At the Parish Council meeting on 5 March 2013, after the customary public question session, the Chairman read out the following prepared statement to introduce the council’s agenda item on affordable housing.
We have had a month to study the HARAH report and to receive comments from members of the public. Whilst these comments have come uniquely from Compton Village and Place Lane, responses have been received from less than half the residents. In addition, 3 councillors attended the CVA meeting on the 9th January, Councillor Evans attended the Tenants’ Association meeting and 3 of the 4 Compton Councillors have spoken with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the CVA. We have, of course, also held a public meeting earlier this evening.
Whilst there have been numbers of negative responses, they focus on traffic and parking problems predominantly. Sites 4 and 5, in particular, offer imaginative responses to helping to alleviate parking problems, which would prove to be extremely beneficial to residents of Compton Street and environs. There have also been positive responses, made independently of need to remain in the Parish, or expressing clear evidence of that need, for example from a lady who has lived in Compton for well over 40 years.
It seems that the PC now has two options:
1) It could ignore its duty of care and responsibility to represent all sections of our community and decide not to proceed with any of the proposals for affordable homes contained in the HARAH report. Should we go down this route, we must fully recognise that is highly unlikely that any affordable homes will be built in Compton and Shawford in the foreseeable future. Secondly, we will have over-ridden the moral and ethical considerations explicit in the HARAH interpretation of Affordable Homes in Rural Areas, namely to allow those with a strong and proven connection to remain in their village. We shall also be running counter to our neighbouring parishes, Twyford, Kingsworthy, Littleton, which have had affordable homes for a number of years and, most recently Otterbourne, which now has a scheme in place.
2) Without any commitment, we could ask HARAH to produce outline plans for the development of affordable homes for those sites for which we have received the fewest concerns i.e. 11, 5 & 4. Should we adopt this decision, I would recommend that we ask HARAH officials to include proposals which will help to alleviate the current parking problems in Attwoods Drove and Martins Fields. Once the outline plans have been produced, they could be presented to parishioners at the APM on 25 April: if that deadline is not possible, they could be presented at a public meeting later in the year.