Dear South Lakeland resident.
At the SLDC Council meeting on Wednesday 18th January, Councillors voted by a majority of 24 Liberal and Labour Councillors against 12 Conservative Councillors to adopt the Local Development Framework (LDF) allocations of land document. This policy adoption will result in up to 6000 new homes being built in the areas of South Lakeland that are not in the Lake District National Park.
It is clear that all these new homes proposed are both not needed and not wanted and Conservative Councillors will continue to oppose this unjustifiably large number of new homes mainly on green field sites. We do need to have an LDF in place at some point, but we need an LDF that has much more emphasis on jobs, the economy, transport and provision of public services. All this should come before huge numbers of houses that communities simply don't need and can't sustain.
With the advent of the new Localism bill and much more emphasis on neighborhood plans we need not rush forward with the LDF. There is certainly enough time to work with the town and parish Councils and more importantly local residents and other concerned local groups to try and get an acceptable compromise instead of the sham consultations which ask for views, note them and then push on regardless as has been the case here. It is also disappointing that SLDC has not worked with the two National Parks and instead seen these huge numbers of homes squeezed into the ever decreasing area of South Lakeland that's not in the Parks.
Now that this document has been adopted the electorate of South Lakeland need to be quite clear that it is the Liberal Democrat administration along with their colleague Tim Farron who are wholly responsible for the bulldozers arrival, and for the potential collapse of the South Lakes housing market.
Peter Thornton, the Cabinet member in charge of housing, has made it quite clear on several occasions he hopes this massive influx of extra homes will drive down house prices by at least twenty percent, not much comfort for those people already facing negative equity and certainly not the answer to the provision of more affordable and social housing, which we appreciate is acutely needed. He has also looked to scare Councillors and residents into believing that if the Land Allocations were not adopted at this stage we would see rampant development everywhere. This is simply not true.
We will continue to work with and more importantly listen to the views of residents whom we have been elected to represent and call on our MP Tim Farron to change his mind and work with us and his electorate instead of pushing ahead yet further with this urbanisation agenda.
Cllr James Airey, Leader, Conservative Group at SLDC, Low Furness Ward
Cllr Tom Harvey, Deputy Leader, Conservative Group at SLDC, Grange South Ward