LETTER: Door is open to jack up targets

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Last week Roger Smith cited the likely impact of people moving out of London, on the housing need in Horsham District. But it would be worth contrasting that with the London Plan, which said that the need ‘can be met within the London boundaries’.

Since affordability ratios are much lower out ‘in the sticks’, the outcome will surely depend more on which developers move the fastest, than on anyone else’s Plan.

They will of course build where they can get the best profit margins.

Sadly the Chancellor has done little to influence that and developers continue to regulate the build-out rate and location – whilst HDC remains on the back foot with its unattainable 20 year housing target (watch to see if the 7,000 of unbuilt houses with planning approval, reduces).

HDC’s 20 year target of 800 per annum is a massive 77 per cent higher than the 453dpa average built in eight years prior to the recession - when GDP growth was around three per cent pa.

There is no target adjustment for economic growth rate, or for the fact that would-be first time buyers are living with parents for longer.

So we will see more indiscriminate building and infrastructure overloading in some rural districts than others, depending on where the best commercial opportunities are and on where the 20 year targets have not been moderated for market signals.

Horsham District is one example where the door was left open for the Inspector to jack up housing targets, to the delight of developers.

Some districts would have been better able to accommodate the London overflow than others, but unfortunately such suitability has not been addressed.

Instead a few large developers have been left to compete for the London overflow.

It should also be clear that developers will not build the affordable houses needed - unless extra funding is found - and that the government’s ability to plan is not helped by inadequate government control over immigration rates. There are some big challenges ahead.

ROGER ARTHUR

Melrose Place, Storrington

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