Saturday, 19 September 2015

A solution to our housing problems: build on car parks

[This is a companion piece to:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth parking issues: decreasing capacity at Ham Lane]

Councils are not building enough social housing:
Why we need more social housing - Shelter England
Fabian Society » The overwhelming case for new public housing

Or perhaps they shouldn't be building any in the first place:
We need to build more homes - just don't make them social housing - Telegraph

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy recently gave this pertinent analysis:
The lingering death of social housing | Public Finance

Meanwhile, councils are being told to sell off their social housing:
Nearly 113,000 council houses could be sold off under Government plans to expand Right to Buy scheme, housing charity warns | This is Money

... including in this part of the UK:
East Devon council housing – 260 plus homes will have to be sold off | East Devon Watch
East Devon among areas to be worst hit under new government plans for council homes to be sold off | Exeter Express and Echo
Council flats in Devon and Cornwall to sell for £500,000 | Western Morning News

One solution to our housing problems is to build on brownfield sites - whether social, housing assn or market:
Futures Forum: Greenfield vs Brownfield: part two

Futures Forum: Greenfield vs Brownfield .......... which is 'more expensive' ........... and for whom?
Futures Forum: "Waste of Space" campaign to identify alternative sites: "More housing is needed in England and we support the Government’s policy that brownfield land should be used for new homes."
Futures Forum: CPRE: 'Getting Houses Built' >>> supporting small builders and improving the viability of brownfield development

As reported in the Mail last year - and as compiled by the CPRE:

Acute housing supply crisis could be solved by building one million new homes on existing 'brownfield' land

Existing brownfield sites could be utilised to build 976,000 new homes
44% of possible sites in London, south-east and east of England
CPRE: Research shows 'huge existing capacity' for brownfield housing

By BEN SALISBURY FOR THIS IS MONEY PUBLISHED: 10:50, 24 November 2014 View comments

England has enough suitable ‘brownfield’ land to build almost a million new homes, campaigners said today, perhaps providing a pointer to solving Britain's acute housing shortage.

More than 400,000 homes could be built on previously developed land which already has outline or detailed planning permission, according to information from local authorities compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

By using 'brownfield' sites and vacant or derelict land that does not need planning permission, the problem of the lack of supply of new homes, particularly in London and the south-east, could be addressed whilst also protecting the green belt, the CPRE report said. 

Housing solution: A new report says almost one million new homes could be built on existing brownfield sites

A further 550,000 new homes could be built on vacant or derelict land that does not have planning permission, according to the research.

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: 'This research demonstrates the huge existing capacity for housing on brownfield land. At a time when there is great pressure on our green spaces, utilising this land through a brownfield first policy would protect our countryside and regenerate urban areas.'

The shortage of supply of new properties has been a factor in the rise in house prices which are up by 12 per cent on last year and is pricing young people out of the property market.

A recent report by Rightmove found the number of new builds and completions are still lagging behind 1997 levels with each estate agent having an average of just 60 properties available to buy in November, the lowest figure for that month since records began in 2004. Some estimates suggest the UK has a shortfall of one million homes.

44 per cent of the vacant space is located in the South East, East of England and London. In the capital, where there is huge pressure for housing, 146,000 homes could be built on brownfield land.

In total, the report identifies enough brownfield land for 976,000 homes, providing the country with a four-year supply of new housing even if no other land is used.

CPRE said this figure was an underestimate because it does not include underused land such as car parks which could be used for housing.

Acute housing supply crisis could be solved by building one million new homes on existing 'brownfield' land | This is Money

Here's an example of what to do with 'brownfield' from the Guardian - from the States:

Multistorey car park in US transformed into designer micro-apartments

Many of the 105 million parking spaces in American cities are under-used: could they be repurposed into affordable housing?


A SCADpad apartment and community garden in a car park overlooking downtown Atlanta – each apartment takes up one parking space. Photograph: Chia Chong

Rebecca Burns Wednesday 9 July 2014


The American love affair with the car is well documented. But dysfunction drives this relationship. For every romantic vision of the open highway comes a sign of co-dependence: huge spending on roads, development that encourages sprawl, and health problems pegged to sitting in traffic. Perhaps no sign is more telling than the space devoted to parking all those cars; according to a 2012 study by Eran Ben-Joseph of MIT, at least one-third of the space in American cities is dedicated to parking – acres and acres of asphalt and hulking concrete garages.

