Dartmoor Preservation Association
Friends of Dartmoor
Earlier this year the Government consulted on introducing changes to Section 106 planning agreements, proposing a threshold of ten units, below which planning authorities would not be able to require that developments contained an "affordable" component. As most housing developments in the National Parks tend to be small infill sites, the imposition of a threshold would seriously jeopardise the provision of sustainable affordable housing to meet local needs.
Over the last week, this issue has received a lot of attention. First, England's ten National parks wrote a joint letter to Communities Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, asking the Government to exempt National Parks from the proposed Section 106 changes.
On the same day, Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes, raised the issue in a House of Commons debate, asking the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for CLG whether he was aware that introducing a threshold "could halve the ability of the authority for the national park that I represent, Dartmoor, to deliver affordable housing, including social housing?" In response, Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West stated: "Yes, I and my ministerial colleagues certainly are aware of the special concerns about providing affordable homes in national parks. That is why, in the consultation, we have proposed a different threshold for national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty from that for urban areas." In reality, of course, any threshold would undermine the provision of affordable housing in the National Parks.
The issue was raised again when Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning attended the Council meeting of the Campaign for National Parks on 13th November. After talking to the Council about the importance of the National Parks, he took a number of questions, including one on the proposed Section 106 threshold. In replying, Mr. Lewis confirmed that he understood the issue, was still considering it and intended to respond before Christmas.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is for rain all day so the planned workday has been cancelled as it is on a very exposed site. We hope to re-arrange it soon.
There will be a Christmas Fair on 29th November at the Visitor Centre in Princetown,
The DPA will have a stall selling items from it's range of merchandise. Members attending should bring their membership cards because these will entitle them to a 10% discount on any items that they purchase from the DNPA stall. Please note that the discount applies only to the DNPA stall and NOT to the private stallholders.
Wednesday 12th November: The Land Army
The Ballroom, Princetown Visitor Centre: 7.30pm
£5 to cover nibbles and donation to the Women in Food and Farming
Sue Virgin, social historian will be giving a talk on the role of the Land Girl and Lumber Gill services throughout the First and Second World Wars.
Proceeds from this talk will be used by Women in Food and Farming to raise money for a statue to recognise the work of the two services to be placed in the National Arboretum of Remembrance, Staffordshire.