Yet another month slips by as we move into the magical time that is Christmas. During the last 3 weeks things have moved on apace. One of the concerns for our council is that of the Housing Bill which is currently going through Parliament. The problems centre on affordable housing. Fortunately, I have had tremendous support form our MP Peter Heaton-Jones, I have passed a series of questions through him for the Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP. Following Full Council we agreed to send a formal letter with our concerns to the Minister with Torridge and ourselves cosignatories. Clarity is needed around the issue of starter homes and affordable homes. In addition the starter homes costs, we need to know that these are truly affordable for first time buyers. Both Torridge and North Devon are short of brown field sites, these are sites that have previously been built on and our now considered appropriate to reuse as building land. Therefore we need some help here from the government to ensure that our two rural areas and other rural that don’t have brown field sites can be assisted. I will write more about this when we have more clarity from the Minister.
Devolution, I have been working with other council leaders across the Heart of The Southwest of Devon and Somerset to produce a set of proposals to present to Government for our Government to consider devolving more power to the local areas. The submission should be presented to the Government in late January. The Government will then review our request and advise how powers may be devolved provided they accept the contents of the submission. Naturally there will be more information when the bid has been considered by Government.
May I take this opportunity to wish readers a very Happy Christmas and the very best of fortune in 2016.