Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Full Council - Lib Dem success on dropped curbs and house building

The final moments of note in the full Council that started on 13 December last year.

Firstly Lib Dems secured a commitment to restore the dropped curb budget.  It is one of those areas where the borough and County take responsibility for different bits of paving, so recent cuts to the budget have been below the radar.  After requests to install a dropped curb met with a 'budgets used up' response, a Lib Dem investigation broke into full flow.

With an ageing population, maintaining the budget seemed the least the Council should do.  How could anyone vote against the motion? well I don't think they did (UKIP may have done, but I doubt it)

And then the motion on house building.  Another Lib Dem motion seeking to solve a number of challenges in one go.  Whilst central government obsesses about changing planning rules to encourage local planning authorities to permit more development, they miss the point.  Here in this borough there are some 1000 homes with planning consent, many for several years.  We can only assume this is due to developers holding sites back until they're confident of a quick, profitable sale.

The motion called on the cabinet to explore whether we could create a scheme where we would offer a guaranteed purchase of newly built properties built to the right specifications, in the agreed timescales at an agreed price if the developer was unable to sell them after marketting to the open market for an agreed time.

If the Council did end up buying any properties it could hold them, use them as affordable housing and selling them on later.

Such policy could easily create jobs, housing and make money for the Council in the long term.

It appeared to get full support.  Labour liked the idea of virtually building Council houses, and the Tories liked the idea of selling them!

Another Lib Dem success.  

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