Housing developments like the Prince of Wales’s new village of Nansledan, near to Newquay in Cornwall, could be a model for local schemes, like the Otterpool Park garden town proposal, that has been brought forward by Shepway District Council. Nansledan follows the success of Prince Charles’s Poundbury development near Dorchester, which has used traditional building styles and design to recreate the setting of a market town. At Nansledan developers are creating a new community that draws from the heritage of the local area. Streets are given Cornish names, the new homes reflect much of the Art Deco design and bright colours, found in other villages along that coast, and the houses have tiled roofs, made of slate from a local quarry. To meet the local need for new housing, thirty percent of the homes in Nansledan are affordable, and low cost rented accommodation sits alongside homes available to buy. The development is also delivered at a sustainable rate, with the number of new homes built each year numbering in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. The scheme at Nansledan is proving to be popular and as well as creating new affordable homes, is attracting investment into the area and creating jobs for the local community. These are all principles that Otterpool could follow, and similar benefits can be drawn from such a development.
In its consultation on the Otterpool Development proposals, Shepway District Council has rightly identified the need for new homes to meet to local demand for affordable housing. During the general election, I highlighted that the need for new homes is one of the most important issues we face. A report published last week by the Resolution Foundation examining living standards in the UK, has shown that the disposable income of working families living in private rented accommodation has increased more slowly than for those who own their home. Delivering more affordable homes for people to buy and rent, is not just about securing decent places to live. It can have a far greater positive impact on living standards than almost any other area of government policy.
Last week I was re-elected as Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee of the House of Commons. The subjects covered by the committee have a strong relevance to many important issues in our area; including funding for sport and the arts, and investment in broadband and mobile infrastructure. During the recent election, a good number of the people I met during the campaign, were keen to discuss other areas of the committee’s work that were of interest to them, including protecting the integrity of professional sports, the obligations of social media companies to tackle the issue of ‘fake news’ and the self-regulation of the media. It is an honour to have been re-elected by the House of Commons to continue to Chair the committee, and I am looking forward to resuming its work.