Combined Summary of Housing Need

Combined Summary of Housing Need

Combined summary of housing need

Author: Alex Munro

Endorsed: Fred Taylor


Date:6 January 2013

Job Ref:SSX002

Job Site:Maresfield NP

Client:Maresfield PC

The analysis below is intended to investigate what level of additional provision of affordable housing is required to meet locally arising needs, if this is identified as one of the key objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Need over the plan period

Correlated analysis of AiRS HNS (published date Nov 2013) and MPC’sNeighbourhood Plan Steering Group Housing Needs Paper (as of Jan 2014):

  • In total, 23 local households were identified as being in housing need as a result of the AiRS survey.
  • Of these households, it was identified that 19of respondents are not already on the Housing Register (assuming those who did not respond to the question asking if they are on the housing register are not).These households shouldtherefore be treated as additional to the 15 already on the housing register (as of 30 September 2013, the most up-to-date Council held stat at the point of the issue of the HNS). Note: the December figure supplied by the WDC housing manager has not been used in the event that double counting may occur if respondents to the HNS have enlisted since).
  • It is therefore estimated that, based upon existing LPA lists and the response to the HNS that there are 34 households in housing need in the parish who qualify as having a local connection.
  • Neither report sought to analyse market housing need, although Figure 7 of the HNS has identified the market housing preferences amongst respondents.

Due to the results of the AiRS HNS, affordable housing need can be broken down further to identify when housing may be needed over the short to medium term phases of the neighbourhood plan period. The AiRS results identify the following:

  • 8 households will be in need of new accommodation during the next 2 years (immediate to short term). Factoring in the 15 households already on the housing register (as of 30 September 2013) as additional households with an existing requirement (assumed to be immediate), and assuming that the 4 households who both responded to the HNS and are already on the register are in pressing need, there is an outstanding requirement for 19 affordable properties in Maresfield Parish prior to the end of 2015 (15+8-4).
  • In addition, 7 households will require accommodation between the beginning of 2016 and the end of 2018;
  • In further addition, 5 households will require accommodation from the beginning of 2019 onwards; and
  • Of the respondents to the HNS, 3 households did not state a timescale preference. These will therefore be split evenly (1 household per period) between immediate to short term, medium term and long term.

Meeting demand

Unit numbers

Turning to look at how demand may be met, on average WDC figures set out in MPC’s Housing Needs paper demonstrate that, since 2005, around 4.5% of the affordable housing stock in the parish becomes vacant on an annual basis (churn). Taking the current affordable housing stock in the parish to be in the region of 136 units (2012 WDC supply figure plus the 24 new affordable homes built since as part of the Wellington Gate scheme) it can be assumed that at present an average of 6 units will become vacant each year as a result ofresidents moving on. Into the future, and as new dwellings are built, a 5% assumption on vacancies should be applied to identify the natural churn.

It is assumed at this stage that, based on WDC policies, without a Neighbourhood Plan 18 new affordable units will likely be delivered in the parish over the plan period (35% of the required 50 units). The table below therefore seeks to identify both when the balance of these units should be delivered and whether any additional affordable units may be needed to meet future demand.

Table setting out projected demand based on current needs:

Period / Identified local need / Natural vacancies / New units required to directly meet current projected need
Start 2014 to end 2015 / 20 households / 12 units / 8 new units
Start 2016 to end 2018 / 8 household / 18 units / No net increase
2019 onwards / 6 households / Min 6 units / No net increase

Whilst it is clear that there is an immediate need for new affordable units, it does not currently appear that there will be a need in excess of the WDC policy projected 18 units over the short to medium term of the plan period. It should be noted, however, that this is based on current identified levels of need projected forwards. This does not take into account the change in need patterns created by either the aging population, the creation of new families or shifts in property prices. It should also be noted that, in the event that early delivery of affordable units does not take place (prior to the end of 2015) then the total required will roll over.However, the table above seeks demonstrates that, in the event that 8 new units can be delivered as early as possible during the NP periodthen the immediate locally identified meet would likely be met in full taking into account natural churn of units. Indeed, a level of affordable housing below 35% of the required 50 units in the parish may be sufficient to plan to meet current projected demand. It is, however, recommended that, moving forward, a regular survey of housing need is undertaken in the parish to support future rates or delivery. Indeed, it is recognised that the housing needs survey work undertaken to date is merely a ‘snapshot in time’. As house prices invariably increase, demand for affordable units will also likely increase.

Unit sizes and tenure type

Building on the findings of theAiRS HNS, including the response of local residents, as well as the analysis of the breakdown of the housing stock within the Plan area, it is evident that there is an overwhelming need for small 1 and 2 bedroom units amongst both the affordable and market housing stock within the parish. There is also a further perceived requirement for 3 bedroom homes amongst the residents of the Parish. In terms of housing type, Figure 7 of the AiRS report indicates that there is predominant support for 2 or 3 bedroom semi-detached properties and bungalow wherever practical.

The overwhelming source of demand for affordable units within the parish was amongst children currently living with their parents and seeking independent accommodation. This trend is bolstered when it is recognised that the percentage of 15-24 year olds in the parish (those moving into home owning age) has risen by almost 40% since 2001. Additionally, the housing report prepared by the MPC NP Steering Group has also identified a very limited need for elderly residents to downsize within Maresfield village.

Due the level of house prices within the parish, allied with a low average annual salary amongst those seeking affordable units, it appears that within the breakdown of tenure type there is a pressing demand for social rented units, as opposed to shared ownership units, amongst those in need.

Local restrictions

In terms of the success of affordable housing allocation policy in the past, it is notable that demand does not necessarily reflect take-up. It has been identified that the Wellington Gate development, completed in 2013, provided 9 new dwellings available to those on the housing register and with a local connection. Only 7 of the new units were eventually taken by qualifying households on the register. This would suggest two issues that may need to be taken into account:

1)A proportion of respondents who register a localised need on the housing register only do so as a first preference. It is not guaranteed that a momentary localised need will always result in the desire of the household to remain in the parish (for example, circumstances may change due to jobs, family or more suitable accommodation arising elsewhere); or

2)The mix of affordable units that have been provided in the past, by way of size and tenure, have been insufficient in meeting the targeted need of those households on the housing list.

It is likely both issues play a part in the ultimate allocation of some of the affordable units within the parish to families not otherwise listed as having a ‘local need’.

It is important to identify whether the precise root cause for this lack of take up to identify the proposed policy response moving forward. This will likely either involve a ‘do nothing’ approach if it transpires that those with a local need willingly chose to move elsewhere or greater detail in relation to housing type and tenure if it is identified that supply did not adequately meet demand.

Initial recommendations:

  • Provision is made within the Neighbourhood Plan for a minimum of 8 affordable properties to be delivered by 2018, the majority if not all to be social rented, to meet projected demand. These will be delivered on sites of 5 units or more.
  • Mechanisms within the plan to allow decision makers to both monitor and ideally meet affordable and market housing needs moving forward.
  • A balance of smaller market and affordable properties (1 to 3 bedroom semi-detached, terraced, flats or cluster homes) is sought by the plan wherever appropriate. Bungalows should also be considered wherever appropriate.
  • At this stage, it does not appear that any tightening of the ‘local occupancy’ criteria will be necessary.