Assessing Wivenhoe's housing needs
There was an interesting exchange at the Wivenhoe Town Council meeting on 16th December about the question in the Neighbourhood Plan Survey to do with housing. It was suggested that most people were likely to tick the 'no more housing' option. Borough councillor Jon Manning warned that if that was the case, and 'no more housing' became part of the Neighbourhood Plan that was submitted to Colchester Borough Council for adoption, then it would most likely be rejected. This is because Wivenhoe's Neighbourhhod Plan has to sit within the strategic context of CBC development plans.
But, are there any plans for more housing in Wivenhoe? To try and answer this question I contacted Karen Syrett (Place Strategy Manager at CBC).
In particular I asked if the following quote from the Gazette was accurate. It refers to the go ahead for 1600 homes in north Colchester.
"The massive development means the council has all-but fulfilled its housing quota for the next 10 years, potentially protecting the rest of the borough from development."
Here is Karen Syrett's response:
The quote from the Gazette is not correct as I set out below..
Although the Government no longer set a housing figure for each Council through the Regional Plans, the Council is required to ensure that its Local Plan meets the full, objectively
assessed needs for market and affordable housing, including identifying key
sites (para. 47 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)) The need is
based on a comprehensive evidence base including demographic projections and the
Strategic Housing Market Assessment.
The Council is required to identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites
sufficient to provide five years worth of housing plus an additional buffer of
5% (this could rise to 20% if we persistently undelivered). In addition we are
required to identify a supply of specific developable sites or broad locations
for growth for years 6 – 10 and where possible for years 11-15.
When the Council adopted its Core Strategy in 2008 it identified a 15 year supply of housing land in accordance with the requirements of national policy at the time (which as set
out above is still relevant). The 15 year target was based on an annual target of
approx. 830 new dwellings. Part of the supply was to be met by an urban
extension in North Colchester. Although this was originally envisaged to accommodate a minimum of 2200 new homes, the application recently considered was for 1600 units. This figure will go some way to meeting the overall target of 19000 new homes between 2001 and 2023 but clearly the 1600 units will not on its own meet the ‘housing quota’ for the next
10 years i.e. 8300 (10 x 830 units).
Having an adopted Local Plan and identifying the sites that Colchester
has, does mean it should be relatively well protected from speculative proposals
for development on non allocated sites. Wivenhoe does of course share a boundary
with Tendring who are not in this situation.
We will commence production of a new Local Plan next year. This will involve setting a new
housing target based on objectively assessed needs and is likely to result in
new allocations being required.
Karen Syrett, Place Strategy Manager, Commercial
Services, Colchester Borough Council