Monday, 13 December 2010

Local Needs Not Government Targets

Liberal Democrats in B&NES are calling for the Government imposed targets for housing and other land use to be rejected and are saying planning policies for the future should focus on real local needs.
B&NES Council is currently consulting residents and others on a vision for our area for the next 20 years. Liberal Democrats have criticised the ‘Core Strategy Spatial Options Consultation’ document for being based on Government targets for housing and jobs which are based on flawed and outdated economic projections and which do not fit in with what local people really want.

Plans for the future of our area must start with the needs and views of the community and not be driven by ridiculous Westminster targets. We have previously said ‘No Way to 21k’ and we continue to reject the Government’s agenda to impose housing targets on local people. 

The Government requirement to build urban extensions is a key example of a crazy idea dreamed up in an office in London. We oppose the proposals to despoil Bath’s beautiful surroundings by building isolated and soulless new settlements on green belt land”

Yes we do need more housing in the district, but we should first make sure that all present housing is fully utilised – this includes empty homes, flats above shops and basement properties – and we must make sure ‘brownfield’ sites are used before any new land is even considered for development. This will include challenging the MoD to make a decision concerning their surplus land in Bath and finally getting to grips with Bath Western Riverside.

Village communities should be able to work out their own local solutions for affordable housing for villagers, as Hinton Charterhouse has done.
Where we do build new houses we should insist on a high percentage of social and affordable housing – it is a scandal that our own young people cannot get onto the housing ladder because of high land values and high house prices.

A familiar problem in many parts of Bath is family homes which have been turned into houses in multiple occupation. We should insist that most students are housed either on campus or in purpose built blocks and the Government should take purpose built student accommodation into account towards housing targets.
To read our full response see attachment.