Planning housing in well-balanced way
SANDRA Camwell, yet again, expresses her personal dislike for house building plans on the greenbelt. This is despite the big growth in the city’s population – up from 300,000 in 2006 to 352,900 in 2016. The politically neutral Office of National Statistics makes regular forecasts of future growth of the city’s population. By 2031, the ONS expects, with caveats, the city to have 414,000 in 2031. In addition, there is a backlog of some 20,000 people looking for homes in the city. Ms Camwell feels that this projection is flawed. She points to such factors as Brexit, rising interest rates or potential congestion as being possible factors that may reduce the city’s growth – they could also lead to the population growing even faster. However, she cannot make a serious robust forecast. It would appear that she wants planners to develop the Local Plan on suppositions rather than best available estimates. She expresses dislike of the high densities for new housing – but this is to save greenbelt land given that the city is running out of brownfield land.
She knows well that it would be a dangerous step as it would lead to a potential worsening of the housing shortage. It would lead to more ad hoc developments which could add to urban sprawl and congestion.
The new plan map, as shown in the Telegraph (Nov 5) allows for green open space and recognises the health benefits that they generate. Coventry benefits from having an above-average green space, especially in Bablake ward.
If the city’s population does not rise in line with the projections, new houses will not be built. The private sector would go elsewhere to build. Priority is to build on brownfield land but many sites are occupied by successful businesses unable to move given the shortage of employment land.
I believe what Ms Camwell should say is she does not want new housing in ‘my backyard.’ That would be far more honest. It would be better if she could provide hard evidence for her views, rather than denigrate the officials, wherever they live, who are charged to ensure the city grows in a well balance way. That is cheap politicking and we have had enough of that. Myles Mackie Earlsdon