Parking doesn’t just eat up real estate, it also consumes potential tax revenue. Researchers with the University of Connecticut and the Smart State Transportation Initiative (SSTI) released a pair of studies in April that showed a single parking spot costs a city an average of $1,000 in lost tax revenue annually. Take Hartford, Connecticut, for example. The researchers calculated it would bring in $50m more tax revenue if space dedicated to parking were used for buildings instead. Auto-centric zoning requirements waste valuable urban space and discourage alternative transportation.

But, a new generation of Americans is less starry-eyed when it comes the automobile. Millennials – those in the 18 to 35-year-old age range – own fewer cars and are more interested in alternative ways of commuting. At the same time, this generation wants to live in cities, but is frustrated by the lack of affordable apartments.

Multistorey car park in US transformed into designer micro-apartments | Cities | The Guardian

Whilst there have been questions raised about the role of housing associations in the provision of affordable housing
Why housing associations are the true villains of the property crisis » The Spectator
Why are housing associations failing to build enough homes? - Channel 4 News

... there has been a very successful example of the Devon & Cornwall HS - in partnership with the District Council -building housing in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Affordable housing in Sidmouth: DCH and EDDC
Futures Forum: Affordable Housing in Sidmouth: DCH and EDDC: project in Mill Street completed

This is in Mill Street - and this is where the District Council is proposing more social housing.
The proposal is very much against the wishes of the business community which fears the loss of carparking in the centre of town:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth parking issues: decreasing capacity at Ham Lane

Here is the front cover of the latest Herald produced again, with full comment:

Breaking news & sport in Sidmouth | Sidmouth Herald

And, again, here is the latest Express & Echo:

Council's home plan for underperforming Sidmouth car park

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: September 17, 2015

Sidmouth car park

East Devon District Council is planning on building homes on a current car park site in the town.

A study has been launched into the possibility of transforming its currently underutilised Mill Street car park into accommodation for local families in Sidmouth.

Despite a perceived lack of parking in Sidmouth, Mill Street car park, which has capacity for a total of 46 cars has not proved a popular choice with either local residents or business users.Only 25 of the spaces have found customers willing to pay the annual fee of £1,500 plus vat (and business rates for business users) in return for their use. The council almost trebled the cost of an annual permit at the car park last year - a move that was deemed unpopular by many residents.

In view of this current lack of viability, the council is actively considering alternative uses for the site. Investing in social housing provision is one proposition, particularly as the site is opposite the Holmdale housing development.

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “We will have access to substantial Section 106 funding, so it would seem an ideal opportunity to invest this money in further social housing provision in Sidmouth town itself. We will presently be talking to our partners and looking into the feasibility of a new social housing scheme on this site. However, it is still our intention to continue to offer sufficient reserved car parking spaces at both Holmdale (which has 12 vacant spaces) and Mill Street to meet the needs of our existing customers.

“A full analysis of the viability of Mill Street as a housing development will of course be carried out, with further reports going to Cabinet and consultation with interested parties will take place if the housing scheme that is being considered proceeds to planning application. If the housing scheme isn’t feasible, other options will be presented to councillors.”

Councillor Iain Chubb, Portfolio holder for the environment at East Devon, said: “While we are exploring the feasibility of a housing development, we are very aware that 33 unoccupied car parking spaces in Sidmouth town centre is not to anyone’s benefit. We are therefore considering creating 33 temporary parking spaces to be made available to the public on a pay and display tariff in partnership with a private sector provider. This joint venture arrangement with a preferred partner would utilise automatic number plate recognition camera technology to manage the use of these spaces.”

Councillor Jill Elson, Portfolio holder for sustainable housing and communities at East Devon, said: “Sidmouth is in acute need of more affordable housing for local families. The regeneration of this car park would help towards meeting this need. This is an opportunity that cannot be overlooked, particularly as we will have sufficient funding from 106 contributions with which to execute the works.”

Council's home plan for underperforming Sidmouth car park | Exeter Express and Echo

See also:
Futures Forum: Planning which is 'informed by the needs of humans rather than buildings, transport or politics.'

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