Monday, 21 August 2017

More homes likely after needs survey

THE chairman of Henley’s planning committee says he was disappointed by a briefing about a survey of housing need.

THE chairman of Henley’s planning committee says he was disappointed by a briefing about a survey of housing need.

Councillor Dieter Hinke said he still feared the town would have it allocation of 400 new homes increased.

Last week, the Henley Standard revealed the Government has asked for a “strategic housing market assessment” for Oxfordshire to be carried out.

This is on top of the core strategy drawn up by South Oxfordshire District Council and approved by a government inspector which allocated numbers of new homes to be built in towns and villages over the next 14 years.

The survey will be carried out by consultants G L Hearn, which held the two-and-a-half hour briefing for councillors at Oxford Town Hall on Friday.

The councillors were given a presentation about the process involved in collecting the data which will determine whether more houses will need to be built. Factors that will be taken into consideration include the area’s economy.

Councillor Dieter Hinke, who also chairs the planning governance committee for the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, attended the briefing with Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak.

He said that although it was interesting to find out more about the process, the survey results would not be revealed until January.

Cllr Hinke said: “It was disappointing in a way that it was only about the process of carrying out the consultation and what sort of factors are being taken into consideration, such as housing needs and the economy.

“It didn’t make the effects any clearer or the possible problems with the outcome.”

G L Hearn will consider whether Oxfordshire as a whole has been allocated enough homes to meet the need before breaking the results down into the individual districts.

Councillors were told that South Oxfordshire was likely to be seen as needing more homes for the elderly as well as affordable housing.

Cllr Hinke said he was sceptical about whether the housing allocation for Henley would remain at 400.

“We haven’t been told that there will be an increase, we have just been told that there is a possibility of an increase but I am not particularly hopeful that the quota will stay the same,” he said.

Cllr Hinke said work on the Henley and Harpsden plan would continue.

“We will continue the plan under the current core strategy,” he said.

“If we delay it then the landowners will put in planning applications for the sites put forward by the district council.”

Last week, Angie Paterson, the district council’s cabinet member for planning, said worrying about the results of the survey was premature.

“Nobody can say that there is going to be lots more houses,” she said.

“We think it could be the case but it is the wrong time to be worrying about it.”

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