Lidington: Delight at rejection of 6,000 homes

David Lidington
David Lidington

I was delighted by the decision to reject plans for 6,000 houses on the edge of Aylesbury.

It was a great success for local campaigners – from the Hampden Fields Action Group to parish councils and many individual residents.

When I lobbied the inspector and the Secretary of State, I was confident about the strength of local opinion and the quality of our arguments.

Now we have a breathing space to sort out how we want our area to develop.

We do need more homes.

Aylesbury’s economy is growing, with joblessness down to 1%.

This is a popular area for people to live in.

Yet young people come to my surgery and say they are in decent jobs but can’t afford to get on even the first rung of the housing ladder.

Further north in the Vale, the arc linking Oxford and Cambridge is set to become one of the most dynamic growth zones in the country.

So what should that mean for jobs and homes along the new East-West railway?

In addition, social change is driving higher demand for homes.

People are living longer, and living independently for longer than in the past.

More young people leave home and live independently for some years before settling down.

Divorce and separation create a need for two homes instead of one. For any given level of population, there are more separate households now than in previous generations. 
As with so much in politics, it boils down to trying to strike the right balance, getting the new homes we need without destroying the very things that make Bucks an attractive place to live.

We need to plan for infrastructure and public services alongside new homes, integrate new developments into the communities where they are built and do everything possible to protect both our finest landscapes and the identity and character of individual towns and villages.
I hope and believe that our local councils are giving the highest priority to completing their Local Plans. 
That is the best safeguard against speculative developers and the surest way to getting the kind of growth we want and need.