Saturday, 7 March 2009

People power

Last night I attended a second public meeting for people in Camborne and Illogan who are concerned about government plans to force the building of some 11,000 new homes in the area. The meeting took place at Camborne Town Hall and it was standing room only with over 150 in attendance.

The crackpot scheme to undermine local democracy and impose house building "targets" from central government via unelected regional planning bodies epitomises much of what has gone wrong with our politics over the last ten years or so.

If we want people to take an interest in their community and get involved in local government then they need to know that their efforts will make a difference. If they feel that all the decisions are being taken somewhere else anyway and that so called "consultations" are nothing more than a sham to tick a box at some bureaucracy or other, then they soon become very disillusioned.

Both at the meeting last night and the earlier one last month, there was dismay from local people that something so obviously badly thought through and unpopular appeared to be rolling ahead anyway regardless of the views of local people. But the fact that they turned out in such large numbers was also proof that people around here are not prepared to be pushed about any longer.

So I think these plans will end up being being overturned. If we are successful at the next election, then a future Conservative government would abolish regional planning bodies and give local councils the opportunity to revise any "local area plan" forced on Camborne and Redruth in the meantime. And public pressure will see to it that those seeking office in the forthcoming local elections will need to make their position on this issue clear.