Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan
Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan 

18 September 2017

Notes of Housing Group meeting held on 18 September 2017

 

Present: Celia, Jim, Maureen and Phyllida

 

Apologies: Tim, Ellie

 

1. Consultation

PC has forwarded the summary and appendices of the consultation to all members.  Katy will shortly send a table for us to respond to the comments.  We agreed that JIM and GLENN will lead but ALL to contribute.  This should be done by 6 October as Jim not available after that.  We all need to consider whether any of the findings affect the HNA or Draft Intentions.

 

Generally, the consultation shows support for the policies and aspirations.  However we will need to consider the responses to the Land Use question as there were mixed responses to this.

 

2. Sticking points

There will be a meeting with all parish, town, district and county councillors on 31 October and by then we must know what our sticking points are – ie those things we won’t move on.  So far, we agreed that a minimum of 35% low cost housing is a key point.

 

3. Design guidelines

We agreed that we do want to have design guidelines and we will need to liaise with Environment and Climate Change groups.  We have some examples from Jan Farnan (sent to Jim, Maureen and Celia – let PC know if you want a copy).  We agreed that we would like to pay someone to do this work.  JIM agreed to do Terms of Reference and PC will refer this to the Steering Group on Wednesday.

 

4. Allocation of land

Other than the issue about land outside the development boundary we don’t think we should be allocating land.  PC to take to SG on Wednesday.

 

5. Emails from group members

Tim emailed to give an update on potential funding.

 

Ellie emailed with some questions and comments on the HNA which we discussed.  PC to draft response for JIM to make changes to HNA.

 

Maureen and Phyllida had debated the issue about housing for older people which had been queried by WDDC and we agreed to amend the text.  PC to send email to JIM for him to amend.

 

6. Any outstanding issues

We think most are covered but JIM will check.

 

However, we do need to agree about the Evidence Base.  We felt we should use Katy’s version but JIM and GLENN to have final say.

 

DATE OF EXT MEETING:  we may need to meet before the all councillors meeting on 31 October.

8 March 2017

Housing Working Group meeting 8th March 2017 at Mountfield

 

Present: Glenn Crawford; Elaine Streeter; Richard Freer, Phyllida Culpin;  Celia Marsh, Monica King; Jim Tigg

Apologies:  Anna Lovell, Ellie Farmer; Roy Mathisen

No amendments were made to the Register of Interests

 

1. General update

 

1.1 PC updated about meeting with Hilary Jordan and colleagues.  Notes have been circulated.  BRID 1 Vearse Farm is strategic.

 

1.2 At the last but one meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group it was agreed that the housing element needs to be in line with SHMA even if we disagree with it and fight it separately.

 

1.3 PC has attended two meetings of the Joint Council Committee, firstly to demonstrate progress with the plan and secondly to discuss how the JCC will review our proposals and resolve disagreements, if any.  PC will report back after next JCC meeting.

 

1.4 The Draft Intentions document is beginning to come together and needs to be with JCC to review by end March.  Housing Group needs to complete its section and then review its policies, projects and proposals against those of the other groups.  JT volunteered to draft.

 

1.5 Vearse Farm –CM reported that numbers may go up with a piece of adjoining land which would bring a further 80 units. Land Use group to consider and cross check with Environment.

 

1.6 RM has been liaising with Paul Derrien at WDDC for housing need data.  (Post meeting note:  now received and is different from that previously sent and shows greater housing need.)

 

2. Local plan review session

 

2.1 RF reported back and circulated notes. Terry Sneller has said that increased number of houses to increase number of working age people coming into area to balance against older people here.This is also in the Sustainability Document. GC has sent link.5 models of growth and WDDC chose the most ambitious and assumes economic boom coming.Hence 775 pa for WDDC. Review of Local Plan suggests lower growth rate but suggests it’s a ‘foolish’ option.

 

2.2 Steering Group will do formal response.GC has some wording.All to comment if wish. Self build group will be putting in a response.

 

2.3 Emphasis on developing Sherbourne and Dorchester.Mixed messages on AONB.Removal of ‘minimum’ 35%.

 

3. Housing white paper

 

3.1 JT – talks about rationalising how housing need is determined and supporting self build.  Could bring into HNA some more things from White Paper which we support.  Register of land to be set up.  Some relevant to our area and  some not.  Support for Modern methods of construction.  Training requirements on construction sites.

 

4. Meeting with CG Fry

 

4.1 ES met with Frys and notes circulated.The representative seemed to query the amount of affordable now required from White Paper.  JT will check the % requirements of White Paper.Rep of Frys to come to future meeting. ES to arrange.

 

4.2 Notes of meeting to go intoHNA.JT/GC to follow up.

 

4.3 ES to do some research on design methods which are eco and don’t cost more.  CM says to contact John Butler who has just written these – she will contact him.

 

4.4 Vearse Farm good opportunity to go for good eco standards and MMOC.

 

4.5 Meeting with Head of Development at Magna on 23rd.  PC will report back.

 

5. Housing Needs Assessment - HNA

 

5.1 HNA now on draft 10 – taking into account WDDC’s feedback.  Does it still represent the vision of the Group – this needs to be checked!  GC and JT to review current and then all members to review.

 

5.2 ES – is there provision for rough sleepers and drug and alcohol?– JT to review.  ES to write section for HNA. Need evidence – CAB, Cupboard Love and Pilsdon. Need to cross reference into Community Facilities PC.

 

6. What next?

 

6.1 Rationalise HNA JT and GC

 

6.2 All members to read once JT and GC have reviewed

 

6.3 Draft ‘Draft Intentions’ by end of March: JT – to draft and then GC and PC to review.

 

6.4 Check policies are robust and ambitious and allow room for movement in negotiating with WDDC.  ALL once draft intentions received.

 

6.5 JT – 15 March to go to Totnes to find out they did it!  CM to circulate information on self build at Totnes.

 

6.6       Date of Next meeting  28th March at 6pm with Fry and PC to book room. ES to contact Frys.  Need questions for him.  PC to circulate notes of Magna meeting and then all to come up with ?s.   EG Given that even affordable is beyond the reach of people what would he do to make it more affordable? How do you see it working?

6 December 2016

Housing Working Group meeting, 6th December 2016

Present: Roy Mathisen (RM), Richard Freer (RF), Celia Marsh (CM), Glenn Crawford (GC), Jim Tigg (JT), Richard Nicholls (RN), and from the Climate Working Group, Raja Jarrah (RJ), Richard Toft (RT).

Apologies: Anne Lovell.

Principal Purpose of the Meeting

As an outcome of our November meeting with WDDC’s Special Planning Team in Dorchester there is a need to clarify the rules covering what the NP can and cannot do in terms of aligning with Local Plan strategic policies.  This is an issue affecting all NP Working Groups so the approach will be for Phyllida to lead a team that meets with Hilary Jordan. 

 

The aim in this meeting is to agree the best way to prepare input that will enable Phyllida and her team to enter into an informed discussion with Hilary Jordan.

Discussion

GC noted that the Local Plan does not seem water tight as the adopted ‘strategic policies’ are not positively identified.  Also it is our view that the estimates of the number of houses needed in the Bridport area require proper substantiation and, failing this, should be modified [downwards].  This view is compounded by the 3 reasons for new houses given by Terry Sneller in our November meeting, namely 1) homes for new local families, 2) homes for new local and incoming employees, 3) homes for incoming retirees.  The HNA found no evidence for 1 and 2 (and saw 3 as a negative).

 

RM added that his study had concluded that the SHMA used as a basis for the Local Plan estimated a housing need 30% greater than that generated using ONS data.  In other words the SHMA is flawed and consequently so is the Local Plan.  During the November meeting RM challenged Terry Sneller on this matter saying that the extra 30% resulted in a ‘land-hunt’ to meet the target.  The response was that ‘numbers in the SHMA were tested robustly’.  Our view is that in the Local Plan Bridport has been burdened by more houses than are needed. 

