‘We are doing everything in our power’ is the response from Cornwall Council when faced with issues it cannot resolve. In reality, the council has no legislative powers to take the decisions best suited to Cornwall’s needs.
In 2015 former MP, Andrew George, criticised the Government’s so-called devolution deal as ‘passing the buck’ rather than granting meaningful powers. ‘The Government claiming to devolve powers is as plausible as King Herod promising to build a children’s hospital’. Indeed, the deal was so weak it required no legislation to be passed through parliament.
The failure to devolve housing and planning ensured Cornwall remained powerless to address the developer-led strategy that allows more housing, arguing that more houses and more people would stimulate the Cornish economy.
The evidence to the contrary is obvious, and Cornwall Council is culpable.
“Oddly, in all the 366 pages of the Core Strategy documentation the critical role of in-migration was mentioned just twice. In Local Plan Strategic Polices its not mentioned at all as such, although the planners do admit that ‘migration rates’ are ‘a major component in housing need.
Occasionally at other times too the veil slips. Council itself in its own ‘evidence base’ admits that natural change in Cornwall without factoring in-migration would lead to a lower population growth. And at other unguarded moments the planners are forced to admit the truth: ‘The housing projections . . . are primarily driven by migration’.
The Council also knows full well that in-migration is the single greatest driver of population change as it states bluntly in its internal documents. Actually, even this understates things. In fact in-migration provides all of the increase in expected population according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Instead, they deliberately blurred the issue of exactly what proportion of the proposed new housing was ‘needed’ for in-migrants and how much for the existing population’.
Cornwall’s Housing Crisis: Second Homes/Holiday lets