More Tory fake news – this time on housing policy

The Sun has this headline:

“Labour in La La Land

Jeremy Corbyn will force Brits to sell land at a fraction of the price so he can go on huge housebuilding drive’

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10389467/corbyn-seize-property-housebuilding-drive/

The reality:

Labour’s plan is for land to be sold to councils and developers at its value BEFORE planning permission can be applied for rather than as, at present, being sold AFTER planning permission has been granted.

That won’t please East Devon Green Party candidate Henry Gent, who currently stands to make millions of pounds on the option he has given to Persimmon to build hundreds of houses on his farm land.

If Corbyn gets his way, he would get only the agricultural value of the land – making it significantly cheaper to build houses.

They published their ideas in June 2019:

Click to access 12081_19-Land-for-the-Many.pdf

Kicked-out Tory Oliver Letwin understood the problem, but stopped short of offering a solution:

“Under the 1961 Land Compensation Act, councils are not permitted to buy agricultural land at its current value; instead they must pay a speculative “hope value”, based on the value of the land with permission to develop the site. That can easily make land more than 100 times more expensive than its actual worth. In his review of build-out rates (the report about the problem of land-banking that concluded that land-banking wasn’t a problem…), Oliver Letwin suggested that the residual land value of large sites should be capped at about 10 times their existing use value. Clearly better than paying 100 times the value – but does it go far enough?”

https://www.bdonline.co.uk/opinion/its-not-just-labour-thats-getting-behind-a-land-value-tax-/5099426.article

So this is both fake news and OLD news!

Cranbrook sports facilities not good enough – developers refuse to help

Penny-pinching in 2014, penny-pinching now.

“Cranbrook could be set to get a new bar and club room as part of facilities for the town’s sports hub – as the original plans for the site have been declared inadequate.

The sports hub at Cranbrook – known as Ingram’s field – has been up and running since May 2019, five years after it was initially conceived, and this summer finally saw football and cricket played in the new East Devon town.

The 2014 application for the site saw a design and layout for a changing room building also approved and five years later, the developers are finally in a position to deliver it.

However James Brown, Cranbrook New Community Manager, in a report to East Devon District Council’s cabinet, says that while it would meet the historic obligations, that design is not appropriate for today’s needs. …

He instead is proposing that the cabinet back plans that would see a bigger building built that would consists of six changing rooms, rather than four, and would also include a family room and a bar and club room.

The developers have said that they would invest only their original budget towards the newly enhanced pavilion and would not meet any additional costs, and have added that they are not prepared to undertake the design work and minor revisions to the building to bring it within budget. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/new-bar-sports-facilities-planned-3558292

Tory candidate sucks up to Carters at Greendale

Anyone who reads this blog knows the contempt it has for the Carters and the Greendale empire, which spreads its ever-growing tentacles throughout East Devon. Just put “Greendale” or “Carter” in the blog search box to see how they control many industries and landholdings (which they are notorious for extending by retrospective planning applications for or exploiting planning loopholes).

Now we read this from the parachuted-in East Devon Tory candidate on his Facebook page:

Great to welcome the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, to #EastDevon. We visited two thriving businesses – Little Pod in Farringdon and Greendale Farm. I will always back business to create more jobs and opportunities. Check out the beard net!

Why would anyone vote for someone who gives this group publicity and support?

Well, Swire had his office in one of their properties, of course …

East Devon hustings – more information

Claire Wright has circulated hustings information (Owl has had no hustings i dormation from other candidates):

Below are all the hustings announced to date for East Devon and Claire will be attending all three.

Entry to the events is free but please note the following details:

Exmouth
November 28th 7:30 at Exmouth Community College

Exmouth – tickets must be reserved via Eventbrite. If no tickets are left for the event and you would like to attend, some of us may have spares, so please email us at volunteers@claire-wright.org

Cranbrook
December 3rd 7:30 at Cranbrook Education Campus

Cranbrook – the event will be held in a large hall. Again, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so don’t forget to arrive a little ahead of schedule.

