WHAT’S the plan?

This week the Westminster Parliament is all a flutter with rebellions. The one that I find interesting is the planning issue.

Should central government dictate the number of homes required in each local area? Some 50 MPs, possibly more by now, are saying no. and these are Tory MPs that have created the system of dictated numbers.

Teignbridge has to produce a local plan that ‘delivers’ at least 760 new houses each year. It has to show that enough land has been allocated in a ‘local plan’ so that 760 house can be built each year for at least 5 years without running out of allocated land.

Why 760? Because Central Government tells us so. And if we don’t have that, then any developer can get planning approval to build anywhere. And where does Teignbridge plan to put these new houses – well again Central Government tells us how to do that – you simply ask the landowners if they want to build on their land.

From that – and a whole book full of planning rules and regs – the local council creates a ‘local plan’. A way of finding the least damaging way to fit in the number of required houses, that are out of reach for many of our local residents’ budgets.

The average house price in Teignbridge is 11 times the average salary. This system is designed to encourage more houses, and, so they say, reduce house prices. It doesn’t work.

But what it does do it encourage developers to build on the most profitable sites, or to argue down the amount of extras they build.

These extras are the roads, shops, doctors’ surgeries, schools and all those things that build communities. And to reduce the number of ‘affordable homes’ that they build too. We do need more homes that local people can afford.

The housing list at Teignbridge is too large. It stands at 1,250 households who need a better place to live. And despite the area increasing by 760 new houses per year, that need isn’t decreasing.

So is our local plan local? I don’t think so, it is the Government’s plan that feeds a guaranteed 20% profit to the developers and not enough infrastructure, affordable homes or doctors and dentists.

So should the central government dictate planning numbers – and punish councils that don’t meet them.

I don’t think so. I do think that we should be allowed to build homes for local need, and that we should be allowed to plan how we build communities, and not dormitories.

Roll on the rebellion!