Disappointing response by DCC Cabinet to @cpredevon reports on housing need, but the issue will go to Council on 21st February

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The County Council’s leadership agreed an unhelpful recommendation on my motion to look at the implication of the Council for Preservation of Rural England’s recent reports for the Council’s policies relating to future development. Taking cover behind the fact that local planning authorities (like EDDC) are responsible for housing numbers, the Cabinet merely noted that the County’s role ‘is to ensure the necessary infrastructure is planned for’. This is a very narrow view of the DCC role as elsewhere it is made quite clear that we are a strategic partner in ventures like the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. The recommendation is that ‘it is not necessary for DCC to commission work on the CPRE reports’ but I and others will challenge this at Council on 21st February.

I reminded Cabinet that this has cross-party support, with Hugo Swire having helped launch it and presented it to Government. The only other speaker was Labour leader, Rob Hannaford, who was under the mistaken impression that the CPRE is only concerned with rural areas and wants to prevent building of affordable housing in towns. I explained to him that nothing could be further from the truth – the reports advocate more social housing, concentrated in or near urban areas, but want to end the indiscriminate building of more houses for sale than are warranted by the growth in households, and government targets which encourage this.

The reports can be ordered by emailing info@cpredevon.org.uk

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