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Roger F Smith - CPRE Sussex
Roger F Smith

Roger F Smith

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times 29 December 2016:

Sir,

Neighbourhood Plans at risk: having a 5 year supply of housing is dependent on the performance of developers and house-builders that are under no regulatory obligation to meet 5 year requirements

According to Nick Herbert MP (WSCT 15 Dec 16), Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, has announced that neighbourhood plans would be protected for two years, unless there is a significant lack of land supply.

Ostensibly this is good news for communities that have ‘made’ neighbourhood plans.

But are Mr Herbert and the Housing Minister aware that having a 5 year supply of housing is dependent on the performance of developers and house-builders that are under no regulatory obligation to meet 5 year requirements.

Mr Barwell and Mr Herbert should read the report by Civitas:- ‘Planning approvals vs Housebuilding activity, 2006-2015’ (Aug16), which found that of the 2,035,835 new homes granted permission by local authorities over the period only 1,261,350 have been started.

The report concludes that this huge shortfall has accumulated because house-builders and developers are hoarding permissions in order to push-up house prices and profits and that “the key to building many more homes does not lie in increasing the number of permissions which are granted each year – but in ensuring that those permissions which are granted are built out much more quickly”.

It would therefore be helpful if Mr Herbert were to ask the Housing Minister to direct Planning Inspector’s to take into account this reality when deciding Appeals where Council’s are unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply of housing.

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith for CPRE Sussex

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times, 15 September 2016

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times, 18 August 2016

Sir,

Developer claims that the 35% affordable homes stipulated as a Policy by the Horsham District Planning Framework is a ‘proposal’ not a ‘requirement’.

An outline planning application for ‘up to 2750 dwellings’ and a ‘business park’ (DC/16/1677) North of Horsham is now out for public consultation.

District Councillors who spoke and voted for the vast urban extension on countryside North of Horsham argued that that this contentious country-side consuming development would provide affordable homes for Horsham’s young people who would otherwise have to reside outside of Horsham District. 

It should therefore be of considerable concern to our elected representatives that the proportion of affordable homes offered by the applicant is 30% (therefore 825), not the 35% (therefore 962)stipulated by the Council’s adopted HDPF (Policy 16) for sites providing 15 or more dwellings; a shortfall therefore of 137 affordable homes.

Furthermore, according to the applicant’s ‘Statement of Housing for Local Needs’, submitted in support of the application, the delivery of 137 of the 825 affordable homes is conditional on “the delivery of new office and business space on the North Horsham Business Park”.

Moreover, the applicant seeks to justify the less than 35% affordable homes on the spurious grounds that the 35% required by the HDPF is a ‘proposal’ when in reality the 35% is a requirement stipulated in an adopted local plan, not a ‘proposal’.

District Councillors will recall that Mr Salter, the Planning Inspector who examined the HDPF, approved the inclusion of North of Horsham as a strategic site with the understanding that it would deliver 35% affordable housing, not 30%.

It remains to be seen whether Councillors will insist that the HDPF requirement for 35% affordable homes be met. If not, a vast tract of countryside will be concreted over for the financial benefit of investors without meeting the District’s need for affordable homes.

Yours faithfully,


Dr R F Smith
For CPRE Sussex (Horsham District)

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