Monday, 6 July 2015

House builders' promises >>> more 'affordable housing' and 'park & change/ride' for Sidmouth

Two prominent national house builders have submitted proposed changes to the draft Local Plan:
Futures Forum: District Council draft Local Plan >>> proposals for a further 200 houses for Sidmouth 

They can be found here:

Responses to consultation - 16 April to 12 June 2015
Consultation on plan changes concluded at 12 noon on Friday 12 June 2015. Details on responses made are set out below.

Examination and hearing sessions and further consultation at April 2015 - Responses to consultation - 16 April to 12 June 2015 - East Devon

These are the proposals in some detail:


The proposals from 2013 have been resubmitted - with the argument that a mere 100 houses allocated to Sidmouth will actually mean only a meagre allocation of 25 'affordable houses'.


This is of course playing politics - with housing rather than infrastructure:
Futures Forum: "You can't take the politics out of infrastructure planning"

The interest of Persimmon, as with any house-builder, is to build as many houses as possible - and that as many of those should be 'market-price', ie, higher priced than 'affordable housing'.

Especially as the country's larges house-builder is baulking at honoring its current commitments for affordable housing in East Devon - as stated by its agent in another document submitted:

It is suggested elsewhere that the proposed charging schedule for the strategic allocation in Axminster should be lowered or removed in order to take into account site specific issues such as the provision of large scale transport infrastructure. Therefore, in practical terms, if the current charge level is to remain, then this is likely to have serious implications for the provision of affordable housing on site. 

If this situation occurs across a number of sites, this presents a serious risk to meeting local housing needs in East Devon. 

This is a key point. Our client has already expressed their concerns regarding the current phrasing of Strategy 34 – District Wide Affordable Housing Provision Targets in their representations to the Proposed Submission Draft. These state that the currently drafted policy fails to consider that there might be instances where the viability of a development proposal affects the ability to achieve the minimum 25% affordable housing provision sought. This situation will be compounded by an inappropriately set charging schedule.


See also:
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and greenfield sites
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and "promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing..."

The Chamber of Commerce has made it clear that the 'Park & Change' proposals will not benefit Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: District Council draft Local Plan: and Park & Change
... as has the Save Our Sidmouth group:

These proposals have been around for a long time - but framed within the offer of 'Park & Ride':
100 new homes for Sidmouth - News - Sidmouth Herald (August 2009)
Streetlife | What happened to the Park and Ride Scheme? (2013)
Developer targets Sidmouth’s green belt - News - Sidmouth Herald (January 2014)
Park and change and housing proposed for Woolbrook - News - Sidmouth Herald (March 2014)


This developer also puts the need for affordable housing as its priority - mentioning it some 43 times in its submission:

1.5: The site is available now and can suitably deliver much needed market and affordable housing (circa 100 dwellings), alongside employment opportunities for both existing and future residents of Sidmouth.


To conclude, the Chamber of Commerce
... the Save Our Sidmouth group
... and the Vision Group have all voiced concerns about the current housing provisions in the  draft Local Plan:

There are still fundamental unanswered questions as to how the numbers of houses were determined:
Futures Forum: The East Devon Business Forum, housing numbers and greenfield sites
Futures Forum: Housing crisis in Sidmouth - what housing crisis? ............... "Evidence for a housing shortage is hard to come by."

Here are reports from the previous hearings on the draft Local Plan:
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ..... ..... SIDMOUTH: reports from 11th March
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ..... Sidmouth: the issues: The Knowle, Port Royal, Manstone Depot Residential Allocations
Futures Forum: Public Examination of the New East Devon Local Plan ..... Sidmouth session - Tues 25th February

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