Saturday, 26 August 2017

Plans for Port Royal: and financing the Knowle relocation project >>> or: asset-stripping vs affordable housing


Many of us look back to the good old days of the 1950s:
Donald Trump supporters more likely to be nostalgic for the 'good old days' | Daily Mail Online
Were the Good Old Days That Good? - The New York Times
What do you mean, the good old days? | Life and style | The Guardian

When there was no plastic:
Futures Forum: Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was hardly any plastic.

When we had a greater variety of native fruit:
Futures Forum: Rare Devon apples established in 'mother orchard'

When we could enjoy a traditional seaside holiday:
Futures Forum: Seaside towns are starting to appreciate what they had - and are sprucing up their parks thanks to Lottery funding

When we were not so overwhelmed by technical gadgetry:
Futures Forum: Living without technology for a year

But when we felt there were real possibilities from technology:
Futures Forum: Techno-promises unfulfilled >>> Where did the future go?

When suburbia did not cover half the countryside:
Futures Forum: Subtopia revisited >>> Counterattack on bad planning and bad architecture >>> Ian Nairn @ Radio 4

And when the other half was not paved over:
Futures Forum: State of Nature ... and paving paradise

When there were shops just around the corner selling local products:
Futures Forum: Why buy local?

When the advertising industry had not yet completely taken hold of us:
Futures Forum: Planned Obsolescence: and The Men Who Made Us Spend

When we didn't have to worry about global warming:
Futures Forum: The impacts of climate change are “severe, pervasive and irreversible” says the latest assessment from the IPCC.

And when there was a sense of community:
Futures Forum: "Whatever Happened to Community?" part two: Nostalgia


In the 1950s, local government was still held in high regard:
Futures Forum: The assault on Local Government: The Strange Death of Municipal England:

And in the 1950s, local government was still building social housing:
Councils must resume house building role, says LGA - BBC News
A history of social housing - BBC News
Housing in crisis: council homes were the answer in 1950. They still are | Cities | The Guardian

The question, then, is why councils are not building social (or even the more expensive 'affordable' housing) today?
Futures Forum: "Making the case for affordable housing on public land" >>> >>> Or: Why doesn't the District Council build affordable housing on its own land?

After all, in Sidmouth, all the areas designated for strategic housing (rather than 'windfalls') under the Local Plan are on council-owned land:
Local Plan 2013-2031 - East Devon
Our Campaign | Save Our Sidmouth


The answer to why the District Council is not building social or affordable housing on any scale is they are strapped for cash like every other local authority:
Futures Forum: An uncertain future for local government finance

And like every other local authority, it has been told to sell its assets to bring in some cash: 
Councils ordered to make money from land and property or sell them off - Telegraph
Autumn Statement: Authorities told to sell assets to fund everyday spending | The Independent

It has been trying to do this for some time now:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal 2009: "We are desperate for someone to buy this site and to give us good money for it."

There is clearly a conflict of interest over the latest planning appeal at Knowle: the District Council's planning committee voted to reject the Pegasus Life application:
Rejected: EDDC refuses care facility plans for Sidmouth HQ site - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

And yet its planning officers advised acceptance of the application, despite it being contrary to the council's own Local Plan:
Knowle Watch | Save Our Sidmouth

Which is all about 'balanced communities':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project > Pegasus planning application 16/0872/MFUL >>> Strategy 4 - Balanced Communities >>> Strategy 34 - Affordable Housing Provision Targets

Meanwhile, the District Council's plans for Port Royal might be coming unravelled:
14 June 2017 - Initial concept proposals for Sidmouth’s Port Royal available to view at consultation days later this month - East Devon
Neighbourhood Plan survey feedback on Port Royal now published | Save Our Sidmouth
“38 degrees” petition started on plans for Sidmouth’s Port Royal | East Devon Watch

If things don't work according to plan, the council might be facing bankruptcy:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and facing bankruptcy
Futures Forum: "Vanity projects, speculation and unwise development" >>> "Bankruptcy risk as ‘desperate’ councils play the property market"

But the District Council has a cunning plan:
Futures Forum: Redeveloping East Devon >>> of 'income streams' and 'regeneration'
Futures Forum: The District Council and its assets: to 'release assets' or to 'invest in assets'?

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