Posted by: John Brace | 16th August 2018

Government Minister denied 803 new homes a year was “target” for Wirral Council

Government Minister denied 803 new homes a year was “target” for Wirral Council

                                                  

House building on the Wirral 2018

House building on the Wirral 2018

In an update to Was figure of 803 new homes a year in Wirral Council Cabinet report on the Local Plan calculated incorrectly? I’ve now found out more about both Wirral Council’s position and I’ve had an opportunity to read the statement that the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP made last year when the 803 figure was published.

Wirral Council state that the 803 figure was based on household projections from 2016 to 2026, rather than 2018 to 2028.

The display of the cells in the spreadsheet for the household projections show figures rounded to the nearest thousand (the worked examples show figures rounded to the nearest five hundred). If you round the figures to either the nearest thousand or five hundred you get the same figures I calculated on Tuesday of 784 new homes a year. Wirral Council however prefer to use the actual figures in those cells of 145,403 and 152,492. This leads to a slightly higher figure of 794 new households needed a year (or 135 less over the 15 year life of the Local Plan than the 803 figure used).

Wirral Council have stated that these figures will change when the Office of National Statistics publishes the new household projections (expected to be revised downwards) on the 21st September 2018, but haven’t made it clear whether the consultation on the Local Plan in September will be using the 803 figure or a revised figure once the new household projections are published.

A statement published last year of the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (when he was Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government) which accompanied the consultation in which the 803 figure was used denied it was a “target”. His statement states,

“It will be up to local authorities to apply these estimates in their own areas.

We’re not dictating targets from on-high.

All we are doing is setting out a clear, consistent process for assessing what may be needed in the years to come.”

 

and

“These 3 steps will provide a starting point, an honest appraisal of how many homes an area needs.

But it should not be mistaken for a hard and fast target.”

Finally, Cllr Stuart Kelly (who is on Wirral Council’s Planning Committee) has confirmed that the draft Local Plan with the 803 figure in (also referred to as an emerging Local Plan) agreed by Wirral Council’s Cabinet on July 23rd, is a material planning consideration. This means that even before the consultation starts next month that the emerging Local Plan has to be taken into account when Wirral Council councillors or officers decide on planning applications.

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Responses

  1. In an update to what’s stated in the article above, this page about the Local Plan consultation states that Wirral Council plan to start the consultation on the 3rd September 2018, which is before the Office of National Statistics will publish revised household projections on the 21st September 2018.

  2. More rate payers money going up in smoke and not a new brick laid

  3. Hi John
    the local plan is a material consideration but I am not aware it has the figure of 803 is in it (yet) but because we don’t have an official (rather than emerging) plan with figures and sites we can’t demonstrate a 5 year supply which doesn’t help resisting applications for housing in areas which may be unsuitable. it is still possible to resist green belt applications under national green belt policy if ‘harm’ can be demonstrated if an application is approved.
    hope this helps
    Stuart


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