’

Having somehow managed to delay the adoption of the Plan by another year, much to the benefit of developers queueing up to get their plans approved, at the end of the day the Inspector told the Council to add 7% to allow for more second homes, plus another 1,800 houses to ‘meet the aspirations for economic growth and updated demographic projections’, according to a planning officer. As always, the flawed projections escaped unscathed. The Inspector had airily dismissed the observation that projections were especially inaccurate in the Cornish case by asserting, on no credible evidence, that ONS projections were now ‘more robust’ and that inaccuracies for Cornwall were no greater than anywhere else. This latter was a downright untruth.

By the winter of 2014/15 the Council was never going to challenge the Government. At the Planning Policy Advisory Committee (PPAC) Cllr Dwelly (Lab, Penzance East) and Cllr Malcolm Brown (LD, St Austell Bethel) recommended accepting the new 52,500 figure. Cllr Nolan (LD, Truro Redannick) and Cllr Cole (MK, St Enoder) recorded their votes against.

At the Cabinet meeting in December 2015, the ‘risks of challenging the government’s advice was [sic] recognised’, while it was ‘important to remember that as of April 2015 31,900 out of the 52,500 homes had already been permitted or built already’ and had supposedly disappeared into thin air. Cllr Hannaford (LD, Looe West) and Cllr German (Ind, Roseland) recommended approval. At this meeting, in a last rearguard action, Cllr Cole urged the Cabinet to remove the St Austell ‘eco-community’ from the Plan. No-one took up his offer.

At the full council meeting of 15 December 2015 it was a foregone conclusion. The MK amendment to remove the eco-community and redistribute the 1,200 houses across Cornwall was inevitably lost, with only four other councillors supporting it. They were Cllrs Biscoe (Ind, Truro Boscawen), Cllr Curnow (Ind, St Stephen), Cllr Heyward (Ind, St Austell Gover) and Cllr Rich (Ind, Truro Tregolls).

The meeting almost unanimously resolved to consult on this final version and a target of 52,500. Only two voted against, with another one abstaining, but as usual we don’t know who they were.

The final chapter was predictable. In October 2016 the PPAC accepted the Plan, with only Cllr Chamberlain (Con, Feock) recording his opposition. He carried this into the final full council meeting in November 2015, being one of three councillors recording their votes against the Plan, with its final tally of 52,500 houses, a 16% increase on the recent growth rate. The Tory opposition had by now shrunk to two councillors – Cllr Chamberlain, who had energetically opposed the target and Cllr Eddowes (Con, Redruth Central), with support from the persistent critic Cllr Fonk (LD, Gulval).

Imagine how our creaking infrastructure will cope with a doubled population

As it’s a minimum, the 52,500 target is likely to lock Cornwall more tightly into a spiral of housing growth and set us up nicely for a population of around a million by the end of the century. Many councillors are now claiming there was little they could have done to prevent this. But tomorrow’s final blog in this series will suggest that was not the case.

Posted in Cornwall Council;, councillors, Local Plan, population growth, second homes | 3 Comments

How did we get into this mess?: 9 A Plan, a Plan, a nation for a Plan!

During 2014 there were no further attempts to push the housing target up and it remained at 47,500. By November 2014 the Local Plan was again back before the Cabinet. Cllr Hannaford (LD, Looe West) and Cllr Rowe (LD, St Issey) recommended approval for the draft Plan that would be submitted to the Government, together with its target of 47,500 houses.

The signs always stress employment, never housing.

It then went to full council in December 2014. By this time, only the Conservatives were left opposing the Plan and its 47,500 house target and only just over half of them voted against or abstained. A very high proportion – almost a third – did not vote or were absent. Ukip’s councillors were split, while all the other groups – Independents, Lib Dems, Labour, MK and Green – voted solidly for the Plan’s submission to the Secretary of State. Three Lib Dems voted against or abstained: Cllrs Fonk (Gulval), Farrington (Launceston South) and Glenton Brown (Tintagel). The rest of the councillors had thrown in the towel and were desperate to get some sort of Plan, any sort of Plan, agreed to bolster up the defences against the hordes of rapacious developers flocking to Cornwall for some easy pickings.

Having refused to make a case for special treatment or work up a ‘robust’ challenge to the dubious projections used by the Government, councillors had little choice but to cave in. The vote was unsurprising, 76 to 19 in favour of the Plan, with five abstentions. Another 23 councillors were absent.

