Housing targets must be driven by data

New build housing

On 29th June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published their Local Authority projections for new households based on 2018 data. Previous versions, based on 2014 and 2016 data, have been used by the Government and the Borough Council to justify the massive increase in homes needed in the Borough’s submitted Local Plan.

The 2014 data for the period 2013-2036 projected an additional 15,000 households. The 2016 data suggested this number had fallen to 14,000, but this adjustment was not applied to the local plan for technical reasons.

Now the change in the 2018 data shows a massive decrease in the forecast of just 9,000 additional households.

Councillor Paul Zukowskyj (Welham Green and Hatfield South) commented: “The massive decrease in additional households simply cannot be ignored. A 40% reduction in projected households should be reflected by a massive fall in the number of homes our local plan proposes to build. Instead of the assessed 16,000 the Borough Council is tasked with finding, the proposed number should fall to under 10,000. This means many of the current inappropriate proposed sites can be removed or reduced.

“This is, of course, before we see the economic impacts of COVID and Brexit and the fallout from those. I fully expect the projected need for housing to fall even further in the coming year or two. It might be that our council would be doing our community a massive disservice were it to agree to build on so many Green Belt sites and cram so many homes into our town centres when those homes won’t actually be needed in the local plan.”

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