In his note to Cornwall Council following the examination of the Local Plan the other week the Government’s planning inspector, Simon Emerson wrote the following …
3.4 A number of representations indicate that past projections for Cornwall by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) over-estimated future growth compared with what actually happened and that therefore they are not a reliable basis for planning. Since the Census of 2011, ONS has undertaken considerable updating and correcting of the data that is used for population/household projections to ensure that projections are as robust as possible. I have not seen evidence to demonstrate that past projections were so out of step with what occurred in Cornwall compared with elsewhere or that such large variations would occur in the future to justify a departure from national policy/guidance on their use as the demographic starting point.
For the full letter see here.
This is becoming tiresome. Let’s try again. Emerson employs two ‘arguments’ here. The first is not based on evidence but merely asserts that projections are now more robust and the problem has gone away. This cannot be tested against any evidence for a few years and is thus an unsupportable claim. Second, he states that previous ONS/DCLG projections have been no more inaccurate in Cornwall than elsewhere.
This second argument has been shown to be wrong. The evidence that the ONS /DCLG projections greatly overstated actual population and household growth in Cornwall has been made in several places. See for example here. Moreover, in November last year I produced some specific evidence proving that Cornwall Council’s planners’ assertions, strangely identical to those of Mr Emerson, were mistaken. Here’s an extract from that analysis.
More to the point, why did Cornwall Council make no effort over the past 2/3 years to work with campaigners and construct a compelling case for a lower housing target? And why did the elected representatives not force them to do so?