 

The SHMA in question also says that only 8 social housing houses per year were needed – the logic behind this low figure is also seen as flawed.  RM also said he had been told that more houses gave more Affordable Homes as it is 35% of a greater number; a moot point.

 

For information, and as a separate initiative to the NP, RM has met with Sir Oliver Letwin to field the idea of setting up a ‘West Dorset Housing Trust’ that would provide a conduit for investors and support local builders.  He has sent a letter to Legal & General to seek guidance and asked Sir Oliver to endorse this letter.

RN reported that in the Purbeck area (which shares the same SHMA) an open meeting was held to discuss housing.  It was extremely well attended and the community ‘took the Council to the cleaners’.  RN suggests that a similar ‘Housing Number Problems’ public meeting be held in the Bridport Area. 

 

JT noted that the HNA does not express a specific concern about the numbers of houses proposed but does with the prohibitive cost of new houses for many would-be purchasers or renters, whether these are Affordable Housing or not. 

 

The uncertainty of developers meeting the 35% target is also an issue. RJ pointed out that developers have no legal obligation to share their accounts with the public making scrutiny of claims they cannot afford 35% very difficult.

 

In the November meeting we were advised not to try and redefine ‘affordable’.  To avoid this criticism RJ urged that the use of the term ‘affordable’ when used in a context other than ‘Affordable Housing’ should be avoided.

 

RT described how the disparity between assessment rulings by NP Assessors (Examiners) needs rationalising.  There is a need to ask MPs why this disparity exists and why a community is not allowed to ask for what it wants.  It was noted that our MP, Oliver Letwin, was an early champion of the Localism bill.

 

RJ noted that some policies they drafted for the NP were also in early versions of the Local Plan.

 

RJ explained that the Climate Change Group is also engaged with WDDC, who have similarly pointed out what they are ‘not allowed’ to do.  Their strategy is to see to what extent the officers will accept them stretching the strict interpretation in taking their policies forward to the Independent Examiner, rather than engaging in a full-on argument.

Where to go from here?

As a first step in preparing the ground for the Phyllida’s team to meet with Hilary it was agreed to:

Prepare a list of specific points to send to Jan Farnam with the aim of providing the Special Planning Team an opportunity to address our concerns prior to the meeting with Hilary.  In the same email we will request the written response from Jan that was promised (mark-up of the Table of Key Findings p.25-27 of HNA Draft 9).  GC to coordinate (JT, RM to input).

Request to provide the Housing Working Group with a copy of Purbeck’s analysis of the SHMA. RN

Share the response to the Climate Change Working Group’s response to their questions sent to Jan Farnham. RJ

Take up RN’s suggestion to call a ‘Bridport Area Housing Number Problems’ public meeting.  Action – keep in mind for future meeting.

Next Draft of the HNA

Draft 10 of the HNA was agreed as necessary.  JT is maintaining a file of all potential changes and potential new material gleaned from emails, minutes etc.

It was agreed that working on Draft 10 of the HNA should be held until we are clear about what we are going to put forward as ‘policy’ and what is aspirational, or what is simply comment.

RJ suggests that an Executive Summary be placed at the front of the HNA.  JT emphasised that all suggestions are invited and welcome.

23 November 2016

Housing Working Group meeting with Representatives of WDDC, Dorchester, 23rd November 2016

Present:

WDDC: Jan Farnham, Terry Sneller, Paul Derrien

Bridport Town Council: Katy Graham (KG)

Housing Working Group:  Glenn Crawford (GC), Roy Mathisen (RM), Jim Tigg (JT)

Purpose of Meeting:

Meet with WDDC to obtain and discuss the feedback from their review Draft 9 of the HNA.

Notes

Overall

WDDC did not have written comments at the ready but instead chose to take a more generalised approach.

 

Their opening statement was that the HNA addressed a lot of issues that could not be incorporated into the Neighbourhood Plan as they are not land-use related, e.g. financing, facilitation through shared-ownership schemes.

 

The main focus of all discussion was on the table in Section 3 – Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations.  WDDC will provide written comments on this Section.  A sample of WDDC observations is:

  • Do not re-define “Affordable Housing” which is a reserved term.

  • Particular issues that can be covered should be ‘local’ – such as ageing population

  • Starter Homes are a government requirement and therefore must be taken as a given.  (However, we were still allowed to comment in the HNA on their (un)suitability for local conditions)

  • Any policy relating to sustainable construction standards cannot demand a standard higher than that currently legislated by Building Standards, which are outside the scope of Planning.Instead think about a ‘solar farm’ if the land can be found.Also ‘encourage’ renewable energy.

  • Define how to tackle and develop draft policies, e.g. for Exception Sites look at ways of combining Affordable with Open-market housing such that cross-subsidies are achieved.Clarify wording for the policy decision makers.

In essence it was emphasised that the Neighbourhood Plan (and therefore by implication, the HNA) could not digress from policies contained in the Local Plan and government policy and legislation.  If the wish is for more Affordable Homes [as per govt. definition] then these would need to be developed via exception sites for which land would need to be found.  (Possibly aided by crowd-sourcing, community funding etc.).  Exception Sites can have different site-specific rules, mandated within a NP.  The policy allowing this is already contained in the Local Plan.

 

WDDC also emphasised that developers will not develop unless their project is financially viable and acknowledged that this viability may, in some instances, only be achievable at the expense of the 35% Affordable House allocation (applicable for sites of >10 houses).

 

WDDC acknowledged that excessive growth in Bridport, being in the AONB, was counter to national policy but justify the number of new homes allocated on formation of new households from existing residents (typically children growing up and moving out to their own family home), incoming workers to take up newly created jobs, and incoming retirees.  The NP delegates feel that the point regarding incoming workers should be challenged – where is the evidence for this?  Where are the highly-paid jobs which will provide household income to buy new £300k homes? (£68k p.a. required for 80% mortgage).  Similarly for local new families; given the costs involved, most growing families would not have sufficient funds without parental help.

 

Key Specific Points

 

Definition of ‘Local Connection’: Towards developing a definition of ‘local’ WDDC (Paul) will email the WDDC standard criteria that must be met to go on the Social Register.

 

Meeting of Local Plan Targets: Whilst the SHMA determined the numbers of houses and the Local Plan setting a target of some 15,500 homes within the single West Dorset Housing Market Area the location of the houses is dependant on land availability.  Sites for all but approximately 4,000 homes have been identified to date with Dorchester and Sherbourne taking the largest share.  For Bridport the Local Plan has some 945 allocated sites including Vearse Farm.

 

CIL: A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is now in place at £100 per m2 of building.  This levy does not apply to Affordable Housing.  Income from the levy goes into WDDC coffers, 25% of CIL is granted to the Parish in which a development has taken place and thus Bridport may only see a ‘sliver’ of a levy on one of its new properties. Vearse Farm is not subject to a CIL in lieu of the development including new facilities such as a school (which means the development benefits in full from this quasi-levy).  CIL will probably feature in the viability argument.

 

‘Staircasing’: Can give unintended problems around obtaining a mortgage.

 

NP Development: Katy ran through the process that is needed to deliver the NP.

 

Wrap-up

Whilst the focus was very much on the HNA Recommendations WDDC indicated that the document could be ‘fleshed out’ and made easier to grasp.  They suggest we write up draft NP policies, and highlight within the HNA – which becomes an evidence document for the NP – which of its findings are going forward as NP policies (currently indicated in pink, “crucial”, in the table in HNA Section 3). 

 

The next step is to prepare HNA Draft 10 for which WDDC’s written comments will be an essential input.  WDDC said that the trend is for NP Examiners to want to see some indication of how NP policies will be enacted so that should be made clear in the text.  In GC’s opinion the next draft will need to re-order the content to clearly separate items which are “aspirations” but can’t become NP policies from those which are intended to go forward as NP policy.  The HNA will remain as an “evidence” document.

