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CPRE Hampshire says affordable homes needed to boost housing supply

Affordable housing at Privett Green, Petersfield Affordable housing at Privett Green, Petersfield

9 November 2017

Planning volunteers at the Hampshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England emphasise the need for affordable housing for young people in their response to the public consultation ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’1, in which the Government sets out proposed measures to boost housing supply.

The Government’s proposals include a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need, which CPRE Hampshire believes will result in a further increase in disparity between areas of different wealth, with yet more housing and investment channelled to already wealthier and prosperous areas to the detriment of less well-provided areas.

CPRE Hampshire’s Planning and Policy Group Chairman, Christopher Napier OBE, says: “The proposed method of assessing housing need perpetuates the myth that simply building more houses in areas of high housing prices will somehow improve affordability, when evidence is already clear that it will not.

The housing market is broken and the real need is to build many more houses of a type and size affordable for the younger generation now largely excluded from the housing market. A policy must be designed which is targeted at the 25-34 year old age group.”

CPRE Hampshire says that the housing need formula, as proposed, has no relationship with availability of infrastructure, public transport options, water resources, employment or the impact on protected areas, such as in the New Forest.

The charity is particularly concerned that the proposed increase in housing numbers2, combined with the Government’s proposals that Local Plans will be considered out of date after five years from adoption, will lead to a return to speculative applications by developers claiming lack of a five-year supply based on the new housing need assessment (which is proposed to apply immediately where Plans are more than five years old).

Christopher Napier OBE, says: “The assessment of housing need contained in a Local Plan should be regarded as fixed and valid for an absolute minimum of five years from the time that the plan is adopted. Otherwise the concept of a plan-led system becomes meaningless and this would magnify uncertainty and plunge communities back into an era of free for all and planning by appeal.

If Local Plans become out of date in this way, then so will Neighbourhood Plans, likely leading to much disillusion within communities when they realise that their Neighbourhood Plan will not endure for the stated period, despite being endorsed by community referendum and the result of much dedicated work by individuals.”

CPRE Hampshire is campaigning for a more strategic approach to planning across the county. Find out more at www.cprehampshire.org.uk.

Notes for editors

1 Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposal (consultation closes 11.45pm 9 November 2017) (web link)

2 New Government ‘housing need’ proposals will impact on Hampshire countryside, CPRE Hampshire news release 19 September 2017 (web link)

CPRE Hampshire’s Hampshire Strategic Vision (web link)

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