Many people will have received the Summer 2010 edition of the Council’s Newsletter (ironically the strapline on every page is “Where Quality of Life Counts” !). The article says that the Council has told planners and developers that the policies contained in the Core Strategy should now be used to assess most new planning applications.
Councillor Smith is quoted as saying ”We are now using our Core Strategy as an important and up to date tool in determining planning applications and helping balance the need for good quality development in our district against the core principle of protecting and maintaining our unique environment and quality of life,” We suspect that many people would not agree with that view. Later on the article says ”It was the issue of major housing policies that generated the most public debate, and given the comments already made by the (new) Government it is unclear how we should proceed with any such applications, and indeed how government inspectors would be able to deal with any appeals. Until the uncertainty is cleared up by the Government, we are not sure how we can proceed with meeting the proven need for more homes for our residents”.
We are trying to find out exactly what this means, but meanwhile it vital that everyone continues to press the Council not to use the current policy to determine the BT Planning Application until it has been through all the correct processes and has been approved by an independent inspector.
People should also write to the Secretary of State – see the “What you can do” page.
Incidentally the term “proven need for more homes for our residents” is very misleading in that the bulk of the houses being forecast are not for local residents – the East of England Plan to 2031 states that over 80% are for inward migration from other parts of the country. The Council had previously been blaming the then Labour Government for setting national targets which are cascaded down to districts – so what really is the proven need? If you have not yet received the magazine the article is HERE. Another SCDC document on the same subject is HERE.