Housing policy war of words continues

By Steve Hayes 11/04 Updated: 11/04 12:04

THE WAR of words between the developer behind controversial plans to build 800 homes on land near Shottery and the council took another turn this week.

We reported last month how Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint hit out at 'bizarre' figures Bloor Homes had presented in a leaflet sent to homes across the district which attempted to rubbish the council's long term policy of dispersing housing into rural villages and towns.

The policy of dispersal is outlined in the council's Draft Core Strategy, for which a public consultation period recently finished.

And as a planning inquiry into the highly controversial Shottery application continued this week, the row increased as Bloor published the results of a poll which bosses claim prove the majority of people in the district would prefer extensions to large towns rather than developments in smaller rural areas.

The poll, undertaken by research organisation ComRes, saw more than 1,000 people in the district asked a number of questions about their feelings on the future of development.

The results showed 70 per cent of people agreed a large proportion of houses should be built on sites 'that are extensions to large towns' while only 56 per cent agreed new houses should be 'built across the district, including around the edges of towns, in the surrounding villages and countryside.'

The poll also revealed the scale of discontent regarding the housing market - with 44 per cent dissatisfied with the provision of housing for young people and families and a third dissatisfied with the overall availability of new housing.

But council leader Chris Saint said there were several problems with the poll which he branded 'flawed'.

He said: "The proportion in the poll of 500 from Stratford town and 500 from elsewhere is not balanced.

"And there is no clear evidence the sample was in proportion to the resident age profile.

"We will be guided by independent research, not that commissioned by those with a vested interest."

A formal Core Strategy is expected to be submitted to the Secretary of State by the end of the year.

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