A RECOMMENDATION that 807 new homes should be built every year in Basingstoke and Deane will be put to the borough’s councillors next week.
The higher figure has been put forward following a consultation in September and October, during which a lower figure of 748 new homes was included in the draft Local Plan, the document that will guide planning decisions until 2029.
In response to the consultation a number of respondents questioned whether this figure – totalling 13,464 homes up to 2029 - would be enough to meet the borough’s housing needs in the future.
In particular the assumptions it was based on were challenged, including the housing needed to support high levels of jobs for borough’s successful economy.
The borough council’s approach to migration was also questioned as international migration has recently risen.
Now councillors will be debating two options at the meeting of the Planning and Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, January 30 – upping the figure to 791 or 807.
The higher figures are the result of additional work by external population forecasting experts - Edge Analytics - based on the different scenarios put forward in the consultation responses.
The recommendation to the committee - which will be making comments to help Cabinet Member for Planning Cllr Mark Ruffell in deciding on the final figure - is that the 807 new homes per year figure is taken forward.
If a higher figure is agreed by councillors, additional sites would have to be found to meet the new housing requirement.
The next step in the process of ‘adopting’ the plan to give it weight in deciding planning applications would be to formally submit it to a planning inspector for independent review.
Planners have highlighted in the report to the meeting that local plans from other areas have been dismissed by planning inspectors at this stage as the housing figures have been branded as too low.
Cllr Mark Ruffell said: “We are keen to get the plan adopted allowing the council to decide the best locations for development working with the borough’s communities. The responses to the consultation have raised issues about the housing figure, as well as some very interesting points suggesting how we can adapt policies and proposals to ensure they are the best way forward for the borough.
“I want to hear again from councillors following the initial consultation responses before making a decision on the housing number, which may, along with other changes, be subject to further consultation.”
For more information see www.basingstoke.gov.uk/go/localplan