Monday, 16 June 2014

Housing crisis in East Devon - what housing crisis? .............. "Evidence for a housing shortage is hard to come by."

Within the context of the national debate over whether there is in fact a 'housing shortage' or not
Futures Forum: Housing crisis - what housing crisis? ... "Evidence for a UK housing shortage is hard to come by."

... we need to look at what has contributed to a 'housing shortage' in East Devon:


Under the NPPF (current planning regulations), where there is no Local Plan and where there is no 5-year land supply, as is the case in East Devon, then there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development.
And there’s the rub.
Proving or disproving the sustainability of a site is extraordinarily difficult. There is no set model which can be applied and sustainability often comes down to the objective opinion of the person assessing it.
In this case, despite the fact that the site is considered not to conform to the aspirations of either Gittisham Parish Council or Honiton Town Council, because there is no Local Plan in place, councillors on the planning committee felt they had no alternative but to approve the site because they were unable to find reasons for refusal which could be defended at appeal.

Gittisham residents voice concerns over approval of 300 homes at public meeting | Susie Bond

SOS believes the probable extension of the Local Plan period to 2031 will probably mean another 250 houses for Sidmouth, so be prepared to accept the Persimmon development at Woolbrook.

Consequences of EDDC’s failed Local Plan makes another big housing estate for Sidmouth more likely soon | Save Our Sidmouth


An analysis by national campaigning charity the Empty Homes Agency suggests just short of 10,000 properties in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset stood idle in October
Helen Williams, Empty Homes Agency chief executive, said: “The housing crisis looks set to be a key battleground in the general election and we hope that all political parties compete to come up with creative initiatives to tackle empty homes.”

Exeter and East Devon have seen a rise in the number of empty houses, a report shows.
This is despite councils slashing council tax discounts and offering loans to help bring homes back to use, as properties are becoming vacant quicker than authorities can successfully offer assistance.
Empty homes are seen as a blight on communities that also increase council housing waiting lists and put pressure on the cost of both buying and renting a property, which has spiralled in the last decade.
The figures indicate a battle across the region to get on top of empty homes, which often fall into disrepair when inherited and the new owners fear it cannot be sold.

Exeter and East Devon sees rise in number of empty homes | Exeter Express and Echo


The newly-formed “Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton” protest group has already set up a “No To Retirement Homes” petition which reads: “The residents of Seaton would like to inform East Devon District Council that they wish to see a growing vibrant town with an opportunity for tourism and trade to expand.
“We petition East Devon District Council to only provide permission for a hotel/holiday accommodation on the Harbour Road/Tesco regeneration site (Seaton).”
It was the second blow connected with the regeneration site with the recent news that plans for 200 new houses on the on the site would not include any provision for affordable homes.

View From Online - News from West Dorset, East Devon & South Somerset

Cllr Williams told The Herald he had great concerns about the project.
“I may not be speaking for the town council but although I understand that Seaton, like any other seaside town, attracts the elderly who have retired, I believe it requires holiday accommodation more that retirement homes.
“The town is desperate for such accommodation since the closure of the Lyme bay holiday village. There has to be a balance between the two if Seaton is to prosper. Unfortunately the balance seems to be tipping towards Seaton becoming more of a retirement home than a tourist destination.
“So far this site has not given us the promised affordable homes or a hotel, just homes which the low paid in Seaton cannot afford, a large supermarket which the town cannot support and a proposed retirement home. Some may say Seaton got the mucky end of the stick and the speculators are laughing all the way to the bank.”

The view of many pro-action group members is that more retirement flats are not needed in the town but a hotel and job opportunities for the town’s youth, are.
“There is a massive amount of retirement flats already in the town and we understand that it is a struggle to sell them. We need a balance and the youth are being neglected.”

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