Fury as new housing criteria wreck Fareham draft plan

NEW HOUSING levels forced on Fareham by Government will wreak havoc with the draft planning strategy, putting hundreds more acres of countryside under the bulldozers. Whitehall moved the goal posts by applying a new factor relating to the ratio of average income to average house prices. Fareham must now find yet more space to cram in another 1,500-2,000 homes – doubling the current number of greenfield houses required. Work preparing the well-advanced draft local plan has been halted and much of it will have to go back to the drawing board. And there’s worse to come when yet another Government rule change – the Housing Delivery Test  – comes into force in November. Furious councillors rounded on the minister responsible, James Brokenshire, telling  him enough is more than enough. Council Leader Seán Woodward and MP Suella Braverman will meet the Secretary of State and lay it on the line that the Borough should not be expected to cope with an ever-rising volume of housing thrust on it by Whitehall. Councillor Keith Evans, executive member for planning and development, said: “We responded to the Government by rejecting the proposals as unreasonable and unachievable in the short term. It fell on deaf ears. “ We now have to decide how to incorporate all these additional requirements and consult on the new recommendations. “All this will take additional time and leaves the Council exposed to even more unwelcome applications.” Fareham had already met previous Government criteria by objectively assessing the 5-year housing supply requirement. This showed 11,300 homes were needed. After discounting Welborne (3,840), completions and permissions (2,995) and remains from the existing plan (208), the Council had to accommodate an extra 4,250 and had managed to find brownfield and windfall sites for around 2,000. When developers learned the rest had to come from greenfield sites, it sparked a Klondyke-style rush with over 100 proposals totalling 12,700 homes submitted against the 2,500 still needed. As Fareham cannot now publish its new plan, it must consider applications without the protection of the usual planning  policies. Under the fresh Government diktat, the 5-year housing land supply (5YHLS) will see the current annual need for 487 dwellings raised to 571, assuming a 5% buffer. If Fareham fails the Housing Delivery Test, the figure could go up to 653 per annum for the next 5 years, with massive extra impact on the suspended draft local plan.