Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 9 October 2014


I recognise the need for more housing to meet the demands of a population that is living longer, growing in size and accommodating families splitting up more frequently. But it is crucial that new development goes in the right place, provides the right level of infrastructure and does not swamp existing communities.

These were the reason that persuaded me to support the new town at Sherford, namely to remove much of the pressure from Plympton and Plymstock and the rest of the South Hams. After so many years of delay, the new town is about to break cover with the official commencement of development taking place this November. New houses will start appearing next summer/autumn. The build-out phase will take over 15 years and ultimately provide well over 1,000 affordable new homes for local people, meaning that many of our children and grandchildren will be able to afford to buy for the first time.

It is now crucial that we fight to preserve existing green spaces within Plympton and Plymstock. Government policy currently allows a presumption in favour of sustainable development, but developers must still comply with the terms of a valid development framework.
That framework must provide for a five year supply of housing land with a clear view of where development must take place.
Independent inspectors have recently decided that neither Plymouth nor South Hams councils have in place a valid 5 year plan, a decision challenged by both authorities. This is vital because of there is no valid plan, developers will be deciding where new housing takes place, not planners in consultation with local communities. The council may turn down an application, but if there is no plan, developers will often win on appeal.

We need to see both local authorities put a valid plan in place as soon as possible, failing which we are vulnerable to builder-led development of our area, something we have seen too much of in the past.

In accepting the new town at Sherford, we should not have to accept too many other developments in this vicinity and I shall be doing my best, along with local councillors, to make sure this does not happen. We are not helped in this exercise by Plymouth council seeking to sell off almost every parcel of green land they still own for development in the next 12 months.

The time critical battle to preserve our communities from over-development is well and truly joined.

posted by Gary @ 09:35