Chiverton to Carland Cross – a new road when we should be cutting traffic levels!

So, work is starting on a new road. The usual assertions have been made as to how it will lead to less congestion and stop the Cornish economy from being held back.

The reality is somewhat different. New roads encourage more traffic, any short-term reduction in traffic congestion will be offset as traffic levels rise. And with more housing planned the number of cars on the roads will continue to increase. As for the lack of dualling holding the economy back, this argument has been put forward for every dualling proposal, yet with no evidence to support it.

It is totally bizarre and counter-productive to expand road capacity. Policies should concentrate on reducing traffic not increasing it.

As more evidence emerges of climate breakdown – more spells of hot weather; the loss of ice in Antarctica, an increase in forest fires – building more roads and encouraging traffic is complete folly.

A major road ‘upgrade’ [its a new road!] which promises to transform journeys on the A30 in Cornwall is due to get under way in the coming weeks. The construction work to dual nine miles of the A30, between Chiverton and Carland Cross, is about to begin. The upgrade includes a 70mph “high-quality dual carriageway”, a two-level junction at Chiverton Cross and a new roundabout to ensure the free flow of traffic on the A30.

Josh Hodder, Highways England’s senior project manager for the scheme, said: “Improving the A30 between Chiverton and Carland Cross is incredibly important for Cornwall’s future.“It’s the only remaining stretch of single carriageway on the A30 between Camborne and the M5 at Exeter, journeys are regularly delayed, congestion often brings traffic to a standstill, local communities are impacted, and as a result the Cornish economy is being held back.

Its time to reduce tourism numbers and rebalance the economy!

The negative impacts of tourism have been known for decades:
Environmental degradation;
Supporting a low wage economy;
Creating traffic congestion;
Reducing housing for residents by transfers of housing to the holiday sector; and
Encouraging people to move to Cornwall – fuelling unsustainable population growth.

Its time to reduce tourism numbers and rebalance the economy.

Bernard Deacon@bernarddeacon
According to the RNLI on one day last week there were 14,000 people on Perranporth beach. According to Cornwall Council and Visit Cornwall Cornwall has no tourism over-capacity problem. On the contrary the more the merrier. Turn in your grave Q.

Planning control – power passed (totally) to developers!

The Government’s planning proposals, they are not reforms which suggest improvements and progression, are designed to remove the vestiges of democracy and give control to developers. Under the current system, democratic control is severely restricted with central Government setting targets, overseeing ‘local’ plans and allowing developers to appeal (and get costs awarded), if an application is refused. Local authorities have not been bold in criticising these policies, often happy to adopt the mantra of ‘build more houses’.

The new proposals make this situation far worse.

Anyone who thinks they will result in more houses being built is ignoring the reality that we already build enough houses (often of the wrong type), thats why developers do not build more than they do. The proposals will not address the problems of affordability, quality housing, or housing inequalities as these issues arise due to policies unrelated to supply.

What they will do is make it easier for developers by reducing the current checks, cutting some administrative costs and thereby boosting profits. Dealing with housing problems has nothing to do with it.

In a new white paper the government has set out sweeping plans to “cut red tape, overhaul the planning process and build better, greener homes faster”. But even by the standards of the modern Conservative party, this is no ordinary regulatory bonfire. In one fell swoop, the entire system that has governed land use in England for more than 70 years has been set ablaze.

Ever since the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 was enacted, landowners and developers have had to apply to their local authority for planning permission to build new property or convert existing buildings from one use to another. The act was an elegant attempt by Clement Attlee’s Labour government to balance public and private interests: land was kept in private ownership but the right to develop it was nationalised.

But under the reforms published this week, this will be replaced with a zoning system under which all land will be designated as one of three categories. In so-called growth areas, permission will be granted automatically without having to submit a planning application. In “renewal” areas, which are expected to cover urban and brownfield sites, permission will be automatically granted subject to some basic checks. Only in “protected areas”, such as the green belt and areas of outstanding natural beauty, will stricter development controls apply.

Under the current system there are two opportunities for democratic participation in the planning system: first, at the formation of a local plan which sets out the strategic priorities for development in an area; and then at the planning application stage of individual developments, which tends to be many years later. Under the proposed reforms, the second stage of consultation will be scrapped. As a result, only those with psychic powers to foresee future developments will be able to object to them at the initial plan-making stage. Democratic oversight of individual developments will soon be a thing of the past.

