Lizz Truss tells Tory Voters Build on Green Belt or Get PM Corbyn

Spectator Fraser Nelson

If some Conservative voters are reluctant to support the expansion of towns and villages, Liz Truss has a warning for them. “It’s a lot less uncomfortable having the field next to your house built on, than it is having your property appropriated by a bunch of Socialist-Marxists,’ said the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. She was giving the keynote speech at the Spectator Housing conference, sponsored by Lloyds, in London’s Southbank Centre yesterday and said in public what a lot of Tories have said in private: that the choice is between more housing, or a Corbyn government.

A choice, she said, that she’s taking at home as well as in Westminster. She said that there are “plans to build behind my house in Norfolk, which some people locally are opposing. And I refuse to do that, because you put your money where your mouth is. We have to support new development. Even if it is on the field that our house personally overlooks.”

She also made the argument for deregulation, so that cities can grow to face up against ‘the likes of Sao Paulo or Shanghai’ through building up and spreading out; for more cooperation with private firms to secure funding through partnerships; and for the bolder regeneration of existing infrastructure – ‘we’ve got Canary Wharf, now let’s have Canary North.’ There was plenty she didn’t like too – she named and shamed the recently-floated idea of the Citizen’s Inheritance – a proposal that citizens should be given a ‘gift’ of £10,000 at the age of 25. ‘As we say in the Treasury, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Those young people would end up paying for that money through their taxes in future years.’

She said she believed in the free movement of people – but within Britain. Not for her the talk about regional development: she said she is a great supporter of people being able to move from the regions to London (or other cities) in pursuit of a better-paid job.

This is about personal opportunities and it’s about social mobility. It’s about being able to fulfil the potential we have. The Resolution Foundation suggested that by moving, people could gain as much as £2000 in their salaries, as well as better prospects for future earnings.”

Her speech was an appeal to those Conservatives who occupy a step on the property ladder or a seat at the table, to think of the greater good – because if they don’t the stakes are high. ‘We need to challenge that mentality of the comfortable, and say: life will get much more uncomfortable for people with property under a Labour government, who fundamentally don’t believe in property and want everyone to live in a commune.’

There is a heated debate in the Tory party at present about how just bold Theresa May ought to be on housing – and whether the party can win again if it doesn’t do something radical. After last year’s election, the Telegraph’s Allister Heath concluded that “the property have-nots have sent the property-haves a final warning: help us to join your ranks, or you will regret it”. James Forsyth made a similar point before the election. The Prime Minister is reputed to be one of the biggest Nimbys in government. Liz Truss’s speech is a reminder that the Tory party is moving very much in the other direction.

‘Agent of Change Principle’ At Santa Pod blocks Nearby 4,500 Home Garden Village

BBC Email

Colworth Garden Village was a key allocation in the published plan. The proposed scheme would deliver 4,500 dwellings (2,500 before 2035) and new high quality employment land along with a parkway rail station and community facilities. The station would serve the local existing and new community, the extended Colworth Business Park as well as intercept traffic on the A6 heading for Bedford Midland Station. However the scheme relied on joint working between Wrenbridge (the site promoter) and the operator of Santa Pod Raceway to resolve concerns about noise. Despite ongoing negotiations it has not been possible to reach agreement about noise mitigation works on the Santa Pod site and without these a satisfactory noise environment is unlikely to be achievable. The operator of Santa Pod Raceway has objected to the plan on that basis and there is no sign that an agreement will be forthcoming in the foreseeable future

For that reason the plan as it stands is not ready to be examined. The Council must believe the plan to be ‘sound’ when it is submitted for examination and, as the garden village proposal is unlikely to be deliverable, this is not the case at the present time. This will be explained in a report to be considered by the Council’s Executive on May 16th. The purpose of the report is to explain that other options for meeting the required number of dwellings now need to be considered, the plan amended and a further period of consultation held before the process can move forward. The meeting on May 16th will not agree how the plan should be changed; more work is needed before that decision can be made. The papers can be viewed on the Council and Democracy part of the Council’s web site.

CPRE Bedford  

Bedford Borough Council have emailed Town & Parish Councils explaining that their Local Plan 2035 which has just finished its final public consultation is to be put on hold because the proposed New Town of at least 4,500 new homes (bigger than Ampthill) at Sharnbrook /Colworth will not be able to be developed due, the council say, to noise issues from the nearby Santa Pod Raceway.

Susan Walls, Branch Manager for CPRE Bedfordshire said:

“This is a great success for CPRE Bedfordshire – together with the campaign group Keep North Beds Green, local residents from Souldrop, Sharnbrook and the villages of north Bedfordshire, we have fought against the proposed Sharnbrook/Souldrop New Town which would have been built on beautiful open countryside.

We have always believed that this was a seriously flawed proposal which would have had a massive impact on Souldrop, Sharnbrook and the villages of North Bedfordshire.

There is a note of caution however – this is not the end of the battle – there is still an outside chance that the New Town may go forward and we remain very concerned about any potential alternative sites that BBC may choose to develop.”

She went on to say:

“The overall housing numbers proposed in the Local Plan are far too high – FOI requests have established that the housing needs of all the people of Bedford Borough can be met with just 50% of the number of homes proposed by BBC – the remainder are for people that will be encouraged to move into Bedford Borough from elsewhere in the UK destroying our countryside and urban green spaces.”

You can read the full text of the BBC email below.

 

Downloads:

It was an excellent site as well next to a railway station and the former Unilver Research Station.   Its a Pyrrhic victory for the CPRE as it means inevitably 4,500 extra houses at Bedford and the Marston Vale.   Ive long suggested the former Northampton Bedford rail line be developed as a BRT to facilitate growth South EEast of Northampton and North West of Bedford.   This corridor is lacking any kind of vission being located off teh main spine of the Cam-MK_ox corridor.

South West Herts to Prepare Statutory Joint Startegic Plan

Here

Following the demise of the old county structure plans and the regional spatial strategies, it has become evident that many key planning and infrastructure issues extend beyond individual borough and district boundaries. Consequently there are a number of cases where authorities are working together on strategic planning matters.
Some partnerships of local authorities have taken a non-statutory approach to preparing infrastructure frameworks and plans. Areas that have been doing this include West Sussex and Greater Brighton and South Essex. Such plans are useful for bringing infrastructure providers together and helping co-ordinate growth. However as they are non-statutory they only have of limited weight when guiding the preparation of individual Local Plans and strategic development proposals. As a result of this limitation, a number of authorities are now working together to prepare statutory Spatial / Strategic Plans. Examples include Greater Exeter, Oxfordshire and Greater Manchester.

The closest example of what is being considered for SW Herts is a statutory document akin to the emerging West of England Joint Spatial Plan which covers Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.