LETTER: We need some economic growth

I refer to the letter ‘Housing figures are much too high’ in the County Times of April 25.

Before answering the points made regarding housing figures it should be noted that Horsham District Council’s ‘calculated housing needs figure’ will be subjected to a thorough enquiry by a government appointed inspector. The inspector will either approve (or not approve) the housing figure.

Any figure that HDC comes up with has therefore got to be backed up by a well argued and robust case based on facts.

HDC employed specialist consultants to produce its figures. In their report they calculated that:

1) if there was no net migration into the District then the population number would fall, but because household sizes are getting smaller we would still need an extra 186 houses a year and

2) as the population gets older and if we simply want to maintain the same number of working-age people, then there would need to be some inward migration. We would therefore need to build 456 houses a year to house both these people and also to allow for the household size changes in 1) above. However, this figure does not make any allowance for any economic growth whatsoever.

It is reasonable to expect that both the electorate and any responsible political party would want to maintain and indeed improve living standards and to do this we need some economic growth.

This growth requires extra workers and so the report also projects around 564 houses per year would be wanted to house both our existing population’s needs and the workers required to achieve three per cent economic growth.

The number also requires us to consider other factors - not least a duty to co-operate with our neighbouring councils and an inspector would expect us to include an additional figure to cover that duty.

CLAIRE VICKERS

(Con, Southwater) Cabinet member for living and working communities, Horsham District Council, North Street, Horsham