 

There is a process of “screening” (Strategic Environmental Assessment) to which the NP must be submitted to decide whether a Sustainability Appraisal is needed due to new development land introduced by the NP.  WDWP can arrange that for us on request.  It is essential that this is done in tandem with development of the NP, not after it, or it may be legally challenged later as having been doctored to fit the evidence.

 

WDDC were thanked for their time.

 

J.Tigg, 25 Nov 2016

 

10 October 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 11 October 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

James Tigg (JT), Anna Lovell (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Roy Mathisen (RM), Glenn Crawford (GC).

 

No changes to interests were declared.

 

The meeting was specifically to review comments received as a result of circulating the Housing Needs Assessment (draft 9) for review to the Steering Group, Working Group leads, Joint Councils, Project Consultant and Town Clerk.  Comments had been collected and collated by Katy Graham, Project Manager.

 

Attendees separated into two groups and worked to resolve as many of the comments as possible.  Most suggestions either required no action or could be met with simple modifications to the text.  A minority will need further work or investigation.  No further editing of the HNA itself is anticipated until WDWP have reviewed the HNA, which is scheduled for early November.

 

Actions:

1. to combine results into a single report and return to Katy Graham.

2. to store proposed changes for incorporation into future update to HNA. 

 

GC noted that this was the last meeting that he would chair as his term as Working Group lead had now concluded.

 

Next meeting: not arranged.  It is suggested that the next meeting could be jointly with the Land Use Working Group to compare progress and findings.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan, Housing Working Group

13 September 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 13 September 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Anna Lovell (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Roy Mathisen (RM), Glenn Crawford (GC).

 

No changes to interests were declared.

 

GC reported that the Housing Needs Assessment (Draft 9) was circulated for review and comment on 5th September.  It went to members of the Steering Group, all Working Group leads, Bob Gillis, Jo Witherden, Katy Graham and to members of the Joint Council.  Comments will be returned to Katy with a deadline of 30th September.

 

A further round of review will be undertaken by Jan Farnan, Terry Sneller, Paul Derrien at WDWP.  RM and GC will introduce the HNA in person at a meeting in Dorchester on 19th September (a third NP representative is sought for this) and leave them with both paper and electronic copy.  A target for them to inspect and report the HNA will be negotiated at the meeting.

 

Following receipt of comments, the Housing group must then study and decide how to handle each comment.  To that end the next Housing Working Group meeting will be a few days after closure of the 30th September deadline.  Following that, the group must work with other Working Groups to achieve a seamless set of statements for the Neighbourhood Plan.  The precise mechanism by which this would happen was unclear and GC will find out.

 

RM updated attendees on his progress towards an education programme to make local councillors better aware of housing issues.

 

GC reminded attendees that he wishes to step down as Housing group convener.  No-one had come forward and RM thought we should wait until we see how WDWP receive our HNA when the magnitude and complexity of the work going forward would be more evident.  The over-riding quality needed for the next phase of work was probably ability to organise and chair the group, not housing expertise.

 

Next meeting:

Tuesday 11th October, 5:30pm start, Mountfield.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan, Housing Working Group

24 August 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 24 August 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Anna Lovell (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Celia Marsh (CM), Richard Nicholls (RN), Glenn Crawford (GC).

 

Noted that Ellie Farmer is now unavailable until March 2017.

 

No changes to interests were declared.

 

GC reminded attendees that the purpose for the meeting was to review outstanding items for the Housing Needs Assessment to enable it to be circulated beyond the Housing Working Group.  Having incorporated almost all previously requested changes there were three outstanding areas.

 

1. Definition of percentage of “affordable” housing.

a. GC reported that it had been impossible to uncover definitive information on the number of households who would aspire to move into new homes if provided, which was necessary if a definite target number of lower-cost homes were to be given.WDWP will attempt to help but cannot until key staff return from holiday.For now the HNA will contain a statement saying this is under review but to emphasise in a statement that the sector of the local public the HNA is primarily intending to support is those who wish to move into better accommodation but are unable to through lack and/or cost of suitable homes.Action: to insert wording.

b. GC suggested that, because the 35% “Affordable Housing” by Government definition (20% discount) promised by the Local Plan is of little help in our area, the thrust of the HNA must be to promote genuinely lower-cost homes which are beyond the 35% proportion.This was agreed.

 

2. Priority access to lower-cost homes.

a. It was not clear what methods exist to restrict tenure of new lower-cost homes which are not formally “Affordable Housing” to households with a local connection, or essential workers. GC had asked the question of WDWP who are yet to reply.Wording has been added to the HNA stating the requirement, and it will be left to professionals to suggest a legally binding mechanism.Agreed that this is adequate.

 

3. Policies from BLAP’s housing report are included in the text but have not been approved by the group.

a. All recommendations were accepted apart from “housing needs for vulnerable and elderly”. This was felt to be out of step with current conditions and better covered elsewhere in the HNA, so is not included.Action; to remove its recommendation.

There was a general review of the wording. Subject to four minor changes to the draft reviewed (9f) and incorporation of the points above it was unanimously agreed that the HNA should now be issued to the Steering Group, elected councillors and WDWP officers for further comment.  Action:  GC to update and release HNA by 6th September.

 

It was agreed that distribution should be managed carefully using paper copy to restrict circulation.  GC would release an electronic copy to Katy Graham our Project Manager; copies would then be issued by KG, accompanied by a letter (GC or KG to write) briefly describing the HNA and outlining the reviewing role that we would like the recipient to carry out, and inviting them to attend a review meeting around two weeks later.  In the meantime any early comments or questions would need to be addressed to KG on behalf of the Working Group.  Action:  GC to discuss this with KG, and subject to her agreement to implement the release plan.

 

Next meeting:

Tuesday 13th September, 5:30pm start, Mountfield.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan, Housing Working Group

10 August 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 10 August 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Anna Lovell (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Ellie Farmer (EF), Jim Tigg (JT), Celia Marsh (CM), Glenn Crawford (GC).

 

Apologies

Roy Mathisen, Dominic Knorpel (DK), Richard Nicholls.

DK, who had been expecting to attend, provided notes for the meeting instead.

 

There were no changes to declarations of interests.

 

Agenda Items

1. Continuation of discussions of “universally affordable” policy, also aired at 9th August Steering Group meeting.

 

a. If universally affordable housing is to be the policy, to what extent is this to be restricted to local residents, and what mechanisms exist to allow that?

The group felt they did not have the expertise to answer this although EF had done some research into classes of restriction which are applied elsewhere.  “Section 157” which is commonly used in properties built on former Council or Community Land Trust land is not appropriate to homes built on privately owned sites, moreover mortgage lenders are averse to it. GC to seek advice from NP consultant Jo Witherden and from Jan Farnan at WDDP.

 

b. GC suggested that the figure of 100%, currently stated for the proportion of new homes to be low cost, was an arbitrary one. With a view to better quantifying the number, how many local households would wish to take advantage of these homes (for first purchase or to upgrade), and what size of property do they need?It was not clear how this could be established and this item is .

 

2. Housing Needs Assessment unfinished work.

Principle areas requiring further work are listed below:

a. Older residents in outlying areas may, with advancing years, wish to move to suitable accommodation nearer health and other facilities.The draft Housing Needs Assessment already states this but could do so more forcefully.The group agreed that it would not be practical to try and suggest how many households this would include. to improve existing wording.

b. Finish incorporating Jo Witherden's suggestions from Draft 8.

c. Review DK’s 9th August comments and evaluate to what extent they have (or have not) already been taken into account for Draft 9 – will do this ( to provide him with printed copy of unfinished Draft 9).

d. Complete an analysis of SHMA where its conclusions appear not to follow its data, and incorporate findings – .

e. Improve illustrations which demonstrate that larger percentages of lower cost housing need not impair developers’ viability (postponed). to invite Tim Crabtree to next meeting if this is within his area of expertise.

f. Assemble Health & Wellbeing Board evidence of linkage between health and housing in HNA ().

g. review the note which our colleagues on the Land Use Working Group wrote for us (attached) to see whether there's anything in there which isn't already covered ().

h. We need to move the HNA on, so we can start to get feedback from people outside the Neighbourhood Plan group; WDDP Housing, WDDP Planning, the Bridport Area “Joint Councils”.It was felt that the question of affordable percentage must be settled before this happens.()

 

3. Items arising from 9th August Steering Group meeting

  • The meeting included a presentation by GC on the reasoning behind universal low-cost housing followed by discussion with attendees which centred on older residents’ needs, and the type of buyers who are currently unable to find homes.