Here’s how they voted. You can jump down to the party here …

Independents
Liberal Democrats
Conservatives
Labour
Ukip
MK
Green Party

Independents

Voted for Voted for Voted against Abstained
Biscoe Callan Rich
Coombe Curnow
Dolley Eathorne-Gibbons
Egerton Ellison
German Greenslade
Harris Hawken
Haycock Hayward
Holmes Kaczmarek
King Lugg
May McKenna
A. Mitchell Penny
Pollard Saunby
I. Thomas J. Thomas
A. Toms H. Toms
Trubody Wallis
Wood

Liberal Democrats

Voted for Voted for Voted against Abstained
Austin Batters Fonk Glenton Brown
M. Brown Bull
Buscombe Candy
Chopak Ekinsmyth
Frank George
Hannaford Hobbs
Hughes James
Kenny Kerridge
Knightley P. Mitchell
Nolan Parsons
Paynter Pearce
P. Rogerson S. Rogerson
Rowe Scrafton
Sleeman Watson

Conservatives

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Eddowes Lambshead Bay Harding
Pascoe Chamberlain Maddern
Dyer R. Mann
Ellis
Ferguson
Fitter
French
Gorman
Hall
Jewell
S. Mann
Mustoe
Pearn
Pugh
Sanger
White

Labour

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Atherton Dwelly
Kirk Moyle
Olivier Webber

Ukip

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Blakeley Lewis Elliott

MK

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Cole Jenkin
Long

Green Party

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Andrewes

Unfortunately however, there was one more hurdle to surmount – the so-called ‘examination’ of the Plan by a Government Inspector.

Posted in Cornwall Council;, councillors, Local Plan | 3 Comments

How did we get into this mess?: 8 How councillors voted at the meeting of January 2014

By early 2014 councillors, having failed to support a housing target of 38,000, were being heavily leant on to go for 47,500. The full council meeting of January 2014 marked the beginning of the end for any chance of a more sensible and balanced housing target in the Local Plan as the Council hauled up the white flag. However, this meeting, along with a later meeting in December 2014, produced the only recorded votes in the whole five-year shambolic process.

Few outside the Tory ranks were convinced by their sudden U-turn on the housing target. Their amendment for 33,000 (though effectively nearer 40,000) was lost by 28 to 78, with only Tory and Ukip councillors voting for it. The sole other enthusiast for a lower target was Cllr Fonk (LD, Gulval and Heamoor).

A couple of other amendments – for 150 fewer at St Ives, moved by Cllr Andrewes (Green, St Ives East) and Cllr Penhaligon (Con, Carbis Bay) and 1,350 more at Penzance, from Cllr Olivier (Lab, Penzance Central) and Cllr Dwelly (Lab, Penzance East) – were also defeated. At the end of the day the substantive motion, containing a target of 47,500 houses, was approved, by 62-31, with 10 abstentions. For once, the vote was recorded and here’s how councillors voted.

Then, the Plan was agreed by 62 votes to 31, with 10 abstentions and 20 councillors absent. Here are the details of councillors’ voting on the substantive motion at that point, organised by political party. You can jump down to the party here …

Independents
Liberal Democrats
Conservatives
Labour
Ukip
MK
Green Party

Independents
The majority of Independents voted for the Plan with a minority of around a quarter abstaining or voting against.

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Callan Coombe Biscoe Burden
Dolley Eathorne-Gibbons Curnow Deeble
Egerton Ellison Hawken Harvey
German Greenslade Holmes Rule
Harris Haycock King J.Thomas
Hayward Holley P.Martin A.Toms
Kaczmarek Lugg Rich
May McKenna Saunby
A.Mitchell Penny I.Thomas
Pollard Trubody
Wallis Wood

Liberal Democrats
The Lib Dems voted overwhelmingly for the Plan, 83% voting for and just two councillors abstaining or voting against

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Austin Geoff Brown Fonk Batters
M.Brown Bull Nolan Glenton Brown
Buscombe Candy Dolphin
Chopak Duffin Pearce
Farrington Folkes
Frank George
Hannaford Hobbs
Hughes James
Kenny Kerridge
P.Mitchell Parsons
Paynter Rix
P.Rogerson S.Rogerson
Rotchell Rowe
Scrafton Sleeman
Taylor Watson

Conservatives
Two thirds of Tory councillors voted against the Plan or abstained. However, there was some scepticism and suspicion from the other parties at this. Conservatives in the previous ruling administration from 2009 to 2013 had been among the most vociferous in favour of a very high housing target and massive ‘growth’. And of course, the Conservative/Lib Dem Government’s new centralised planning framework had made it much more difficult (though hardly impossible) to argue for a lower target. Furthermore, the proportion of Conservatives who absented themselves from this vote was higher than the other parties, indicating that there was not exactly unanimity about the new line.

