Council's plan to build 48,500 new homes in Cornwall 'still not enough'
Cornwall Council proposals to build 48,500 new homes in the next two decades may not be enough to solve the crippling housing crisis, a senior figure has admitted.
Senior councillors yesterday set the new target for house building higher than the figure of 38,000 called for last month by the authority's policy panel.
The decision by the cabinet, which now needs to be approved by the full council, comes after the chronic lack of construction in the Duchy was revealed in a shocking new report.
A National Housing Federation study found that more than 27,000 new households formed in the South West region in 2011/12, with just 16,100 new homes built.
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It also revealed that the number of families on waiting lists in the Duchy soared from just under 8,000 in 2010 to 18,000 in 2011 – a 138% rise – and now stand even higher at 27,000.
The authority's cabinet member for housing, Mark Kaczmarek, said the target reduces to 30,000 when extant approvals are factored in, and was the bare minimum it could defend.
"This will stack up when it gets to Government but probably still won't address the acute housing crisis," he added. "It is about giving business confidence to create jobs and investment, protect the environment and provide renewable energy.
"The plan is far-reaching, but without a plan that the council can defend when tested by examiners we will be open to appeal by every developer in Cornwall."
The council has been working towards setting a new figure since the Government scrapped the regional Spatial Strategy, which had proposed 68,000 new homes by 2030.
Planning consultant Russell Dodge, who runs Business Location Services in Truro, said construction would not increase substantially until the market improved.
Mr Dodge said many builders were "sitting" on permissions on so-called brownfield sites which could not be developed as they were not viable.
"The council has actually been a success in terms of delivery, much better than the district councils, but it is on a hiding to nothing," he said.
He also said the Community Infrastructure Levy, which forces extra financial contributions from developers, will be a fresh "burden".
"At a time when the market is on its uppers the Government has decided to throw another spoke in the wheel," he added.