10 November 2017
Tonbridge & Malling Green Party has responded to a Government consultation on the way local housing needs are calculated and therefore the number of new houses that local authorities have to plan for.
The proposals, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, sweep aside the existing process and seek to impose a “standard methodology” across the country. The new calculations use household growth as a starting point and then factor in house prices and a measure of local affordability.
Unfortunately, rather than encouraging the building of affordable homes where they are needed, the new methodology is likely to see pressure to put even more expensive houses in areas that are already highly desirable.
For Tonbridge & Malling, the new methodology, would see the current figure of 696 new houses each year increase to 859, a rise of 23% or an extra 3,260 homes over the 20 years of the Local Plan period. Tonbridge & Malling still has to find sites for the 6,000 houses currently planned between now and 2031.
In our response we say:
“We do agree that taking account of affordability is important. However, the proposed methodology is based on the assumption that simply increasing the number of houses in an area will reduce prices and therefore increase affordability.
“In areas such as Tonbridge & Malling demand is almost limitless. The area attracts people moving out of London, taking advantage of high prices in the capital to “trade up”. To date new housing has not been built with a view to accommodating the demands of the local population at “affordable” prices.
“77% of Tonbridge & Malling is designated either Green Belt, AONB or SSSI, a higher percentage than South Lakeland District Council in Cumbria. This severely limits where new housing can go.”
We believe Government needs to plan on a regional and national scale, to ensure housing is built where it is needed rather than where developers think they can maximise profits.
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