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, 18 June 2015


Politics is largely about managing the collision between the unstoppable force and the immoveable object. It cannot always be done without shockwaves.

There is no doubt that we need to build more homes. Because we are living longer, separating from our spouses more and incurring inward migration, we have more people than decent homes for them to live in. The biggest demonstration of this is that the average age of buying your first home is now 38. It has risen sharply in recent years. I bought mine at 24, as did many of my generation.

Supply and demand being out of kilter pushes prices up, which mean that many young people cannot afford to buy in this constituency.

Yet many existing home owners react negatively to any suggestion of new houses in our vicinity. The biggest public meetings I have attended in my years in this job all relate to residential planning applications. I completely understand this: we all get used to our view, our dog walking area, our peace and quiet.

So how to manage this collision on the eastern edge of Plymouth? There is no easy answer, but there is a credible way forward. The new town at Sherford will provide 5500 new homes over the next 15-20 years. It will have its own facilities and should be an example of how to build a new town. Many of our children and grandchildren will live there, many of them taking advantage of "affordable schemes for local people."

Although there will be an impact on all of us both during the construction phase and in terms of volume of traffic once built,  significant improvement in our transport infrastructure will help. When complete, there are many acres of land west of the new town stretching back towards Plymouth that could be the obvious next building phase.

My point is this: it is perfectly credible for us in Plympton and Plymstock to argue that we accept the Sherford development, but we do not want extensive building elsewhere in our neck of the woods.  We do not want every tiny scrap of green built upon, unless it was previously designated for development in earlier plans. We have to retain a vibrant green lung in our already built-up area.

This is the line I and your councillors are taking with the planning authority. We may not always succeed, but we will persevere to preserve as much green open space as possible.

posted by Gary @ 11:13