The Rt Hon David Cameron
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

A. citizen
100 Any Road
Typical Town

Date:  31st May 2014                              
 Dear Prime Minister>  

Affordable Housing should houses be built where there is no work?

 Councils appear to being told that they must find land for building new affordable/social housing. Wiltshire County Council (WCC) for example are issuing a demand from the government for 34,700 new houses across the county. [2.0 Housing requirement 2.1 02E208zAppx1WiltshireResponse.pdf]

  WCC are sharing this demand for new housing equally among towns and villages. They are doing this regardless of the needs of the existing settlements for housing. They are also shifting the blame to the present government -what truth is there in this demand? And if true, what reason is there for these decisions?

 It is unlikely that any new houses that are built will not be occupied, if not by local people then by others from further afield, possibly from another country. Trowbridge for example has over two thousand Polish nationals living and working if not in the town then nearby or they out-commute to other nearby counties. The UK population is increasing. The latest government household projections show that immigration will account for 36% of all new households in the next 20 years. Why should, can we even, accommodate these people? 

 Surely it is the responsibility of national governments to provide work, shelter and food for its own people not the UK?

 If there is a need for new affordable housing for local people AND there is work nearby then provided the addition to an existing settlement is not going to:

 1. detract from the attractiveness of the settlement

2. overburden local services

3. unduly increase traffic on the existing roads

4. prevent other types of dwelling being built

 Then that planning (building) application should normally be approved.

 But the facts are that for most parts of Wiltshire, and I presume other rural counties, existing settlements are served by narrow unclassified roads. The majority of the inhabitants have to work elsewhere and they need to use their cars to get to and from their place of work. West Wiltshire for example has over two thousand vehicles a day out-commuting more than the total in-commuting traffic. This situation has arisen because:

 1. houses are continuing to be built where there is no or little work why?

2. there is an assumption that it is acceptable for people to travel to work and have to use their own motor cars. In some villages travel to work for 10% can be over 50 miles a day. Daily net out-commuting of 21,000 for Wiltshire (no suitable work) whereas Swindon (was part of WCC) has an in-flow of 14,000

 The increasing burden on the British people and the increasing damage to the natural and historic environment [there are 28 World Heritage sites in the UK]  is the result of an increasing artificial demand for more housing  fuelled partly by uncontrolled immigration -enforced by the threat of compulsory purchase of land to build houses if parish and town councils do not suggest where housing could be built.

 Yours Sincerely,              

 A. Citizen

The  letter was referred to the Department for Communities and Local Government. The letter is published below

Department for Communities and Local Government

 Our Ref:    P1/72/017448/14

  20 June 2014

Dear Citizen,

Thank you for your letter of 31 May addressed to the Prime Minister about the Government's policies for planning. As I am sure you realise, the Prime Minister receives a large number of letters and emails and is unable to respond to them all personally. I have been asked to reply on his behalf.

The planning system carefully balances delivering the sustainable development that this country needs with conserving and enhancing our environment. The Government's objectives for planning are enabling sustainable growth, putting communities at the heart of planning, removing, unnecessary bureaucracy, and ensuring that the rules that do remain apply equally.

The National Planning Policy Framework, published in March 2012, establishes a substantially more positive approach to enabling sustainable development. It makes clear that economic growth can secure higher social and environmental standards.

In contrast to the previous administration that imposed undemocratic and arbitrary targets, the Government has made clear that local councils, in conjunction with local communities, should plan to meet their objectively assessed needs, not more.

National policy also retains strong protections against inappropriate development for valuable areas such as the Green Belt, alongside recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

But national policy is designed to be interpreted and applied locally in response to local circumstances. It must be taken into account in preparing and reviewing local plans and is also a material consideration in determining individual applications. Planning applications will be determined in line with the Local Plan, which would include adopted Neighbourhood Plans, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Local Plans are subject to consultation and robust independent examination in public, and individual applications subject to consultation. The Government has also introduced a range of incentives to ensure that communities share in the benefits of development, from the New Homes Bonus to the ability to retain newly-generated business rates locally.

You may like to discuss planning issues with your local council, who will be able to advise you how to take any planning matters forward. I hope, however, that you will appreciate that Ministers are unable to comment on or intervene in individual cases.


Yours sincerely,

William Strong

The letter is quite clear. The paragraph marked in blue emphasises that Wiltshire Council (or any other council) needs to aim to meet their objectively assessed needs, not more.

Widespread house building needs to be fully justified.