“Stark warning Cranbrook is at risk of becoming an ‘austerity town’ bereft of key services and facilities for residents”

“Cranbrook is in danger of becoming an ‘austerity town’ with its residents deprived of key services and facilities, it has been warned.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) experts say authorities are at the ‘point of no return’ when it comes to delivering vital amenities for the fast-growing community.

They have now called for a task force to be formed to rethink how the new town can secure the assets it needs.

Officers have recommended that the authority’s cabinet approves the setting up of a Strategic Delivery Board when it meets next month.

A report to members says: “The original vision for Cranbrook was as a freestanding new community which would be capable of supporting its own assets and services.

“In a constrained financial environment, there is a need to actively reinvent how these will be delivered on a sustainable basis.

“Without this, there is a significant risk that Cranbrook will become an austerity town, bereft of the facilities and services that the population both expect and demand.

“This paper identifies that the delivery of key assets in the town centre is at a critical stage and puts forward a proposal for charting a clear path forward to ensure their successful delivery.

“The proposed Strategic Delivery Board is considered to be the best means to ensuring the necessary coordination and oversight.”

Some 3,500 homes have been granted planning permission at Cranbrook to date – with 8,000 earmarked. The town’s ultimate population will be around 20,000 people.

Town council offices, a library, and a health and wellbeing hub have been in the pipeline since 2015, according to the report.

The latter would cater for children’s and youth centre, primary care and leisure centre provision.

“The delivery of assets and services in Cranbrook is fundamental to the successful achievement of the vision for the town,” adds the officer.

“We are rapidly approaching the point of no return.

“This should not be seen purely as an issue relating to built facilities.

“Rather, it goes to the heart of how public services are delivered in the town to meet the needs of a young, growing population, including those with particular needs, both now and in the future.”

The report details how Cranbrook is key to the district’s housing growth and EDDC’s finances – through both developer contributions and council tax.

The council raked in £8.8million in government New Homes Bonus cash in 2017 and 2018.

Cranbrook is being delivered through a ‘commercially-driven’ model – with no public sector control of land.

A Section106 agreement – developers’ cash contributions for infrastructure – plays a critical role in the delivery of community facilities.

“It has become clear that certain of the facilities that are set out in the agreement are either no longer fit for purpose,” says the officer.

“Ultimately, there has been no resolution as to what form key facilities should take and how they should be delivered. Nonetheless, we are now at a stage where critical trigger points are being reached.”

The aim of the proposed Strategic Delivery Board would be to ‘focus on the delivery of future assets and services for Cranbrook’.

It would ‘provide oversight and ensure that the three tiers of local government can speak with one voice’ and comprise of two members from the town, district and county councils.

EDDC’s cabinet will consider the report on September 4.”

Stark warning Cranbrook is at risk of becoming an ‘austerity town’ bereft of key services and facilities for residents

“Building more new homes WON’T solve Britain’s housing crisis”

“Britain’s soaring house prices and ‘broken housing market’ have long been put down to a chronic shortage of homes, but new evidence has emerged that building more homes is unlikely to bring prices down.

A paper written by Tony Blair Institute chief economist Ian Mulheirn argues that building 300,000 homes a year wouldn’t make homes in the UK more affordable. Nor, he says, would more homes mean that more people manage to get onto the housing ladder.

The paper, published today by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, suggests that 160 per cent of the growth in house prices since the late 1990s has had nothing to do with a shortage in housing supply. Instead, Mulheirn claims that rock bottom interest rates for more than a decade have made borrowing so cheap that those able to buy have ratcheted up their borrowing, causing prices to soar.

‘Building 300,000 houses per year will do very little to bring down house prices in Britain, and next to nothing to raise home ownership,’ he wrote.
‘The real culprit for sky-high house prices is low global interest rates that have made it easy for homeowners and investors to take on large amounts of mortgage debt and pay ever more for houses.’

The figure of 300,000 new homes needed a year has been largely undisputed for the past decade.

In 2004, Kate Barker wrote a landmark review on housing supply for the then Labour government, concluding that 245,000 new private-sector homes a year were needed, plus another 17,000 social housing units, to keep house price inflation down to 1.1 per cent annually. She later revised that number up to 300,000 homes a year.

But Mulheirn disagrees. He points to official data showing that since the 1996 nadir of house prices, the English housing stock has grown by 168,000 units per year on average, while growth in the number of households has averaged 147,000 per year. Even in London and the South East, the number of houses has grown faster than the household count.

As a result, while there were 660,000 more dwellings than households in England in 1996, this ‘surplus’ has since grown to over 1.1 million by 2018. Similar trends are also apparent in Scotland and Wales, suggested Mulheirn.
Nevertheless, UK house prices have spiralled from around 4.5 times median household income in 1996 to a multiple of around 8 today.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed across Britain, prices rose 0.7 per cent in June to an average of £230,292 – up 0.9 per cent compared to June 2018.

Mulheirn argued cheap mortgage finance is to blame.

‘Since the late 1990s, mortgage rates have tumbled, with inflation-adjusted interest rates on five-year fixed-rate mortgages, for example, falling from 8 per cent to around 2 per cent today,’ he said. ‘Since mortgage interest rates tend to be the dominant element of the cost of capital for home owners, this change can be expected to precipitate a substantial increase in house prices of a similar magnitude to the 160 per cent increase seen since 1996.’

Meanwhile, he said, a shrinking social rented sector, cuts to housing benefit and slow wage growth among young people are making rented housing less affordable for many even as though private sector rents are stable.
He added: ‘Neither our ownership or rental affordability problems will be solved by hitting the 300,000 target.’

