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New Government ‘housing need’ proposals will impact on Hampshire countryside

19 September 2017

Proposed new figures for ‘housing need’ are set to have a significant impact on Hampshire, and could put at risk the vital role of protecting the countryside. This is the view of the major countryside protection organisation in the county,the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire.

CPRE Hampshire is responding to the Government’s long-awaited Housing Need consultation called ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’*. While the campaigning charity believes more homes are urgently needed to meet Hampshire’s housing needs, it says that the priority focus must be on affordability and location.

Edward Dawson, a CPRE Hampshire Trustee said: “The Government needs to achieve two aims. The first is to meet the housing needs of the country, and second to protect our precious countryside.

We think the new numbers are helpful in some areas of Hampshire, but potentially damaging in others. Parts of southern Hampshire will be expected to take higher numbers, and this extends into East Hampshire. To the north, parts of Basingstoke and Deane will be given an increase from the current 850 houses a year to 974. This would mean extension of development into sensitive rural areas and villages. Other areas, like Hart and Rushmoor will see some relief, and it may kill the idea of a new town there for years to come.”

CPRE accepts the need to upgrade the system of assessing housing need, which is called the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN), but this is only one step in determining the ‘Housing Requirement’ for an area. Working out where new housing is built is just as important. CPRE Hampshire will respond to the consultation by 9 November 2017 and welcomes views from local communities.

Charlee Bennett, Chief Executive of CPRE Hampshire, added that: “We have been eagerly awaiting this consultation. As always, we want to ensure that we’re building the right housing for our population, and that required development protects the countryside we all love.

Changing how housing needs is assessed is a complex and technical issue. To help the Government come to the best solution, we’ve pulled together a working group to respond to the consultation in full. We will also be looking at how these changes and resulting numbers would impact on local communities through the local and neighbourhood plans already in place across the county.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation, the results will vary across the county. Looking at housing and the environment across Hampshire as a whole would help the county find more acceptable solutions to deliver housing requirements.”

Notes:

* Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-right-homes-in-the-right-places-consultation-proposals

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