I live in a pretty conservative part of the country - Conservative administrations are the norm rather than the exception - and local Conservatives are, generally, pretty supine in the face of Conservative governments. However, the Government's proposals, effectively giving local residents one shot at setting the limits on development and being effectively silenced thereafter, have gone down rather badly here in Suffolk.
Now, you might suggest that the reason for that is the expectation that it will lead to more housing being mandated here, and that's probably true, but the strength of the response from my local District Council is unusual, to say the least. the Portfolio holder for planning in Mid Suffolk has declared;
These proposals do not support our ambition for people to be proud to call our communities home, or the work on our Joint Local Plan to provide clarity and reassurance about when and where required new homes will be built.We do not believe that these changes will address delays in housing delivery. However, they will have a detrimental effect on affordable housing, homes for those struggling to get on the property ladder, and funding for local projects.I welcome the cross-party discussions with my fellow councillors – and I hope that our response, along with the views of Mid Suffolk residents who participate in the consultation, are listened to by central government.
His counterpart in Babergh (think South Suffolk) was slightly more open in terms of his reasoning;
All councillors share serious concerns about the government’s proposals, which go against our councils’ commitment to ensuring that the right types of homes are built in the right places.The suggested changes are unrealistic and could see our district’s current housing target of 416 new homes per year almost double – impacting our communities, our infrastructure and our rural landscape.Development is incredibly important to us all and I would urge residents and local groups to respond directly to the consultation before a final decision is made.
It will be interesting to see how Robert Jenrick responds to this, especially as Dominic Cummings is seen to be behind this...