Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones visited to Castle Cary on Friday 7 July to encourage Somerset Council and the Westminster Government to sign up to the Party’s Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter, to beat the housing crisis while ensuring that green spaces are protected.
“We sadly see here above Castle Cary Station, loved by many across the country as the gateway to the Glastonbury Festival, a story familiar across the county of a community’s right to plan its future development being over-ridden by speculators, working the planning system to chase profits over local needs.”
Martin Dimery, Green Party Candidate for the Somerton & Frome Parliamentary By-Election said…
“I see this story repeated across the Constituency. The Somerset hillside the Station, seen by generations of rail travellers, will be lost under a sea of 200 houses. Somerton & Frome needs more quality, energy efficient and affordable homes, where people live and work – but these are not the Right Homes, in the Right Place, or at the Right Price.”
Ewan Jones, Green Party Candidate for the Castle Cary By-Election to Somerset Council said…
“The local Council did rightly refuse the planning application for this speculative development, arguing it would create “a highly conspicuous scar upon our countryside”. However, last May the Planning Inspectorate overturned this refusal on Appeal, with costs awarded against the Council.
We must put the power back into the hands of local communities, who are best placed to plan the right homes that they need, supported by the right infrastructure and local facilities.”
Launching the Charter in April, the co-leader of the Green Party, Adrian Ramsay, said that easy-to-heat, affordable homes are out of reach for too many people. “We need councillors and national government to work together to deliver the homes people need and can afford to rent and buy, where people need them.
“Today, speculators and developers are allowed to chase the biggest profits and ignore local needs. What we need is local councils supported to build quality, affordable housing in the right places where people live and work, with the right supporting infrastructure and local facilities.
“Our Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter will simultaneously protect valuable green space for communities, reduce climate emissions, tackle fuel poverty and provide genuinely affordable housing.”
Co-leader Carla Denyer, a serving councillor and Parliamentary candidate in Bristol, said:
“In the short term, we would introduce an immediate rent freeze and eviction ban to prevent people being made homeless in the middle of this cost-of-living crisis, as the Scottish Greens have already done as part of the Scottish Government.
“In the longer term, we would give councils the power to bring in rent controls in areas where the housing market is overheated. We would also place much stricter controls on the type of new homes being built to include more affordable and social housing for buying and renting.
“Everyone deserves a place that they can call home. That is why our Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter will deliver the change we want to see across the housing sector and create fairer, greener communities.”
The Greens’ Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter would:
- End the housing crisis by creating enough affordable homes – including 100,000 new council homes a year built to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard
- Empower local authorities to bring empty homes back into use
- Transform the planning system to:
- Incentivise renovation and improvement of existing buildings to reduce the environmental impact of new construction
- Incentivise local authorities to spread small developments across their areas, where appropriate, rather than building huge new estates
- Protect valuable green space for communities
- Require new developments to be accompanied by the extra investment needed in local services, such as providing extra school and GP places and better bus services
- Transform building regulations to ensure:
- all new private and public sector housing meets Passivhaus or equivalent standards
- house builders include solar panels and heat pumps on all new homes.
- Ensure all new developments will be located and designed to ensure that residents do not need cars to live a full life
- Introduce rent controls
- End no-fault evictions