Herefordshire needs more housing to meet current and future needs. Ensuring the supply of quality new homes is essential to the wellbeing of communities and supports the sustainable economic growth of the County.
The council adopted Herefordshire’s Local Plan Core Strategy in October 2015 which sets out its long term land use planning policy. This included requirements to deliver 16,500 new homes across the county by 2031 supported by improvements to infrastructure and proposals for new employment development to bring forward growth in the economy and jobs. Prior to the adoption of the Core Strategy, an Examination in Public was held and the independent inspector concluded that the plan’s housing target was “reasonable and justified”.
Bringing forward housing development is important for the future of the county and the Council is responding proactively to increase the supply and delivery of new homes in the County in order to meet delivery targets. The measures include working closely with the developers of forthcoming large developments to ensure their timely release and significant progress is being made with Neighbourhood Development Plans across the county which will also deliver housing growth. Work on the Hereford Area Plan has commenced and recently, the Council announced plans to procure a development partner to contribute to housing growth through the development of new homes on Council-owned land.
Government expects local councils to monitor progress with housing delivery and Herefordshire Council produces an annual review of housing land supply and delivery. The review for the financial year 2015/16 is now available online: Five Year Housing Land Supply (2016-2021)
This year’s review shows that housing land supply in Hereford has significantly increased over the past twelve months. In April 2016 there were around 4,000 houses which had an existing or pending planning permission; an increase of more than 500 houses over the past year. In addition, nearly 2000 homes were completed in the County between 2011/12 and 2015/16.
The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to identify a 5 year supply of housing land. Due to historic levels of development within the county, the review has calculated that there is currently only a 4.5 year housing supply in Herefordshire. A number of large strategic housing sites across the county, including at Holmer West and Three Elms in Hereford, are expected to come forward in the near future which will help to address this under supply.
Given the current level of housing land supply, in accordance with the adopted core strategy, work is underway to prepare an interim position statement utilising evidence from the Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. This interim position statement will be prepared over the coming months and will be considered by the Council’s cabinet in the autumn. This will be an important document which will guide the Council’s planning committee in determining planning applications for housing and set out a positive approach to encouraging developers to come forward with proposals for suitable housing developments to meet the county’s needs.
Councillor Price said:
“Delivering housing in Herefordshire is a priority, the adopted core strategy sets out our plan for growth and commitments to delivering the infrastructure, housing and jobs the county needs to have a vibrant economic future.
Herefordshire is a great place in which to invest and do business and we are actively working with a number of developers to bring forward large strategic sites for new housing in Hereford and the market towns. As these come forward they will make a positive contribution to the housing supply to help us overcome the current challenge of meeting our five year land supply.”