There’s Still time to have your say on the area’s future

Residents in North Somerset are being urged to have their say about future local housing, employment and transport provision.

The West of England’s four councils – North Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset – are carrying out a major public consultation to help shape the Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study being developed for the area.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member for strategic planning, highways, transport and housing and economic development, who also chairs the West of England Planning, Housing and Communities Board, is urging residents to take the opportunity to give their views.The council has organised more drop-in consultation events for next week, giving local residents the chance to assess the options and help determine infrastructure for future generations.

These will take place at:

Nailsea Library on Tuesday 12 January from 10am-midday

Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare on Thursday 14 January from 10am-midday.

There will also be one at Weston College on Friday 15 January to get the views of students.

The West of England is growing and economically successful. The area is worth around £26bn a year to the UK economy and forecasting shows that at least 80,000 more jobs are anticipated by 2036.An estimated 85,000 new homes are needed in the West of England area over the next 20 years. With 56,000 currently planned or approved, options on where a further 29,000 homes could be built are being explored.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “I know many residents are concerned how North Somerset can meet the consequent demand for homes and transport infrastructure without infringing on the green belt and other sensitive areas of the district, but if the region is to remain successful it is vital to have those jobs with homes and transport in the right place to accommodate future growth in a sustainable way.”

If you are unable to get to one of next week’s consultation events there are a number of other ways you can have your say. You can get involved by:

visiting the website www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk

which has more information about the options and the various ways you can leave your views emailing comments or enquiries to comment@jointplanningwofe.org.uk

writing to

West of England Joint Planning Consultation,

c/o South Gloucestershire Council, PO Box 299, Corporate Research and Consultation Team, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 ODR

following a dedicated Twitter feed @WEjointplanning

and joining the discussion using the hashtag #WEbuildourfuture.

The consultation runs until Friday 29 January

Presented by Mike Nobes at the General CLP Meeting of 8th September 2015

Mike Nobes and North Somerset CLP are very keen to hear your views, comments and suggestions on this key policy issue.

Please contact us on this email address:
office@northsomersetlabourparty.co.uk

It cannot be denied that the shortage of affordable and social housing will be one of the major problems facing a newly elected Labour Government.   Locally similar problems apply.

  1. Shortage of social and affordable homes

Locally, approximately 7,000 families are on the North Somerset waiting list.

Insufficient social housing

Purchase price locally is now about 10 times the average salary

  1. Private rents

Now are escalating and are now between 7 to 10% per year in some places

  1. Bedroom Tax

Unfair.  Affects families in many ways.  Problem for newly married couples.  Knock on effect will be to restrict visits by family members

Insufficient smaller houses

  1. Empty Houses

It is believed that over 500,000 houses and flats are currently empty

  1. Housing Benefit

Now paid to the tenant as opposed to the property owner, this present problems for some people who struggle with money management.

  1. Social Housing Sales

 

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

Related to numbered items above and for discussion.

  • Set ambitious building target.

The Labour Party should announce a major house building programme of at least 200,000 homes per year.

A reminder that between 1946 and 1951, Attlee’s government built over 1,000,000 homes, mainly social housing at a time of great economic difficulty.  In the 1960s, MacMillan’s government built 300,000 a year and Wilson’s government built 400,000 a year.

The knock on effect would be a huge increase in employment not only to the building industry but also in associated industries and services.

  • Private rents to be brought into line with social housing rent.

Re-introduce rent controls through a Fair Rent Bill.  Examine the Rent to Rent schemes

  • Abolish the Bedroom Tax
  • Suggest a three year limit before the Council takes over empty properties
  • Pay Housing Benefit directly to the property owner, both private and social
  • Award discount as a deposit on private house purchase thus retaining housing in the social sector. This also means that in effect a social house is obtained at a low cost.