EADT article – Bottom Up targets not Top Down

This article quotes Guy McGregor talking about what the County Council wants to do in terms of housing planning in the light of the new government’s policies. Basically he says the targets should be determined bottom-up, not top down and that they need to get feedback “from those on the ground” . He does however says that he can can see the benefits of new communities like that proposed at Adastral Park.  On the other hand he also says that that we should not endanger the character of such a wonderful part of the world – talking about Suffolk.  Here is a transcript with some comments from NANT:-

From EADT July 2010

Targets for housing scrapped

Controversial Government proposals that would have forced councils in Suffolk to sanction the construction of a further 64,300 homes over the next 20 years have been abandoned. Communities secretary Eric Pickles told Parliament: “Regional strategies added unnecessary bureaucracy to the planning system. They were a failure.”  “They were expensive and time-consuming. They alienated people, pitting them against development instead of encouraging people to build in their local area.”

Following Mr Pickles’ announcement, councils across Suffolk are to come together to decide their own future shape. But the county believes it will still be necessary to build thousands of new homes in the years ahead.

Guy McGregor, County Councillor responsible for planning policy, has already had a meeting with his district colleagues and hoped a county-wide strategy could be agreed. He said: “In some respects, we are going back to the days of the old structure plans. There is a need for ‘co-ordination between the districts and we are hoping to fulfill that.”

“The figures set down by the old East of England Regional Assembly for new homes are no longer what we have to look at – the new Government wants targets to be drawn up from the bottom tier upwards.”

“But different councils have different needs- and we will draw up a strategy that recognises that.”

Mr McGregor said St Edmundsbury council was very keen on building new homes in Bury itself and in Haverhill.

And he could see the benefit of building new communities like that proposed at Adastral Park at Martlesham. He said: “That kind of scheme for new homes near an already-existing employment site seems just the kind of thing the county should be encouraging – but it really is something we need to get input on from those on the ground.”

He expected there would be a series of meetings over the next few months to help draw up a strategy for the county.

“What is important is that Suffolk should grow in a way that the county understands and that will not endanger the character of such a wonderful part of the world,” he said.

When the former East of England Regional Assembly published its regional spatial strategy document last year, there were protests about proposals to allow a further 64,000 homes to be built in the county between 2011 and 2031 – that would see Suffolk expand by the size of Ipswich in just 20 years.

NANT Comments

  • Will SCDC carry on regardless before the county-wide strategy is drawn up?
  • How will he get input from “people on the ground”?  Does that include residents?
  • How can concreting over 160 hectares of greenfield next to an AONB not “endanger the character of such a wonderful part of the world”.  Mr Pickles has said that the new government’s policies will put an end to concreting over the countryside.
  • How are the actual housing needs going to be determined – for local needs or for large scale inward migration to the region as set out in the current RSS targets? The difference is huge – over 80% of the RSS target was for inward migration to the county.
  • Mr McGregor’s email address is: guy.mcgregor@suffolk.gov.uk

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