3 Oct 2012

Full Council talk housing numbers

Update - press release added - click read more to see it

Well this evening we voted on the numbers of houses in the District - See here - I wont go into details other than to say that the Tories made a very surprising move and put forward a different proposal - I say surprising as they had not given any indication for this and to be honest had very little evidence to support their case - certainly no papers at the meeting and I can't see how they can expect councillors to consider another option without proper evidence........after all the figures in the Council papers are built up from two independent consultants.....also not to vote this through would have put the District in a difficult position and indeed potentially open us up to more Foxes Field.

Some would argue that Tories are not wanting to be seen to support large numbers of houses and this was a move to garner political support - I say if they really have the evidence then bring it forward - there is still room to adapt the figures. As Greens pointed out at the meeting we should have been looking at the type of housing, policies and employment first....it was good to hear others support this....although  a pity they didn't support it ages ago when Greens previously put an amendment to Council to do just that last year.....at least now we are having discussions about that.... a blog on that soon....

We need housing - see my letter - but the reality is with the current market and type of housing that developers want to build it is unlikely we will see the housing of the right sort being built.....as one councillor pointed out last night the Tories originally supported the numbers of housing but are now opposing wanting less...as I said if they have the evidence then let's see it....anyway I'm long past bedtime and wonder if any of this makes sense.....

District's housing plans move forward

At a council meeting specially convened to decide future housing figures for the Stroud district, councillors voted in favour of a setting a minimum target of 9,260 homes to be built in the period between 2006 and 2031. With 6,535 of those homes already built or with planning permission, land needs to be allocated for the remainder of 2,725 homes in the Local Plan for delivery over the next 19 years.

Councillor Dennis Andrewartha, executive member for planning for Stroud District Council, said:

'The figures have been produced by our planners using a tried and tested methodology that has been endorsed by independent planning consultants. I am confident they know what they are doing and know what we need to do to satisfy the Government's requirement that our predictions are sound. We need a robust Local Plan with strong foundations and agreeing the number of houses we need, via an established and tested methodology is a good start to achieving this. The next stage will be to work out where they should be built and that will not be without controversy.'

Earlier this year, the council said that 9,350 homes would need to be built between 2006 and 2026. Since then, the Office of National Statistics, whose data is used by the Government to help assess the soundness of Local Plans, has published more up to date information. Using this, the figures were revised to a range of between 9,260 and 11,500 homes until 2031. This extends the timeframe of the plan and reduces the number of homes which need to be built each year to meet demand.

Councillor Andrewartha added:

'On something as important and controversial as housing numbers we expect criticism, but I'm sure that the public will be reassured that their council has the interests of the entire district at heart. We will do the job properly using the best available information. If we don't do it properly, we won't have a plan, and if we don't have a plan we will be defenceless against predatory developers - and no-one wants that.'

At the meeting it was agreed that 9,260 homes would be the delivery target whilst the council retained the flexibility to build up to 11,500 should evidence show that the district needed to increase provision to meet improved economic conditions.  The council also agreed that it would consider any relevant data that emerges in the months ahead right up until the moment that the final plan is approved and put to the Government inspector in Autumn 2013.

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