DRAFT PRESS RELEASE
50,000 HOMES A YEAR UNDEMOCRATIC AND UNREALISTIC
New figures calling on the South East to consider building up to 50,000 homes a year are simply out of step with reality says the South East England Regional Assembly.
Assembly Chairman Cllr Keith Mitchell CBE says advice published today (26 June) by Government advisers – the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit – runs contrary to the Assembly’s own evidence base and is a clear attempt to undermine democratic decisions on critical planning matters.
He said: “These numbers have no credibility as they completely bypass local democracy and the Assembly’s duty to balance housing growth with residents’ concerns about the environment and infrastructure. Our current South East targets were agreed by councillors and community representatives who know the region and its challenges far better than appointed civil servants ever will.
“Our solution is to build to realistic targets but ensure that one in every three homes is affordable – either for rent or for part rent/part buy. This is a far more practical way to help people find a decent home they can afford, especially as our own research shows that simply building more homes does not make them cheaper.”
Cllr Mitchell added: “Announcing these massive figures now highlights their lack of realism. Asking the South East to build between 38,000 and 50,000 new homes for sale each year is simply absurd when people can’t get mortgages, repossessions are growing and builders are downing tools as they see their profits dwindling.”
Lesley van Dijk, PR Executive at the Regional Assembly 01483 555234/ 200
Heather Bolton, Communications Director at the Regional Assembly 01483 555220/ 200
Notes to Editors
1) NHPAU was set up to advise Government on how to achieve better housing affordability in England. Its figures published today (26 June) suggest annual average house building rates for the South East ranging from 37,800 to 49,700. Figures for the South East are significantly higher than figures for any other region. Figures for all regions will be published on 26 June at http://www.communities.gov.uk/nhpau/
2) Assembly commissioned research from economist Prof Christine Whitehead shows that simply building more homes will not stop house prices rising. She argues that even building thousands more homes each year, by 2026 prices will be even less affordable for average earners. See the full report at http://www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/documents/housing/christine_whitehead-housing_and_affordability_in_se.pdf
3) The Assembly sets out its own house building plans in its 20 year South East Plan http://www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/southeastplan/plan/view_plan.html. Its proposed target is 28,900 homes a year with 35% being affordable - either for part-rent/part-buy or for rent through housing associations.
4) In August 2007 independent inspectors recommended an increase in South East house building to 32,000 and supported the target of 35% affordable homes. The Assembly is still awaiting Government's views on these recommendations.
The South East England Regional Assembly
5) The Assembly is a partnership of councils and communities in the South East region. It was established in January 1999 to give a representative voice to the region, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey.
6) The Assembly is made up of 112 members including elected councillors nominated by the region’s local authorities and 37 representatives from other sectors of the community (including business, trades unions, education, housing, health, sports, culture, tourism, faith groups, environmental, community and voluntary organisations) as well as the New Forest National Park Authority.
7) The Assembly has six roles:
· Regional Planning - preparing and delivering the South East Plan
· Regional Housing - the Regional Housing Board decides housing investment priorities
· Regional Transport - the Regional Transport Board decides transport investment priorities
· Advocacy - pressing the South East's interests in London and Brussels
· Accountability - scrutinising SEEDA’s plans and impact
· Alignment - co-ordinating regional policies and decisions.
Our vision is for a distinctive, outward-looking, accessible region of prosperous, sustainable communities, with a high quality of life and environment.
For more information, see the Assembly’s website www.southeast-ra.gov.uk.
SOUTH EAST PHOTO LIBRARY
The South East England Regional Assembly’s photo library MediaStore, gives everyone the chance to access images of issues affecting the region. MediaStore draws on the knowledge of the Assembly to provide you with images from all over the South East.
· regularly updated with photos covering topics from housing to transport to flooding
· easy to access and download
· fully searchable
· a wide variety of high resolution images
· there’s no charge for this service, just credit the Assembly when an image is used
To view images from across the region visit