22nd Oct, 2017

Coventry 36,000 homes plan to become 'top ten city' rejected

Coventry Editorial 23rd Feb, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

COVENTRY council leaders are set to drop a proposal to build 36,000 new homes over two decades as part of its ambitions to become a “top ten city”.

Instead, it is to consider settling on a lower figure of 23,600 homes over the next 16 years.

The figure is more in line with earlier proposals before previous housing targets were scrapped when the coalition government came to power in 2010.

But the proposal would see an overspill of development over the border in Warwickshire.

Campaigners against plans to build on the Green Belt, including Green Party Warwickshire county councillor Keith Kondakor, say other neighbouring districts will be forced to take more than their fair share.

A government inspector had ordered Coventry City Council to consult with neighbouring authorities over its post-2010 intentions to build just 12,600 homes – which had been in line with Labour leaders’ pledge to voters not to build on the Green Belt.

That pledge has now been ripped up in favour of ambitious plans to go for housing growth, which opponents claimed was not supported by evidence of future jobs and economic growth.

Coventry councillors will next week consider the findings of a new report – by the Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Committee for Economic Growth – that 36,000 new homes is too ambitious, and unfounded.

The council says the 23,600 figure remains in line with government predictions for population growth in the Coventry and Warwickshire sub-region.

It comes amid a regional and national chronic shortage of housebuilding, which is contributing to mortgage inflation, and a shortage of social housing to meet demand.

The city’s 23,600 homes figure would require building at a rate of 1,180 a year, with no more than ten percent of Greenbelt removed.

Councillor Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, said: “We know that the city has to find more space for housing to allow it to grow and prosper in the future, and this plan allows for that at the same time as protecting more of our green space.

“The report has rightly taken into account new figures for how the population will grow in Warwickshire and the fact that we have limited space in Coventry.

“This gives us a much more achievable level of new buildings that will help families to find good homes and good job opportunities in the city, while protecting the environment at the same time.

“We know that there are very sensitive issues around where the houses should be built – both in Coventry and Warwickshire – and how Greenbelt areas should be protected. We will now be working very closely with our neighbours to come up with the best plans possible for our region.

“And we will make sure we make the whole process transparent and include the public in all our decision making.”

Decisions on housing targets will go to a full council meeting before further public consultation this summer, and possible further intervention by the government.


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