MANY people must be wondering why there is so much building going on around Taunton.

Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Core Strategy says that at least 17,000 new homes are to be built between 2008 and 2028.

The Core Strategy very sensibly places great emphasis on its ‘employment-led’ approach to housebuilding, the idea being that an increase in local jobs creates a need for local houses.

This also leads to sustainable travel patterns. The figure of 17,000 new houses is based on a prediction of 11,700 new jobs generated in Taunton Deane over the period 2006 to 2028. All this is detailed in the Core Strategy and supporting studies.

So the houses are going up, but what about the jobs?

The official NOMIS data for labour demand, freely available on the internet, gives the total number of jobs in Taunton Deane in 2015 (the latest data available) as 63,000. It also gives 63,000 jobs as the figure for 2006. No net increase from 2006 to 2015.

That’s not to say that the number of jobs won’t increase in the future, but at the moment there is a disconnect - houses are being built to support jobs that aren’t there.

The target of 17,000 houses is based on employment predictions that have turned out to be incorrect.

This excessive figure is causing a step change in urban expansion, and it is important to realise that it is responsible for radically changing our county town in ways that may not be in its best interests.

The Core Strategy is in urgent need of a review. The current ‘adopted’ version is, unfortunately, the one that is being followed.