Lets Hope Old Hunstanton Parish Lose their Selfish Affordable Housing Challenge

The case below.  Once might ask why is it why there are only 2 persons on the housing register in Old Hunstanton

If you are on the housing register you are very unlikely to be living in an expensive village like old Hunstanon.  You are likely to be living in temporary accommodation (B&B) in Hunstanton.

What about the sons and daughters of villagers in Old Hunstanton.  They have likely moved away to Hunstanton or towns 100s of miles away because they cant afford to live in villages like these.

If the Parish wins this case villages will become Apartheid compounds for the elderly and well off only.

I see no differenced from the many US cases where communities argue there is no need for housing for poor (read black) people because no poor (read black) people live there.

The US courts by the way have given very short shrift to such arguments on the basis that the lack of affordable housing in these communities shows the very need for such ordinances.

 

PR

Old Hunstanton Parish Council claims that the government should not have given the green light to a development of 15 affordable homes on a field on the edge of the village.

The council says there is not a local need for them and has asked the judge to reverse the decision made by the former communities secretary Eric Pickles last year.

Luke Wilcox, for the parish council, told the court that planning rules allow rural greenfield development if there is a “local identified need.”

In this situation that must mean “local rural need,” he said. He claimed that the planning inspector who recommended the go-ahead for the project to the secretary of state did not appreciate that and wrongly considered the needs of the nearby town of Hunstanton as well.

Old Hunstanton has around 600 inhabitants while nearby Hunstanton has around 5,000 inhabitants. According to the housing register there are only two households in housing need in Old Hunstanton, compared with 22 in Hunstanton itself, said Mr Wilcox.

He added that the statistics showed that there was no need for 15 affordable homes in Old Hunstanton.

John Dobson, the chairman of Old Hunstanton Parish Council, attended the hearing. Speaking outside of court he said that the dispute, which has gone on for around two years, was “multifaceted and very complex.”

However, he said that he was the leader of the borough council that wrote the rules allowing development on green field sites if there was a “local need.”

He said that the borough council brought in the rule because the number of people buying holiday homes in the area had made houses in the villages too expensive for local people.

But he said greenfield development should only be allowed to let the people in the village who need housing build houses.

He added that the policy was not intended to allow people from the nearby town to be housed in the village.

However, Richard Honey, the counsel for the secretary of state who is opposing the challenge, told the court that the parish council was wrong.

He said that in reaching his decision the planning inspector had applied a “clear and natural” interpretation of the rules in a way that was in line with “local planning authorities up and down the country.”

Mrs Justice Lang has reserved judgment in the case and will give it in writing later. No date has yet been fixed.

Old Hunstanton Parish Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Case Number: CO/79/2015

One thought on “Lets Hope Old Hunstanton Parish Lose their Selfish Affordable Housing Challenge

  1. As an outsider looking in, you could see this as being selfish and somewhat narrow mind. However, by its very nature that is the role of a parish council. Parish councils are not elected under any political banner and therefore have no manifesto, let alone political policy base for decision making. As such, they are, in theory, politically neutral individuals, whose only purpose in life is the care of their particular parish and they should not be criticised for such an approach. Most parish councils rely on their own resources, the life experience of their elected members and the knowledge and skills of their particular parish clerk, often the only professional involved.
    Parish councils and parish councillors can be frustrating to deal with, because of their self-centred narrow view of the world, but one should not criticise them simply because they are not supporting the bigger picture view, that’s what districts, counties and unitaries are elected to do.
    If those who promoted and supported and more importantly, evidenced this planning application, do not prevail, then they only have themselves to blame.
    All that said, I hope the application does stand and that these houses are indeed built. Affordable housing in rural areas is already scarce and this deficit turning too many communities in to dormitories for the affluent and retirement villages for the elderly.

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