What does the Census 2011 tell us about our future housing needs?
September 12, 2013 by Editor
Nor perhaps the housing estate developments proposed in the rest of Rochford District.
With the age group 0 to 18 having increased across the whole District by only 186 over 10 years we leave it to you to decide about that.
Even if the birth rate in Rochford District shoots up from 2012 onwards as predicted these youngest children will not need new houses until earliest 2031 which is almost outside of the house building plan period.
With 0-18’s remaining around 17,000 over 10 years it is evident that the 1,828 new dwellings built in the District over 2001 – 2011 contributed adequately to their housing needs and other age groups. That is on average 183 new houses per year against the 250 per year which has been forced on our District by the last Labour Government and the new Coalition Government.
So if new estates numbering thousands in the District are to be built then many of these new homes must be for new residents to the District.
We are promised new jobs. When will the new jobs be created?
As the majority of the 6% population increase for Rochford District in the Census was in the over 60’s then instead surely we will need retirement villages to release “secondhand” family homes instead of new housing estates for a phantom birth rate or incomers to the area.
We adopted this policy as Independents several years ago.
On 9 April 2011 we wrote to Miss Laura Graham who was the Goverrnment Planning Inspector responsible for making a Decision on the Rochford Core Strategy.
“You should be recommending that the LPA should, therefore, take the existing CS away and press ahead without delay in preparing up dated development plans to respond to Planning for Growth and the LPA should use that opportunity to be proactive in identifying, driving and supporting the type of housing growth that this district really needs.
Instead of building new homes for families the housing strategy should focus on releasing smaller parcels of green belt in appropriately strategic locations to accommodate the needs of our aging population in terms of retirement villages which use a smaller footprint of green belt and release over housed family properties for re-use on sale.
Indeed Planning for Growth says “LPA’s should make every effort to identify and meet the housing, business and other development needs of their areas, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth, taking full account of relevant economic signals such as land prices. Authorities should work together to ensure that needs and opportunities that extend beyond (or cannot be met within) their own boundaries are identified and accommodated in a sustainable way, such as housing market requirements that cover a number of areas, and the strategic infrastructure necessary to support growth. I do not believe that the CS meets these requirements.”
We were interviewed by Rochford Life;
“Interestingly enough, when I mention retirement villages, I was quite heartened that in this Thames Gateway draft that the consultant have been putting together, that issue seems to be coming back, so maybe the noise we made, and the noise we made to the Inspector on the Core Strategy, has been read by someone and maybe this is the way our ideas come back and come into fruition.
I don’t honestly understand why the Inspector, when looking at the Core Strategy and looking at the potentials, didn’t turn round under the subject heading of housing and housing types, didn’t actually introduce that into the debate. If she had brought that idea forward with the developers, we may have found that many of them would have put their hands up and said, what a great idea, we can do that and it’s highly profitable and it’s socially sensible, it’s entirely engaging because it releases less Green Belt, so why don’t we do that. It’s a mystery to me.”
But today the Telegraph publishes that there is now support for this policy from a respected think tank report.
Pensioners stuck in family homes
A report from Demos has claimed that millions of pensioners face growing old in social isolation because they are trapped in family homes which they cannot leave. Pensioners who would like to downsize are sitting on a stockpile of properties with an estimated value of £400bn, the reports says. However, a shortage of smaller homes suitable for retirement means that more than three million over-60s are unable to move, it adds.
Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank. We have spent 20 years at the centre of the policy debate, with an overarching mission to bring politics closer to people.
The Government’s response to the housing crisis is a focus on increasing home ownership among first-time buyers. Our latest report argues that building retirement properties for older people keen to move could free up over 3 million family homes.
The District of Rochford is part of the Thames Gateway Housing Market which comprises Rochford, Castlepoint, Southend, Basildon and Thurrock. This is a “Strategic Housing Market” and we are part of that “SHMA” (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) which will be published again by the end of 2013.
As with the Labour legacy of the Regional Spatial Strategies, it would appear that the number of new houses required to be delivered in Rochford District will not be decided solely by Rochford District but by consultants partly paid for by the Council and possibly by adjoining Councils under the “duty to co-operate” who would like us to take part of their quotas.
Will the new SHMA increase the yearly requirement from 250 per year in RDC?
According to the experience of the last 10 years according to the Census 2011 perhaps that figure should have been reduced already to the original 190 per year?
To justify 250 per year or more we need explanations and furthermore justification why we cannot have less.
[Notes: Rochford District Council provided the metrics referred to above and as such were verified and validated by the Council. The base information has since been requested and provided by the Council although Councillor John Mason has simplified the spreadsheet to allow the comparison between 2001 and 2011 to be seen at a glance here.]