  • The need to allow movement of older residents from outlying areas to town was debated (2a above).

  • Incoming key workers, especially medical, need to find housing and must not be barred by unreasonably restrictive policies.

  • It was suggested that developers would be discouraged by too high a proportion of affordable housing, resulting in a reduction in building of new homes, counter to what is required.

  • DK said future revisions of the Local Plan must take into account any neighbourhood plan Housing Needs Assessments.The Local Plan is about to undergo revision so it is important the HNA is made ready.

 

Next meeting:

Wednesday 24th August, 5:30pm start, Mountfield.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan, Housing Working Group

12 July 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 12 July 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Anna Lovell (AL), Ellie Farmer (EF), Roy Mathisen (RM), Jim Tigg (JT), Glenn Crawford (GC).

Katy Graham, Bridport Town Council Project Manager, attended as observer.

 

There were no changes to declarations of interests.

 

Agenda Items

  1. Does the Group wish to retain "100% Affordable" policy in the face of warnings over rejection by the Inspector and worries over viability?

This was discussed thoroughly and in conclusion:

  • As the housing “Need” is clearly for 100% lower cost housing, that is the only conclusion which the HNA can state.According to PAS (Planning Advisory Service) guidance, it is not for the HNA to set policy, but to inform of need, and that is what we are doing.

  • When the next HNA draft is available it should be circulated to key WDDC staff (via Jan Farnan?) and a meeting requested with them to discuss the HNA’s findings.

  • The HNA does not adequately explain the faults in the West Dorset SHMA which fails to convert housing need data into a realistic set of requirements.Action: RM to produce a summary of these shortcomings to incorporate into the next HNA draft.

  • Do we accept the PAS guidance that "the HNA sets out evidence to inform policy rather than itself comprising policy", and water down our existing Policy, Proposal, Project statements to just different grades of "Conclusions"?

  • With a slight amendment to column headings it can be made clear that the statements are not policies but recommendations and observations.

  • Do we agree to state that a “local connection” is required for access to Affordable Housing?

  • Yes; although the protection this gives may not last beyond the first owner of a property.Action:EF will look into whether Local Connection can be applied to open market properties.

  • Can we conceive of ideas which would give local buyers a head start over buyers from outside the area?

  • Only via Community Land Trusts.RM points out that incoming buyers tend to go for the more up-market houses and are therefore not so much in direct competition with less well-off local residents.

 

Additional item

RM will organise a series of educational sessions leading towards a West Dorset “Housing Summit” in the autumn.  This will be done outside of the framework of the NP.  The intention is to inform Councillors of the housing challenges which residents face, so that future revisions of the Local Plan can more accurately reflect true housing need.  The Bridport Area and other NPs would benefit from this as their recommendations would be less likely to conflict with the Local Plan.

The question put before attendees is “to what extent do NP colleagues feel that the NP can be connected to RM’s independent initiative?”

 

After discussion three levels of possible involvement emerged; 1) for the NP to actively back RM by being present at his seminars, 2) for RM to proceed independently but keep NP representatives involved and informed, 3) for RM to resign from the NP and go it alone.  The group decided for 2) and this decision will be communicated to the NP Steering Group.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group

9 June 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 9 June 2016

Venue Slader’s Yard, West Bay

 

Attendance

Jim Tigg, Dominic Knorpel, Glenn Crawford

 

Agenda Items

This was an interim meeting with a specific list of attendees convened exclusively to resolve problems that DK had identified with HNA Draft 8.

 

In summary, DK has two main complaints:

 

a) the HNA’s findings are for the entire NP Area and are not localised to individual parishes.  He believes this could make it more difficult for parish councils to identify how the HNA relates specifically to them, and this in turn may impede progress of the HNA towards acceptance.

 

b) in declaring a desire for universal affordability of new housing, the result may be to frighten away developers fearing loss of viability, resulting in a downturn of home building.

 

These points and several others arising were discussed at length.  The key outcomes are:

 

  1. The use of the HNA to try and formulate draft policy troubles DK who believes that it should present data without making judgment.As this is contrary to received advice GC will take this up with our consultant.It is more important to put forward policy principles than to define the policies themselves.

  2. In editing the HNA, more emphasis will be put on the difference between West Dorset Local Plan provisions and the proven requirements of the NP Area.

  3. We should try and find more parish-related housing need data, e.g. from the Rural Services Network, particularly each parish’s age distribution compared with rest of Dorset and with England.

  4. More parish-specific data would help underline a case for more building on “rural exception sites” (outside of established development boundary).

  5. Health & Wellbeing data on housing topics has great leverage with planners and DK will send a copy of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment by Dorset Health to GC / JT.

  6. If pursuit of universal affordability can be justified by evidence, and by statements in the Local Plan, NPPG and other higher level documents, and provided the viability for developers can be proved, then it can remain a goal. It must be rigorously justified or it will fail the inspection process.

  7. Providing new housing specifically for the infirm elderly, if it enables them to move out of their long-term home which has become unsuitable, has the advantage of freeing up housing, often family-sized.

  8. The idea of a “hierarchy of need” was suggested; e.g. social rented, affordable rented, affordable purchased, open market.

  9. Recent BLAP reports on Housing Need should be specifically referenced and perhaps excerpts quoted, since WDWP contributed to them.

 

While accepting the validity of DK’s points GC and JT cautioned that to perform substantial additional research or re-structuring of the HNA at this stage could unacceptably delay its completion.  Even when completed the HNA still has to pass inspection by the Steering Group, then the Joint Councils, WDWP and the Government Inspector.  GC will confer with the Steering Group.

 

Glenn Crawford

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group

3rd May 2016

 

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

 

 

 

Attendance

 

Ellie Farmer, Richard Freer, Jim Tigg, Monica King, Dominic Knorpel, Glenn Crawford (chair)

 

Apologies

 

Roy Mathisen, Celia Marsh

 

Declarations of interest

 

No changes

 

Update on Actions from Previous Meeting:

Survey of builders and developers

Larger companies approached have failed to respond at all.  Efforts continue.

Smaller companies yet to be approached.

Community-Led Housing

Text for the HNA f from Tim Crabtree still hoped for.

 

Agenda Items

Housing Needs Assessment – HNA Draft 8

 

Draft 8 includes statements and policies agreed or suggested last time: “100% Affordable” with reasoning and justification; Starter Homes declared inappropriate for NP Area, with explanation; removal of fixed 5% target for self-build; numerous other improvements.  Document was circulated prior to the meeting; printed copies were available to facilitate discussion.

 

Draft 8 has also been circulated to all Working Groups so that they can assess how Housing Group’s findings relate to their own.

Jo Witherden has been asked to review Draft 8 bearing in mind her earlier comments on Draft 4, most of which have been addressed.

The meeting reviewed whether the HNA met the declared objectives of the Working Group.  Points noted:

Check whether Economy Group have noted that tourism-related businesses have trouble attracting seasonal staff, either because younger residents are forced to leave the area or becasue seasonal staff can’t find or afford somewhere to live (Action – GC).

 

NPPG suggests that we should check with NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and with County Council Education Service whether Housing Need leads to inequality or paucity of services.  (Action – DK)

 

DK recommends we reference C.A.B. “A Place To Call Home” and BLAP Affordable Housing seminar report 29 Nov 2011.  (Action – JT). DK also recommends we should cite the Local Plan’s shortcomings in putting forward our policies, to illustrate that issues of the NP Area were not adequately reflected in it.  (Action – all to consider)

 

There was discussion on whether the HNA should be making a more robust statement on Privately Rented Housing.  Decided this would be unwise and to leave it as it stands.

