By Graham Smith
The politics of planning seem certain to feature prominently in the campaign for next year’s local council elections, with Cornwall’s Conservatives taking aim at County Hall’s proposed alternative to the government’s controversial White Paper.
Cornwall’s Tories have said they agree with 32 of the 34 comments submitted by councillor Tim Dwelly, the cabinet portfolio holder responsible for planning.
But the Conservatives say they are “appalled” by Mr Dwelly’s suggestion “that government should consider additional powers for local planning authorities to allocate small sites for housing development rather than require these to be considered through the local plan process.”
"We are strong supporters of local neighbourhood plans," one Tory councillor told Cornwall Reports. "We invented them. We're the only party which believes that local people should decide. You can't trust Cornwall Council."
The Liberal Democrat-Independent administration has said it wants to defend its current approach to so-called “affordable” housing and has described the White Paper as a “developers’ charter.” Definitions of what is "affordable" remain highly controversial.
The Conservatives, having mostly abstained or been absent when the issue was voted on in the council chamber last week, now say they support the council’s objection to central government’s revised housing target numbers.
"In particular this includes our strong stance that the new housing numbers suggested for Cornwall are far too high and that for the threshold to increase to 40 or 50 units in a development before there is a need to provide any affordable housing is unacceptable for Cornwall," say the Tories, in their response to County Hall's consultation.