East Hoathly Village Concerns Blog

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Wealden has published a new 5YLS document

Wealden has published a new 5YLS document that shows that they only have a 3.96 year land supply.

To achieve this figure, they have estimated that they will build 3,509 houses in the next five years against a requirement of 4,435 houses.

This 4,435 requirement has been calculated by using the 735 houses/year OAN and by backdating the new plan to 2013, this creates a 549 house backlog. Wealden has used the Sedgefield method to eliminate this backlog

In addition, Wealden has not counted any windfalls in the numbers of houses to be built.

By making just one change to the analysis, I can make the 3.96 years into 4.96 years. This change is one recommended by the inspector who found the Lewes plan sound earlier this year. His point was that any housing backlog should be derived from the housing target in place at the time, not by backdating the new target. Using this method, Wealden’s 549 house backlog becomes a 306 house surplus which can then be deducted from the target. The revised target then becomes 3,537 houses, which is only 28 houses short of a 5YLS.

I think that the extra 28 houses could be easily found if Wealden wanted a 5YLS. They could legitimately include some windfalls given their past record of windfall delivery, or they could take a slightly different view of the 3,509 houses they assess will be built over the next five years.

In the second page of their document, they have listed all the large sites where they consider 1,975 of the total 3,509 houses will be built. Taking just one site, Site G Uplands Farm, they have included the 82 houses granted permission in 2013. However, earlier this year, a revised application was granted permission for 183 houses. If this site starts delivering houses as Wealden has indicated in 2018/19, then it should build at least 150 houses by 2021. This would then make the 3,509 total 3,577 houses, equivalent to a 5.06 year land supply.

I’ve noticed that two other large sites (Land at West Uckfield and Land at East Hailsham) are showing a much reduced delivery in this 31 March 2016 land supply document than in Chris Bending’s evidence to last August’s Oaklands inquiry. Both of these sites have slipped back two years reducing the housing supply by at least 242 houses. The slippage may be real, but it may not be………..

Another of the large sites at Stone Cross is shown as starting to deliver houses in 2017/18. However, work started in the summer of 2015 and I bet that some of the houses will be occupied before the end of this year. We may find that the delivery rate of the 1,975 houses in this table is pessimistic in terms of both numbers and timing.

Nothing in the new document has led me to change my opinion that Wealden has engineered a situation where they do not have a 5YLS. I feel that were they minded to achieve a 5YLS, they could easily produce legitimate figures to demonstrate this position.

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