 

The “100% Affordable” policy was discussed.  Despite some misgivings it was decided to leave it as it stands for now, since open-market housing does not solve local need and in fact can accentuate it.  We will need to defend this policy by clarity of view, copious evidence and examples of alternative approaches to financing affordability.  (Action – all to give thought to this; it may deserve a dedicated briefing meeting in future).

The meeting also decided that one more draft of the HNA would be permitted before discussing its contents with WDWP officers.

 

Informing Public

 

The group are anxious that the general public are behind its work and feel that there is inadequate publicity.  EF proposes an interview with Rene Gerryts (Bridport & Lyme Regis News).  GC points out that Lottie Welch (View From Bridport) should also be involved.

 

A go-it-alone approach is undesirable and we must ensure the rest of the NP Plan team is given the chance to be represented  (Action: GC)

The journalists will need careful briefing and management of the complex topic of how the Neighbourhood Plan represents local interests, we should have a short briefing paper to hand over to back up the verbal interviews.  (Action - ??)

 

The idea is on hold for now, pending approval to take it forward.

 

Tasks Beyond HNA

 

Shelved for next meeting.

 

Due to several group members being away for much of May, the date of the next meeting was not set.

 

19 April 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 19 Apr 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Ellie Farmer, Roy Mathisen, Jim Tigg, Celia Marsh, Monica King, Dominic Knorpel, Glenn Crawford (chair)

 

Apologies

Richard Freer

 

Declarations of interest

No changes

 

Update on Actions from Previous Meeting:

Survey of builders and developers

Survey is ready to be enacted; volunteers to carry this out yet to be identified apart from DK (Mac Builders and A P Chant) and Tim Crabtree (C G Fry).  Others Persimmon, Hallam, Castle, Taylor Wimpey.  GC to look for volunteers.

Community-Led Housing

Tim Crabtree agreed to write a short text description for the HNA, awaited with interest.

 

Agenda Items

  1. Housing Needs Assessment - HNA

    • Jo Witherden has reviewed Draft 4 and reported her findings, circulated to all by GC.

    • No other Working Groups commented.

    • GC and JT are editing the HNA between them; the nature of the job makes it difficult for others to share the workload.Agreed this is the only way forward despite it being more time consuming than expected.

    • GC is looking for household gross income data for the NP Area but having difficulty.Various leads yet to be followed up but even the County Council’s Principal Research Officer says she can’t find out.

    • Discussion on percentage of Affordable Housing determined by Local Plan: DK of opinion that it can be increased beyond 35% if NP Area conditions justify it; Richard Nicholls to be asked to comment (GC to do this).

    • If “Starter Homes” approach is not suitable for the NP Area, we can say so.

    • Agreed to remove “5%” requirement for serviced plots and reduce to statement of encouragement for self-build and custom build.

 

  1. Tasks Beyond HNA

    • Shelved for next meeting.

 

 

Date of next meeting Tuesday 3rd May, principally to further discuss the HNA progress.

4 April 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

Date 5 Apr 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Richard Freer, Jim Tigg, Celia Marsh, Tim Crabtree, Monica King, Dominic Knorpel, Glenn Crawford (chair)

 

Apologies

Roy Mathisen, Corry Provan, Ellie Farmer

 

Update on Actions from Previous Meeting:

 

Survey of builders and developers

Glenn and Ellie have produced a list of topics, which now needs refining.

 

Agenda Items

  1. Housing Needs Assessment

    • JT has completed a fourth draft.Despite there being known areas of omission and others capable of improvement, all agreed that this should now be offered to Jo Witherden for her assessment.Jo would be asked to discuss findings with the Working Group at its next meeting; target for 2 weeks’ time (19th April).

    • Also agreed to circulate it to other Working Groups with request to submit comments by 19th April.

    • For future drafts: mention Edwards Close and Dibden View as examples of recent developments which were attuned to local demand.

    • DK suggested that rural developments on smallholdings could be useful and should be encouraged via the HNA.

    • Anecdotally, health services and seasonal businesses have trouble housing staff recruited from outside the area.This was not revealed by our survey of local businesses.

    • DK points out that we must review our HNA against the Local Plan, NPPF and NPPG before going externally to the NP team.LP sections 3.5.4, 5.7.4 are particularly relevant.

 

  1. Questionnaire for housing developers:

    • Ellie Farmer has contributed to the draft survey, which GC now has to merge into a single questionnaire.

    • Discussion on what it is we wish to learn from such a survey – no clear consensus, each builder may teach us something different.

    • Discussion on which firms it would be useful to include.When GC has compiled the questionnaire, DK will contact Chant and Mac, TC will contact Fry.Taylor Wimpey should be included for their opinion of the development environment in the NP Area, as well as other firms already identified; Persimmon, Hallam, Castle.

 

  1. Community-Led Housing Approaches

    • TC outlined how a MHOS works and explained that it is a model widely used in Scandinavia (18% of new homes).He will review the relevant section of the HNA in time for a further draft (target: 12th April).

    • This type of development is encouraged by the Local Plan.

 

  1. Tasks Beyond HNA

    • Shelved for next meeting.

 

 

Date of next meeting target 19th April, depending on whether HNA has been read and commented-on by Jo.

22 February 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Housing Working Group Report

 

Date 22 Feb 2016

Venue Mountfield

 

Attendance

Richard Freer (Chair), Jim Tigg, Celia Marsh, Ellie Farmer, Anna Lovell, Tim Crabtree. 

Guest Speaker Tina Cornish (Kennedy’s Estate Agents).

 

Apologies

Roy Mathisen, Corry Provan, Glenn Crawford, Monica King

 

Update on Actions from Previous Meeting:

 

Survey of town centre businesses

Monica King has commenced survey of town centre businesses’ housing observations.  Richard Freer will assist.

 

House sale price statistics

Corry Provan has collated and emailed house price statistics.  These need to be presented in a way compatible with other figures: action not allocated.

 

House rental price statistics

Dependance on Home.co.uk to provide data is not working, we will need to do this ourselves: action not allocated.

 

Housing Need Assessment (HNA)

Jim Tigg has progressed this actively and had circulated a draft for comment to all email-connected working group members several days prior to the meeting, with a request to comment. 

Anna Lovell will provide information on housing for older people by contacting Derek Harding at DCC.  It is noted that with two spokespeople on this topic within our team, Anna Lovell and Dominic Knorpel, we should be able to frame a statement for inclusion in the HNA.

Nothing else pertinent was received and so the HNA will proceed to completion, action Jim Tigg to bring up to a standard where it can be presented to Jo Witherden for comment.

 

Housing Association Data

Richard Freer reported that Magna, Hastow and Stonewater had now provided data but it was a laborious process, RF to continue.

 

Agenda Items

  1. Tina Cornish presented her thoughts on housing need, based on her professional experience and background.  (Text appended to this report).  A number of comments were made:
  • In the main it was a very anecdotal presentation. Magna Housing issues were discussed, in particular their dominance of the Housing Association numbers in our NP area. She stressed that they are “....a business not a charity!”
  • “There are only about a dozen Shared Equity homes in a 5 mile radius of Bridport”
  • She supported holiday homes in that “....they support tourism and are the backbone of our villages if not the town- they keep the pubs going, spend their money here and generally have properties not really for local family use (parking problems mainly).”  Most attendees did not agree with this concept.
  • Ex Local authority tenants do not find it easy to get a mortgage, but are offered the option to buy after 3 years’ tenancy, part of a Section 157 of the Housing Act 1985.  A bidding system for Magna properties exists, not based on finances, but on a personal circumstance, points based system. It is based on an internet bid(s), so prospective tenants not on-line, are at a disadvantage.
  • Apparently, there are a lot of illegal lettings in Bridport they disobeying
  •  occupancy rulings.
  • Difficulty to escape shared-equity, once on that system.
  • Only houses selling are cash buys.  Purchasers of properties for Holiday Lets find it difficult to get mortgages so these attract cash buyers.
  • Homes for the less able in purpose-built complexes do not work.  Difficult to sell.  Ground floor homes are better but not up any stairs.  Housing Assocs are reluctant to modify properties to suit disabled tenants (example, wider doors).  HAs cannot modify listed buildings due to planning restrictions so they get sold off.
  • Shared equity does work, BUT needs to be for 3+ bedrooms as they tend to be homes for life.  Shared equity needs ‘right to staircase’.

