BRITAIN'S population is predicted to rise to 70 million by 2029.

A significant proportion of the increase is due to immigration, which will have a particular impact in some cities.

Another major factor, especially in areas like Taunton Deane, is a massive increase in the numbers of retired people.

The post-war baby-boom generation are now in their sixties, and people are living longer. In 2008 there were 11.8 million pensioners in Britain. By 2033 there will be 15.6 million.

These changes put a big pressure on housing, and the situation is made even harder with more people living alone due to divorce and other social factors.

I see these pressures every day in Taunton Deane. Many people are desperate for suitable accommodation. That is true for social housing, where there is a huge waiting list, and for private housing.

I think some of the proposed developments are unsuitable, but the easiest thing any politician can do is to claim to care about housing shortages while at the same time protesting against every single housing project.

That might gain some newspaper headlines but it does not add up to a sensible policy.

I believe we need more affordable housing in Taunton Deane, including high-quality developments for the extra numbers of retired people. Whenever possible these should be on brownfield sites near to existing community amenities.

Pretending that we do not have a demand for more housing is irresponsible.

What matters is to get the right developments which will provide much-needed accommodation while still protecting the special character of Taunton Deane.