Last week, John Pollard, the Leader of Cornwall Council commented on the adoption of the Local Plan. It was stated.
Pollard agreed there would be a lot of opposition to the plan : “We need to be clear that the Local Plan is not just about housing. Yes, we’ve agreed on 52,000 but there was a lobby from developers to make it over 90,000. The local plan will only add 0.25% to the local built environment – it’s not the kind of imposing number being portrayed by some”
“The Local Plan is about more than housing numbers, it’s about our ability to control housing numbers and our ability to plan where that building will take place. The Local Plan is a good thing – it means we can develop Cornwall how we want it to, not as imposed by other people”
Leaving aside the suggestion that 52,000 is ok when 90,000 was mooted by some developers (the data does not support this view), and the simple fact that 52,000 has nothing to do with meeting housing need in Cornwall, lets look at the assertion that the local plan will only add 0.25% to the local built environment.
If we take the baseline as the 260,000 dwellings in the 2011 census, then 52,000 is an extra 20%.
We would therefore expect the built up area to expand by 20%. An extra 0.25 implies that the current built up area =1.25% of the land cover.
But the figures do not support this.
The only available data on land use is from the Generalised Land Use Database of 2005.
Looking at all the land which could be defined as ‘built up’ ie housing, other buildings, road, rail etc, we find that 5.4% of the land surface was built up in 2005. But that’s a lower limit. It excludes all the green spaces which lie within urban and other built up areas. A rough analysis suggests that if the ‘green’ spaces within towns are included, the total built up area equates to 8.5% of the land surface.
An increase of 20% would therefore imply an extra 1.7% would be added to the built environment. Thats rather a lot in 20 years!