Updated Midday 26/02/18
Running alongside Shepway District Council’s Draft Places & Policies Local Plan Feb 2018 (PPLP), according to SDC’s payment to suppliers data, LUC were paid for two pieces of work totalling, £27,965 in Jan 2018. One of those pieces of work was the – Proposed Submission Sustainability Appraisal Report – Non-Technical Summary – prepared by LUC in January 2018.
It’s a very revealing document, LUC prepared for and on behalf of SDC.
There are currently around 450 long-term empty homes in the District.
In late April 2017, figures released by the DCLG stated Shepway District Council (SDC) had 547 empty properties. So we’d like to know how SDC have managed to bring near on 100 homes back into use in less than ten months? Did the Empty Properties Loan scheme have sufficient funds to bring that many homes back into to use so quickly? Really? Possible? Believable? Hmmmmm. Cllr Ewart James anything to add?
Moving along swiftly, SDC finally admit albeit in the LUC Non- Technical Summary report; which they no doubt heavily scrutinised before sanctioning any release, says:
homelessness in Shepway is a growing issue
Now to many of us those four words – is a growing issue – comes as no surprise. So what does it say about housing in Shepway?
“access to the local housing market in the District is an issue as the average house price is more than six times the average household income.”
probably because of the debt and loan repayments us locals are having to pay by way of rising Council Tax and Car Park price hikes and that near £7 million they wish to inject into Oportunitas. Or perhaps because the jobs that exist don’t pay enough and there are too many zero hour contracts. Or that SDC may not be very good at attracting inward investment, who knows. Anyway what we do know is that the LUC Non-Technical Summary goes onto say:
So between 2014 and 2017 the housing list has grown by 300 plus. Really? So why are B&B costs over a £1 million for the first time ever, Cllr Alan Ewart James (pictured). It’s clear there is not enough “Affordable” housing or Social housing. Is that because so many developers use their Financial Viability Appraisals (FVA) to plead poverty? The Folkestone Seafront Development FVA successfully reduced the number of “Affordable” homes from the recommended 30% (300 homes) to 8% (80 homes) on the site. On the former Wyevale Garden Centre, Jointon Rd Folkestone, 42 homes have been granted to be built. However, no affordable homes will be built on the site. SDC Planning department after taking advice on the developers FVA managed to extract a contribution of £188,708.65, towards “off site affordable housing.” (Para 7.49 – 7.51)
According to the LUC Non- Technical Summary it says:
Over a fifth (21.5%) of children in Shepway live in poverty This is defined as children living in families in receipt of out of work benefits, which is higher than most of the areas in Kent.
What is crucial to understand is, HMRC estimate is unduly skewed towards out-of-work poverty, which it over counts by assuming that everyone on out of work benefits is in poverty,compared to in-work poverty, which it undercounts.
However, figures released in 2013 by Shepway Green Party, show that children living in poverty in Shepway was 23%, equal to 5259 living breathing children. In Dec 2015 there were 6651 children in poverty in Shepway (after housing costs) equal to 28.8% that is more than one in four children living in poverty in Shepway in 2015. In June 2016, CPAG made it clear work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (66%) of children growing up in poverty lived in a family where at least one member worked. The figures released in Nov 2016, show that the number of children in poverty in Shepway had risen again to 6799 and the percentage to 29.4% (after housing costs), so edging closer to one in three children living in poverty, in Shepway.
Moving on from 2016 to 2018, the end child poverty campaign released their latest data in Jan 2018 and the figures have reduced in Shepway from 6799 children living in poverty to 6178 children in poverty, a fall of 621 children. It still means that 27%, or slightly more than one in four children are living in poverty, according to the latest data generated in January 2018.
So what we are asking is where did LUC’s Non-Technical Summary grab the figure 21.5% of children live in poverty in Shepway? Well, they took it from the Annual Equality And Diversity Report 2016 (pages 14/15).
Now the LUC Summary states: Shepway is ranked 113th in the IMD out of 326 local authorities nationally, and is the third most deprived authority in Kent. Shepway has moved down in the rankings which indicate that levels of deprivation have reduced between 2010 and 2015 relative to other local authorities in England. However, compare these (page 6 of document)
The maps are saying things have got worse in Folkestone in particular, not better.
The District has four wards that are in the top four 10% most deprived wards nationally. They are all in Folkestone with the most deprived being:
Folkestone Harbour (014A), Cllr Mary Lawes (Ind) (pictured left), Cllr Susan Wallace (Con)
Folkestone Harvey Central (014B),Cllr David Monk(Con) (pictured left), Cllr Dick Pascoe (Con), Cllr Rodica Wheeler (Con)
Folkestone East (003C) Cllr Claire Jeffrey (Con)(pictured left), Cllr Frank McKenna (Ind), Cllr Carol Sacre (Ind)
Folkestone Harvey Central (014D) as above Cllr Monk et al
Now what’s so sad is SDC’s Equality And Diversity Report 2016 mentions the three wards above at page 17/18 along with two other wards which appear in the top five wards in Shepway for 16-64 year olds accessing mental health services being well above the district average.
For those above 65 accessing mental health professionals, above the district average are Folkestone Harvey Central, Folkestone Harvey West, Folkestone Park, Hythe East and New Romney Coast.
This means that 9 out of 22 wards was above the average for accessing mental health professionals. That is an astonishing 41%. And Cllr Monk’s ward he represents along with Cllr Pascoe & Wheeler is number one. So people, is voting for Cllrs Monk, Pascoe, and Wheeler- all Tories – who represent the Folkestone Harvey Central ward, good for ones wellbeing? We’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepwayvox Team