May wants new homes – but not in her own back yard
THERESA MAY successfully fought off plans to build new homes on a greenfield site in her constituency weeks before her government announced plans for a huge increase in house building in the Home Counties.
The Prime Minister backed the Save Pound-field Campaign to stop developers building dozens of new homes in Cookham, on the river Thames in Berkshire. Berkeley Homes, the housebuilder, formally withdrew the planning application without any explanation just over a fortnight ago.
Conservative MPS are already up in arms at plans, unveiled on Thursday, to force communities in some of the most desirable parts of England to accept up to 40 per cent more homes to deal with the housing crisis.
Analysis of the Government’s plans show several Cabinet ministers’ constituencies in the South East of England having to accept the maximum 40 per cent increases in housing numbers.
Poundfield, in Mrs May’s Maidenhead constituency, has been the subject of planning applications for housing development for over 50 years.
Mrs May publicly backed the campaign against the latest attempt to develop the site when the Save Poundfield campaign launched in April last year.
She also spoke out against the development in August last year, just weeks after becoming Prime Minister, telling her local newspaper: “I want to assure local residents that I will continue to campaign on the local issues that matter in Cookham and Bisham, such as the Save Poundfield campaign.”
Mrs May is understood to be supportive of an alternative development which would accommodate more homes nearby – and which is not part of the Green Belt. A No 10 source said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that we need to increase the supply of housing in order to give more people the chance to own their own home – and our plans to do so preserve the Green Belt.”
Under the controversial plans announced by Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, in Parliament on Thursday, the number of homes which have to be built will increase from 250,000 a year to 266,000 annually from April next year.
Most will be built in the South East of England, as ministers said areas where the average home costs more than four times average salaries would be targeted.
Analysis by the Campaign to Protect Rural England seen by The Daily Telegraph shows that nearly two thirds of Cabinet ministers will have to accept more new homes in their constituencies. Three ministers – James Brokenshire (Old Bexley and Sidcup), Justine Greening (Putney) and David Lidington (Aylesbury) – will have to accept the maximum 40 per cent uplift in new homes.