Cornwall Council yesterday approved plans for an extra 47,500 homes to be built over the next 20 years, as members argued over what was the best way to protect communities from overdevelopment.
After a fierce debate at County Hall in Truro, lasting for more than three hours, the full council voted by 62 votes to 31, with 10 abstentions, to increase the target from 42,250 to 47,500.
Opponents said hiking the total would create a “developers’ paradise” while supporters said any lower figure would be rejected by the Government – leaving Cornwall without a planning framework and at the mercy of builders.
Conservative Steve Chamberlain, a member of the planning advisory committee, had tabled an amendment to cut the number to 33,000.
He said the 47,500 figure was based on population projections from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which had been proved inaccurate by the 2011 census.
That showed, he said, 3,140 people migrating to Cornwall per year, compared to official estimates of 4,260-5,040.
“The ONS gets its figures wrong and wrong consistently,” councillor Chamberlain said, arguing the council would be able to defend a lower number.
His view was supported by a number of councillors, including Lib-Dem Mario Fonk who said setting a target of 47,500 would turn the Cornwall into “a developers’ paradise”.
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