A government proposal to standardise the way local authorities work out housing need could mean Thanet faces yet another hike in the number of new homes required up until 2031.
Current government guidelines dictate a need for 17,140 new isle homes by 2031. This is much higher than the original 12,000 home figure announced in 2015.
This first rise was due to government projections in March 2015 following the latest Census data.
The council carried out a review based on the fresh data, resulting in the higher housing rate.
But new proposals could see that figure rise to 19,818 if the Government’s formula is passed and applied from 2019 – when Thanet is expected to adopt its latest Local Plan – to 2031.
The last draft local plan data released showed that 1,555 homes have already been constructed; another 3,017 have been given planning permission; 2,700 are accounted for through windfall housing –sites that have historically had planning approval and may be put forward again – and 540 are already empty homes.
This leaves 9,300 properties to be accommodated under the current housing need figure of 17,140 but that could rise to 11.978 under the latest proposals.
Government Housing White Paper
A consultation being carried out by the Government into its Housing White Paper sets out a number of proposals to reform the planning system to increase the supply of new homes.
The Paper states: “The lack of a simple, standard approach to assessing local housing need has led to a costly and time-consuming process which lacks transparency: many local planning authorities spend significant sums of taxpayers’ money employing consultants to come up with a housing need figure, often using different and inconsistent methods.”
New calculations would be made using household growth projections published by the Office of National Statistics, a second stage applies to any area where the average house prices are more than 4 times average earnings. The assessment would then go up by 0.25% for every 1% affordability ratio rises above 4.
A third stage of the assessment sets a cap on the level of increase that local authorities should plan for.
If they have an adopted local plan – a 20-year blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure – that’s less than 5 years old, increases will be capped at no more than 40% above their local plan figure.
If the plan is not up-to-date – as is the case for Thanet – the cap will be at 40% above either the level in the plan or the ONS projected household growth for the area, whichever is higher.
According to figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government the new assessment would mean Thanet’s housing need would rise from 857 new homes each year (equating to 17,140 between the Local Plan period of 2011-2031) to 1,063 homes every year – an additional 206 properties annually. This would equal an extra 2,678 homes if applied from 2019 until 2031.
This would increase the total housing needs figure to 19,818 without taking into account the extra hike planned for areas where average house prices are more than 4 times average earnings. In Thanet house prices are 8 times average earnings according to the updated housing report published by G L Hearn on behalf of Thanet council last year.
The White Paper is the Government’s proposal to enable it to deliver one million new homes nationally by 2020 and a further 500,000 by 2022.
A Thanet council spokesman said: “We’re calculating what the impact is for Thanet following the proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and the new housing calculations. In the meantime we’re continuing to progress with our new Local Plan with the aim to submit in March 2018.
The consultation closes on November 9.
Government housing need proposals
Currently 857 homes per year, the Government sets the figure at 1,063 per year
Currently 800 per year, Government target 1,096 per year
Currently 529 per year, target 594 per year
Currently 825 per year, target 989 per year
Currently 633 per annum, dropping to 490 per year under the new calculations