“100,000 new homes needed to meet South Hampshire’s housing target” – This is the title in “The News” today but how does this fit in with us in East Hants?
Over the last 3 years we have been going through our ‘Local Plan’ which has gone through the following steps:
1 – Objectively assess our housing needs
2- Cooperate with our neighbouring local planning authorities
3- Prepare a local plan that identifies our housing needs
4 – Prepare an allocations plan that shows here the houses will go.
East Hants is current in the final steps of stage 4 and the allocations plan has been out to public consultations and examination where it was found to be ‘Sound’ with minor modifications needed. In the next few months this will be finalised and the plan fully in place. (In the meantime all planning applications at EHDC are being heard as if it were formally in place now)
This for Horndean identified LEOH and one site in Lovedean as the areas outside of our settlement policy boundary to allocate to housing (inside the settlement policy boundary normal planning rules apply).
Some of our neighbouring planning authorities are nowhere near this advanced stage – Eastleigh had their local plan rejected at examination, Fareham are only preparing theirs now. In fact, EHDC are one of the few planning authorities on the South Coast to have an up to date local plan which is NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) Compliant.
So what are the 100,000 homes – and more importantly does it affect us?
There is an area called PUSH – Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (Dark green on the map below) which is the economically active area along the South of Hampshire. Basically it goes to the bottom of the South Downs National Park and a part of EHDC falls into the region. Within this area the planning authorities have commissioned a combined study to look at the housing needs in the whole area and establish what needs to be planned in for the next 20 years to 2036. This takes account of us living longer, fewer people living in each household, and growing population. The same steps EHDC has gone though in the last 3 years but on a larger scale effectively carrying out the ‘duty to cooperate’.
The total housing need for this area to 2036 is a little over 100,000 homes. All of EHDC has just over 10,000 new homes in our local plan period and the Southern Parishes (Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle) just about 2,200 between us all.
EHDC are represented at PUSH (I attend the PUSH meetings to represent our interests with our Chief Executive) and the input we have given PUSH is clear – The housing we have identified in our Local Plan can be taken as a firm commitment towards the PUSH figures in their plan but we will NOT be taking on any additional housing beyond this. Essentially, we can not allow another emerging plan to undermine our own. As such, the figures in the emerging PUSH plan are a mirror image of our own.
In effect the other local planning authorities are trying to catch up with us and are only now discovering the impact of the NPPF on their communities.
The next 6 months are going to be interesting for a number of reasons.
1 – Some of the other local authorities have May elections and the emerging housing need they will be taking will make them wince!
2 – There is pressure for the PUSH plan to be finalised so that the LPA’s without a local plan can progress – currently some of these areas are seeing a ‘free for all’ with developers.
3 – Portsmouth, Southampton and others are struggling to build enough for their own needs but are very keen to get their hands on funds to improve infrastructure – my firm view is that the funding to improve infrastructure needs to go where the housing goes. Few authorities are showing any interest in taking on any adjacent authorities shortfall – anywhere.
4 – The Hampshire wide combined authority bid is suggesting an increase of perhaps 30% on top of the objectively assessed need to help boost the economy. This is a firm red line for 100% of District Councillors at EHDC who have clearly stated we will not support a Combined Authority bid if it results in more housing in EHDC.
In the meantime the EHDC Local Plan will finish its examination and our housing numbers will remain the same as they are now.
In June we expect the PUSH plan to be tabled for public consultation and this will be blogged here – and probably be the subject of a local community forum meeting. As to the Combined Authorities bid – at this time I see it failing because the housing build rates it is linked with are just not achievable – either politically or practicably and the difficulties meeting housing needs in the PUSH region only demonstrate this.
Keep visiting the blog to be kept up to date with this…
To read the full article in The News click on this link here: The News Housing Article