The Examination in Public (EiP) of the South East Plan has increased the target for the number of houses to be built in the south east region. Meanwhile a separate report confirms Brighton residents have some the smallest living spaces in the UK.
The original South East Plan produced by the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) recommended 28,900 homes per annum over the next 19 years but the government's Inspection Panel has increased this figure to 32,000 p.a. (640,160 in total over the Plan period) and 25% of these should be affordable housing. The Panel endorsed SEERA's target of building at a density of 40 units per hectare.
Brighton & Hove has only been asked to make a marginal increase from 11,000 homes over the 19 year period to 11,400 but other areas have had their figures increased substantially.
West Sussex needs to build an additional 7,500 on top of its existing target and Arun will be expected to increase its building rate to 11,300 from 9,300.
The Inspection Panel made it clear that just as important as getting the right numbers is getting the right type and size, particularly affordable housing. It therefore recommends that the housing policies dealing with this are strengthened. The Panel agreeed with the SEERA that it is not simply a case of building our way out of the affordability crisis and encouraged the Assembly to work closely with the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) to influence funding of affordable housing.
The Panel also accepted that the entire Sussex coast faces particular challenges related to the weaknesses in its local economy and agreed with SEERA that there is an urgent need to achieve a better balance between jobs and housing. The Panel concluded that there is a policy deficit in relation to the economy of the Sussex Coast which needs to be addressed through a sub-regional strategy.
There is a limited range of options for locating future development on the Sussex Coast and consequently the existing urban areas will need to play a key role. The Panel recommended that Plan policies be amended to reflect the need to optimise the use of previously developed (brownfield) land, particularly in Brighton and Hove.
The regional development agency - SEEDA - is currently working on a framework & strategy for the entire south east coast and the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership sits on the steering group for the project.
However, the Home Builders Federation (HBF), said the 32,000 housing target would not "go anywhere near" meeting the housing need in the region and suggest that the area needs 40,000 new homes per year.
Meanwhile, Instant Access Properties has studied 15 of the UK’s most populous towns and cities and concludes that Brighton has the third smallest living space per £ in the UK.
The national average house price in the UK is currently just under £190,000 and that will buy 78 sq metres in Brighton compared to 149 sq metres in Bradford or Sheffield.
As the demand for homes to accommodate single people (due to longer life expectancy, divorce and demographic change) increases the tendency for homes to get smaller in the city will increase.
The Panel also recommended an early review of the South East Plan to provide a clearer framework for economic development and employment land. This is increasingly an important issue for Brighton & Hove which must balance the need for residential development against the need for commercial (employment) development.
A summary of the Panel's report can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Click here to download Summary of the South East Plan EiP Panel Report
Read related items on:
South East Plan
Home Builders Federation