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Housing: Long-Term Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Richard Bacon Richard Bacon Conservative, South Norfolk 5:33 pm, 9th February 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The only thing I would question is his use of the word “if”. Councils have a legal obligation to take the lists seriously. A planning inspector would be quite right to find a local plan unsound if it failed to contain provision for serviced plots commensurate with demand as evidenced on the register.

When Councillor Barry Wood, the leader of Cherwell District Council came to our self-build summit in Downing Street last month, he talked about one of the sites in the National Audit Office report that the hon. Member for Erith and Thamesmead mentioned, which has 109,500 potential houses. I spent some time explaining to the permanent secretary of the Department that our constituents liked living in real houses rather than potential houses. The list is a bit distorted, because on some of that land nothing has happened at all, and on some of it a great deal has happened. There are 1,900 serviced plots in Bicester, at Graven Hill. Anybody can look at that scheme by going to gravenhill.co.uk. Once it gets off the ground, as Councillor Wood explained in his presentation, it will make a significant difference to the marketplace because people will start looking at it and saying, “They have that in their area—why can’t we have it in ours?”