Community power defeats housing plans

September 01 2019
Community power defeats housing plans

Thornbury & Yate MP Luke Hall writes for the Thornbury Voice

WE’VE demonstrated community power fighting the housing plans, and I still need your help to keep up the fight.

Over the last four years, as a community, we have been fighting against the West of England regional housing plan, which proposes thousands of new homes for Coalpit heath’s greenbelt, and over-development to the west of Yate.

At times these poorly thought-through plans, which do not have the necessary infrastructure attached have seemed unstoppable. Despite this, together as a community, we have:

Debated the regional plan in Parliament, laying out robust and technical arguments as to why the plan in its current form were flawed and lacked any real infrastructure improvements.

Raised local concerns at the very highest level in Government, helping to stop any support for parts of the housing plan and holding the Metro Mayor to account for his commitments to us.

Supported residents and campaigners, including key local groups such as Iron Acton Parish Council, VALID and other groups, backing their freedom of information battle with the council.

Submitted robust technical submissions at every official consultation opportunity.

Conducted surveys of Yate and Coalpit Heath about the development, allowing us to prove overwhelming local opposition to the proposals.

This campaign I have been leading against the housing proposals is delivering for our towns and villages. In the last couple of weeks, the independent planning inspectors, who are tasked with examining the ‘soundness’ of the plan, echoed the case I put forward in Parliament in 2017, that the designation of the housing locations has been flawed from the start.

The inspectors will soon be detailing their concerns officially. Things could then move fast. Therefore, in my role as the local MP, I have stepped up the pressure by writing in support of the inspector’s findings and urging them to not accept minor changes to the housing plan when they need to be torn up. At this critical time, we must continue this fight.

We must also use our community’s passion and energy in another way: pressing on with our success with a seven-days-a-week service at the Yate MIU and getting the urgent care upgrade I have been calling for. And building the Yate Park and Ride, and getting on with Frampton bypasses after securing the cash to get it moving. Rebuilding Watermore Primary School, putting money into Frampton CofE, and investing more money into Iron Acton, Chipping Sodbury and delivering two new Primary Schools in Yate.

We have demonstrated that community power can deliver. We can do it again, so thank you for your constituted support.