Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Allocating housing numbers in East Devon

East Devon, like many other District Councils, does not have a Five-Year Housing Land Supply plan:
Futures Forum: Does not having a new Local Plan or Land Supply in place leave East Devon vulnerable to development?

This leaves authorities vulnerable to unexpected development applications:

The requirement

To help with boosting the supply of housing, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to identify and keep up-to-date a deliverable five year housing land supply. Without this, even recently adopted planning policies for the supply of housing will be considered out of date (NPPF para 49).  
This is particularly important given that the NPPF states that where relevant policies are out-of-date, permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts outweigh the benefits, or other policies indicate otherwise, when assessed against the NPPF (paragraph 10).  
Having an understanding of supply is also key to fulfilling the NPPF requirement to demonstrate the expected rate of housing delivery and how housing targets will be met (paragraph 47). The message is clear. If you don't have a deliverable five year housing land supply, you are at risk, even if you have an adopted Core Strategy / Local Plan.

How do you establish whether a local planning authority has allocated enough housing land to be secure against challenge on those grounds at appeal, asks Susanna Millar.

With the government trying to solve the issue of how to provide more homes, it needs to ensure councils maintain a supply of sites that can be built on. As for councils themselves, allocating enough housing land means they can be more secure against challenge at appeal if they refuse planning applications in their area. 
Savills says the absence of a five-year land supply is the strongest common feature of appeals that have been allowed. One of the most cited cases is communities secretary Eric Pickles' decision to allow an appeal for 1,000 homes at Bishops Cleeve in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

The struggle for sites | Planning Resource

On the one hand there is very high demand for housing in Devon 
from both outside:
Futures Forum: Housing: "it would be impossible to build to meet demand because there is a never-ending queue of people who want to move to Devon."
and from inside:
Futures Forum: “We need the Government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing, take real steps to improve the private rented sector and to...”

But District Councils are not happy about the pressures they are under to build more housing under national housing policy:
Stockton Council backs calls for national inquiry into impact of planning policy

Nor is Honiton:
Save our AONB Honiton | Facebook

East Devon District Council Head of... - Save our AONB Honiton | Facebook
Honiton Town Council - Agendas,Minutes & Meeting Dates

Nor is Feniton:
Feniton not prepared for ‘explosive growth’, says MP | Susie Bond
View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset
East Devon & Exeter - Devon District Groups - CPRE Devon - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Where exactly are District Councils going to allow housing to be built?
Remediation funds no longer available for brownfield sites so councils have to recommend greenfield sites whether they like it or not | Sidmouth Independent News

Futures Forum: Greenfield vs Brownfield

How much housing has the District Council either allocated or given consent to?
www.eastdevon.gov.uk/new_local_plan_publication_draft_dec_2011_lowres-4.pdf (December 2011 figures)
www.eastdevon.gov.uk/publicationdraftnewlocalplan.pdf (November 2012 figures)
Information on planning consents - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow
Simple questions about planning consents in Sidmouth and parking revenue, but no such thing as a simple answer at EDDC | Sidmouth Independent News

On the one hand, there does seem to be more housing being built:
Housebuilding surges ahead: particularly in East Devon | Sidmouth Independent News
On the other, South-West Councils are under further pressure to sell off social housing:
Unease at Osborne's council housing sell-off if rural Westcountry areas picked clean | Western Morning News

And it is proving very difficult to come up with enough 'affordable housing':
Planning for Housing Affordability - Campaign to Protect Rural England
Futures Forum: CPRE and new homes: part two
What even is affordable housing? - Comment - Voices - The Independent
Futures Forum: “We need the Government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing...”

This set of proposals from the County Council, October 2009, seems, four years later, to be insufficient, despite the good intentions:

How can you make it happen?
Housing Needs Survey
The first stage of a scheme is to get accurate information. 
Identifying land and sites
A significant challenge will be to find an appropriate site or property for development. 
Community Engagement
Usually communities will be the first to identify the need for affordable housing locally
Selecting your Developer
Your District Council will have preferred Housing Association partners.


And yet it is unclear as to how much new housing in East Devon is actually 'affordable':
East Devon District Council - Affordable Housing
www.eastdevon.gov.uk/plg_affordablehouseingspg.pdf (2004)
East Devon District Council - Delivering Affordable Housing
Futures Forum: East Devon and affordable housing: November 2012
Affordable Housing - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow
Amount of 'affordable housing' allocated in East Devon - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

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