12/02/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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In the South West: The Tories and the Lib Dems used to accuse Labour


of wanting to build all over the countryside. Now they're in the


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1697 seconds


Hello and welcome to the Sunday Politics in the South West. Coming


up: The publicans who say a new plan to crack down on problem


drinking could be the final nail in their coffin. Joining us for the


next 20 minutes, to offer their wit and wisdom, are the Liberal


Democrat Peer and former Torridge & West Devon MP John Burnett. And


Jude Robinson who sits in splendid isolation as the only Labour


councillor on Cornwall Council, an authority otherwise teeming with


Conservatives, Lib Dems and, being Cornwall, Independents and Cornish


nationalists. A local Government Sowry -- story that has broken this


week. Be deferred town council have been having unlawful sessions?


first reaction was am I going bonkers? We have Peers in the House


of Lords. One of our bishops says prayers. We have the same in the


Commons. If you do not want to go to Peers you do not have to go to


Peers. When the players are over you get on with business. --


prayers. I wonder how soon this will be over. I suspect an appeal


will be forthcoming. It is the same for us. There is always a resolute


bunch of the rebels who come in after the prayers are finished.


think we are called Old peculiar as. I think we probably do have the


right to set our own rules but surely it is open to every council


in the country to have peers questions Mark We will come back to


this in a minute. -- prayers? It's just a few weeks now until the


Government publishes its plans to reform the planning system. In


opposition both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats poured


vitriol on what they portrayed as Labour's plans to build all over


the countryside. Now they're in government they stand accused of


exactly the same thing. Among their more vocal critics are such


notorious firebrands as the Daily Telegraph and the National Trust.


Another, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, has now produced a


map showing the great swathes of countryside it claims are at risk.


Jenny Kumah reports. The Devon countryside. There are fears it


will be built upon. Here there is discretionary classification. It is


in away free for development. This man is the cheer of the campaign


for the Protection of Rural England. He says this area near Totnes will


be susceptible to rural development. Robin fears this will lead to


unchecked planning and development. In the old system there was a


priority for developing on brownfield sites before green field


sites. That seems to have been gotten rid of. Conservation groups


were also critical of the previous Government's top-down housing plans.


In more rural villages they are desperate for more affordable


housing. As things stand there is no scope for sustainable


development. The CPRE is among several organisations, including


the National Trust, that have spoken out against the coalition


changes. But Ministers insist their reforms are not about a choice


between the countryside and concrete. Our countryside is one of


the best things that makes Britain great and we will protect it.


New Planning Framework is due to be published by April and campaigners


know this is their last chance to get the government to think again.


As an organisation you had a goal at the Labour plans and you are now


having a go at the coalition's plans. What would you do to solve


this problem? I do not think it is as great a problem as is any doubt.


If you look at our website you will see all the planning applications.


Most of them are appearing on this and designated land. So they are


anticipating the change? I think they are. They are looking to get


planning permission where it is easier and I do not blame them for


that. What is happening of course now, so far as we can see, there is


not going to be at free-for-all. We want to see development but


sustainable development. There is no point in dumping a housing


estate on a village which has no infrastructure, no schools, all of


that. We would like to see local communities telling the that


authorities where they see the best place for this housing. Our prime


aim this year is to get affordable housing and one of the great


difficulties we face is because we have a big economic collapse at the


moment there is no money to be made in putting up new development sites


unless there is a high proportion of sites with open housing. I do


not think either of our guests would disagree with that. Let me


remind you of what some of your colleagues said in opposition.


Councils are being forced to identify ludicrously large amounts


of the mainland. Doesn't that look like the pot calling the kettle


black now? Perhaps it might do. We do not want a top-down system. What


we do need and recognised in office is that there is a huge housing


crisis. It is getting worse and worse. If I could remind you all


and you viewers that there are 185,000 households in the South


West that are on local housing waiting lists. We have a huge


department for housing. In 2010 103,000 houses were built and the


housing demand was something like 233,000. There is a massive housing


crisis which has to be resolved. It is incumbent on us to do it. We are


not going to build on an outright Greenfield's. We have the same some


were protections that had hitherto applied but we have to have some


level of the aim to achieve more house building. But their plan is


better than Labour's. Might worry is in Devon at the moment these


local rural communities just are not able to develop this new


neighbourhood plan to get in front of the authorities what they want.


I do worry that we will have a difficult time because the local


plan is going to be paramount. There are some area is which do not


even have a core strategy. Are you in favour of the idea? Of building


houses? I think there is a mismatch. Property developers want to build


houses but not necessarily for those people we want to house,


those who cannot get on the property ladder already. As you


mentioned with the local plans, a lot of local parishes and towns


have not set up to develop these plans but the presumption is in


favour of development. If the local community does not want development


it is up to them to prove why a development should not happen. That


gives much more power to the developer than local people. Before


we move on I should mention we have a link to the map of allegedly


vulnerable countryside on our Facebook site. So far 73 people


have joined us there, and If you'd like to help make up the numbers go


to facebook.com and search for BBC Sunday Politics South West.


