Working for Wiltshire - All Year Round
News from the Lib Dems in Government
Published on Tuesday 26th June 2012
I am pleased to say that there is much in this policy that I can support.
I am pleased that there is a real emphasis on employment, although it is a shame that not every opportunity has been taken advantage of. It would have been good to see full advantage of the potential of Junction 17 taken advantage. It's exclusion on the basis that Chippenham people wouldn't be able to travel just a couple of miles down the A350 is frankly laughable.
The failure to include any strategic sites for market towns still really concerns me as leaving the door open to 'free for all' speculative development by profit focused developers. However I am pleased that we have received some assurances regarding the timelines to the introduction of Neighbourhood Plans and hope that the council will do everything it can to ensure that their ambitious targets are met in getting these plans written and adopted.
I am pleased to see the council has set ambitious targets of 40% affordable housing in new developments, but am concerned that no reference is made to encouraging, or indeed enforcing, the type of affordable housing.
As members will be aware, there are five types of recognized affordable housing (according to government guidance). These range from simply discounting the cost of purchasing a property to building houses for social rent.
I have spoken to officers, private landlords and registered social landlords on this matter and their feedback has been increasing.
May I take this opportunity to thank Georgina and her team for their response to my queries with them. I note that they anticipate more detail will be included in the supplementary guidance documentation that will come out in due course, and I would ask that careful attention is paid to ensuring that the provision of adequate housing for rent should be included in such guidance.
I was interested to hear from some people that they felt 40% of affordable housing may be too high. I, however, welcome the aspiration and hope that it can be achieved, and congratulate the administration and officers for their aspirations.
However, I am mindful of the concerns expressed by some to me that developers will consider 40% too high and will sit on their land banks. Should this be seen to be happening, can I ask that the council takes a proactive and flexible approach to the enforcement of it's policy and do all they can to support the development of affordable homes - particularly those for rent.
I had considered moving an amendment but am very mindful of previous advice from officers and the cabinet member that, and I quote, "any" changes to the core policy would put the entire policy at risk. Therefore could I ask that in the minutes it is clearly recorded that I have expressed a concern that CP43 and CP45 do not, in their current form, support the provision of an adequate quantity of affordable for rent housing in the county.
I'm surprised that Hunters Moon has been excluded on the basis that access is via poor roads. I have always considered the A350 to be a pretty good road, but maybe the council is upping its standards. If so, then I look forward to seeing some substantial improvements on some of our other roads in the county. I am also sad that, in my opinion, local people have not been heard in the Chippenham area. They have spoken, but we see a policy that does not take account of their views.