Agenda item

Draft Final Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2015 (Agenda Item 15)

Report by Charles Carter, Executive Member for Growth.

 

The draft final Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2015 is attached as a supplement to this agenda.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Growth said that a lot of work had gone into the production of this weighty document.  The good news was that the housing requirement had gone down.  He handed over to the Strategic Planning Manager who introduced Nigel Moore from Opinion Research Services who gave Members a PowerPoint presentation on the draft report and its findings (attached for information).

 

He explained that the report was still in Draft and would be subject to minor changes as it went through each authority’s adoption process.  The Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment (CNSHMA) covered the needs of the central Norfolk area for the whole plan period.  The study calculated the numbers needed for the Housing Market Area and then broke it down for each authority.  The process was easy to explain but difficult to implement.

 

The presentation summarised all of the factors that were taken into consideration including area, projections, market signals and objectively assessed need (OAN).  Housing Market Areas were a geographical area where people lived and worked and the best fit for Breckland was with the Norwich Housing Market Area (HMA). 

 

Councillor Cowen felt there was a mismatch between the delivery of homes and the area of need.  There were 6,500 homes due to be delivered in Thetford over the next nine years but they were not in the HMA which was centred on Norwich.

 

Mr Moore explained that housing market areas could not be split and guidance recommended working to the ‘best fit’ which in Breckland’s case was the Norwich HMA. 

 

Councillor Borrett understood the concept of ‘best fit’ but felt that there should be a map in the document which covered the whole of Breckland.  He did not dispute the statistical evidence but asked if such a map could be included.  The Chairman agreed and asked for wording to be added to explain that the figures referred to the whole Breckland area.

 

The Executive Member for Income & Prosperity agreed about the need for a map.  She thanked Mr Moore for his excellent presentation and asked for a copy of the slides to be attached to the Minutes.

 

Councillor Bambridge thought that a case could be made for taking the statistics of people commuting into consideration, as a large number of people did commute in and out of the District.


The Executive Member for Place noted that there were long timescales under consideration and future Policy might affect the way things were looked at; for instance he thought that Devolution might have an effect.

 

Mr Moore agreed but said the big issue was social welfare.  Further welfare reform changes were coming and they would have a knock-on impact although they were not likely to have a major impact on Central Norfolk.  He also accepted that people commuted but if that was taken into consideration it would have an effect on the Duty to Co-operate with other authorities.

 

Councillor Cowen thought there was a link between houses and employment.  There was significant growth in Thetford including employment growth.  The Duty to Co-operate would need to reflect what was happening in Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, etc.  Consequently the housing numbers there needed to be included in the considerations.  He applauded what was a very good document but suggested it needed finessing to show that the numbers were deliverable.

 

The Executive Member for Governance noted that there was commuting all around the District.  On the border with King’s Lynn & West Norfolk there was a development of 210 houses and there were 3,500 jobs at RAF Marham. 

 

Mr Moore said that the first priority was to meet Breckland’s needs.  He accepted there would be two way commuting, the borders were not closed, but to meet the Council’s needs they had to link to jobs growth.

 

OPTIONS

 

1.     Consider the draft final Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment, 2015 in so far as it relates to Breckland District and to authorise the Strategic Planning Manager in consultation with the Leader of the Council to make any necessary minor amendments arising from  the Norfolk Duty to Cooperate Forum, and or  from the adoption process of the remaining commissioning bodies and  accept this as part of the evidence base for the Local Plan.

 

2.     Members do not endorse the Central Norfolk SHMA as evidence to support the preparation of the emerging Local Plan in so far as it relates to Breckland.

 

REASONS

 

1.     It is recommended that the Council endorse the recommendation set out above. This will see the study become part of the evidence base for the preparation of the Local Plan and provide the basis for setting the Housing target for the emerging Plan.

 

2.     Without agreement on the evidence base, further work would be required along with engagement with adjoining authorities under the Duty to Cooperate. This would result in significant further delay to the Council’s Local Plan process and could affect the soundness of the Local Plan.

 

Subject to the inclusion of a map covering the whole of Breckland District and appropriate wording to make it clear that the figures applied to the whole area it was

RESOLVED that, Option 1 be endorsed; to consider the draft Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment, 2015, insofar as it relates to Breckland District and to authorise the Strategic Planning Manager in consultation with the Leader of the Council to make any necessary minor amendments arising from the Norfolk Duty to Cooperate Forum, and or from the adoption process of the remaining commissioning bodies and accept this as part of the evidence base for the Local Plan.

Supporting documents: