At the moment there is a massive shortage of new homes in the country. This has been compounded by very low amounts of building during the recession. Now this is over, the market has turned with low interest rates and high demand resulting in developers rushing to secure permissions to build. This has resulted in house builders descending on Horndean, Lovedean and Clanfield as these are very desirable places to live, so will sell well. Regular readers of this blog will know that we have the threat of very much more housing than we wish to receive, and the District Councillors are doing everything we can to help protect our community.
Hopefully this post will give a little more information.
Working with our MP. Last night all 8 District Councillors in Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle met with our MP, George Hollingbery, who is equally concerned about the impact this may have, and is supporting us in this. George also regularly hears from residents across our parishes, and as well as speaking to colleagues at East Hants is also in regular contact with Nick Bowles MP, (Planning Minister) to raise his concerns. There were several key outcomes from this meeting, but one key conclusion was that we need to better understand the argument of ‘Sustainable development / unsustainable development’ to combat applications. George is going to assist us here with case examples that may help with precedence.
EHDC and LIPS. You may have read the article here on LIPS (Local Interim Planning Statements) which are the outcome of the consultations on where to build, and will form key evidence in the allocations plan. We need to get EHDC to make better use of this evidence and are in discussions with colleagues about how this takes place. We have also discussed several other issues that it will not be helpful to blog here as developers also read HorndeanMatters and doing so would be counter productive.
Why Here? Actually, it is not just here in Horndean. The onslaught of applications also covers Alton, Four Marks and other communities in East Hampshire. Fourmarks needs 180 homes in the period to 2028, and at the last planning meeting an application for 175 homes was approved. Developers have spotted a further 325 potential homes there and are consulting and putting forward applications at a significant rate there. Alton has several large schemes with 700 or more homes coming in to planning now. This is also the picture across the South of England in pretty much every county. Please remember, development is not at the instigation of the local authority, it requires 3 parties. 1) A land owner who wishes to cash in, 2) A developer who thinks it is a good location, and 3) Buyers. Currently all 3 exist in abundance.
5 Year Plan. East Hants needs to have a 5 year plan for deliverable housing. If we need to build our 582 homes per year then we need to have 5 times this number ‘in the pipeline’ and buildable within 5 years. The 5 year plan is not a report produced by EHDC that is incomplete or late, it is essentially a daily rolling total of the housing approvals and completions and is very much developer led.
Once we have achieved our 5 year plan we are viewed to be ‘building enough houses for our own needs’ and can use additional polices such as GAPS etc to prevent building in the wrong places. This will also allow us to use the Joint Core Strategy housing numbers for each settlement as a guide to where we cap development. Without the 5 year plan in place, it is a free for all and some communities will most certainly build out more homes than we require to achieve it. Four Marks and Alton are most certainly going to be in this category, and Horndean will too as the Hazleton Farm development of 700 homes will be on top of whatever we need to approve now.
With the current rate of applications coming in, it is expected that we will achieve our 5 year plan in September this year. This is significant as this is based on the applications we currently have received at EHDC, and one or two we expect imminently across the district. This means that applications which are not currently in planning will be heard after we have achieved our 5 year plan, and our saved policies (Gap Land etc) as well as settlement totals can then robustly apply. White Dirt Farm will fall in this category, and Crookley Park which is just coming to consultation is arriving very late to the party if it hopes to make use of vulnerability to the 5 year plan.
In effect, we have a further 3 or 4 months of working our way through applications putting forward the best defences we can, and then we start to have some more effective tools to combat development.
For Horndean we still need Hazleton Farm to come forward to be able to adequately block the other sites, and are in regular contact with the developer there to find out when this might be. In the meantime we are looking at the growing case history of planning decisions under NPPF to better argue whether a development is sustainable or not as precedence is set, and lever better use of LIPS in decision making.
Once we have our 700 homes total (and probably more) then refusing applications will be a much easier task.
NIMBY’ism? We do need to build more homes. The increases in house prices are a factor of supply and demand, and preventing our children from becoming home owners. Horndean has to take 700 more homes, and readers of this blog know the community view, and view of the local Councillors is to make best use of Hazleton Farm to give a worthwhile development with some good community facilities.
Building in this area is about The Right Homes in The Right Places with The Right Facilities.