Tuesday, 17 June 2014

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

There are several questions around how the 'need for housing' is actually measured, 
whether nationally:
Futures Forum: “Policy makers should not use a perceived shortage in the supply of housing as a smoke screen.”
Futures Forum: Housing crisis - what housing crisis? ... "Evidence for a UK housing shortage is hard to come by."

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

There are still further questions, smoke-screens - and plenty of cynicism at play:

'Demand for housing' can never be met:
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."

Otherwise, development would be unsustainable:
[Cllr Brazil] said it would be impossible to build to meet demand because there was a never-ending queue of people who wanted to move to Devon. He emphasised that it wasn’t about need, but demand.

And it does depend on how you define 'need':
Wierd letter from the EDDC Portfolio Holder, Strategic Development and Partnership – that’s Andrew Moulding to you and me | Sidmouth Independent News

Much of the 'demand' is coming from retirees wanting to move into the county/District:
Futures Forum: Migration, Sidmouth and East Devon
Futures Forum: Elderly to blame for housing crisis...?
Futures Forum: "Regency Seaside Town Sidmouth?" ... "Is there a future for a town with a past?"

In fact, it's very difficult to work out the 'exact housing numbers' for East Devon:
Futures Forum: Allocating housing numbers in East Devon

Housing numbers have been inflated:
From where the evidence of the 15000 (or 17000!) new homes originated is not clear. (see attached LPsubJan2012) In their report to the LDF Panel consultants Roger Tyms & Partners predicted by 2026 an increase in the East Devon population of 22500 (17%) equivalent to 13,700 homes. It is noted that the chairman supported EDDC officer Kate Little’s recommendation of 15000 new homes while other panel members considered 12500 homes to be adequate.

The CPRE have highlighted the much lower predicted rise in population, which brings us to a lower figure of 11,000 new homes needed:
Futures Forum: Five Year Land Supply in East Devon: CPRE

The figures for planning consents in the draft Local Plan are rather out of date
– November 2012 in fact:

The original Tym's Report questioned the standard ratio of one house, one job - which in turn undermined the circular argument that building more housing necessitates more employment opportunities:
The Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce welcomed the Tym’s Report in questioning the District Council’s assumed relationship of jobs to households of ‘roughly 1:1’: “…rather, they have recalibrated it to an exact relationship of 0.81:1, which a very different number”:

On the other hand, there is, expectedly, a lot of pressure coming from developers:

Developers would like to build on Sidmouth's green belt - as noted in a posting from SOS this week:
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

This echoes press reports from earlier this year:

The Vision Group has considered such large-scale proposals before 
- and there are questions around the newly-proposed site:

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