Plans for homes schemes sought as site-release process relaxed

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DEVELOPERS and landowners are being urged to submit their plans for more housing across a Yorkshire district to ensure enough new homes are built over the next five years.

House-builders and estate owners across Hambleton are now able to lodge planning applications for new properties on all allocated locations – as the district council looks to maintain a five-year supply of deliverable sites.

The local authority has relaxed its phased approach to releasing sites after a recent audit found that changes in national policy meant it could no longer be confident in the number of homes available. It means that anyone with an interest in a site scheduled for development up to 2026 can now come forward with a detailed planning application.

Coun Brian Phillips, Hambleton District Council’s portfolio holder for planning and housing, said: “We are now looking for the early release of our allocated housing and mixed-use development sites.

“We need to make sure we can meet our development needs as quickly and effectively as possible on the sites already agreed for development in the local plan.

“We want to hear from landowners and developers with an interest in allocated sites so that pre-application advice can be given and we get the necessary infrastructure provided with the development.”

The phasing of sites is written into the council’s Local Development Framework which dictates where development will take place across Hambleton until the year 2026. It shows 1,540 homes for release between 2016 and 2021 and another 1,345 up to 2026. Of those, an overall target of some 43 per cent should be affordable homes.

The measures have been brought in to ensure Hambleton can meet the Government’s new requirements on five year housing supply.

It will also help boost the local economy and provide much needed affordable housing more quickly, said the council.

Graham Banks, planning policy manager with Hambleton district council, said: “Previously housing development was planned in three phases up to 2026. But now are saying bring the applications forward earlier than we had planned because we need to have a five-year supply and make up for the backlog in recent years. We have not met our market housing and affordable housing targets in the last few years.

“We are not asking for new sites to be submitted. It is sites that are already in the plan.”

According to a report published earlier this month by the National Housing Federation, England is “extremely short of housing and the gap between supply and demand is widening”.

The report, entitled, Home Truths 2013/14: the housing market in England said that 240,000 homes a year are needed just to meet demand for the country but house building numbers are falling.

In 2012/13 107,000 new homes were built, 11 per cent fewer than in 2009.

The report also found that rents are soaring out of the reach of many and estimated that house prices will rise by another 35 per cent by 2020, “leaving a huge swathe of the population locked out of home ownership for life”.

Daniel Klemm, Yorkshire and Humber external affairs manager at the National Housing Federation, said: “It is great to see Hambleton taking the lead in prioritising new homes for people across the district. North Yorkshire desperately needs more affordable homes, with house prices rising and the average Hambleton home costing 12 times the average annual income.

“This affordability crisis is bad for families, bad for villages and bad for market towns like Northallerton, Bedale and Thirsk. We applaud Hambleton’s commitment to tackling the crisis and housing associations look forward to working with them to build the homes local people need.”