Planning Policy Update…
Central Government Updates Housing Figures.
None of us can fail to have heard repeated calls to ‘fix’ a broken housing market. To a limited extent, particularly in the affordability of homes for local people, we have felt that impact in Trinity. In November 2017, central government produced consultation proposals on “Planning for the right homes in the right places”.
After the challenge of getting local agreement on Local Plan housing targets, central government has now reverted very much to a ‘top down’ approach, where it decides on housing figures for each area centrally through a standardised method in which ‘housing need’ is assessed. This reflects a historic picture across the country where local methods used have been inconsistent and lead to disagreement and confusion.
The new standardised method, simple and based on public data and housing needs, is used to produce a baseline projection which is then adjusted to reflect the affordability of homes, using an ‘affordability ratio’ based on median house prices to median earnings.
What does that mean for us in East Devon?
Analysis confirms that, in much of the country, housing growth has not or only just kept pace with population growth. East Devon however, is one of the few places in the South West where housing delivery has exceeded population growth by more than 0.5%
Rather than let local authorities set our own home delivery targets, government has now published their view of our housing need, at a total of 844 new homes per annum. This is currently seen as the minimum number of new homes government will expect us to deliver to meet our own needs and represents a REDUCTION of 106 new homes per annum compared to the 950 new homes per annum (17,100 over 18 years) envisaged over the period 2013 to 2031 in our East Devon Local Plan adopted in Jan 2016. (ref http://eastdevon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan-2013-2031/)
The reduction reflects our delivery of a high rate of housing delivery, coupled with our strong promotion of economic growth, to deliver an ‘affordability ratio’ where East Devon is one of five local authorities nationwide with the biggest improvement in ‘affordability’ of housing, based on government figures for 2015-16.
Where can future growth go?
Work is at an early stage, but many principles which led to the East Devon Local plan locating much of the required growth in the west of the district, still apply. However, wherever growth is to be accommodated, it needs to be in sustainable locations.
Increasingly, local authorities must work together to understand the ‘bigger picture’. For us this means by setting out a strategic framework for the Great Exeter Area – a bit of ‘joined up thinking’!
This will take the form of a Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) for the period to 2040, currently being developed by East Devon District, Exeter City Council, Teignbridge and Mid Devon, in conjunction with Devon County Council. The GESP will cover the Exeter ‘travel to work area’ to ensure we meet overall housing needs for the right sort of homes in the right places.
A co-ordinated approach is the only way we will be able to ensure future homes and employment opportunities can be in sustainable locations, supported by essential transport, education, healthcare and other infrastructure, to ensure the health, safety, prosperity and happiness of all East Devon residents. This, at the same time as safeguarding and enhancing the natural environment in which we live and work.
EDDC Performance snapshots and Headlines…
- Estimated 61% of all waste was recycled in August against an EU target of 65% by 2030
- 96% of invoices received are paid within 10 days
- Queen’s Drive Space, Exmouth – The Queen’s Drive Space which opened in May has been very well received by locals and visitors to Exmouth.
- New EDDC Offices, Blackdown House, Honiton – estimated completion date 23rd November 2018. “Open for Business” on Monday 28th January 2019.
- Uplyme Village Hall received £1,875 toward kitchen improvements from EDDC Community Fund Panel.
Full details on all stories and the latest news on my website www.trinitymatters.co.uk
Cllr Ian Thomas
Leader – East Devon District Council
Ward Member – Trinity
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