Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Over-estimating the 'need' for housing and employment land in East Devon

The figures for the amount of housing 'needed' produced by the District Council in its Local Plan have been challenged many times - for example: 
Futures Forum: Housing numbers projected for East Devon >>> challenging the robustness of the figures

One of these challenges is that the housing numbers were grossly over-stated - and that this 'need' was based on a grossly over-stated prognosis for economic growth.
After all, the more employment land 'needed' to satisfy demand in a 'high-growth' economy, the more housing would be 'needed' to accommodate the extra workers:
Futures Forum: A history of the East Devon Business Forum, part nine ... "The local development framework would enable businesses to progress land allocation. It was agreed that the strategy should reflect the Forum’s views."
Futures Forum: The current state of employment land sites in the Sid Valley
Futures Forum: A history of the East Devon Business Forum, part three... "Members of the Business Forum often underestimated its influence on policy at EDDC; an example was for the need for more employment land in the District."
Futures Forum: The East Devon Business Forum, housing numbers and greenfield sites

Now that that the realities of economic growth are considerably less than the prognosis, the amount of employment land and housing 'needed' is also considerably less - as pointed out today by the East Devon Watch blog:


15 FEB 2017

As the country quietly celebrates annual economic growth of 2%, it is worth reminding ourselves that our housing and employment land allocations were based upon an expectation of a 3% annual economic growth rate over the entire length of the East Devon Local Plan. This is because Plans must be “evidence-based”.

The problem with East Devon’s various plans is that the evidence was hopelessly optimistic and pre-dated the recession, based on consistent “high growth”. When the recession came along, the powers that be just ignored its implications and carried on with their highly optimistic projections.

So today, Britain’s economy has shown only 8% growth since 2007, when the numbers for our Plan were first formulated. But according to our Plan we should be 34.5% ahead of where we were then.

No wonder that Skypark and the Science Park are windswept desolate areas festooned with tumbleweed, and Sidford is looking like complete economic nonsense.

Even if the incredibly unlikely happens, and we see 3% growth until the end of the plan period, we will never fulfil the assumptions that gave us these huge allocations. And when – not if – we fail to reach those optimistic figures, no doubt the government will fine us by telling us our plans must be MORE optimistic next time – and probably will say we have no five-year land supply, so it will be a developer free-for-all again.

So much for evidenced-based Plans: stick your finger in the air, check which way the wind is blowing, make a complete guess (that favours developers) and stick with it, regardless.

Diviani has “withdrawn” his plan to continue as a DCC councillor to “concentrate on being Leader of EDDC” – and a board member of the Local Enterprise Partnership. Owl wonders where the Leader is leading us – by the nose.

“Evidence” for housing need in the post-truth era | East Devon Watch

As pointed out in this comment: in order to justify this over-stated 'need' for housing, more employment land will have to be provided:

One thought on ““Evidence” for housing need in the post-truth era”

Paul F says:
15 Feb 2017 at 4:45pm

To put these housing numbers into context they are equivalent to building one new home for every three existing ones.

That is NOT a misprint. We really are talking about growth of almost a third.

The reason for this was the government’s New Homes Bribe … oops … Bonus which was the means Divisive was relying upon to be able to keep EDDC’s council tax precept the same for several years i.e. a reduction in real terms. (Of course any public sector accountant will tell you that paying for revenue services from capital i.e. one-off receipts is not clever, but then no one had ever accused Diviani of being clever.)

Unfortunately the government has cancelled the New Homes Bonus leaving Eat Devon with the worst of both worlds – new housing developments across East Devon’s beautiful countryside AND big council tax rises as well.

But of course with The Div in charge things are never going to stop there. His new plan is to keep council tax down by relying on business rates growth – in other words lots of new industrial estates (like Sidford) on top of all the new housing.

Just remember one thing – if YOU voted Conservative in the last EDDC elections then YOU voted for this.

“Evidence” for housing need in the post-truth era | East Devon Watch

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