Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)
The Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment Summary – Key Findings on Housing Need, March 2014 is now available.We have summarised the key points as they affect us:
- The Science Vale (which extends from Culham and Didcot to Wantage and Grove) recognised as an internationally significant location for innovation and science-based research and business. It is also an attractive place to live.
- There were 50,980 homes in the Vale in 2011 of which 85% were owned privately, with 15% owned by public bodies including Housing Associations and the MOD.
- The District’s housing offer and its attractiveness as a place to live is borne out in high house prices. The average price of a house sold between April and June 2013 in the District was £302,000, 7% above the South East average but around 3% below the average for Oxfordshire.
- The Assessment is required to consider the need for both market and affordable housing, to take
account of market signals (such as land prices and the affordability of housing) and expected levels
of economic growth (recognising that people may move to the area to work).
- The Vale of White Horse District’s population grew by 5% over the 2001-11 period. This was the lowest growth of the Oxfordshire Districts, and below levels of population growth across Oxfordshire, the South East Region and England (all of which saw 8% population growth).
- The 2011-based Household Projections [produced by the Government] indicate a growth of 388 households per year over the 2011-21 period. Over the ten year period the number of households is projected to increase by 7.8% compared to 10.8% growth across the South East and 10.0% nationally.
- These projections only run to 2021 and project further falls in the proportion of young people in the District who will form new households. The falling household formation rates have been influenced
by an under-provision of housing in the past as well as the impact of the recession on household formation between 2008-11. The SHMA indicates that it would not be appropriate to plan on the basis of these trends continuing.
- Considering population dynamics and rates of household formation in detail and using this to develop longer-term population projections indicates a need for 468 homes per annum over the 2011-31 period. This includes an upward adjustment to the 2011 interim Household Projections to ensure that household formation rates (by age group) are not projected to deteriorate in the future.
- The delivery of new homes in the District fell 801 homes short of the housing targets for the District over the 2006-11 period, [surprise, surprise, there was a recession!] so the Council would
be expected to ‘make good’ this past housing shortfall. Over the SHMA period of 2011-2031 this equates to an extra 40 homes per annum meaning that at least 508 homes a year would be needed between 2011-31 (508 = 40 + 468).
- The Council is proposing that 40% of new housing is affordable housing on sites with a net gain of 3
or more homes - this is in line with the current draft plan but not in line with recent planning approvals which have generally included less than 35%.
- In the NPPF the assessment of, and strategies in local plans for, housing and employment need to be integrated. ‘Baseline’ projections indicate an increase ofaround 10,600 jobs in the Vale of White Horse District between 2011-31. Committed economic growth projects are expected to result in employment growth in the District of 23,000 jobs between 2011-31.
- Therefore the SHMA identifies that 1028 homes per year are needed to support growth in the Vale economy in the Committed Economic Growth Scenario. Over the 2011-31 period this would represent an increase in the housing stock of 20,560 homes or 40%, which would support 41.5% growth in population and 37.8% growth in employment. I think I've missed something here - how did we get from 23,000 new jobs to 20,560 new homes?
Government guidance and advice is explicit that the SHMA itself must not apply constraints to the overall assessment of need, such as environmental constraints or issues related to congestion and local infrastructure. This does not mean that these issues are not important. They are very relevant issues in considering how much development can be sustainably accommodated and where new development should be located. These considerations are taken into account in the preparation of the local plan itself, in drawing together various evidence and testing development options as the local plan is prepared.
- The target figures include the duplication of the growth in the South East Plan projections (figures carried into this analysis) and the growth projections used and should therefore be reduced to reflect this.
- We do not understand how an annual growth in employment of 1% suddenly becomes a 40% uplift in assessed housing need. Can this be explained please?
- What about the impact of the normal commuting pattern?
No reference is made in this document to the normal commuting patterns in the County and the fact that a large percentage of the population commute into and out of the area on a daily basis. Given the large projected growth in Employment in the area relative to the rest of the Country we would expect that the number of homes occupied by those in the County who commute out of the County for employment would not increase at the same rate as those employed within the County. We would therefore expect to see a reduction in the figures to reflect this circumstance.
- Where is the evidence that such targets could be achieved in sustainable way, without damaging our local environment and overwhelming our infrastructure?
Housing needs numbers
According to the SHMA Oxfordshire requires over 5,000 new homes each year. For the Vale of the White Horse it states that this figure should be exactly 1028 new homes each year. These figures rely heavily on the fact that Science Vale is expected to grow dramatically and generate thousands of new jobs (the plan assumes that 23,000 jobs will be created by 2030). This is in spite of the fact that employment growth in Harwell has been almost nil since 2011.
In 2010 the government announced that "Alongside the UK Space Agency, a £40 million "International Space Innovation Centre" (ISIC) has been created at Harwell, Oxfordshire, alongside the research facility for ESA. Some of its tasks will be to investigate climate change, and the security of space systems. £24 million of the cost of the centre will be funded by the government, with the remainder from industry, and it will lead to the creation of 700 jobs over five years."
The government claimed the space and satellite industry supports 68,000 jobs in the UK directly and indirectly, as well as contributing £6bn to the economy. By 2030 it wants this to grow to £40bn a year and create 100,000 jobs, but the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy 2014-2030 admits that "the Satellite Applications Catapult and ESA centre based at Harwell Oxford will provide a central hub of Space activity in the UK but it is essential that this is used to support growth of space revenues and capabilities across the UK. Some 95% of all new jobs and activities are likely to be located away from Harwell."
So this will generate a maximum of 5,000 jobs in the Vale - where are the other 17,000 jobs going to come from?
What is a SHMA?
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local planning authorities to use a valid evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area. The NPPF states that housing need should be established by conducting a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). The SHMA will also identify the extent of the housing market area. The previous SHMA conducted in 2007 identified Oxfordshire as a cohesive housing market area and this is unlikely to have changed.
The NPPF also requires that Local Plans seek to meet objectively assessed development requirements including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities.
The government has published somestrategic housing market assessment practice guidance detailing how to produce a strategic housing market assessment.
The Planning Advisory Service has also published a (reasonably) short Guide to Assessing Housing Need
Why do they"assume that an increase in housing is required, in some or all authorities"?
We don't know. According to new Government figures, growth in the Vale suggests a 7.8% growth in households from 2011 to 2021 so to 2029 this should be an increase of 6,975. See our
evidence pagefor more information.
A government planning inspector has recently recommended that councils use a new projection tool called "What Homes Where" This suggests that we need 6,639 homes by 2029 - see our housing needs pagefor more detail and a link to the tool.
These are figures for the entire Vale not just Wantage and Grove. We are approximately 15% of the Vale so the figures for Wantage and Grove should really be no more than 1050. Anything more than this must be explained.
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