The need for housing cannot be denied, the numbers, the type and their positioning is open to conjecture.
Locally in Castle Point, Green Belt is intended to be used to supply a substantial amount regardless that sites indicated within the old 1998 Plan remain un-developed.
A debate is being fashioned locally so as to identify which areas of GB should be released for development. The favoured qualification now is “virgin” Green Belt.
Christine Whitehead, Professor of Housing Economics, appears to align herself with this as a selection process.
“One of the big problems is the name ‘greenbelt’; it is definitely a belt but is often not at all green. A lot is low amenity, poorly managed and unattractive scrubland
Building on the less attractive parts of the green belt could often result in fewer negative effects on the neighbourhood.”
Clearly an economist’s view of the GB as land nearest built up areas are likely to have high residual values.
The purpose of the GB is the important factor, not the quality.
The Green Belt has been drawn up for sound reasons and any change in boundaries will have lasting terminal effects.
Areas removed from the Green Belt boundaries in Castle Point, assuming they still exist, will be undefendable against development applications regardless of whether these areas are ideal for the purpose.
Urban Sprawl will be the biggest factor impacting upon Castle Point.
Estimated housing need in the Borough is quoted as anywhere from the “historic” 150 dwellings per annum to 200, 300, 400 and beyond dependent on which source is believed!
Even at 200 dwellings per annum the effects over the new Local Plan 20 year term will be dramatic on the landscape, especially as it appears to be an ever multiplying factor.
The more that is built the more the need created to satisfy – Local Need.
Christine Whitehead goes on:
“Economic growth inherently means more households looking for better housing – and if supply cannot at least keep pace with this additional demand it will simply come out in even higher house prices, further increasing the chances of boom and bust”
Recent planning proposals have indicated the CPBC required affordable housing allocation is being disregarded, unchallenged. Developers are building their preferred market priced housing whilst not providing the balance the Borough needs.
The housing market is expected to create the growth taking the UK out of recession.
Pressure coming down from Government through the Planning Inspectorate appears to be build as much as soon as possible. However developers appear to be looking for sustainable growth. They are taking on employees at a controlled rate to match the investment they can raise to support new development.
Build too much at a rate that buyers cannot find mortgages for, would stall the market.
This concentration on market price housing is at the cost to people needing affordable housing. Thorney Bay sees a conveyor belt of in-transit migrants, many deserving of social housing. Castle Point is not satisfying these needs. Others live in unsuitable accommodation.
Recently ahead of the European Elections, BBC Radio 4 interviewed an Eastern European woman who had moved to the UK. Back in her homeland she was a trained nurse. She had left her home to come to the UK and work as a cleaner.
Whilst it is admirable that she is trying to better herself, it is at a cost. The UK lose a cleaners job whilst her homeland lose a skilled nurse.
The growth in zero hours contracts will eliminate local people from being able to obtain a mortgage.
Maybe the lack of housing is no more the problem, than an abundance of people.
Perhaps that ia what the mainland voters latched onto at the recent Local Elections.
Christine Whitehead’s article can be read via this link