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Teignbridge Lib Dems Slam Conservative’s ‘Developers’ Charter’

June 1, 2021 2:13 PM

Martin WrigleyTeignbridge Lib Dems have, at today's Teignbridge District Council Executive Committee, branded the Conservative Government's Local Plan housing diktat as a veiled developers' charter.

Lib Dem led Teignbridge District Council are developing a new version of the Local Plan as proscribed by central government. Today the executive agreed to go to public consultation on potential sites for future development. A set of selected sites will join the set of environment protection and climate change local plan policies that went to consultation last year.

However, the Conservative Government planning rules force the plan to provide 751 new houses each year to be built in Teignbridge District - far beyond what is needed locally.

Martin Wrigley, Lib Dem Councillor for Dawlish North East and Executive Member for Communities and Housing, said:

"We're proud of the local plan policies we have created with local people - which among other things increase environmental protections in our area and tackle climate change.

"However the Conservative Government dictates the number of houses that must be on the plan each year - far beyond what we need locally. The Government makes it impossible to adapt to local needs. The Government process puts the developer first, even to the point of protecting the developer's 20% profit margin - it is a developers' charter.

"This set of sites isn't really our Local Plan, it is the Government's plan.

"In the previous Local Plan Teignbridge's housing target was 620 houses per year - now the Government has arbitrarily increased it to 751. That previous number included what they called an 'affordability uplift'. Using Government figures it showed that average house prices in Teignbridge had increased to 11 times average salaries in the area.

"And, despite building more houses in Teignbridge than targeted in the four years previously - homes have become less affordable. To me this shows that simply building more houses is not the way to reduce house prices.

"The Government's process sets the number, and then invites landowners to put sites forward for development. Local people and representatives have little say in this.

"And the Government limits what roads, schools, surgeries and community centres this plan can include - protecting the developers profit margin so that a given development remains 'viable'. And none of this is delivering what we really need - affordable secure homes for people.

"So what are we left with - A 'Local Plan' set of development sites that isn't based on local needs, the wrong houses built in the wrong places, and not enough homes for those that need them.

"So I ask Teignbridge residents to respond to the consultation we have launched to help us pick the sites that will do the least harm to our local environment.

"I call upon both of Teignbridge's MPs to resist the plans from their Government that both give us too many unaffordable houses, and puts them in the wrong places. I call upon them to speak out in Parliament to build support and reverse this wrong-headed Government direction. I call upon them to support local councils to set the numbers of homes based on local needs."