Wantange and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG)
TOPIC PAPER 4 - Housing

This topic paper provides a summary of our approach to the topic of housing and includes how we have identified our overall housing target.

Within the ‘core planning principles’ of the national Planning Policy Framework it is highlighted that planning should ‘proactively drive and support sustainable economic development to deliver the homes, business and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs’. It goes onto state that ‘every effort should be made to objectively identify and then meet the housing, business and other development needs of an area and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth’ and that ‘plans should take account of market signals including land values and housing affordability and set out a clear strategy for allocating sufficient land for development in their area’. It also highlights that this should take account of the needs of the residential and business communities.

The Framework also identifies that local planning authorities should actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest use of public transport, walking and cycling and focus significant development in the areas that are, or can be made, sustainable.

“To boost significantly the supply of housing, local planning authorities should:
  • use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as far as is consistent with the policies set out in this Framework, including identifying key sites which are critical to the delivery of the housing strategy over the plan period
  • identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years worth of housing against their housing requirements with an additional buffer of 5% … to ensure choice and competition in the market for land. Where there has been a record of persistent under delivery of housing, local planning authorities should increase the buffer to 20% … to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply and to ensure choice and competition in the market for land, and
  • identify a supply of specific, developable sites or broad locations for growth, for years 6-10 and, where possible, for years 11-15."

Local Plans must be based on adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidence. For housing it identifies that local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of housing needs in their area. [show detail]


Housing Target

The housing target that the Council is working to is 578 homes per annum. This came from the South East Plan which has now been revoked. The Framework states that local planning authorities should use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing. We have asked the VoWH Council what arrangements are being made for consultation during and in relation to the process of determining the housing targets. We are not aware of any which have taken place, and as representatives of a significant number of Wantage and Grove residents we feel that it would be appropriate for us to be involved. You will of course agree that the targets are critical to the Local Plan and any consultation which does not involve an opportunity to be involved in setting these would not be very meaningful.

Evidence so far:
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government have released new household projection data which projects growth from 2011 to 2021 of 7.78% or 3,875 houses for the Vale by 2021.
  • This is 387 houses per year not the 578 in the current plan.
  • The requirement in the South East Plan to make up backlog within the first ten years of the plan is not carried forward into the Framework. We do however have to plan for the housing stock required for 5 years +20%. This means approving 2,325 homes for the entire Vale at the current time
  • We also need the long term plan for the 15 years from 2014-2029


Topic Paper Recommendations
  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment to produce new data in the Autumn.
  • Target will be 40% affordable housing for all sites of three or more units.
  • Housing mix should be “appropriate”, with all new housing except upstairs flats, being Lifetime Homes.
  • Views sought whether a specific target for dwellings for older people should be set out in planning policy.
  • Gypsy and Traveller Needs Assessment identified need for 13 gypsy and traveller pitches to be provided by 2029.

Paragraph 5.10 "The latest DCLG household projections estimate an annual projected household growth rate that is approximately 20% lower than that projected when the SE Plan target was set. The South East Plan target was already planning for a growth rate 29% above the projected household growth rate on which it was based."
Paragraph 5.11 "Given other local evidence on housing need, planning for lower than the South East Plan would not be appropriate. Instead we see the South East Plan as an appropriate starting point for looking at the overall amount of growth."

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