How your councillor voted on the 47,500 house target

On December 16th 2014 the full Council voted to approve the submission of Cornwall Council’s Local Plan, including its target of a minimum of 47,500 houses. By this time, because most councillors had failed over the previous three years to question the evidence base produced by their planning officers, there was heavy pressure on them to agree the Plan. The Council’s leaders argued that without a strategic plan Cornwall was ‘at the mercy of developers’.

Councillors therefore were offered little choice. They could either reject the target and the Plan and tell their officers to come up with a robust argument for a lower target based on the impact of continuing present growth rates and the inadequacy of the database. This is something they should have done, but abysmally failed to do, at least two years before. Or they could accept a plan that effectively rubber stamps the current relatively high rate of housing and population growth Cornwall has to endure. Resistance in December was therefore limited. The Plan was agreed overwhelmingly by 76 votes to 19, with five abstentions and 23 councillors not present.

[Update: Since writing the above the recorded vote for December’s meeting has appeared on the Council’s website. 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 five councillors were split down the middle, 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, Farrington and Glenton Brown.]

The previous time the Council discussed the 47,500 house target was in January 2014.  Then, the Plan was agreed by 62 votes to 31, with 10 abstentions and 20 councillors absent. Here are the details of councillors’ vote on the substantive motion at that point, organised by political party. You can jump down to the party here …

Liberal Democrats
Green Party

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
D.Rogerson S.Rogerson
Rotchell Rowe
Scrafton Sleeman
Taylor Watson

Two thirds of Tory councillors voted against the Plan or abstained. The Conservative group had moved an unsuccessful amendment previously in favour of a lower target of 33,000 houses. 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 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


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


Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present
Blakeley Keogh


Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present

Green Party

Voted for Voted for Abstained or voted against Not present

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