Monday, 2 March 2015

The housing and planning policies that Cornwall needs to address affordability

To say housing and planning is an important issue in Cornwall is a gross understatement. No one is happy with current policies whether affordability, second homes or over development. I am pleased that Mebyon Kernow is leading on this and has today called for planning policy and the whole process from planning to appeals to be devolved to Cornwall. This coincides with my piece in next weeks Cornishman which addresses the issue of affordability.

The question put to all candidates in this general election is:

“The cost of housing - whether it is renting or buying - is becoming out of reach for a vast number of people in Cornwall – what can be done to solve this pressing problem?”

My answer (within a strict 200 word limit) is as follows:

Housing is a huge issue for people in Cornwall, most people of my generation struggle with high prices of both renting and buying, coupled with low wages, it’s a perfect storm, forcing people out of Cornwall.  Yet thousands of houses are being built, unaffordable to the majority of the local population and even those supposedly affordable are fair higher than the average wage can afford. Second homes are ever increasing and thus further increasing demand and prices. The current Labour, Tory and Lib Dem doctrine is developer led resulting in a building boom swallowing up green fields and not addressing our pressing problems of lack of affordability.

This is why I am delighted that this week that my party Mebyon Kernow has called upon planning to be devolved to Cornwall, the ‘Westminster knows best’ one size fits all approach of central government is not working here. The problem of affordability has not been resolved by successive governments and has in fact got much worse. The time has come for a fresh approach to housing in Cornwall. Empowering us to look at new ways of funding and delivering housing that the people of Cornwall both want and can afford.

Dick Cole's recent piece on Cornwall taking control of planning is here

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