It is right that our concerns regarding additional housing and lack of infrastructure within the district are made known to central Government. Below is a News Release which includes the concerns of Rochford District Council and includes access to the letter sent to Robert Jenrick MP which outlines our reasons for concern.
I await the reply to our letter with interest. Additional housing is required but so is adequate infrastructure.
Cllr. Robin Dray - Chairman of Rochford District Council and Member for Wheatley Ward.
Rochford District Council has written to central Government to express concerns about proposals to change the way local housing requirements are calculated, which would increase the number required to be built in the Rochford District.
The authority has submitted a response to the Government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ consultation, supported by a letter from Leader of the Council, Cllr Simon Wootton, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Cllr Ian Ward, and Cllr Dave Sperring, Chair of the Planning Policy Committee.
The letter states: “Rochford is a rural district with very little brownfield land and large areas of Green Belt. The proposed method raises an already challenging target of circa 380 homes per year to circa 590 homes per year, the achievement of which would necessarily require significant development on Green Belt, greenfield land and put enormous strain on local infrastructure.”
The proposed method tries to push more homes to areas where houses are least affordable by taking account of the ratio between local house prices and local earnings.
However, the letter raises concerns that this is “an extremely arbitrary one-size-fits-all model” and that as Rochford District has a large number of commuters, the level of earnings distorts the modelling that has been used, increasing the figure for the number of houses that would need to be built.
It also expresses concerns about the infrastructure levy - which relates to how developers would pay for new infrastructure, such as road networks, with new developments.
“We became concerned that local authorities will face disproportionate responsibility and risk for facilitating the required infrastructure upfront,” the letter states.
“The proposed policy infers that the initial costs of the infrastructure will be recouped upon occupation of the properties when sold. For larger phased developments, a significant number of homes may become occupied before the developer has contributed enough to pay for the infrastructure required.”
The letter concludes that the proposals are “neither manageable nor understandable” and states:
“We would be grateful if in your reply you would give greater clarity and assurance over the impacts of these proposals on authorities such as ourselves, with large Green Belt areas as well as other constraints, together with communities that have a larger than normal commuter base.”
Link to copy of correspondence from Rochford District Council www.rochford.gov.uk\LocalHousing