Housing – confusion reigns!


Comments on why we need more housing often miss the basics, lets look at the two recent examples below.

the graph  [It’s Our Cornwall population growth] only shows historic growth from 1961 to 2011. It is old data, not a reflection of future policy. What it does is demonstrate the dire need for house building in Cornwall, as evidenced by the current Cornwall Council proposal for 47,500 homes by 2030. We cannot bury our heads in the sand or ignore trends. To maintain any sort of standard of living these houses are needed. [Stuart Wheeler].

more to the point, the anti-development groups, whether they intend to or not,encourage the concealment of the levels of poverty caused by the housing shortage in Cornwall. Rather than hating development, it should be managed in a way that supports local people to live above the poverty line and not to prioritise the profiteering of companies with no concern for the social impact of their decisions. when a Nurse or a teacher or a local worker cannot afford to buy or rent a home for their family, the system is broken.  [Deborah Hopkins].

Discussion.  Ok lets look at the first comment.  Seems like the writer is saying that the population has gone up which proves we need more housing. Sounds logical but it is far too simplistic.  For a start why has the population gone up?  Well we know that is because lots of people have moved to Cornwall.   One reason that people move is because there are ‘pull’ factors – lower house prices in Cornwall than in the South East of England; a tourist industry that promotes Cornwall; a housing industry that specifically promotes Cornwall as a place to live.

We also know that not all houses which have been built end up being used to house people – quite  a lot end up being used for holiday homes/lets!

Ok now the second comment – specifically the assertion that anti-development groups –   encourage the concealment of the levels of poverty caused by the housing shortage in Cornwall.  Well what does it mean?  Difficult to tell really.   Some questions – is there a housing shortage or is it that houses are used for non-residential use – probably the latter; what is the cause of poverty – is it housing related or does it reflect low incomes – probably the latter!

Do anti-development groups hate development – hate is perhaps the wrong term, oppose is probably a better term, and for perfectly valid reasons.   Opponents know that houses are not built to meet needs!   Cornwall does not need 47,500 new dwellings to meet need.  29,000 would be the maximum to meet need and accommodate current levels of in-migration.

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