Housing in North Somerset - Dr Liam Fox letter to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Ministry  for Communities & Local Government

Fry Building

2 Marsham Street

London  SW1P 4DF                                                                                                14 September, 2020

 

Dear Robert

As you will recall, I wrote to you most recently on  20/7/20  in support of a letter from Lucy Shomali, Director of Environment at  North Somerset Council, in relation to their  queries about their new housing targets. Both John Penrose and I have written many  times to the DCLG over the  last few years and have had meetings with your predecessors.   As you know, there has been a lot of disquiet about the algorithm that is being utilised by your Department  to alter housing targets. 

I have been very interested in the work done by our colleague, Neil O’Brien, who has done a terrific analysis of how the changes might impact in different parts of the country.  In the case of North Somerset, I simply cannot understand why a target that has historically never been made and which I believe remains inappropriate. Has now been increased under the current planned formula.  Not only do we have pressure on our existing Green Belt, and a substantial Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but a proportion of land that can be built upon is on flood plain in the part of the Somerset Levels that lies north of the Mendip Hills.

I would, therefore, hope that this can be reviewed, so that my many constituents who want to see more housing, but in line with our natural environment and its limitations, can feel reassured. 

I would also ask that you look at the land banks that are already earmarked for development but where only a fraction have had any building commenced.  Surely, we should be doing more to insist that developers build out their current permissions before seeking to build on new sites.  If this does not happen, then we face a future where fast amounts of housing can be built without considering the on-going local circumstances.

Yours ever

LIAM

 

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