Councillors thrash out plan for 42,000 new homes for Cornwall
Councillors in Cornwall have voted to build 42,250 new homes across the county in a draft planning document.
At County Hall, Truro, yesterday, councillors argued for more than three-and-a-half hours over how many homes should be included in the council's Local Plan.
At a full council meeting in December last year, a string of amendments were put forward outlining changes to the Local Plan prior to publication.
Issues raised included levels of housing growth, housing distribution across Cornwall and use of public land for affordable housing.
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Initially, a figure of 38,000 new homes was on the table but as the debate wore on yesterday, that number rose to 42,250 as councillors added the number of new homes their particular area needed.
At times the debate became heated, with chairman Pat Harvey having to restore order.
At one point she told the chamber: "We are not coming across well on the webcam.
"We must have good order and some decorum and actually look as if we mean business."
Eventually the 42,250 figure was reached, with 58 members in favour of it, 33 against and two abstentions.
Phil Mason, council officer, had kicked-off the debate by informing members they should put a figure forward that would "stand-up to examination" or housing developers could appeal to the Government and build even more properties.
Mark Kaczmarek, member for housing and planning, said it was vital the council was not dictated to by developers.
He said: "We can't have housing numbers imposed on us. It's very important we get a robust policy together.
"We can't be at the whim of developers."
Some councillors argued against the higher numbers and instead called for a figure of 29,000 to be included in the draft plan.
Councillor Rob Nolan warned the chamberthat too many houses could ruin the county. He said: "We don't want Cornwall's landscape concreted over. Once it's gone it's gone."
The draft document will now go out to consultation with the plan formalised by next year.