Central Beds united front proclaimed to challenge proposed housing targets

PUBLISHED: 10:12 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:22 05 October 2017

Central Bedfordshire Council members have unanimously backed a motion to challenge the government on housing targets.

Central Bedfordshire Council members have unanimously backed a motion to challenge the government on housing targets.

Archant

A united front across Central Beds has been proclaimed in the face of new housing targets put forward by central government – but not everyone’s convinced.

Councillor James Jamieson, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council. Picture: Central Bedfordshire CouncilCouncillor James Jamieson, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council. Picture: Central Bedfordshire Council

A Central Beds Council meeting for all members last week unanimously backed a motion to challenge housing targets proposed as part of a government consultation on ‘planning for the right homes in the right places’.

Council leader James Jamieson told the assembly that the new numbers were based on seriously flawed calculations.

He said: “Given our commitment to sensible and realistic planning it is deeply frustrating that officials from a government department have issued housing projections that are frankly ill-informed, unreasonable and undeliverable. I am pleased that my colleagues from all political groups have given me a clear mandate to challenge these flawed targets.”

Biggleswade deputy mayor Madeline Russell has expressed confusion, suggesting that the proposed targets fall within the range described in Central Beds’ own draft Local Plan.

Councillor Madeline Russell, deputy mayor of Biggleswade.Councillor Madeline Russell, deputy mayor of Biggleswade.

She told the Comet: “This is a complex area but I am bemused by Central Beds Council’s reaction to the housing planning consultation.

“In the housing need data table accompanying the consultation, the government suggests Central Beds needs to provide 2,553 houses per annum for the next 10 years. This would be 51,060 houses over the 20-year period of the current draft Local Plan.

“However, the draft plan itself gives planned housing delivery figures over the same 20-year period as between 42,600 and 54,960. So the new government figure is hardly outrageous, according to Central Beds’ own figures.

“This does not mean that I am happy with Central Beds’ planned housing delivery figures. They are grossly inflated by ‘contingencies’ rather than defined actual need, and will not lead to sustainable development.”

Councillor Adam Zerny of Central Bedfordshire Council and Potton Town Council. Picture: ArchantCouncillor Adam Zerny of Central Bedfordshire Council and Potton Town Council. Picture: Archant

Potton councillor Adam Zerny, an independent, said: “Too many houses are being forced upon our area by a government determined to mutilate the countryside. Once these green areas are gone, they are gone for good. I am pleased Central Beds Council has finally decided enough is enough.

“The question is, does Central Beds have a strong enough voice on its own to persuade the government to see sense?”

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