We must know for certain where the housing demand is and what types of housing we should be providing. Any further housing must have the infrastructure to go with it.
I have made clear in the past that I have concerns over the accuracy of the housing figures that are used. The newly constituted East Devon District Council should: halt plans to expand Cranbrook south of the London Road B3174; concentrate on delivering a proper town centre for Cranbrook with some iconic buildings; and spread Gypsy and Traveller sites fairly across East Devon.
Everyone deserves access to the highest quality affordable housing to rent or buy. I'll continue to work with the Government and East Devon District Council to make sure the right building targets are in place for where housing is needed most.
While I acknowledge the need for more housing, I want to see housing in the correct vernacular, in the right place and in the right setting. Building ‘cookie cutter’ houses, which all look the same around the country, does nothing for our local communities and creates division in our rural areas.
I am also very keen that brownfield sites should be prioritised for development over any greenfield sites. For example, the former bus and coach station in Exeter badly needs to be redeveloped.
I invited the Housing Minister Kit Malthouse to speak at a major Campaign to Protect Rural England (Devon) event in March 2019. We can all agree that we need better quality housing, in the right areas, that fit the size and feel of the local area.
This is why it is so important that our local communities develop their Neighbourhood Plans as thoroughly as possible.