We welcome the Government publishing a housing need number that is transparent and based on a standard methodology. By having a clear number, it will put a stop to disputes between planners, developers, local groups and residents and help alleviate the “inter-generational betrayal” referred to in the House of Commons by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. However, we don’t agree with the arbitrary uplift for affordability which takes the housing number significantly higher and we will be opposing this allocation through the consultation with the Government.
It is worth noting that the Government number is much higher than the figure Tandridge Council is working with, which residents’ groups have been disputing. However, if we follow the line of an unrealistically low housebuilding number, then the District will be put at risk from speculative development and we will lose control as the Government will decide how many houses are built and the developers will decide where they are built. It will be open season for uncontrolled housebuilding throughout Tandridge with no infrastructure gain.
We are well aware that house prices in Tandridge are completely out of reach for the young and those on average earnings. House prices are 14.8 times average earnings (compared to 7.6 times nationally), which means our young are being forced to leave the District, giving us an ageing profile. It is a real issue that we are currently unable to provide homes for teachers and health care professionals – the necessary inward migration that we desperately need – but also for our local young people.
Our preferred strategy of a sustainable Garden Village will give us real infrastructure improvements with new schools, a health centre and improved transport links plus control over the mix of housing that will be built, so that we can provide new homes for the next generation whilst also protecting the character of the area. We have said that the Garden Village will consist of around 4,000 homes and take away about 1% of our 94% Green Belt. Contrary to claims made, we have been the Party that has successfully defended the Green Belt to-date and continue to believe that we can find the right balance between providing much-needed housing while also at the same time not concreting over the whole District.
This consultation reassures us that the approach the Council has agreed upon in developing a Garden Village strategy is the right one for our area. It will give us control over where homes are built and also bring the necessary infrastructure benefits for the District as a whole. We will continue to focus on what the evidence says so that our Local Plan is robust and stands up to scrutiny when the Government Inspector reviews it next year.
Leader of Tandridge District Council
Conservative Councillor for Oxted North and Tandridge
20 September 2017
Note: TDC working OAN 470 p.a. or 9,400 over 20 years. Government OAN including affordability uplift and 40% cap 645 p.a. or 12,900 over 20 years, i.e. 37% higher than TDC working OAN.
The government consultation documents can be found at:- www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-right-homes-in-the-right-places-consultation-proposals