As seen in local media, there has been much anger from residents at the alarming rate of housing development in Cornwall.
Cornwall Council’s ‘Local Plan’ has a housing target of 47,500 to be built in Cornwall and developers are demanding even more should be built.
Council leader John Pollard claimed that the figure of 47,500 was arrived at democratically within the council, but in reality, the council has little say in the matter as house planning figures have, in the main, to comply with Westminster’s House Planning Policy Framework (HPPF). Indeed, just recently Cornwall’s ‘local plan’ was judged unacceptable by a government inspector partly on the basis that its proposed figure of 47,000 homes being built is not enough.
Independent studies show that the housing figures are not to facilitate the natural growth of Cornwall’s current population, but rather to ensure further mass inward migration that could bring Cornwall’s already over-burdened services to a halt. Cornwall Council’s ‘Case for Cornwall’ – a project started supposedly to take advantage of a Conservative promise of delivering devolution to local authorities, had its first webcast at County Hall with members of the public asking the questions of which housing was a prominent feature.
During the debate about housing targets, a member of the public reminded council leader John Pollard that the Cornish were now a recognised minority group and as such were afforded certain protections and specifically mentioned article 16 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) that states:
‘The Parties shall refrain from measures which alter the proportions of the population in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities and are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention.’
Housing targets are being produced that will effectively dilute the supposedly protected Cornish minority which will also serve to restrict their rights and freedoms to such services as dentists, GP’s and hospitals as Cornwall’s population is vastly increased, and in direct contravention of the FCNM to which the UK signed.
It was surprising therefore, that the Council leader and the outgoing CEO Andrew Kerr, chose not to address that important specific question.
Cornwall Council Webcast (At position 00:28:56 – 00:30:23)
Although Westminster signed the FCNM document last year, it was the work of various Cornish groups and individuals, after many years of behind the scenes campaigning and lobbying, that helped bring the Cornish within the scope of the FCNM.
The Cornish must not be dismissed or ignored as a minority group by either the councillors or officers at Cornwall Council.