Response to Daily Mirror on house building

An article appeared in the Daily Mirror last Friday about a supposed instruction to Conservative councils from Shadow Communities Secretary, Caroline Spelman MP, to stall new housing developments in their areas before the general election.

I’m afraid that the Mirror article was extremely misleading and I just wanted to set the record straight. Caroline Spelman’s letter, which was sent to all Conservative Council leaders, certainly does not say that all new housing development should be delayed until after the general election.

The letter explains that if the Conservatives win in May (or whenever the election is held) they will legislate within a year to abolish regional housing targets and Regional Spatial Strategies – i.e. the South East Plan. This will then allow us as councils to remove bits of our local development documents which have been imposed upon us by the regional quangos. So, for example, it will allow us to say that we won’t build on the green belt ever, not even as a contingency, as we are currently required to do.

This would be extremely good news for residents who, in my experience, are fed up with having new development imposed upon them by remote bureaucrats with little understanding of local communities. The letter is categorically not saying that we should prevent all housing development, rather that new housing should be of the right type and in the right place to suit local needs. Indeed, housing is a major priority for me which is why, as Council Leader, I have taken on the strategic housing portfolio – something which hasn’t been done before.

If you are interested, you can read more about the Conservative Party’s proposals for planning and housing on their website.

1 Response to “Response to Daily Mirror on house building”

  1. 1 Ben Duncan September 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Good luck with your new blog, Mary!

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