According to the paper a 1 per cent increase in the stock of houses tends to lead to a decline in rents and prices of between 1.5 per cent and 2 per cent, all else equal. This implies that even building 300,000 houses per year in England would only cut house prices by something in the order of 10 per cent over the course of 20 years. ‘This is an order of magnitude smaller than the price rises of recent decades,’ said Mulheirn.

‘If we are to create more affordable houses to buy and rent, the solutions lie elsewhere.’ …”

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-7378649/Building-new-homes-WONT-solve-Britains-housing-crisis.html?ito=rss-flipboard

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – latest housing needs figures shows East Devon bearing greatest load

As at June 2019, ast Devon to bear the brunt of new housing:

Page 10:

https://mk0partnersdevooxv4n.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2019/05/Local-Housing-Need-Assessment-for-the-Greater-Exeter-Area-1st-Edition-June-2019-web.pdf

Greater Exeter Strategic Plan delayed

“A document that was set to reveal the possible locations for more than 57,000 new homes across four districts has been delayed.

The paper, which details sites put forward for developments of 500 homes or more in East Devon, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter (Greater Exeter) was due to be published in June.

More than 700 parcels of land were proposed by agents, developers and landowners during the ‘call for sites’ for the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP). Details of these options were due to be published in June.

However following the elections, a review of the timetable is ‘likely’ be needed, according to the GESP website.

Four councils are involved in the development of the plan – Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, Mid Devon District Council and Teignbridge District Council.

But, in May’s elections the Conservative leadership at three of the district councils lost control.

The Local Housing Need Assessment for the Greater Exeter Area, published in November 2018, quotes an annual housing need figure in East Devon of 844. It states that the GESP authorities must plan to deliver at least 2,593 homes per annum between them up to 2040.

The assessment of larger strategic sites is being undertaken and the results will be published in a housing and economic land availability assessment (HELAA) alongside the draft Greater Exeter Strategic Plan.

The assessment of smaller sites will be undertaken by the four individual councils (as relevant). And, the results in HELAA will support the respective local plans.

The timetable is:

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan timetable:

– Issues Consultation – February 2017 (completed).

– Draft policies and site options – June 2019 (Now under review).

– Draft Plan Consultation – November 2019 (Now under review).

– Publication (Proposed Submission) – February 2021.

– Submission – July 2021.

– Hearings – September 2021.

– Adoption – April 2022.

If approved, then the GESP would supersede and sit above the existing local plans, but they would not be scrapped.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/greater-exeter-strategic-plan-document-is-delayed-1-6190128

Possible new East Devon “villages” (mostly extensions to current ones) are detailed here:

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/possible-locations-for-new-devon-villages-set-to-be-released-1-6061225

What’s happening with the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan?

“… It is now intended to consult on site options and policies in the summer with a consultation on a draft GESP towards the end of the year and a revised timescale has now been agreed with Strategic Planning Committee. “

https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk//documents/s6183/180719%20item%2010%20Appendix%20B%20Service%20Objectives%20Q4%2018-19.pdf

Make of that what you will!

Is our Local Enterprise Partnership attempting to hi-jack housing and infrastructure funding and control?

Yet another attempt by this unelected bunch of conflicted business people to suck up funding meant for local councils:

“…
Recommendations
2.1. 1.
That the Joint Committee pursue an area-based package to accelerate housing delivery which, at headline level, should include:

a. Resourcing of a strategic delivery team (capacity funding)
b. A major infrastructure delivery fund to unlock growth
c. A small schemes liquidity fund to bring forward stalled sites

2. That the proposed package as set out in appendix 1 is agreed as an
appropriate package to accelerate housing delivery across the HotSW
geography.

3. That the proposed package as set out in appendix 1 is used by officers as
the basis for future engagement with central government and its agencies in seeking to secure a bespoke deal for the HotSW area to structurally embed collaboration with central government on housing delivery.

4. That the Task Force seeks to now engage with senior figures within both Homes England and the MHCLG Growth and Delivery Unit to understand their appetite for driving growth and willingness to work with the Joint Committee on some kind of housing deal.

5. That the Task Force brings back any updates or progress to the Joint Committee to consider in due course.”

https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/documents/s26163/HotSW%20JC%20-%20Housing%20Task%20Force%20report.pdf

The appendix on pages 5 and 6 is particularly worrying.

And where does this leave the (stalled due to political changes) Greater Exeter Strategic Plan?

A new way of planning: are no-overall-control councillors up for it?

” Participation not Consultation:

At Civic Voice we are aware of the growth agenda and the need for more homes to be built. Our members understand this too, yet all over England many of these members, who are knowledgeable and positive people, have had to engage in fighting Local Plans and planning proposals that they feel passionately are not right for their places.

It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and place-making. ‘Participation not Consultation’ is about bringing people in at an early stage to develop the proposals through collaborative planning processes, also known as Charrettes.

The Charrette approach involves community members working alongside local authorities and developers to co-create design-led, visual plans and strategies. It is an inspirational and energising activity where the results of collaboration are seen immediately, with the knowledge that an individual’s input actually matters. It also has the potential to greatly increase the speed of the formal planning and design process.

Civic Voice has launched a campaign to bring these collaborative processes into mainstream planning so that, through shared working from an early stage, communities can help shape and support growth and development that is right for their place.”

http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/uploads/files/Collaborative_planning_1.pdf