Some Home Truths

There are not enough houses in Shepway. Regardless of what anyone says. One can argue that 12,000 should not be built at Otterpool Park, but it is impossible to say that we do not need new housing stock, or vacant properties bought back into use.

The 2011 census informs us 108,000 people live in Shepway, of these, close to 85,000 are eligible to vote and there are roughly 50,000 properties

Not everyone can afford there own home as the average (mean) price of a property in Shepway in 2014 was £218,633 and the mean annual earnings is £24,903 (See table below)

The National Housing Federation Home Truths report makes it clear that we need more housing stock. in our part of the world. Yes we live in an area where water is scarcer per person than in Morocco or Egypt. Yes we live in an area where we believe that houses are being built wherever we look, but we need them.

Landlords receive £9.3 billion in housing benefit each year and nearly 50% of this goes to people in work. It demonstrates there has been a failure by both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, to build enough houses for a growing population. The Bed & Breakfast bill paid by Shepway District Council to house people with no homes has been rising for years. In part this is because of the failure by Shepway DC to build houses in the last twenty years.This short sightedness has been part of the problem.

Rows of houses

The Table below is stark evidence that houses need to be built in Kent & Shepway, whether we like the idea or not, otherwise rents will keep rising as less housing stock is built. It is that simple. Where we build them is the problem. No-one in there right mind welcomes 12,000 new homes in there backyard, so where do we put them?

District

Average (mean) house prices in 2014

Average (mean) monthly private sector rents in 2013/2014

Mean annual earnings in 2014

Ratio of house prices to incomes

Income required for 80% mortgage 2014 (80% at 3.5x

% of housing benefit claimants in employment in Feb 2015

Unemployment rate (Dec 2014)

Four year shortfall 2011– 2014

Second homes

All longterm vacant stock

Total HA rented homes 2014

Kent

£262,142

£739

£27,492

9.5

£59,918

24.7

5.4

-21,546

8,104

4,458

60,887

Shepway

£218,633

£565

£24,903

8.8

£49,973

21.4%

5.8%

-1,058

1,041

608

2,097

Ashford

£260,863

£763

£25,917

10.1

£59,626

26.1

5.1

-2,182

468

250

2,855

Canterbury

£251,205

£802

£26,556

9.5

£57,418

24.2%

5.8

-2,060

1,093

403

2,913

Thanet

£192,676

£551

£20,327

9.5

£44,040

23.1%

10.1%

-1,961

1,451

748

4,961

Dover

£215,391

£536

£26,572

8.1

£49,232

22.6%

8.1%

-1,056

1,168

436

2,669

Sevenoaks

£433,317

£1,345

£36,171

12.0

£99,044

24.2%

3.7%

-1,722

287

330

7,232

Tunbridge Wells

£355,786

£915

£33,696

10.6

£81,322

29.2%

4.1%

-2,336

348

334

7,386

Swale

£202,640

£655

£25,106

8.1

£46,318

22.3%

6.2%

-2,953

1,690

405

8,708

Maidstone

£255,085

£734

£27,487

9.3

£58,305

26.3%

4.9%

-2,096

161

323

9,017

Regardless of who is driving Otterpool Park, the houses need to be built, if not there then where?

Yes we need to consider the environment.

Yes we need to consider social housing.

Yes we need to consider the views of those affected.

There are too few homes in Shepway & in the UK, usually costing too much, often in the wrong places, and often of poor quality. The crisis damages lives, breaks up families, blights employment prospects, reduces mobility and slows the economy.

The market will not on its own provide. This is not because developers are wicked but because rational self-interest requires that they do not build so much as to flood their own markets, or to expose themselves to excessive risk.

Shepway’s housing crisis, like the UK housing crises is a human disaster.

“The notion that there is no land left really is nonsense,” says David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation. “Nine per cent of the country is developed and that includes roads, factories and so on: only 2% is housing.” The challenge is then to find places that do not affect somebody’s view, somebody’s dog-walking route and somebody’s property prices.