 

  1. Noted that the group needs to question a reasonable sample of housing developers.  There is not yet a plan to do this, nor any sensible list of questions.  Action: attendees asked to consider this and submit ideas to Glenn Crawford by next meeting.

 

 

Date of next meeting to be agreed, will be event driven.

26 January 2016

Housing Working Group Meeting Notes

 

 

 

Present: Jim Tigg (JT), Richard Freer (RF), Celia Marsh (CM), Corry Provan (CP), Roy Mathisen (RM), Monica King (MK), Glenn Crawford (GC).

Apologies: Ellie Farmer, Elaine Streeter, Caroline Morgan-Smith, Dominic Knorpel, Ian Harvey.

 

Principal Topics

  1. Housing Need Assessment
  2. Surveys and Evidence

 

Housing Need Assessment (HNA)

JT reviewed the “skeleton” for the HNA which draws from work done at Sturminster Newton as well as recommendations in our store of documents.  Discussion on what comprises “Housing Need”, RM offered CPRE definition “no. of households living unsuitably and who can’t afford to house themselves”.  To avoid enormous proliferation of classes of need and/or types of housing at HNA level, agreed to concentrate on two most pressing areas of need, low-income who do not expect to buy but who cannot even find rented accommodation, and middle-income earners who would reasonably expect to be able to buy but cannot afford local prices.

Discussion on how to manage the process of writing the HNA.  JT, RM, RF all have material for it and will get together to agree how to share the task, and to start to write it before next meeting.  Target for completion of HNA is end March – i.e. approved by independent examiner - so it must be written by end Feb.  No time to waste.

Ongoing liaison particularly with Land Use group is needed to ensure the HNA reflects practical limitations.

GC to try and get a copy of Frome HNA as their NP is a good example.

 

Surveys and Evidence

  • Estate Agents’ survey has been distributed by RM, who will collect results shortly.  Initially encouraging, gold star quality response from Kennedy’s.
  • Employers / Employees survey needs re-work, GC to circulate new draft by Monday 1st Feb.
  • Housing Associations, RF has this in hand, CP will assist as requested.
  • Housing Developers, this will be done by personal visit and a standard set of questions; not started yet and not assigned to anyone.

 

CM has canvassed support for Self-Build, found that most people interested are not in “housing need” but fancy building it as a project.  Agreed that Self Build will be described in the HNA as one mechanism for delivering lower cost but not elaborated beyond that.

RM needs current market value house prices (i.e. over last 2 years) – CP will extract from Rightmove by next meeting – and private rental prices, which was to have been commissioned from Home.co.uk by Bob Gillis, GC to chase this up.

 

Next Housing Group meeting

 

Tuesday 9th February 2016, 7pm, at Mountfield.

 

Glenn Crawford

 

15 December 2015

Housing Working Group meeting

15th December 2015

 

Present: Celia Marsh (CM), Ian Harvey (IH), Monica King (MK),  Richard Freer (RF), Roy Mathisen (RM), Glenn Crawford (GC)

 

Principal topics for discussion:

  1. review outline plan for writing Housing Needs Assessment written by Jim Tigg
  2. discuss progress of tasks
  3. Self Build and Custom Build scheme

Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) Plan

  • JT provided a short “PowerPoint” presentation illustrating what goes into an HNA and the steps needed to accomplish it.  The HNA is the principal document we have to produce, it’s the focus of our work.  Agreed the presentation is along the right lines, JT-GC-RM to work to complete it asap for circulation to the rest of the group.  (How to include co-housing, self build, etc in the HNA?)

Progress of individual tasks:

  • Steve Sherlock’s work on businesses questionnaire interrupted through computer failure.  IH, GC to try to rescue this, survey is held up. MK will conduct the survey in local shops and other employers, IH will conduct the survey on Gore Cross, St Andrew’s and Pymore Trading Estates.
  • Elaine Streeter has circulated a draft Estate Agents questionnaire, GC to find out whether this can now be completed.
  • IH mapping of “Rural Exception Sites” ongoing, crossing-over with Land Use working group.
  • RF has now got as much information from Paul Derrien at WDWP as he can provide. Informatiopn is “banked” for use in HNA.
  • RF, RM (with help from Corry Provan if possible) will interview Housing Associations to find out their expectations for the NP Area.
  • All members are requested to try to visit briefly Pageants Close in Bradpole and Edghill Road in Skillings to see how “not” to provide social housing.
  • ID cards and leaflets for individuals carrying out surveys are available for collection from Mountfield upon request.
  • Steve Sherlock was to think through the idea of a walk-in survey on housing aspirations using his South Street office, in terms of the effectiveness of the data gathered.
  • RM to contact Tim Crabtree ref the idea of a Bridport Area Community Housing Association.
  • RM has been authorised to place an order for private rental data from “Home.co.uk” .

Self Build:

CM is looking into level of local demand.  Under new rules WDWP ought to be compiling a register of interested parties but no enthusiasm currently, any register will be too late for our HNA so CM will do it herself, building an evidence base for inclusion in HNA.

Ideas surfacing during discussions:

  • Mid February is unrealistic for completion of HNA, we will aim for end March instead.
  • Long term (e.g. 5 year) leases would give better security to privately renting tenants.
  • How many homes are freed up annually due to the death or infirmity of elderly owners?
  • CM may be able to get private rental historical statistics via a friend in the industry.

Further notes: 16th December guidance from consultant

IH, RM, GC met Jo Witherden (JW).

  • The format of an HNA is not rigidly defined but following conventions described by NPPG will help it through assessment.  There is no “model HNA” we should copy.
  • A HNA can, if supported by evidence, put in a requirement for new developments to comprise houses of a particular type or size, e.g. basic rather than luxury, if that is the local requirement.  Such a stipulation would be upheld by planning officers should a developer try to go against it.  As part of the evidence, ask Estate Agents whether there is unfulfilled demand in any particular type, e.g. smaller, cheaper.  (Elaine Streeter please check this is covered in our questionnaire).
  • The HNA should state the current problems of its NP Area in opening remarks (e.g. elderly population, low median wage, houses unaffordable to local people)
  • There is a case for presenting an imperfect HNA early, rather than a perfect one later. Time is of the essence if we are to avoid unpopular planning decisions being made before we have finished.
  • The Housing team need to talk to developers of all sorts, with a carefully thought out set of questions.
  • JW advised the team not to disturb the “35% affordable” Local Plan allocation if possible.  Although it may be justified in principle, the work involved in proving viability will be immense.  Better to concentrate on controlling the preferred type of open-market housing.
  • Local income profile data may need to be paid for as it is not part of the census data.  Normal source is CACI.

 

Next Housing Group meeting:

Tuesday 12th January, 7pm, Mountfield.

 

Glenn Crawford

1 December 2015

Housing Working Group meeting

1st December 2015

 

Present: Steven Sherlock (SS), Ian Harvey (IH), Richard Freer (RF), Roy Mathisen (RM), Monica King (MK), Glenn Crawford (GC)

 

Principal topics for discussion:

  1. review actions initiated at or before last meeting 20 October
  2. review task list for the working group
  3. discuss allocation of tasks

Review of incomplete actions:

IH has begun to map locations of “Rural Exception Sites” outside development boundaries and “Rejected Sites”.  There are concerns that changes in legislation effectively give central government the right to take land away which has been given for low-cost housing, and that will make it less likely that landowners will come forward with offers of land.  Also it seems permission does not have to be sought for “Starter Homes” on brownfield sites. (This project has as much to do with the “Land Use” Working Group as it does with the Housing WG and it may be appropriate for the investigation to carry on under that group’s watch – IH to comment.)