This is, of course, intentional. More than anything else, the reforms serve to transfer power away from local elected representatives and towards private developers, who will be able to build whatever they like, unopposed. The significance of this should not be underestimated. From now on, our built environment will be shaped around the interests of shareholder value, unchecked by democratic accountability.

Climate emergency highlighted again – Government proposes building more houses – complete madness!

With increasing evidence of climate breakdown what does the Government do? Yes you have guessed -put forward plans to build more and more houses!

A leading health expert warned yesterday that it would become highly dangerous to be outdoors if nothing were done to curtail the climate emergency. Ilan Kelman, a professor of disasters and health at University College London, warned that the weather seen through the mini-heatwave, which poses a serious risk to vulnerable people, would become more regular unless action was taken.

The Met Office spokeswoman also voiced concerns over the more frequent occurrence of record-breaking temperatures. “The top 10 highest temperatures for the UK have all occurred since 2002,” she said. “It does feel like temperatures are becoming more extreme in the UK – that is likely a result of climate change.”

Government housing policy – no evidence to support it (as usual!)

Ian Mulheirn comments on the Government’s proposal to abolish planning on the grounds that there is not enough supply!

Ian Mulheirn@ianmulheirn There we have it – the ‘shortage’ premise that decades of housing white papers have been built on, but haven’t felt the need to substantiate with any evidence. Is there another policy area where the case for action is just assumed like this?

All of Cornwall should be protected – not just the ‘nice’ bits (where the affluent live)

No prizes for guessing which parts of Cornwall will be ‘protected’ and which sacrificed for the Govt’s growth-at-all-costs developers’ charter being slipped through under cover of pandemic. Protect ALL of Cornwall, not just the colonised parts.

Be very afraid – the opportunity of resisting unnecessary development will end!

The Governments proposals are based on an ideological belief that regulation is bad – a dangerous approach to any policy.

The assertions put forward to support the proposals are as we said previously – flawed.

It is not difficult for developers to get planning permission.

The reasons for people struggling to get housing reflect the Governments changes to the labour market, welfare and low interest rates since 2010.

and the fundamental point is that we don’t need to build that many new homes, the figure of 300,000 often cited is way above the 159,000 new households formed each year, which equates to the number of new houses needed.

The biggest shake-up of planning for decades has caused fury that moves to fast-track the construction of “beautiful” homes across England will “dilute” democratic oversight, choke off affordable housing and lead to the creation of “slum” dwellings. Under the proposals, unveiled on Thursday, planning applications based on pre-approved “design codes” would get an automatic green light – eliminating a whole stage of local oversight within designated zones.

Land across England would be divided into three categories – for growth, renewal or protection – under what Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, described as “once in a generation” reforms to sweep away an outdated planning system and boost building.New homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices would be allowed automatically in “growth” areas. In “renewal” zones, largely urban and brownfield sites, proposals would be given “permission in principle” subject to basic checks. Green belt and areas of outstanding natural beauty would be protected.

While the proposed changes are likely to appeal to developers, they prompted stinging criticism from housing charities, planning officers and architects who warned of a new generation of fast and substandard housing.

Developers do not need to build extra houses so they won’t be employing more workers!

It is obvious that the Housing Secretary does not have an understanding of economics. Simply asserting that building lots of extra houses will create jobs is disingenuous. Yes technically, if you work out how many people are needed to build 100 instead of 50 houses then you will conclude that you will employ more people. But that assumes you need the extra houses. At the moment developers are building a similar number of houses to the number needed to meet additional household numbers. A developer is not going to employ more people to build more houses when those houses are not required. Commentators and politicians should ask themselves why developers do not build more than they do. The answer being that they are not needed!

Mr Jenrick said the reforms would “create thousands of new jobs, from bricklayers to architects”.

Generational divide in housing – Ministers should look in the mirror!

Mr Jenrick should look in the mirror (the glass ones, not the newspaper). There are number of reasons why younger people have found it more difficult to purchase houses, many of which are the direct result of Government policy since 2010.

These are:

Changes to the welfare system;

Increases in labour market flexibility (which impacts on newer, younger joiners to the labour market);

Tightening up of borrowing rules (to prevent people buying houses with little capital – again a greater impact on younger people);

Increased house prices as mortgage rates have fallen;

And last but not least, increased competition from second home purchasers, holiday let purchasers and investors, many of whom probably vote for the Housing Secretaries party!

None of these have anything to do with the planning system or supply of housing!

Mr Jenrick said that the country’s “outdated and cumbersome” planning system had contributed to a generational divide between those who are homeowners and those who are not.