Alison Sheeran asked where we stand re. a site in Bucklesham and, doubtless, many other people will soon be asking us about other sites throughout the entire Suffolk Coastal District. Fear not! - There is hope for all !!
To be clear about KATCAG's position:
We DO NOT OPPOSE the need for new housing, only the wrong type of housing.
We SUPPORT the need for additional ‘affordable’ and ‘social’ housing across the entire SCDC area.
However, we DO OPPOSE building thousands of new ‘executive’ and ‘second’ homes, far in excess of the needs of our local communities and we ARE OPPOSED, in particular, to the sacrifice of prime farmland and important wildlife habitats, for this purpose.
‘Affordable Housing’ and ‘Social Housing’ mean different things to different people. We define both as housing for purchase or rent at a ‘below market value’ price, supported by Council-sponsored financial schemes. The purpose being to open up, for young people in particular, an opportunity to occupy their own properties, where this might not otherwise be possible. KATCAG wishes to ensure significant areas of prime agricultural land and important wildlife habitats are not sacrificed for house building or any other purpose where there are better alternatives. Examples of better alternatives would be brownfield and under-utilised sites, together with small infill areas. We consider the current house-building land allocation and house-building targets to be excessive, resulting in numerous inappropriate allocations across the entire SCDC District.
In order to put a remedy in place, it is paramount we achieve a majority in Council following the May 2nd District Councillor elections. In this regard, KATCAG is not party-aligned and we have already opened up discussions with representatives of two of the main political parties. We will be inviting their prospective candidates to indicate their pre-disposition to the temporary withdrawal of the Local Plan from the Government Inspector’s office, if they are elected as a District Councillor on 2nd May.
Anticipating it should be possible to achieve a majority:
* We will not be fielding our own “Independent” candidate in any Ward where one or more of the other candidates is prepared to (i) commit to the Core Values published on this web site and (ii) indicate their pre-disposition to support a strategy of temporarily withdrawing the Local Plan.
* We will instruct our planning consultant (of similar status and credibility as Lichfields) to assess more accurately whether any employment land needs to be provided within the Plan.
* Our objective, locally, is to reduce the amount of land used to create the ‘employment’ illusion and calculate the effect of a land reduction on the overall housing requirement.
* Innocence Farm will be dropped from the Local Plan, come what may, as there are several more logical and better alternatives if any additional land is needed
* Concurrently, the planning consultant will be asked to review and amend, where necessary, the data used by SCDC to calculate the District’s overall housing requirement, as per the Government’s Standard Formula
* Following this, all specific housing proposals across the entire SCDC District (including Bucklesham!) will be reviewed in the context of (i) the resulting overall need figure and (ii) the Principles outlined above.
* Where possible prime agricultural land will be withdrawn, together with inappropriate housing land allocations
* We will aim to avoid any suspension of the Plan’s progress for the shortest time possible (we acknowledge the danger in having no Local Plan in place)
* A visual barometer of the number of supportive candidates will appear on this web site shortly and will be updated as necessary. We will also maintain a list of those Wards where we are NOT INCLINED to field our own Independent candidates.
We need the sympathies of 28 of the 55 District Councillors, once elected. Taking account of the scare-tactics used to push through approval of the Plan on 3rd January, together with the eventual outcome (a majority of only 13!!), it’s reasonable to think we’ll probably reach our target. So we will work hard in the coming weeks to support the election of any candidate who is sympathetic to our cause.
Further ideas from our supporters about how we are to achieve the above goals will be warmly welcomed to KirtonTrimleyCAG@gmail.com