Say no to demand for more houses
It’s a sad state of affairs that when Ashford Borough Council is told to allocate a further 1,250 homes to its local plan, which is already far too high when considering the local infrastructure, it of course complies.
Only last week Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was determined to build where people want to live, regardless of the local communities.
So as far as local consultations and public option is concerned, don’t bother, it’s a total waste of time. We are engaged in a process that has already been decided. The extra homes will of course be built.
In our area we appear to be at a disadvantage to other parts of the country. We comply totally to government policy, while some councils have not even compiled a plan and others are out of date.
Kent was left to sort out Operation Stack with very little financial help from the government, then forced into the crackpot idea of a huge lorry park.
So yes Kent, for a supposed Tory heartland, gets a bad deal from this government.
All the many thousands of houses are not for local needs. Thousands of people are being drawn to the area which cannot cope with this influx. The villages are being ruined and Ashford town centre has already lost the plot. In other words, we don’t matter and the powers-that-be don’t care. John Dunton Ashford get on the property ladder? The report makes an assumption that there is a 5% improvement in affordability, increasing the housing stock needed, without any justification as to how this might be achieved. The assumption is that the government will somehow make property cheaper, but Help to Buy and other schemes have not made property more affordable, on the contrary the situation has become worse.
If you are a house builder, why would you build houses at lower profit margins? There is no pressure to do so. Planning permissions are not taken away if you sit on a land bank. With no power to make house builders develop at a quicker rate, supply is unlikely to exceed demand and prices will remain high.
Ashford council is now proposing over 15,000 additional houses before 2031, at a rate of 786 dwellings per annum. Over the years 2011 to 2015 the report shows that only 365 properties on average were built in the borough.
So how are Ashford council going to ensure that this happens? Giving out more permissions doesn’t make it happen. I believe there are already over 10,000 on the council’s books.
Lastly this report is primarily based on statistics up to 2014, projections for a population growth that might be so far from the mark as to be embarrassing if central government tries to control external migration and the economy slows down.
Planning Practice Guidance gives councils the right to say why they think the rates of growth in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment are unachievable and to project lower levels of growth. Isn’t it time our council stood up for the existing residents, (as well as those who will move here in the future) and challenge this endless increase in housing numbers? Martin Hopkins Kennington