Encouragingly Castle Point council have again refused permission to develop another Green Belt site.
This time at Catherine Road, Benfleet, where a wooded site had been cleared prior to a proposal for 6 detached houses.
Castle Point, as many will be aware, are without a recognised required 5 Year Housing Supply. At the development committee meeting it was reiterated that the “emerging” local Plan, will include a 5 Year Housing Supply, albeit supported by previously developed Green Belt being released for development. The question of deliverability will be the issue scrutinised by developers and an Inspector.
However, apparently less encouragingly this very week the Telegraph newspaper published a controversial article adding even more pressure from the government on local authorities to supply even more homes than previously expected, in areas such as Castle Point.
The Telegraph article reads;
“Families living in some of the most sought-after parts of the country will be forced to accept more homes being built near them to tackle the housing crisis, the Communities Secretary has said.
Sajid Javid said that he wants communities which have benefited from soaring property prices to play their part in solving the housing crisis.
New rules to force councils to increase their housing targets will be published in the next three weeks.
Mr Javid’s comments could be seen as a new assault on homeowners with a Nimby” – “Not In My Back Yard” – attitude towards new development. It could also prove controversial with grassroots Tory voters, many of whom live in affluent areas.
But last week, Damian Green, the First Secretary of State, said the Conservative Party had to focus on building affordable homes and creating jobs for “young metropolitan” voters if it wants to expand its support base and win the next general election.
Mr Green suggested that the Conservatives’ defeat (sic) at the general election last month was in part because they had allowed Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to seduce younger voters who have struggled to get onto the housing ladder.
Separately, ministers will say on Wednesday that towns and villages across England could get a share of £1billion a year to build bypasses and protect beauty spots from the “misery of lorries and thundering traffic”.
Mr Javid used a speech to council leaders to set out the Government’s plans to deal with the housing crisis and have “a much more frank, open discussion with local residents and communities” about housing.
This means wealthy communities living in areas “where housing is particularly unaffordable” have to accept that more homes needed to be built nearby.
He told council leaders at the Local Government Association’s annual conference: “Nothing is more corrosive to trust than the idea that some areas are being treated better than others.
“Where housing is particularly unaffordable, local leaders need to take a long, hard, honest look to see if they are planning for the right number of homes.
One source at the department said part of the problem was that “you see more active groups locally contesting against decisions” in wealthy areas.
It comes six years after the Government clashed with rural campaigners over plans to make it easier to build on green belt land by relaxing planning laws in favour of developers.
Mr Javid directly criticised Theresa May, the Prime Minister, along with her predecessors in Downing Street, for not doing more to provide enough homes for young families.
He said: “Since the 1970s – under Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May – we’ve supplied an average of 160,000 new homes each year. That’s far below what’s needed.”
A new Government consultation paper published this month will provide a “new way for councils to assess their local housing requirements”, Mr Javid said.
Councils are expected to be asked to commission an assessment of how much and what kind of housing is needed in their area. Councils will then use it to inform the housing target in the local plan which sets out where new homes can be built. The target will be reassessed every five years.
The new way of calculating housing need is expected to result in increases of up to 25 per cent in housing forecasts in the Home Counties, campaigners fear.
Mr Javid said: “Our aim is simple: to ensure these plans begin life as they should, with an honest, objective assessment of how much housing is required.
“That means a much more frank, open discussion with local residents and communities.”
The new initiative for more homes would involve “courage to both conceive and execute”, he said: “There will be tough decisions, difficult conversations. But that is what political leadership is about.”
Mr Javid said ministers would ensure that the extra schools, roads and doctors’ surgeries for the new homes would be built.
A spokesman for Mr Javid’s department said: “We want to make sure that local plans are based on an honest assessment of the need for new homes in local authority areas, and are formed in a transparent way that gives communities a strong voice to shape their area.”
Article by Christopher Hope, 4 July 2017
Photograph, illustrative purposes only.