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Click on more to find out what Roger has to say about the latest on housing in Swale and Iwade.
Thank you to Councillor Roger Truelove, Labour Leader on Swale Borough Council, for his housing update following the intense concern in Iwade about the possibility of further housing site allocations being made in Swale’s Local Plan.

"I have to say that I and Labour colleagues have resisted and will continue to resist the pressure to add further to Iwade’s housing growth. We do not claim exclusive virtue in this. It is the position of all politicians on the Council.

The problem is Government planning policy. They are convinced that growth in the housing market is essential for economic recovery and that it is the planning system that holds us back. Those of us actually involved locally do not agree. The sluggish housing market is due to a lack of financial liquidity. There are many developments already allowed. The numbers required by Government cannot be delivered for many years.

Swale was already under pressure last year to increase the number of planned housing sites when the “Bearing Fruits” document was published. When further sites in Iwade were mooted, I opposed them in the Council’s Local Development Framework panel and was supported by all Councillors.

Since then things have changed. Despite the talk of localism, the Government is putting increased pressure on Councils to enhance their housing numbers. This pressure comes from the National Planning Policy Framework, from the Government’s Planning Inspectorate and from Ministers

At the LDF meeting in February, Councillors were told that we should up the numbers. In a stroke of local defiance, all three parties rejected the guidance and agreed to rest on the “Bearing Fruit” figures.

This was heartening. However, Swale is very likely to have its local plan rejected and this could lead to chaos in the local planning system. We really need other Councils to stand up to Government."

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