Localism and housing targets

Mole Valley’s planning policy documents include a Core Strategy, with several supplementary planning documents. There is also a Land Allocations document on which work has been paused but which will identify areas of land could be used in the future for housing. The overarching guidance was the South East Plan, which amongst other things set the housing requirement for Mole Valley of 3760 new homes in the period from 2006 to 2026. 1245 have been completed so far, and there are a further 720 with planning permission, so on this basis there is a shortfall of 1,795 (or 168 each year on average).

The Government is however abolishing the South East Plan, and the Council now has the chance to decide whether to stick with the housing requirement handed down from the South East Plan or set a new requirement itself for the next 15 years or so. But how can such a target be set? Clearly it must be affected by a number of factors such as likely need for affordable housing, the demand for market housing, population growth by birth or immigration, average household sizes, housing costs and so on, most of which are very difficult to forecast. Added to which, if the requirement set is demonstrably too low by reference to these factors, it could well be rejected when it is examined by an independent Planning Inspector.; and if it is higher than the South East Plan figure, more land will be needed from the Green Belt.

So we have a problem to be solved. How many houses do you think are needed?  Let us know what you think or how the target should be set.