Working to ensure the right housing numbers in the right places

28 Sep 2017

Northumberland County Council has welcomed Government figures on projected future housing needs for the county.

In the summer the council withdrew the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy to review a number of aspects of the document.

Key to the review was concerns over the housing numbers contained within the previous core strategy which put the proposed level of new housing in the county, at 24,320 by 2031 plus the inclusion of up to an additional 2,000 houses at Dissington Garden Village over and above objectively assessed need.

New data from the Government’s consultation paper suggests a need for 707 new homes per year in Northumberland over the period 2016-26 - substantially less than the level proposed in the now withdrawn core strategy.

However, this is a baseline figure which can be uplifted as a result of a strategic infrastructure project, or through increased employment (and therefore housing) ambition, as a result of a Local Economic Partnership investment strategy, a bespoke housing deal with Government or through delivering the modern Industrial Strategy.

The Government’s new standardised approach to determining housing need will inform the level of housing proposed in the new Northumberland Local Plan.

The Council also supports economic development across the county and job growth. Further work is required to consider the Government housing numbers in this context before a housing number in the new plan can be established.

Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said:  “This new data shows we were right to withdraw the Local Plan and it is quite possible it would have been rejected anyway by the Secretary of State, using the previous figures.

“We had long questioned some of the assumptions which were used by the previous council in drawing up the Core Strategy. These latest Government figures prove the case we have been making all along.

“We were extremely concerned about the supposed need to build on hundreds of acres of valued Green Belt land and that’s why we needed a review at the first opportunity.

“There is no shortage of land for housing in Northumberland with developers sitting on a land bank with enough supply for the next ten years or more at the current rate of building.

“Using these new figures we will be able to plan for a sustainable and prosperous future for our county as we work on the revised document.”