Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells need to increase housing numbers

According to dha Planning, a new report commissioned jointly by Sevenoaks District Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is expected to reveal that both authorities need to significantly increase the amount of housing currently being planned for.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment is a national requirement to provide a firm evidence base for planning future housing developments. Although the report is currently only in draft, it is understood Tunbridge Wells Borough Council does not dispute the housing need figures set out in it.

The draft report shows a need for Sevenoaks to provide 12,400 homes and 12,960 homes to be provided in Tunbridge Wells between 2013-2033 – that’s 620 and 648 per year respectively.

The Sevenoaks requirement is almost four times the current Core Strategy figure of 165 homes per year, while the Tunbridge Wells requirement is more than double its current Core Strategy rate of 300 per year. 

dha believes both authorities will struggle to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing when judged against the newly assessed need in order to comply with the NPPF.

The evidence will be used by the planning departments of both authorities to plan their future growth through reviews of their emerging Local Plans. 

It must be emphasised that no policy decisions have yet been taken by either authority, and it is not yet known whether either will seek to meet the need in full within their own authority areas, especially given the significant Green Belt and AONB constraints in both areas.

dha expect both authorities are likely to issue calls for sites to identify potential housing locations over the coming months and Kentcentric, like dha, will be monitoring the situation closely.

If you would like to discuss the opportunities presented by the draft Strategic Housing Market Assessment contact David Bedford or Matthew Woodhead at dha on 01622 776226.

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