The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council, Planning applications

The reality of housing under the Tories in West Lancs

01.04.10 | Comment?

Here are Tory-controlled West Lancashire Borough Council’s stated priorities.  They include to:

Improve housing and strive to achieve affordable housing that is available for local people.

In October the Council itself submitted and had approved at Planning Committee, where the majority of councillors are Tories, an outline planning application for a “a mixed use regeneration scheme comprising B1 commercial units, residential houses, apartments and retirement apartments? at a site it next to the current council offices in Ormskirk.?

This is what para.19 of the Development Brief for the site, written in 2006, said about what housing should be provided on the site:

The site’s sustainable location and brownfield status make it suitable for a combination of affordable and market housing if this is provided as part of a mixed-use regeneration scheme under the auspices of Policy DE1 of the emerging Replacement Local Plan. In addition, some housing, in combination with a range of other uses, would be appropriate, particularly if it assists in delivering a proportion of affordable housing or special needs / supported housing and contributes to meeting the needs identified in the Council’s Housing Needs Survey (DCA, 2005) and the delivery of the Council’s Housing Strategy (2004/09) housing priorities. Provision of low cost key worker accommodation may also be appropriate on part of the site.

All well and good, and in keeping with the priority on housing provision.

This, though, is what the council’s own planning statement, an important part of the overall planning application says at paragraph 5.6:

With respect to affordable housing, as justified in the submitted viability appraisal, given the need to cross-subsidise the delivery of new employment/offices on the site, the proposal will not be able to deliver 30-50% affordable housing. The benefits of the housing subsidising the new council office development, as set out the regeneration section above, outweigh the requirement of affordable housing as the development cannot viably stand both requirements.

It couldn’t be clearer.   The Tory Council has approved a planning application, submitted by itself, for a development which it acknowledges in its own report does not meet the requirements of its own development brief,  and falls outside its own local development plan.

By doing so it ignores its own stated priorities, and the well-researched housing needs of its residents, in order to build itself new council offices.  New council offices are not, needless to say, a stated priority.

Further it seeks to do so on land where it spent £600,000 demolishing four perfectly good homes (see my council motion at agenda item 17).

 The Conservatives in West Lancashire, as elsewhere, simply can’t be trusted

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