David Cameron says Britain is open for business but in Arun the sign on the door reads ‘Do not disturb’.
Surely parochialism is not what ministers intend from localism ?
I refer to a meeting of the Local Development Framework sub-Committee on June 2 at which long-time councillors from all parties competed to set the lowest level of development in a plan for the next 17 years.
That way nobody gains political advantage.
Faced with evidence of social and economic need for new homes and better-paid jobs to meet today’s circumstances and to prepare for the future, they funked it.
Told that any wish list for improvements to our road system will have to be paid for from wealth generated by development, they hope for something better to turn up!
Heading their advisers, Karl Roberts told councillors of the risk they take if setting housing targets below those identified in the Regional Strategy – Arun’s Plan rejected, years wasted and back to square one.
He spoke of the 10,000 residents aged between ten and 14 and homes for them later on in life.
Arun won’t have to provide for them, explained the cabinet member, because they leave the district, adding ‘..we never have’.
No more than 200 new homes a year was one councillor’s assessment of housing need to parallel economic growth.
The regional strategy puts the figure for new homes at 565 a year and government does not quarrel with that figure.
The committee, therefore, knows the level of risk involved if it continues in denial of present and future needs in the face of advice given so emphatically by its leading adviser. Will the council follow its committee?