Party Promises on Greenbelt for the Coventry Local Elections May 2019
- The Green Party promises to revise house building plans based on ‘flawed numbers’ and boost the city’s natural environment.
- Conservatives pledge to review the Local Plan. “Conservative Group remain deeply concerned by the current Local Plan and the erroneous growth figures.”
Promise to “Can the Plan”
- UKIP Oppose all developments on greenbelt land and encourage developments on brownfield sites instead
- Lib Dems “Rather than simply slapping down all of the new homes Coventry needs to build on the greenbelt (25,000 in the next ten years!) Coventry Liberal Democrats recognises that these homes are needed but we have a better plan for building them. We plan to build as many homes as possible to within the existing city limits.”
- Labour “We will look to prevent homelessness, bring empty homes back into use where possible, increase temporary accommodation for our homeless families and single people, build 348 affordable houses per year, aim to build 1,300 additional homes”
The Green Party in Coventry promises to revise housebuilding plans based on ‘flawed numbers’ and boost the city’s natural environment.
Protect Greenbelt land by revising the local plan, and building on brownfield first. The numbers the current plan is based on are very flawed, and need to be revised.
Ensure that any new housing developments include adequate infrastructure and amenities for the new residents. This includes shops, schools, doctors surgeries, community centres, parks, and gardens..
* We think that the best way to reduce the problem of traffic congestion is to make it easier for people to walk, cycle, or take the bus so that they can leave their cars at home. This is also the best way to reduce air pollution. For example, it’s a disgrace that the city which invented the bicycle doesn’t have a properly joined up network of cycle paths.
* We think that the current air pollution plan is highly flawed. Closing some roads to traffic may reduce air pollution at the hotspots, but it will just shift the traffic and pollution to other roads in the city (e.g. closing Coundon Road will probably shift that traffic onto Holyhead Road).
* We think that any house building plan has to take into account the increased demand on all local services, and that new housing should only be built on the condition that either existing services can be adequately expanded or that new services be built as part of the development
Conservatives promise “Can the Plan”, “pledge to review the Local Plan. Conservative Group remain deeply concerned by the current Local Plan and the erroneous growth figures contained within. This has been exacerbated by the council’s apparent desire to treat the housing figures in the local Plan as a ‘minimum’.”
On the greenbelt Conservatives would seek a review of the ‘Local Plan’. They argue modelling carried out has been nullified by the admission that more houses than originally expected could be built.
They would prefer to see a brownfield first approach and have promised to ‘can the plan’ if elected. However, to boost housing supply they would bring nearly 2,500 empty homes back into use – using seizure powers if necessary. They would also seek changes to the planning system to make it harder to turn family homes into student properties.
- Oppose all developments on greenbelt land and encourage developments on brownfield sites instead
- Oppose future student developments outside the city centre and encourage development of social housing and temporary accommodation for homeless people
- Use the Council House as a postal address for homeless people and provide free birth certificates which will enable them to claim benefits and apply for jobs
“Rather than simply slapping down all of the new homes Coventry needs to build on the greenbelt (25,000 in the next ten years!) Coventry Liberal Democrats recognises that these homes are needed but we have a better plan for building them. We plan to build as many homes as possible to within the existing city limits.
For homes that still need to be built on the greenbelt we will make use of the extra space we’ve created to add a treeline between new homes and the old so as to minimise the impact on existing residents as well as insisting on village green style parks in the new developments, cycleways and green energy sources and storage for the new homes. We will suggest tapping into the national funding pot for replanting Britain’s forests to facilitate some of the greenspace.”
“We will look to prevent homelessness, bring empty homes back into use where possible, increase temporary accommodation for our homeless families and single people, build 348 affordable houses per year, aim to build 1,300 additional homes. All of this will be done in working in partnership with other housing providers”
this unofficial statement from a labour councillor, Bally Singh:
I appreciate my reply won’t be satisfactory but the context was that the Labour council did uphold its promise to promote a Local Plan with much lower housing allocations and totally on brownfield sites, but that Local Plan was rejected by the Government Inspector and neighbouring Warwickshire Local Authorities in 2013. Once that was rejected a new Local Plan had to be developed which used the baseline population estimates from the ONS – these estimates forecast a need of approx 40k extra homes for Coventry by 2030, however the council have agreed with neighbouring Warwickshire councils to build 25k of that need within the city boundary whilst the rest is met by Warwickshire authorities.
I previously enquired with planning officials regarding the mix of Brownfield and Greenfield development, and the response I received is copied below;
“The new Local Plan does and will continue to promote the delivery of brownfield land and we do include an explicit reference to this being a key monitoring aim and objective of the Plan. In that context it is worth noting page 59 of the draft Plan (with proposed modifications – http://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/23851/mod_1_local_plan_with_proposed_modifications).
The problem we have though (and we acknowledge this as a challenge in the local plan) is that we are running out of readily available brownfield land to develop the homes the city needs. This is due in part at least, to the success we have had in recent times. For example: over the last 15 years the city has seen 92% of new homes built on previously developed land, whilst this increases to 94% if you focus on the last 10 years.
The redevelopment of brownfield land has therefore played a pivotal role in urban regeneration and has positively supported sites such as the former Peugeot site and New Century Park in Lower Stoke, the on-going developments at Wood End and Henley Green, Bannerbrook, the former Tile Hill college site and the new homes at Browns Lane. Going forward we do still have some brownfield options left, with 52% of remaining supply identified within the Local Plan and its evidence base classed as brownfield land and 76% of the current 5 year land supply identified as brownfield. Many of these are small however or constrained by existing employment uses (especially those identified as longer term options). Anything that is vacant and readily available is already being built or is being processed by developers ready to be developed in the very near future – prime examples include – Paragon Park, the former Acetate site at Old Church Road, the remaining land at Belgrade Plaza and the former Transco Site at Abbotts Lane. We are even looking to deliver new homes as part of City Centre South and Friargate.
In addition we also have to consider the homes / jobs balance within the city as the majority of brownfield land is often former employment land. This is again something we have given extensive consideration to through the Local Plan.
With regards the population projections, we have undertaken numerous population and housing needs studies over the last 5 years in partnership with our Warwickshire neighbours. This has had regard to national data issued by the ONS and central government and is the data source we are required to use to underwrite a local plan. We are aware of the issues raised with the city’s population projections and have shared all the submitted information with our Inspector for her consideration. It was also subject to examination over numerous days of our hearing sessions. Furthermore, a key part of the review mechanism that has been added to the Local Plan is to ensure it is able to respond to any changes in population projections, both up or down at any point during the Plan period”.