Cornwall Council proposes 5,000-home increase to local plan housing target

Cornwall Council members have agreed changes to the authority's draft local plan, including an increase to the document's housing target of 5,000 homes over 20 years.

Cornwall: Inspector had said that Cornwall's housing target should rise due to impact of second and holiday homes (picture by Francisco Antunes, Flickr)
Cornwall: Inspector had said that Cornwall's housing target should rise due to impact of second and holiday homes (picture by Francisco Antunes, Flickr)

The council had asked for the examination of the plan to be suspended earlier this year after inspector Simon Emerson published preliminary findings, which said that more work is required on the document.

Emerson’s note said that, in converting evidence on objectively assessed need for housing into a requirement for the plan, "an allowance should be added for second/holiday homes".

He said that the plan’s housing target - which had proposed 47,500 home homes at an average annual rate of 2,300 - should be raised by seven per cent as a result.

In a statement, Cornwall Council said that members had this week agreed to propose changes to the draft plan, which will now go out for a six-week consultation in the New Year.

A report to an extraordinary meeting of the council proposed increasing the overall housing target to 52,500 - at an average rate of about 2,625 per year - following a reassessment of the full objectively assessed need for Cornwall.

"This includes updated demographic projections, an assessment of the impact of market signals, the economic strategies of the council and the local enterprise partnership and job projections, the need for affordable homes, the impact of second and holiday homes, and how the plan supports the needs of particular groups," the report said.

It said that a revised assessment of housing need had concluded that the "full objectively assessed need for housing will be met by the revised target".

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council's cabinet member for planning, said: "Unless the issues raised by the inspector are addressed to his satisfaction he will not be able to find the local plan ‘sound’; consequently the council would not be able to adopt the plan and national planning policies will continue to be used for planning decisions. 

"The government has also recently announced its intention to step in to undertake the plan-making function if local authorities cannot progress them by 2017.

"The changes to the draft local plan that have been agreed by members today strikes what we hope will be the necessary balance which will be acceptable to the people of Cornwall and the inspector."

"In the meantime, we shall continue to press the government for devolved powers for planning in Cornwall."

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