Basingstoke and Deane – Stops Local Plan to Stop ‘Extreme Housing Growth’

North Hampshire Gazette

By the way the ‘true level of housing need’ is likely to be far higher than the standard method – as everyone knows house hold formation has been suppressed by lack of houses – as several ministers have said households don’t form unless you have houses to move into (well I said it ministers took it wisely for speeches) and when you use surrogates for concealed and suppressed households (like from the English Housing Survey) you come up with pretty much the same number. If you don’t look at suppression you are fiddling the figures. Indeed if you homebrew rather than standard method you have to abandon transitional provisions, which will mean a massive INCREASE in need numbers (the true numbers) in almost every authority in the South East. Every policy planner advises council leaders on this – they seem to have three monkeys approach to evidence in their reactions – ‘go away and bring me a different reality please’.

The more years you kick the can down the road the worse it gets – its a problem of their making with growing legion of we don’t want to meet need Nimbified authorities pressing stop on local plan making seeing it as politically toxic to their Nimbified electorates. What this resolution is saying is we will fix the housing need numbers ignoring rationality and national policy to stop building so many houses, and young people take a running jump if you have aspirations of buying a house around here. If this becomes a trend or the norm don’t expect any government to keep the ‘local’ in plan making very long – as someone said yesterday ‘a storm is coming’. Cllr Simon Bound will be first in its path to be swept away.

finally there is a denial of due process here. Reg 19 is a full council matter – this decision is another example of diktat by leader in local government – predetermined decisions announced in advance of a vote. I’m sure their monitoring officer is going off the scale.

SIGNIFICANT work is underway to determine the true level of local need for housing after Councillors voted to reject the number of homes planned for Basingstoke and Deane.

At a meeting of the borough council’s economic, planning and housing committee held on Monday, September 5 members voted to reject government calculations which suggest as many as 17,820 new homes need to be built in the borough by the end of 2039.

On Tuesday, September 6, cabinet members will meet but it has been announced that they will not be formally agreeing the start of a consultation on a local plan draft.

The local plan sets the rules surrounding the development of the borough and can be used by developers as a blueprint on where and how to build houses.

Since the unanimous vote to reject the housing number, cabinet members have been working hard with council officers on a plan to successfully develop a new sustainable number of new homes. 

Council leader Simon Bound said: “I believe everyone is in agreement that the trend over the last 60 years of extreme housing growth in Basingstoke and Deane needs to slow down in order for local services to catch up and create a much more sustainable future for the borough.

“The council has been working towards updating its local plan to ensure an approach to the future which meets the needs of our residents and visitors in a way that responds to the climate change agenda, ensures that communities thrive and are sustainable and our precious environment is protected. Any one of these would have challenges but delivering on all of them in the current planning system is a significant challenge. Commentators who suggest otherwise are in denial over the complexities of the system.”

“It is very clear that it would not be appropriate to undertake a consultation on a draft plan at this stage when such significant concerns around the impact of the housing number remain, and until further and full consideration is given to this issue to ensure the council moves forward with a Plan that is robust, responsive and can be fully supported.”

He continued: “Whilst we have been working proactively to move forward with the development of the plan and its policies, it is clear that there are significant challenges around how we identify the borough’s true housing need. It is important to keep the plan process going but in a way that responds to both local concerns and local circumstances. Some of this work relies on up-to-date data which is not yet available.

Council officers have been asked to produce a report that clearly states what work and data is still required so that the authority can identify the true level of local need for housing and support changes to the planning system that give more local say over development in the future.

This report will be discussed at a meeting of the cabinet September 27, when a way forward will be decided.

Cllr Bound added: “Councillors and MPs up and down the country agree that the current planning system is fundamentally broken and needs a significant overhaul to put local decision making back at its heart.  We will continue to work with our local government colleagues to make recommendations and suggestions on what these changes should be.

“We need strong planning policies in place, shaped by the people who live here, that protect our borough and its environment from unsuitable development and create the kind of place we want Basingstoke and Deane to be.”