COLUMN: Richard Bacon MP - ‘Housing model is broken and discredited’

Richard Bacon - Conservative Party MP for South Norfolk.
Richard Bacon - Conservative Party MP for South Norfolk.
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Richard Bacon is the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for South Norfolk. To find out more about his work, please go to www.richardbacon.org.uk

AGONY OF (NO) CHOICE

Development is once again in the news.

Several constituents have contacted me about the proposed Persimmon development at Frenze Hall Lane in Diss.

I’m not going to use this column to bash Persimmon, although I will be raising my constituents’ concerns through the proper channels.

What I will say is that the model through which we provide housing is broken and discredited.

One can hardly blame volume house builders operating within the current system for acting as they do, but it’s probably the reason why a YouGov survey found that 75% of the population would prefer not to buy their products.

For most consumer transactions the customer actually is king, yet when it comes to the biggest purchase most people will ever make – our home – the customer has relatively little real influence.

That has got to change.

HOW SHOULD NORFOLK GROW?

While we’re on the subject, I have yet to meet the parents who want to see their children living in a ditch.

Yet there is often intense opposition to development - which will be providing the extra houses our children will need - because residents feel that their communities are being changed by processes beyond their control and because new development seldom meets either the needs of existing communities or what people looking for a home actually want.

I am sure there is a better way.

Last month I held a conference to ask people from across the County: “How Should Norfolk Grow?”

After hearing from globally-renowned experts in architecture, planning, transportation and housing, we agreed that Norfolk should grow beautifully.

We also agreed 12 action points that would help make this a reality, so watch this space!

CORNERSTONE

I share my constituents’ concerns about wind farms taller than Norwich Cathedral but I support cheaper, cleaner and greener energy – not least because I also want to keep my fuel bills down.

When I opened Cornerstone Renewables’ new Harleston showroom last week, I was interested to see how the latest developments in solar energy, LED lighting and biomass boilers could slash energy costs.

With a decade’s expertise behind them, the Cornerstone team can also advise on energy efficiency and whether government help might be available.

Congratulations to all the team at Cornerstone, and I wish them every success for the future.