A statement from Liberal Democrat candidate Russ Timpson on the Local Plan

23 Jun 2024
A photo of Russ

The way in which Local Plans are put together needs to change. I see three key areas where this needs to happen:

1)       Put communities first – development needs to be community led, not developer led. Government needs to change the rules so that the communities have a greater say in where development takes place;

2)       Infrastructure first, not second – too many housing developments go ahead without the necessary infrastructure to support them. There should be a plan for traffic, sewage, hospital and GP services before any housing is built;

3)       Updated population forecasts - it cannot be right that government is forcing councils to use outdated population forecasts to come up with Local Plans. Canterbury is a case in point. The draft Local Plan includes thousands of houses on the back of a 2014 population forecast. Population growth has fallen since then. Government needs to change this to ensure we’re not building so many houses on green spaces.

These changes need to happen at national level. Until they do, central government diktats will see housing targets imposed on Canterbury that the district will struggle with.

Meanwhile, thousands of responses to the Local plan consultation cannot be ignored, particularly in relation to the large scale Brooklands and Blean developments. Liberal Democrats are listening and I hope the draft plan is changed, where possible, to ensure that greater protection is given to farmland, open space and biodiversity.

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