Something else due out in the next few weeks is the Government's


Alcohol Strategy, proposing new measures to tackle the nation's


collective drink problem. In the meantime Ministers are already


considering a financial levy on licensed premises selling alcohol


after midnight. We sent Johnny Rutherford to the heart of


Plymouth's night time economy to see if anybody's raising a glass to


that particular idea. In the last year, 250,000 people across the


South West ended up in hospital as a result of booze. It's a figure


that's been going up for the last seven years. Now the Government is


thinking of a late night led the but some publicans think it could


ruin them. On the Barbican in Plymouth, Navy Inn's John Buckley


says it's yet another stealth tax to add to his problems of brewers


recently putting the price of beer up and probable charges for


improvements to his business district. The punter will have to


pay for these levies. The Levy is said to range between �200 to


�4,000. The top end being for big supermarket chains. The cash


collected would then be used on things like the clearing up costs


of alcohol related disorder and late night policing. Chris Unwin is


the landlord of three barbican pubs and a nightclub. He thinks he pays


enough already for these services. In our non-domestic rates we are


already paying for the police force. I am not happy we are being charged


twice for the same service. local residences say anything that


pays for more to be done to kerb the late night alcohol related


problems is a good thing. police are talking about cutting


officers on the beat. If you are a local resident ringing the police


and nobody is coming. You know a good establishment and a bad one


and where the problems are coming from, I think there should be a


levy if you are running an establishment in the early hours


which creates problems. You should pay that levy. But the Totnes MP


who's been campaigning for action on alcohol abuse says this idea


could damage pubs and fail to tackle what she sees as the bigger


problem. I think it is right that we see people who are contributing


to the cost of this picking up the bill. I think it should be a fair


reflection of the true cost on supermarkets who are selling ultra


cheap alcohol. Just because they are not selling it late at night


does not mean they should not be contributing to it. A significant


number of people are already arriving at clubs drunk.


government will publish its Alcohol Strategy within the coming weeks.


The consultation period for the levy is due to end in April. Is


this more proof that Labour was mad to change the licensing laws?


Extending the time people can drink is not helping. I do not think


changing the licensing laws was the issue but I think you are right


about changing the culture. More establishments can now stay open


beyond midnight. As the said in declare a lot of people are getting


drunk on cheap supermarket alcohol before they even go out. It seems a


shame to penalise pubs when actually going out to the local pub


is part of the social fabric that lanes people together in


communities. I welcome my Government's proposals to ensure


local communities have greater say on opening hours. I also welcome


action that is stopping lost readers so you are not going to be


able to sell alcohol at a loss. I am looking for something on


labelling and really curtailing the ability to buy if you are under the


age of 18. Some of the advertising is really over the top. There is a


lot of work to be done. Alcohol causes enormous problems. Hospitals,


crime, it is a huge expense to us all. Anti-social behaviour is


something that people complain to me so much about and so much of it


is induced by alcohol. What would you say to the allegation that a


lot of people are being tanked up on cheap booze and the publicans


are suffering? I think there is a real issue about her alcohol is


marketed. Instead of it being about a pint of beer with your friends or


a glass of wine with a meal it is about sweet fizzy drinks where


people get drunk very quickly without feeling like they are


drinking alcohol. That is something I think we have to tackle. The last


point is about education. I think that is so important. Right, we are


going to have to leave it dear. -- there. Now our regular round-up of


the political week in 60 seconds. By Torbay residents were outraged


that the local council will begetting its staff feed parking


permits. I wish I could afford to give my staff free parking


vouchers! In Dorset the police the authority decided to freeze its


share of the council tax. There is no where else to go except


operational officers and staff. then you keep they are calling for


a new criminal offence of urinating in the street. Not the kind of


things our MPs would enforce on our four-legged friends but they are


planning to introduce compulsory micro-chipping for all dogs. In the


House of Commons I tried twice to get this well over 20 years ago.


have been hearing a lot about public sector cuts. Everyone is


having a tough time. When councils are picking up parking charges is


this really the time to hand out free permits to their own staff?


does seem incongruous given some of the benefits of working for the


public sector. Average pay in the public sector is higher than in the


private and in terms of pensions. I am not aware of whether the three


parking permits are taxable but nevertheless it is perhaps


offensive to other people. I know that the staff at Cornwall council


have voluntarily had a pay freeze and reductions in their expenses.


They have done an awful lot to help the council save money and I do not


know if they get free parking permits but I would not begrudge


them a bit of help. And an new law addressing urination in the


streets? I think there are plenty enough laws to deal with that so


perhaps it is not necessary. This is particularly in Newquay, what do


you think? It is not something I have come across, I would have


thought anti-social behaviour teams would deal with such things. They


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