The General Election 2024 – How many of the Candidates support our key aims of Protecting Devon’s Rural Communities?

Two weeks ago we wrote to every candidate standing throughout Devon’s 13 parliamentary constituencies in the General Election (some 87 candidates) asking whether they support our key aims regarding planning reform – protecting prime pastureland and solving the rural housing crisis.  Our email is below, together with the names of the 21 who have positively responded:

GE candidates supporting Devon CPRE’s farmland and social housing policies

Central Devon

Jeffrey Leeks (Reform UK)

 

Exmouth & Exeter East

Garry Sutherland (Reform UK)

Peter Faithfull (Independent)

Oliver Davey (Green)

 

Honiton & Sidmouth

Simon Jupp (Conservative)

Paul Quickenden (Reform UK)

 

Newton Abbot

Christopher Hilditch (Reform UK)

Andre Sabine (Heritage)

 

North Devon

Selaine Saxby (Conservative)

Nigel James (Reform UK)

 

Plymouth Sutton & Devonport

Holly Greenberry-Pullen (Liberal Democrat)

Peter Gold (Reform UK)

Robert Hawkins (Socialist Labour)

Chaz Singh (Independent)

 

South Devon

Michael Bagley (Reform UK)

Robert Bagnall (Green)

 

South West Devon

Steve Horner (Reform UK) *

 

Torbay

Chris Wongsosaputra (Labour)

Gordon Scott (Reform UK)

Paul Moor (Workers Party)

 

Torridge

Alan Rayner (Independent)

* farming policy only † social housing policy only

 

Protecting Devon’s rural communities

Devon’s world-beating prime pastureland, which produces a £1 billion of food a year efficiently and without degrading soil health, is being covered in huge solar and battery farms because it is cheap and accessible, and perversely considered ‘low quality’.

Meanwhile, rural housing poverty is off the scale. Our national study recently concluded that at current rates, it will take 93 years to house just those on today’s waiting lists in rural areas.

We are asking you, as a candidate in the imminent election, to join our campaign to have land categorised as ‘3b’ in the Agricultural Land Classification – top grade grazing which comprises a third of our farmland – protected from solar farm development, alongside the ‘Best and Most Versatile’ land that grows crops. Instead, the 250,000 hectares of available roof space nationally should be used for solar power generation.

We also ask you to support CPRE’s national campaign to tackle the Rural Housing crisis. Our report in 2023 unveiled a shocking picture of rural housing poverty. In Devon, high ‘resort’ house prices and low rural wages lead to 14,000 people currently on waiting lists. Yet fewer than 10,000 social homes have been built in the county – in the 33 years since 1991.

Planning must be reformed urgently, to enable local authorities to prioritise social and affordable housing, and control land values by allocating land for this purpose only. Full details are available here: https://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-care-about/better-places-to-live/homes-people-can-afford/our-rural-affordable-housing-campaign/

If you agree with our policies on (1) Protecting prime pastureland and/or (2) Solving the rural housing crisis, please let us know by emailing director@cpredevon.org.uk, and we will inform our members.

Yours sincerely