Solutions have been put forward now all we need to do is put them into practice, remembering to mitigate as far as possible those people who will be affected by the development of 12,000 homes at Otterpool Park

Shepwayvox

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5 Comments on Some Home Truths

  1. It is all very well in making a statement we need more housing, if our borders remain open they will continue to flood in, where do you stop?

    In Shepway only High end homes are being built. Developers apply for planning with 30% affordable housing (whatever that means) and get approval. They then come back and say the project isn’t viable so the affordable homes get dropped.

    Shepway District Council have only bought/built 12 affordable/social homes across the district over the last 5 years..No homes are being built for local residents.

    Otterpool Garden Town. SDC have taken £5.2 of tax payers money and say they need to plan for the future. The conservatives have been in power for many years apart from a slight blip, what forward planning did the do for the exiting residents say 20 years ago? Nothing.

    If only 2% of land in this country has housing on it, why do SDC need to build on prime agricultural land? We need to keep agricultural land to sustain our food industry. How do we feed ourselves in the future? Brown field sites must be used first.

    SDC is taking tax payers money to build this wonderful Town with health centres, luxury homes, wonderful schools 30% open spaces lovely new train station, employment and all the facilities they will need. Existing residents are losing all their open spaces, Dr surgeries are closing, schools are being closed, areas are deliberately being left to rot. Tax payers money is being used to buy properties and rent them out to residents at market value ( scandalously expensive prices). The tax payer then has to pay out on housing benefit because they wages are so low (£9.3 million given to private landlords).

    Garden Towns can be a wonderful places and have proved to be in the past. We unfortunately do need housing because of Labour & Conservatives failed policies.

    However the caveats are housing should be built on brown field sites not agricultural land.

    We need assurances of the type of housing to be built in the district. Must be affordable to locals especially young people. What is being built is at least 10 times the average wage. Locals cannot afford.

    Why should this new town have 30% open spaces when they have 100% at the moment. Our existing open spaces are all being built on. What money is being spent locally on playgrounds and open spaces for locals.

    Employment has not happened so far in the district, where is the proof that employment will happen. Apparently if you create employment land, employers will come. Shepway had employment land already (Hawkinge) for many years. SDC have recently allowed housing to built on that land.

    Infrastructure, roads in the area will not be able to sustain traffic from 12,000 homes. GP surgeries are closing everywhere, how is it possible that this area will have a health centre. Why not put the money into the Royal Victoria hospital or a health centre down on the Marsh?

    Shepway have a problem of water scarcity in the district.

    There is a lack of transparency, consultation and scrutiny of the proposal which is appalling and the decision has only been made at the top. (Bid to Government)

    The list is endless and the affects on people and the environment will last for many years.

    I would say be careful of who/what you vote for.

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  2. How about using some of the 1380 empty domestic properties and 489 long term empty domestic properties that Shepway DC has

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  3. Its all corporate psychopathy. It’s likely that the urban future -scape of Shepway will form part of the propopsed Orwellian ‘Hunger Games’ style population centre. The High Speed rail connection already exists.

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  4. Assuming a minimum occupancy of 2 persons per property and the wealth of new build throughout Shepway, we are talking of upwards of 30,000 new occupants. If 85,000 are eligible to vote, where is this increase of 35% coming from? More to the point, where is their employment to be provided?.

    I will leave the rest of you to deliberate the problems of water supply, sewerage, traffic infrastructure etc.

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  5. Once again the problems of supplying that most basic of necessities, water, is glossed over. The SDC report for Otterpool lane makes no mention of it. The planning document that I found for Shorncliffe Heights, although including a multitude of details about traffic, trees, historical buildings, etc etc etc the only mention of the provision of water seemed to be that the report was to be submitted. However planning permission was granted. We have had a couple of wet winters but another drought could be around the corner. Do we need standpipes before it is admitted that being in a water scarce area could be a problem when thousands of additional houses are being built.

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