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Babergh council chiefs heading to London for meeting with minister

PUBLISHED: 14:23 08 March 2018

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid listens as James Cartlidge explains the problems of planning in Babergh to him at the House of Commons. Picture: JAMES CARTLIDGE OFFICE

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid listens as James Cartlidge explains the problems of planning in Babergh to him at the House of Commons. Picture: JAMES CARTLIDGE OFFICE

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Babergh council leader John Ward and chief executive Arthur Charvonia are to meet Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid later this month in a bid to tackle the homebuilding crisis the district is facing.

At present there is no local plan in place to provide a framework for development in Babergh and Mid Suffolk and this has led to a rash of unwelcome planning applications that have been difficult to refuse when they come before planning committees.

However many of the homes that were given permission have never been built – and this has meant the councils are not meeting their five-year land supply target and the government feels they are not building enough homes.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge questioned Mr Javid about the issue in the House of Commons and is arranging a meeting with the Babergh leadership in a bid to get the government to understand the problem and to look at possible solutions.

Mr Cartlidge said: “This is an issue that is being seen in rural and semi-urban constituencies across the country. There are real problems with speculative applications left undeveloped after permission has been granted and it is something that needs to be addressed by government.”

The issue has come to a head in Long Melford where planners have felt compelled to approve some new homes even though most residents feel they are in the wrong place.

Mr Cartlidge said he felt that this week’s statement by the Prime Minister about housing policy and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) should make life easier for young people seeking to buy their first home.

He said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement about the revisions to the NPPF and the commitment to sustainable development to provide homes for local families.

“We do need more homes, particularly for young families, but it is important that the numbers of homes expected of each community is sustainable and proportionate.

“The problem at the moment is that Babergh – like many local authorities – is granting permissions well in excess of its target but the homes are, in many cases, not then being constructed.

“As a result, we have lost our ‘five year land supply’ and speculative development applications are spouting over the district like confetti.”

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