 

RF has had some answers to his questions about social housing from Paul Derrien at WDWP, but some remain outstanding.  This includes whether

PD can provide data specific to our NP Area or whether we will need to interpolate results to fit them to our area.  RF to phone Paul Derrien to try and bring this to a conclusion. RF is also in contact with Barry Bates at Citizens’ Advice Bureau for information on homeless and other categories of needy residents though this is not looking as if it will yield much information.

 

GC has completed a survey of completed NPs to find out whether there are ways of restricting some of it to existing residents.  The results are in the document archive at "Controlling Type & Tenure" but in short very little evidence was found that this has been done, outside of National Parks where different rules apply.  Adopted NPs from areas with similar challenges to ours are in the archive at "Other NPs"

All members were asked to access the What Homes Where tool (at www.howmanyhomes.org ) and try the effect of different parameters on its projections for 2030 – this is not immediately needed as we have not made a detailed enough list of what data is needed but should remain as an action for future use.

 

All members are requested to try to visit briefly Pageants Close in Bradpole and Edghill Road in Skillings to see how “not” to provide social housing.

 

Task List for the Working Group

 

GC further updated the task list, following input from our consultant, and will distribute it to all Housing WG members.  It’s expected that the list will change often to reflect progress.

 

There was round table discussion on different ways to obtain evidence of housing need.  These included approaching employers in the area whose staff might be obliged to live outside of the NP Area due to housing cost (District and County Councils, NHS, town centre shops and trading estate businesses).  SS will draft a questionnaire (to be agreed by 8th December).  MK will conduct the survey in local shops and other employers, IH will conduct the survey on Gore Cross, St Andrew’s and Pymore Trading Estates.

Agreed that it’s important to establish how many people are in need of housing independently of Council figures, since many people who have no hope of getting Council help simply give up and don’t bother to re-register after a while, so don’t appear on Council figures.  Census figures should reflect that category.

 

Ideas and inspirations

 

RF suggested a time–lapse map for comparison purposes, as people may have forgotten how rapidly housing increased during the 1970s/1980s.  Significant when comparing the Town and the relevant outlying parishes, the latter where development has been slower, perhaps?

Discussion ensued on contacting local NHS employees/ HR depts., for insight on journeys, distances and attitudes as to living in our locale. “Would you/ why don’t you live closer ?”  Distribution of flyers to glean this info. was suggested. (NHS premises/ Higher Education centres could be targeted). SS suggested an intro-sheet, prior to a visit to premises, would save on repetition.  GC will see whether the recent Neighbourhood Plan publicity flyer is suitable.

 

SS suggested his South Street office could be used for a “walk-in” opportunity for people to say whether, if houses were available at (say) £120k - £150k, they would buy one – agreed this had the basis for useful feedback (“market indicator”) but needed some refinement to make sure the data collected was useful, SS to think it through in terms of the effectiveness of the data gathered.

 

RM mooted the idea of a Bridport Area Community Housing Association to assure provision of homes at locally affordable rates.  Tim Crabtree has experience of this type of scheme and RM should contact him to float the idea. (NB: Tim is fully committed on other work until 15th December).

 

Task Assignment

 

The group comprises 13 people, many of whom are now engaged in specific tasks. Generally, each newer member is “assigned” to one of the longer term members (RF, RM, IH, GC) to act as mentor.  This arrangement currently stands as follows:

  • Corry Provan is writing a Housing Association questionnaire with input from RF
  • Elaine Streeter who is writing an Estate agents questionnaire with input from RM
  • Ellie Farmer (and Celia Marsh when available) is researching models of affordable and social housing, and their applicability locally; also schools liaison, with input from IH.
  • Jim Tigg is coming up with a template for our Housing Needs Assessment, with input from GC
  • Steve Sherlock will devise a questionnaire for shops and businesses which Monica King and IH will carry out.

Alan Heeks, Tim Crabtree, Caroline Morgan-Smith, Yen Chit Chong have all expressed interest in joining but have not yet become involved.

 

Next meeting: Tuesday 15th December, 7pm.

10 November 2015

Housing Working Group meeting

10th November 2015

 

Present: Roy Mathisen (RM), Andrew Leppard (AL), Richard Nicolls (RN), Glenn Crawford (GC)

 

Apologies: Richard Freer (RF), Ian Harvey (IH).

 

Principal topics for discussion:

  1. review actions initiated at or before last meeting 20 October
  2. analyse Peter Brett report on West Dorset housing needs which underpins Local Plan
  3. review task list for the working group
  4. discuss recruits to the group as a result of public launch

Review of incomplete actions:

 

Will “Rural Exception Sites” outside development boundaries be exempt from Starter Home legislation; IH will investigate and report.  “Rejected Sites” may also be useful, IH will find out where they are.

RF to chase Paul Derrien at WDWP for figures on demand for rented properties. RF is in contact with Barry Bates at Citizens’ Advice Bureau for information on homeless and other categories of needy residents.

GC to complete study of completed NPs to find out how/whether they had been able to provide housing specifically for existing residents.

All members were asked to access the What Homes Where tool (at www.howmanyhomes.org ) and try the effect of different parameters on its projections for 2030.

 

All members to try to visit briefly Pageants Close in Bradpole and Edghill Road (?) in Skillings to see how not to provide social housing.

 

Peter Brett report on West Dorset housing needs

 

RM presented a digest of the Peter Brett Associates (PBA) report and confirmed his suspicions that the conclusions on the demand for different types of housing demand are not coupled by any logic to the figures which it is based on.  The most sensitive numbers to get right are those affecting less affluent residents; the more wealthy, and those wishing to become in-migrants, can fend for themselves.

RM will shelve this work for now and concentrate on a presentation which he will show to the new recruits to bring them up to a good level of knowledge.

 

Task List for the Working Group

 

GC distributed for comment an updated document intended to define the working group’s tasks.  Consensus was this needs to be further broken down into establishing the problems, and deciding solutions for them. GC will continue to work on this.

 

Recruits to Working Group

 

A number of useful people have stepped forward.  Some may become active participants, some may function more as “consultants”, this will become more apparent when we talk to them at length.  All of them will be invited to take part in the next Working Group meeting (which will be a one-off event) so that they can be brought up to date and assigned tasks.  GC has requested Bob Gillis to complete the formality of declaration of interests before then.

The individuals who have registered their skills/interests are (alphabetical order):

  • Caroline Morgan-Smith: former legal career.
  • Celia Marsh: Self-Build and eco homes
  • Chit Chong: Peabody Institute, sustainable building design
  • Corry Provan: surveyor working for Dorset CC, affordable housing, self-build, live/work units.
  • Elaine Streeter: RIBA Part 1, sustainable / low-C building, architectural design
  • Ellie Farmer: Background in education
  • June Jach: will work to enable younger people to remain in the area.
  • Lucy Roberts: M.Sc in social policy, analysis & research
  • Tim Crabtree: Wessex Community Assets, supports CLTs, limited-equity housing and co-ops.

 

Additionally Alan Heeks, Steven Sherlock, Nick Devlin may be interested, or be on-hand to add expertise.

 

Next meeting: 24th November, 7pm.  This will have a reduced agenda, to “indoctrinate” new members; GC will book a suitable room with projector.  RM will provide a presentation outlining the group’s challenges and tasks.

Glenn Crawford

20 October 2015

Housing Working Group meeting, 20th October 2015

 

Present: Roy Mathisen (RM), Andrew Leppard (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Ian Harvey (IH), Glenn Crawford (GC), (first part only) Phyllida Culpin (PC).

