Housing targets in Havering
The Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association (UCRA) are members of the Havering Residents Association (H.R.A), an umbrella organisation of many of the Residents’ Associations in Havering. Our own Phil Ruck gives an explanation of the H.R.A’s views on housing targets in Havering.
The housing position in Havering is hard for many. The H.R.A have been looking at this in great detail.
In last two decades, every year, the need for new housing has vastly exceeded the supply. Thus the government are pushing for highly ambitious targets from all authorities.
Any new housing development over a certain number, must contain a number of units for social housing, thus meeting the needs of those who are poorly paid, vulnerable or struggling. With the cost of housing in Havering, we all know of many, especially young families, who want to stay in the Havering area but are forced to move further out.
I believe that planning inspectors are asked to be far more lenient when examining Local Development Plans (LDPs). As an example, Brentwood has recently had an LDP approved. The result – in the next few years a garden village in Dunton, with over 4000 homes will be built. This results in major impacts on infrastructure in Havering. The whole of South Essex has a requirement for 90,000 homes to be built, which again will impact Havering and divert funding for infrastructure away from us.
The planning department in Havering is overworked and not resourced to cope with the current demand. Rules are not effective unless they are enforced. The Havering team needs strengthening to cope, but this is common to 90% of authorities, and is mainly due to funding cuts and lack of skilled resources throughout England.
As a result of the above, developers who are well aware of the Council resource issues, push and push, resulting in over development.
The H.R.A conclusions are:
- That the building of new housing, especially social housing, has been woeful from Conservative administrations in the last 20 years in Havering
- That overdevelopment has happened as a direct result of Conservative administrations neglect of the role planning plays
- The H.R.A will urgently review the resources and policies of the Havering planning department to support their fight against overdevelopment and with particular emphasis on Enforcement
- The H.R.A recognise the need for new housing but this must be empathetic with the needs of the community in Havering and support growth and new jobs wherever possible
- The H.R.A will contest any centrally (Whitehall or Mayor of London) imposed building targets that do not match the needs of the Havering community.
Phil Ruck (Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association candidate for Cranham Ward)