Email to councillors regarding Local Development Framework

March 15th, 2010

Dear Councillors

I am surprised and alarmed that your Council appears set to approve the Local Development Framework (LDF) proposals at your meeting on 18th March.

In essence the LDF has been formulated in the light of the Regional Spacial Strategy (RSS) which has in turn been drawn up by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA).  This body has no democratic mandate whatsoever, and the United Kingdom Independence Party and the Conservative Party are both committed to abolishing the EERA and its counterparts in the rest of England.

The authority that EERA has for planning derives from the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act which was promoted by John Prescott, former Labour minister, along with a variety of Labour’s favourite social engineering objectives.  Under this Act the LDF sets aside specific protective policies for areas in the Felixstowe peninsula and Martlesham Heath (e.g. AP28, AP212 and 214) which are being designated to receive some 3,000 new housing units as part of Suffolk’s “allocation” under the RSS of around 50,000 new housing units over the next 20 years.

The projection by the Barker report (2004) of 70,000 additional homes per annum needed in England to bring down real house price rises by 0.6% per annum and 120,000 to bring them down by 1.3% are themselves projections based on projected population increases, all of which are essentially theoretical and matters of hot dispute and contradicted by the experience of the last 6 years.

It must be clearly understood by Suffolk Coastal District Councillors and planners alike that the Suffolk 50,000 figure itself derives from the RSS estimate of around 500,000 new homes “needed” in the East of England, which in turn derives from a National Statistical Office (NSO) projection of a further 9 million more people in England by 2031.  This purely theoretical increase is predicated almost entirely on immigration into Britain at a continuing rate of around 250,000 per year, plus the natural increase of the predominantly young immigrants.

I need hardly tell you that continued immigration on anything like this scale is a General Election issue and is opposed by virtually everyone in the country.  As a resident of Suffolk, I am personally totally opposed to housing development on anything like the scale envisaged in the RSS.  I believe that greatly improved transport links should come before any large schemes of housing are allowed.  The RSS figure of 0.5 million houses in the East of England is based on the NSO projection, which is itself likely to be revised substantially downwards whoever is in power at Westminster over the next five years.  UKIP’s policy, which has a great appeal to the electorate, is for a complete freeze on immigration for settlement for 5 years, followed by a referendum of the British people on how much, if any, immigration would be allowed beyond the 5 year period.

By any standards the evidence for housing “need” 20 years forward is thus extremely slender and unconvincing.  I would have thought that as prudent, realistic people, the Council would have put on hold the LDF and any other matters deriving from the likely-to-be-defunct RSS and its parent body the EERA.

I therefore strongly urge you to do just this at your meeting next Thursday, 18th March, pending decisions by the incoming government about the EERA, the RSS, and the population projections on which it is based.  You will thereby relieve a great deal of anxiety in the minds of the people of Suffolk Coastal District and specifically the most populous area between Martlesham and Felixstowe.

Yours sincerely

Professor Stephen Bush

UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Suffolk Coastal Constituency.

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