 

Principal topics for discussion:

  1. tutorial on financial models for Housing Associations
  2. preparation for Working Groups launch
  3. information from Paul Derrien (WDWP Housing Enabling Officer)
  4. synopsis from NP Area Parish Plans
  5. topics for group to work at
  6. work load and time scale

 

Housing Association (H.A.) financial models: PC explained that Magna, the biggest social landlord in the BANP area, are unusual in that they are not building any more housing for the foreseeable future.  A more typical model is for H.A.s is to borrow to build, and pay back from rental income; properties are effectively mortgaged from lenders who are confident of repayment, since rent is virtually guaranteed.  WDDC has preferred partners for development who are Aster (Synergy is part of the Group); Hastoe, Stonewater (was Raglan and Jephson) and Yarlington.

 

Terminology: The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the mean of the bottom 30% of market value rents.  “Affordable” = 80% of  market value and includes service charges; “Social” = 60% plus service charges.  The amount a H.A. can borrow to build depends on the rating of the property (i.e. its potential rental income).

 

A third of new build comes through Section 106 mandates.  The H.A. will offer a developer less for Social than for Affordable but more for Shared Ownership.  Developer may decline to proceed if they can’t make their expected profit (viability) and will negotiate a reduction of the percentage of “affordable” housing in a development accordingly.  A “bidding” process allows a developer to select a H.A. to work with.

 

A H.A. can develop on its own land, but will be competing with private developers on land value.  There are also Community Land Trusts where land is  acquired cheaply from a local benefactor.  Still relatively expensive to develop due to high staff costs and awkward tracts of land, but a model of housing provision which gives preference to local people.

 

H.A. business planning has recently been given a profound knock by a change in central government attitude.  Income from rent which was fixed as “inflation +1%” has gone to “inflation -1%” for the coming four years, resulting in around one-third less development by H.A.s.  Shared ownership schemes: affordable rent on a site was around 30:70 but likely to now be 50:50 or even 70:30.

 

Further change has come about as a result of the government’s wish to create a property-owning generation (see "Inside Housing" article).  Right To Buy policy is introduced in a new Housing & Planning Bill, giving tenants the right to buy properties they rent from a H.A., and so is the concept of “Starter Homes” at 80% Market Value for under-40-year-olds.

 

Social Housing in small rural developments are exempt except tenants can take their Right To Buy lump sum and leave to buy an empty H.A. property elsewhere.  Section 106 agreements will now will now specify Starter Homes as “affordable” at the expense of other forms of housing.  Starter Homes mortgages are likely to be more expensive, and there is a worry that there will be insufficient new owners stepping forward to buy this type of property.

 

Housing WG will in future attempt to have discussions with a number of H.A.s to see whether they are prepared to build homes for rent at a value attractive enough to developers, to help understand the overall likelihood of achieving “affordable” housing to match the area’s needs.

 

There was some discussion as to whether so-called “Rural Exception Sites” outside development boundaries would be exempt from Starter Home legislation; IH will investigate and report.  GC warned that if this is viewed by central government as an unwelcome loophole, it is easily closed by a change in the rules.  “Rejected Sites” may also be useful, IH will find out where they are.

 

Working Groups Launch: RM showed drafts of posters to inform attendees from the public what the Housing Group was doing; some amendments were agreed and the modified posters will be used.

 

WDWP Housing Enabling Officer:  RF had some information on demand for Bridport (Town) rented properties, average 17 contenders for each one that comes onto the market (max 40, min 1).  RF will continue to work with PD.

 

Parish Plans: RF presented a summary.  Although many of the plans were old, sketchy and some incomplete it was felt that they provided a useful indicator of local attitudes.  Some of the content of RF’s document will be included in our evidence.  The group considers this item closed.

 

Topics for Housing Group

 

RF is in contact with Barry Bates at Citizens’ Advice Bureau for information on homeless and other categories of needy residents.

RM is working on the WDWP “SHMA” document and extracting some meaningful figures which he will work up into a condensed presentation to us at a future meeting.

 

GC showed a draft “Housing Group Aims” document which is intended to form the basis for a breakdown of the tasks which have to be completed.  Suggestions were made for improvements, GC will continue to work on this.

 

A previous activity had lapsed, to look at selected completed NPs to find out how/whether they had been able to provide housing specifically for existing residents. GC will resume work on this.

 

Carried over from previous meeting, and ongoing:

 

RM undertook to write a digest of the Peter Brett report to initiate looking into why 4/5 bedroom houses appear to be in demand, against expectations

 

All members were asked to access the What Homes Where tool (at www.howmanyhomes.org ) and try the effect of different parameters on its projections for 2030.

 

All members to try to visit briefly Pageants Close in Bradpole and Edghill Road (?) in Skillings to see how not to provide social housing.

 

Next meeting: it was agreed to meet on the Tuesday following the main public launch, which is 10th November, 7pm. 

Glenn Crawford

6 October 2015

Housing Working Group meeting

6th October 2015

 

Present: Roy Mathisen (RM), Andrew Leppard (AL), Richard Freer (RF), Ian Harvey (IH), Glenn Crawford (GC)

 

Principal topics for discussion:

 

1) discuss Planning Advisory Service note on assessing housing needs, as proposed by Dominic Knorpel at last week’s meeting

2) form a view on how we can share the resulting work out as a team

3) review publicity posters for Working Group launch

 

PAS Document: team members were not adequately familiar with it for the discussion to take place. GC observed that the document points strongly towards following a standardised approach to evidence gathering, including producing a Housing Needs Assessment (HNA).  ACTION: all members to make sure they read and understand the important points over the next few days. 

It was noted that D Knorpel’s promised list of links to other key documents had not arrived.  GC said he had begun to collect the documents himself and had posted them on a new “Dropbox” service shared folder.  All current group members have been given access to this.  ACTION: all members to confirm to GC that they can access the documents. 

 

RM has offered to print any documents from the “bank” which individual group members feel would be useful to them, plus a full set to be held at Mountfield in an agreed place for the public to access.  ACTION: AL to agree with Bob Gillis a suitable location.

Sharing work: until the PAS note is digested by group members and the working group launch has taken place (November) this can’t take place, however we can arm ourselves with reading material and try out some of the interactive planning aids on line which Dominic identified.

 

Publicity posters: designed by RM and had been circulated for comment during the week. Amendments were proposed to the list of skills we are looking for, both from a view of completeness and also to try and limit numbers of people who might want to join the group but overload it through sheer numbers. The NP team consultant Jo Witherden had previously offered to suggest a list: ACTION, IH will contact Jo via Bob Gillis to ask for this list.

 

Other matters:

 

IH pointed out that a lot of recent history and background can be gleaned from Parish Plans.  RF offered to acquire all of the plans for other NP Area.  ACTION: RF to report on these at next meeting.

 

There was some discussion on the background to the housing crisis and the impact it has on the demography of the NP area, with rising proportion of retired and falling proportion of young and working age. RM illustrated this with figures provided by the “What Homes Where” tool for West Dorset overall.  He said that the Peter Brett Associates report which underpins the Local Authority housing projections is based partly on a wish to increase the number of younger people, but this was done by massively increasing the number of older people.  By the time the resulting housing boom was available to the public, it would be largely occupied by wealthy incomers buying on the free market, and not achieve its objective. 

 

It was noted that recommendations coming from different sources point towards a shortage of larger homes (4, 5 etc bedrooms) which is hard to understand in the face of the apparent shortage of housing for younger couples and families.  ACTION:  RM undertook to write a digest of the Peter Brett report to initiate looking into this.

 

ACTION: All members to access the What Homes Where tool (at www.howmanyhomes.org ) and try the effect of different parameters on its projections for 2030.  The tool is self-documented, and an easy to absorb presentation on how to use it is also provided.

 

IH pointed out that there are built examples of how “not” to provide low-cost housing in the NP Area, and suggested a visit could be educational.

 

Next meeting: A date was not decided, but given the timetable is for the public launch of working groups to be on 6th and 7th November, there will need to be a preparatory meeting on the Tuesday of that week (3rd November) and it would be sensible to provisionally expect another meeting between now and then e.g. 20th October.

 

Glenn Crawford

Address:

c/o Bridport Town Council

Mountfield

Rax Lane

Bridport

DT6 3JP

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