Where do the Parliamentary candidates stand on the draft Local Plan? – Conservative

Louise Harvey-Quirke’s blog about housing 6/6/24:

Many residents tell me they are fed up with being called NIMBYs when they make well-reasoned arguments about development proposals in their area. Like much in life, people are increasingly being pigeonholed into two categories: those who want no development at all and those who want no restrictions stopping it.

The reality is the vast majority if of people have a view that is somewhere between those extreme points.

When I talk to people about their concerns about plans being put forward, including those that would see farmland, fields and our countryside paved over, the thread running through the conversations is the bigger picture – it’s about the overall impact on the area long into the future.

Developing brownfield sites is not without challenges but we are living in a time of change where space within existing urban areas could be repurposed. While many of us perhaps have a vision of a countryside cottage, with the door surrounded by roses, as our dream, others would be happy to live above a business in the middle of Canterbury, with everything they need almost literally on their doorstep.

While I have previously written that I cannot support the Labour-Liberal-led Canterbury City Council’s Draft Local Plan for a number of reasons, I am realistic
and honest enough to know that local authorities have limited options and have to work within the rules laid down from on high.

I personally think a new approach is needed which empowers communities to shape the future of their area. There also needs to be more of an infrastructure first approach and a better way of ensuring all of the positives promised within planning applications – be they new roads, schools, medical facilities, genuinely affordable houses or open spaces, etc – are actually delivered rather than get watered down as the developer pleads their scheme is no longer financial viable for them halfway through construction.

I want to work towards a future where those who want to live in the area they grew up in are able to, by providing a mixture of housing, in suitable locations – but not at the expense of wrecking the very nature of what makes living here so special.

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