Cornwall heading for the suburban dream .. don’t mind the concrete

Cornwall Council has voted 58 to 33 for 42,250 additional dwellings to be built in the Duchy by 2030.

The pre-submission draft of the Local Plan – which will set out Cornwall’s planning policies for 2010-2030 – was debated at Cornwall Council on Tuesday 12 February, 2013.

Chairman of the Planning Policy Advisory Panel (PPAP), Dick Cole (Mebyon Kernow)  presented a series of recommendations.  These included higher affordable housing targets, a commitment to more affordable housing when public land is redeveloped, the inclusion of Areas of Great Landscape Value and Areas of Great Historic Value, a commitment to carry out more work on the cumulative and other impacts of renewal energy developments, as well as revised policies on landfill, infill sites in rural areas, and retail developments. Most of these recommendations were accepted.

The actual trend of the past 50 years predicts a likely population growth of 53,000 by 2031 and 26,000 new households, giving a mean household size of 2.24. This is still an unsustainable rate of growth but a lot lower than the Council’s predictions based on flawed data that up to 54,000 would be needed. 

The figure of 42,250 was above the Committees recommended target of 38,000, due to pressure from some Cornwall Councillors in Bodmin, Falmouth, and Newquay. This is far higher than the natural population increase and realistic housing of those in need in Cornwall.

Not only will Cornwall continue to be changed from a rural landscape to a suburban one, but there are expected increases in in-migration from elsewhere in the UK, and more partly occupied second homes.

Now it would require 27,000 houses to be approved to be built in the plan period on top of existing approvals and even without making more efficient use of current housing stock (29,000 vacant dwellings).

The document will now be consulted upon once again, with the results reported back to the new Council after the May elections for the newly-elected members to refer it to the Secretary of State so that it can be presented to the Planning Inspectorate for the necessary Inquiry.

More background on this issue from:

Compiled by a reporter

13 February, 2013