Wednesday, 25 March 2015

District Council to consider draft Local Plan >>>>> Thursday 26th March >>> rural housing numbers

On Monday this week, there was a lot of talk about making villages 'sustainable' by allowing them have new housing which would support local services:
Futures Forum: District Council to consider draft Local Plan >>>>> Monday 23rd March >>> reports on housing

One commentator felt that Mid Devon District Council was 'more enlightened' on the issue of rural housing - and pointed to the provisions in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Para. 55: To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside
6. Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes | Planning Practice Guidance

The Landworkers' Alliance seems to agree:
Landworkers’ Alliance Response to DCLG Consultation Paper Greater Flexibilities for Change of Use | The Land Workers' Alliance

Para, 28: Planning policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development.
3. Supporting a prosperous rural economy | Planning Practice Guidance

The Communities and Local Government Committee would agree - but warn:

For a plan-led system to work, plans need to be in place. The NPPF cannot be truly successful until every local authority has an adopted, up-to-date local plan. Unfortunately, progress in getting local plans adopted remains far too slow. (Paragraph 28)

Meanwhile, one East Devon village, despite the lack of a local plan and housing policy, might not be having an 'overdevelopment' of new homes:
Wainhomes kicked into the long grass | Susie Bond
Wainhomes: end of the road in Feniton – maybe … | East Devon Watch

Tomorrow evening, the full Council will be looking at the local plan - and housing numbers:
Extra Ordinary meeting of the Council of the District of East Devon onThursday 26 March 2015

This blog has looked at other issues around 'solving the housing problem':
Futures Forum: Garden Villages ... "Empowering localism to solve the housing crisis"

Including 'taxing second homes':
Futures Forum: National Park for East Devon and Dorset: next stage pt 2
Futures Forum: France: taxing second homes
Futures Forum: The West Country: taxing second homes
Futures Forum: Devon: taxing second homes

Over the last month or so, there have been several pieces in the media on housing in rural Devon:

Housing challenge 'bigger than ever'

Monday, 23 February 2015 15:55
Written by  Ruralcity Media

Housing challenge 'bigger than ever'
PEOPLE who live and work in the countryside face a bigger battle than ever to afford their own home, says a report.
The Rural Housing Policy Review Group, chaired by Lord Richard Best, launched its Fair Deal for Rural Communities report on Monday (23 February).
The group was set up to consider whether progress has been made taking forward recommendations from various affordable rural housing reportrs published during the last decade.
The report concludes that the next generation of people who need to live and work in rural communities face a tougher future than ever.
Writing in the foreword to the report, Lord Best said: There are severe housing shortages throughout the UK but rural areas face special difficulties."

Housing challenge 'bigger than ever'

Scrap 'bedroom tax', says ACRE

Thursday, 12 February 2015 09:01
Written by  Ruralcity Media
Scrap 'bedroom tax', says ACRE
The next government is being urged to scrap the 'bedroom tax' in rural communities with fewer than 3,000 people.
There simply aren't enough one and two-bedroom properties in the countryside for tenants who want to downsize because they can't afford to pay more rent, claims Action with Communities in Rural England.
The rural charity made the call in its 2015 manifesto ahead of a second reading debate next month of a bill to exempt unpaid family carers from the charge.
ACRE – the national voice for England's network of rural community councils – said it supported the bill but insisted a similar exemption should be made for rural settlements under 3,000.
The under-occupation charge, or bedroom tax, which cuts the benefits of tenants of working age in homes deemed to have spare rooms, came into force in April 2013.
Since then, according to a 2014 report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, evidence broadly suggests that about half of affected tenants have fallen into arrears.

Scrap 'bedroom tax', says ACRE

Ban second home-owners buying new homes in popular rural villages - report

By GDemianyk  |  Posted: February 23, 2015

South West villages over-run by second home owners should be given the power to ban part-time residents from buying new homes in the area, ministers have been told.
A rural housing taskforce today says developers should be allowed to build in popular rural and coastal areas, but only if they reserve a chunk – up to 100 per cent — for local people.
The group points to Exmoor National Park on the Devon-Somerset border, where all new homes are now sold to people who have lived in the area for at least ten years, as a model the Government could adopt.
Cornwall and Devon have among the highest levels of second home ownership in the country, with around 26,000 part-time properties in the region.
The report, put together by the rural housing policy review group, warns the “exclusion” of local people fuels a “vicious cycle of decline, leaving behind an ageing and increasingly vulnerable population”.
The group includes former Cornwall MP and Lib Dem peer, Matthew Taylor, a prominent campaigner on rural housing problems, Peter Moore, chief executive of Cornwall Rural Housing Association, and Devon landowner David Fursdon, chairman of the South West Rural Farming Network.
In Exmoor, about 100 homes had been built in the park in the past five years, and sold with a 40% discount on the market rate to locals.
Underlining the local despair, in November residents in St Ives, Cornwall, proposed a ban on building of any new holiday lets or second homes in its Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Lord Taylor, who in 2008 carried out the “Living Working Countryside” review for Gordon Brown’s Labour government, said: “Without full-time families to use them, the local school, shop, post office, pub and bus are all at risk.
“Since then both Labour and Conservative politicians have vetoed my proposal to give affected local communities the planning powers to stop even more-full time homes being converted to part time use.
“As a result the problem continues to get worse.”
Lord Taylor, MP for Truro and St Austell for 23 years, added: “When St Ives neighbourhood plan proposed that new homes should be required to be occupied full time, the Conservative Planning Minister attacked them.
“Yet the fact is there are plenty enough holiday homes in places like St Ives already – it is local people who are being left out in the cold.
“We are not proposing to ban holiday homes – but we do say communities should be able to say enough is enough if they wish, and ensure new homes go to those who can’t afford a first home, not those lucky enough to be able to afford a second one.”
House prices are typically higher in rural areas but salaries lower.
The report also calls on the Government to reverse its new policy that means developments of fewer than ten homes are exempt from ensuring a proportion of the properties are sold or rented at affordable rates.
Lord Taylor said small sites are the “mainstay” of rural housing development.
He said: “In Cornwall and Devon this change, pushed through by the Conservative Planning Minister, will be devastating – leaving most small communities with no hope of affordable housing within local developments and local people unable to afford the vast prices inevitable on the open market in attractive villages.”
He said while new planning guidance had some rural exemptions the main effect will be to “increase site values to the benefit of wealthy landowners at the expense of local people unable to afford a local home”.
The report also calls on the “bedroom tax” to scrapped in rural areas, and for the Right to Buy council housing discount to be curbed because of fears the housing stock is being diminished.
Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister, said: “Trying to impose state bans on who can own property is totally inappropriate and simply will not stand up.”


Ban second home-owners buying new homes in popular rural villages - report | Western Morning News
“Ban second home-owners buying new homes in popular rural villages” | East Devon Watch

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