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
S.Mann Pugh Chamberlain Bay
Sanger Eddowes Dyer
Ellis Evans
Ferguson Flashman
Fitter Gorman
French R.Mann
Hall T.Martin
Harding
Hatton
Jewell
Keeling
Lambshead
Maddern
Nicholas
Pascoe
Pearn
Penhaligon
Shuttlewood
Stoneman
White
Wilkins

Labour

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Atherton Bunney Kirk
Dwelly Olivier Moyle
H.Toms Webber

Ukip

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Blakeley Keogh
Elliott
Hicks
Lewis
McWilliams

MK

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Cole
Jenkin
Long
Luke

Green Party

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Andrewes

The Plan then wearily went out for a third round of consultation before being submitted to the Government.

Posted in Cornwall Council;, councillors, Local Plan | 1 Comment

How did we get into this mess?: 7 Preparing to submit, the winter of 2013/14

The revised Local Plan had gone out for consultation with a housing target of 42,250. It re-surfaced in late 2013 with one of 47,500. Planning officers now wanted to add another 5,000 houses, boosting the target to 47,500. The re-named Environment, Heritage and Planning Portfolio Advisory Committee reviewed this in October 2013. By now there was a new Council and some new councillors. Cllr Olivier (Lab, Penzance Central) and Cllr Candy (LD, Trelawny) moved to increase the target to 47,500. They lost. A compromise was however reached and the committee agreed to offer both 47,500 and 42,250 to the Cabinet and full council meetings.

In November 2013 the Cabinet considered the target once more. This time officers produced alarming findings that targets elsewhere that were not based on ‘national’ guidance were being rejected by the Government. The officers ‘strongly advised’ that the target ‘reflect national demographic projections so as to be robust’. The Cabinet had an alternative. They could have stood up to central government diktat, decided to stick to a lower target and produce a ‘robust’ case for special treatment for Cornwall, given its fragile heritage, environmental pressures and the experience of the previous half century. Or they could have challenged the Government on its hopelessly flawed demographic projections. They did neither. Cllr Hannaford (LD, Looe West) and Cllr Wallis (Ind, Porthleven) moved that full council consider both target options.

Cornwall Council denied Cornwall had become a developers’ paradise, despite the evidence that more aplications for major schemes were received per head in Cornwall than anywhere else

Having decided not to make a special case, from this point on the issue became not so much what growth rate would be best for Cornish communities, but what the Government was likely to support and what the Council could get away with. This was a stance that left the Council fundamentally defenceless. Any aspirations to exchange the spiral of growth with a much-needed breathing space had been replaced by the politics of fear as councillors haggled over how high they dared to go.

At the full council meeting in January 2014, Cllr Hannaford stated that ”unless there was a robust alternative the set of population projections produced by the ONS was a key component’. Shamefully, no mention was made of the considerably less than robust past performance of these same official projections when it came to Cornwall, where the level of over-estimation has been amongst the highest anywhere.

Cllr Hannaford and Cllr Geoff Brown (LD, Newquay Central) moved a target of 47,500 houses. It’s at this point that the curious argument that the ‘real figure’ was considerably lower than the headline figure appeared. According to Cllr Hannaford, as 7,000 houses had already been built and another 20,000 given planning permission, ‘the real figure was 27,500 houses’. Magically, the 20,000 houses yet to be built had been spirited away into thin air. By this logic, if the Council had got on with it and granted all 47,500 permissions the ‘real’ target would have been zero and everybody would have been happy. Although this, and other arguments, verged on the ludicrous, they were regularly deployed thereafter to mollify worried councillors.

There was uproar when planners suggested moving the Tristan stone to make way for a Wainhomes project at Fowey

Moreover, in the election of 2013, control of the Council had shifted. From being Tory/Independent it became Lib Dem/Independent. With a new leader, the Conservatives now suddenly revealed themselves to be supporters of a much lower housing target, not the enthusiasts for a high growth strategy they had been before 2013. Cllr Chamberlain (Con, Feock) and Cllr Keeling (Con, Breage) moved an amendment for 33,000 houses. Unfortunately this had neither been worked up in detail nor discussed beforehand with potential supporters in other political groups.

While the proposal for 33,000 came as a surprise to many, the proposers were forced to admit that consents already given over the lower target in some community areas would remain, while community network areas could always demand more if councillors wanted them. As several did, the 33,000 in reality probably amounted to far more than the 38,000 rejected in early 2013.

Posted in Cornwall Council;, councillors, discourses and ideologies, Local Plan | 1 Comment