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Craven ‘needs at least 160 new homes a year’
11:11am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
A minimum of 160 new houses should be built in Craven every year, councillors recommended this week.
But, Coun Paul English (Lib Dem) favoured a higher figure, claiming that Craven had become a retirement village and he did not want to live in a massive nursing home.
The houses will have to be built on the third of Craven outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which is looking at building around just 20 new houses a year.
Councillors at Monday’s spatial planning sub-committee meeting backed away from a suggested figure of 175 new homes every year over the next six years.
The majority of councillors claimed a higher figure would be unrealistic because of the current recession.
Coun Richard Welch (Cons), chairman of the council’s planning committee, said he would favour an even lower figure as he believed there was no prospect of houses being built.
“We have to have jobs. If there aren’t the people there earning a living, these houses will not be sustainable. These houses will be for retired people and commuters,” he said.
Coun Richard Foster (Cons), sub-committee chairman, also criticised the national park authority and claimed the lack of new homes was killing off communities.
Coun Carl Lis (Cons), chairman of the national park authority, said he was very nervous about projected house targets when banks were not helping developers or house buyers.
“But Sian Watson, spatial planning manager, urged councillors to think ahead to the next 15 years.
“The recession is very deep, the economic recovery is very slow and it will take time to get out of it, but housing requirements will not disappear, there will be recovery and we need to think long term population requirements,” she said.
Only Coun Paul English favoured a higher figure, telling councillors he did not want to live in a massive nursing home.
He said a higher figure would put out a positive message to developers that Craven was a confident place and he could see no problem in using up green space as two thirds of Craven was covered by the national park.
“Craven has become a massive retirement village, is this what we want, or do we want to be more aspirational? I don’t want to see Craven as a tourist-based economy, I want it to be more aspirational, we need homes for young families to keep our economy going,” he said.
Coun English added he could live with a figure of 175 new homes a year, although he would favour a higher target.
Mrs Watson told the meeting that three workshops had been held for parish and town councillors and a fourth had been held for stakeholders, including developers and housing associations.
She said the majority of attendees had been happy with a figure of around 160.
Mrs Watson stressed that the target would now give the planning team a base to work from. It would also work on site allocations and how windfall sites would be taken into the overall target figure.
A further report is due to be presented to the sub committee on Tuesday, October 30.