You have to give Cornwall Council’s planners full credit for being as slippery as a set of eels. First, they concede that they have no actual contemporary survey data to back up their regular claims that 80%+ of new housing in Cornwall goes to existing residents. But they still deny that their assertions were groundless.
Like a rabbit from a hat, they’re now suddenly remembering another survey which completely proves their point. Of course, it was a ‘few years old’, but it surveyed 2,000 houses across Cornwall, or so a councillor claims. Or perhaps not, as an officer pipes up and says it was a ‘possibly pre-unitary’ District Council piece of research, which makes it pre-2009. They don’t know where it is though and it was never published.
So we now have a ten year-old (at least) survey, gathering dust somewhere in a drawer, which is supposed to be the sole source of the Council’s fatuous claims that all new housing in Cornwall meets ‘local need’, while none of it goes to in-migrants. We don’t know exactly where and when it was conducted or by whom. And they can’t tell us what type of housing it covered or what its methodology was. And they can’t actually produce it (but promise they will).
Something about this mysterious survey just isn’t adding up. If it was such a genuinely robust and comprehensive piece of research then why didn’t the planners dig it out well before now in order to staunch the stubborn ‘myth’ (as they see it) that most new housing goes to in-migrants? Why didn’t they cite it in the various documents produced as ‘evidence’ for the Local Plan, if it ‘proves’ that all new housing merely meets local need?
Is a single ten-year old survey really all that underlies the various assertions by councillors, planners and others that 80%+ of new houses go to local people? This doesn’t say much for their ‘evidence base’. Now, they’re trying to distract from the pathetic quality of their own ‘evidence’ by instead demanding that campaigners produce evidence that the majority of new housing is occupied by in-migrants. This is the usual brazen tactic of creating a red herring to hide their own sorry paucity of evidence.
What amazing lengths to go to in order to cover up a reckless and irresponsible policy of housing and population growth, one that’s re-engineering Cornish communities, transforming our landscape and blighting our environment.