To receive any questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Note: A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
Elizabeth Pole referring to item 6 on the agenda stated as Chairman of Tiverton and Honiton Constituency Labour Party: I am here with a question about housing in Cullompton. The Council is currently proposing to erect 600 houses in Cullompton representing only phase 1 of the urban extension. The people of Cullompton are being asked to forfeit large chunks of their natural environment and one of the promises of those elected to this council made to them was that 28% of any houses built would be so called affordable housing. The proposal before this committee today would disappointingly but unsurprisingly reduce the number of affordable units from 28% to a mere 10% of the total. That is to say instead of moving their families into 168 homes local people will have to compete for the keys to just 60. And let us look at what it means for affordable housing, we are talking about homes available at 80% of market rates. While they provide some relief for people struggling to afford to live in their communities people who live here are struggling on wages which are on average, and bear in mind, this average will be skewed by perceived increases in inequality which we have seen since 2010 on wages which are on average 0.10% of the amount the government says is needed to be able to live in a house in Cullompton. So what should be done? This Council’s own Corporate Plan for 2016-2020 is to build 250 new council houses in Mid Devon. We are now ¾ of the way through this period and so far the cumulative number of council houses Mid Devon District Council has built towards its own grand total of 250, according to the performance indicators from Scrutiny Committee report is 6. 6 council houses against a total plan of 250, as a percentage about 2.4% of target. Now that we are approaching the end of the planning period there are 244 council houses yet to be built against the district target, Cullompton is to get 600 new houses of which according to the local plan 101 homes should be for social rent. My proposition to the committee on behalf of the Labour Party and standing up for the people of Cullompton who are attempting to live in their own community on incomes which cannot keep up with the cost of housing, taking into consideration the underlying spend of this council against its budgeted housing revenue account is this. As a minimum all 60 of the affordable homes that would result from the proposal now before the committee should be built as council houses. These 60 council houses would represent 36% of the affordable homes Cullompton residents were promised in phase 1 of the urban extension and would represent barely 24% of the council houses that the people of Mid Devon were led to expect from the Councils 2016-2020 Corporate Plan. Building 60 council houses for Cullompton is the very least the council could do to start making good on its very recent housing strategy promise.
The Chairman indicated that answers would be provided when the item was debated.