Sidmouth
December 6th 7pm at All Saints Church

Sidmouth – the event will be held in a room for 300 guests. Spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis on the night, so please arrive a little early.

The campaign has a very positive energy and it is wonderful to see so many people showing their support. Please follow Claire’s social media handles for updates on the election trail so far and don’t forget to share any posts. Let’s keep the positivity going!

“Housebuilding data shows dearth of homes for affordable renting”

“The number of new homes classed as social housing and available at the cheapest rents from councils remained historically low at a mere 6,287, the second-lowest level in peacetime since council house building began in earnest in 1921.

The shortfall in new affordable homes is likely to fuel householders’ reliance on the private rental market. New research also published on Wednesday showed such housing is almost completely unaffordable in many areas for people who rely on housing benefit, which has been frozen since 2016.

In a third of areas of England fewer than 10% of homes are now affordable to welfare recipients, according to a study by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the homelessness charity Crisis. That meant increasing numbers of people were being pushed into homelessness or forced to live in emergency or temporary accommodation, the charity said. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/nov/20/housebuilding-data-shows-dearth-of-homes-for-affordable-renting?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Guidance recommends sale of risky [council] investment properties”

“Councils should consider disposing of investment properties if they are unable to set aside enough reserves to cover potential losses, according to new guidance.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) this week released long-awaited guidance on investment in property, prompted by concerns over the levels of risk being taken by local authorities in recent years. …”

Guidance recommends sale of risky investment properties

Casino councils (EDDC would like to be one)

EDDC story:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/11/04/eddc-a-casino-council/

“Gloucester city council has bought a local retail park for £54 million, almost four times its net annual budget.

It acquired St Oswalds from Hammerson, the FTSE 250 shopping centre owner that is seeking to sell all its out-of-town properties. Tenants at the site include B&Q, Homesense and Mothercare, which went into administration this month.

A spokeswoman for the council said that it could not yet comment on the acquisition because of a non-disclosure agreement.

Councils have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on commercial property in recent years as they try to create a rental income stream to plug funding cuts from central government. Some have sought to buy neglected shopping centres in their areas as part of regeneration plans.

However, critics have raised concerns about the extent to which councils have tied their futures to an uncertain property market. Retail park valuations have fallen sharply as a series of well-known store chains have fallen into administration or have used insolvency procedures to close shops or lower rents. Hammerson reported a 10.9 per cent fall in the value of its retail parks in the six months to the end of June.

The Conservative-led local authority in Gloucester created an £80 million property investment fund in 2017 to help to make up for a £2.6 million deficit anticipated for the subsequent five years. It said that it would borrow 100 per cent of the cash for the fund, indicating that it would seek to find money from the Public Works Loan Board, the government body that issues loans to councils for capital projects.

The Treasury has started to crack down on risky property acquisitions by local authorities by increasing interest rates on new loans from the board. Before last month, the government charged an interest rate margin of 0.8 percentage points over the gilt rate; this has more than doubled to 1.8 percentage points over the gilt rate.

Last month Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, criticised local authorities that had used borrowing from the board to buy “quite risky assets” outside their areas. He cited shopping centres, which he said “may well not turn out to be good investments at all and [are] only possible because the taxpayer is providing such attractive loans through the board”.

Source: The Times (pay wall)

The fakest of fake (Tory) news

Was Owl the only one who found this reprehensible?

“Tories pretend to be factchecking service during leaders’ debate

The Conservatives have been accused of misleading the public after they rebranded their official Twitter account as “factcheckUK” during the televised leaders’ debate and used it to publish anti-Labour posts.

The public have increasingly turned to factchecking websites, such as the independent Full Fact, the BBC’s Reality Check, Channel 4 News’ FactCheck and the Guardian’s Factcheck, to verify claims made by politicians.

During Tuesday night’s debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the Conservative party renamed their main media account as “factcheckUK”, changed its logo to hide its political origins, and used it to push pro-Conservative material to the public. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/19/tories-tweet-anti-labour-posts-under-factcheckuk-brand?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other