Final days to speak out on Horsham district housing

Horsham District Council Housing Needs Survey
Horsham District Council Housing Needs Survey

THERE are just five days left to respond to Horsham District Council’s Housing Needs Survey.

In January HDC launched the survey asking people ‘How much housing does the Horsham District need?’ and for them to think about their communities over the next 20 years.

People now have only until Tuesday April 10 to answer.

Under the current system, the Government has imposed a yearly requirement of 650 new homes per year for the District.

However, it is expected that this will shortly be revoked and under the Localism Act 2011 all local authorities must set their own housing targets.

Any housing numbers we plan for the future have to be evidence based to meet the District’s needs over the coming 15-20 years. The Council is required to look at the demand based on factors like economic growth and population changes.

To prepare for the consultation, the Council has used the most experienced company in this field to help produce a report - “The Locally-Generated Needs Study” and recommendations which the council wants people’s views on.

At the end of the consultation period the results, including any alternative suggestions, will be put before an outside independent expert for comment prior to further discussion by the Council.

Cabinet member for living and working communities, Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) said: “This consultation is about the extremely important subject of housing levels in the District, giving the public the opportunity to get involved at this early stage before any decisions are made by the Council.

“The report has been prepared to inspire and provoke debate by both our Council members and the public to tell us which level of housing we should be aiming for. Do we want our community and economy to be maintained with a minimal level of economic growth and job creation or do we aspire to more?

“Without a long term vision, the District will lose credibility with the Government’s independent inspectors who are the final adjudicators of our plans.

“Unless we have their support we will have little control over future applications for houses and a reduced ability to gain contributions from developers towards community projects.

“Of equal importance is that the number of homes built will directly affect our provision of affordable housing and with a waiting list of over 1,000 families this is a key issue for our District.

“The sort of questions we need to ask are: Do we want our children to be able to live in the District? Do we want affordable housing and locally provided employment? Do you know someone in their older years who wants to downsize but still remain in their community? Do you know someone on the housing register still waiting for a home?

“I am specifically asking interested parties with their own suggestions of numbers to put these forward, be they more or less than those in the report.

“The only requirement is that any figure must be backed up by data, evidence and reasoned argument. We will then put this in front of an independent expert for comment.”

Comments received will be considered by the Council in late spring and will be taken into account when deciding the level of housing that is required for the District.

People can leave their comments on the Horsham District Council’s website Horsham District Council’s website and they have until Tuesday to respond.