Anthony has welcomed further confirmation from ministers that South Cambridgeshire District Council was under no pressure to concrete over South Cambridgeshire.
In response to a question from Anthony in the House of Commons, Housing Minister Chris Pincher confirmed that " local housing need is not a binding target, and local authorities have responsibility for working out what their local target should be and agreeing that with the Planning Inspectorate".
Under the Local Plan being proposed by South Cambridgeshire's Liberal Democrat-led District Council, 48,794 new houses and flats are to be built by 2041. The overwhelming burden of the proposed development in the area is going to be in South Cambs District rather than Cambridge City, with 34,772 are planned for our rural area. That’s 71% of all the new houses and flats in the Greater Cambridge area.
South Cambs District Council is also planning to build more than 50% more houses than the Government has suggested is needed. Under the standard methodology, the Government suggests South Cambs needs to build 1083 new houses a year. They also offer the opportunity for SCDC to make arguments to build less than that, a course of action Mr Browne has offered to support and assist. Instead, local leaders declined his offer and intend to build 1656 flats and houses a year.
According to figures released by the National House Building Council, South Cambridgeshire has already seen more than three times the UK constituency average for new homes built, with 782 new registrations in 2021 so far compared to an average of 180.
Full text of Q&A
Anthony Browne MP
Greater Cambridgeshire, the city and South Cambridgeshire combined, is planning to build 49,000 new houses and flats over the next 20 years, which is as many as already exist in the city of Cambridge. In South Cambridgeshire district that amounts to 53% more house building than the Government assess is needed, and it will double the amount of house building over the next 20 years. Will the Minister confirm that that unprecedented house building bonanza is not being imposed on South Cambridgeshire by the national Government, but that it is an active decision of the local planning authority, South Cambridgeshire District Council?
The Rt Hon. Christopher Pincher MP
My Hon. Friend is a doughty campaigner on behalf of his constituents. Of course, we need more homes to be built in the right places, and there are parts of our country where the cost of buying or renting a home is many multiples of local household income. However, he is right: local housing need is not a binding target, and local authorities have responsibility for working out what their local target should be and agreeing that with the Planning Inspectorate. Although we welcome ambitious local authorities, they have an absolute responsibility to set their own housing targets.