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Why new homes are key to UK prosperity

The U.K. faces a significant housing challenge. In simple terms, there are not enough new homes being built each year to meet the demands of the population.

The U.K. government has set a target to see 300,000 new homes built annually by the mid-2020s in an attempt to solve the national housing shortage. So there is serious work to be done.

Lloyds Banking Group has an important role to play in helping people across Britain to get a home. The organization has made several pledges around housing as part of its most recent prosper plan and is making good progress towards them. A healthy housing market is a key indicator of broader economic strength and that’s why housing is core to the Group’s commitment to help Britain prosper.

Forming a new type of partnership

Housing Growth Partnership (HGP) is a social-impact equity investor. It was established in 2015 as a joint venture between Lloyds Banking Group and Homes England. The formation was unique — the first housing focused public—private partnership with the U.K. government.

When we established the partnership, we had two very clear and specific goals in mind: to support the sustainable growth of regional residential developers across the U.K. through investment and mentoring; and to accelerate housing delivery. We know that one of the chief obstacles preventing small firms from growing and developing in the housing industry is capital constraints, and we established the partnership to help with this. HGP invests in residential projects, freeing up housebuilder equity that can be used on other schemes.

HGP was founded with an initial £100 million of seed capital and, following additional investment, now has nearly £1 billion-worth of homes under construction across the U.K. — over 3,000 new homes.

We’ll kick start the construction of another 1,000 homes by 2020 and aim to have delivered 10,000 homes by 2025.

First and foremost we’re focused on building homes. We’re already funding the build of thousands of new houses across the country. We’ll kick start the construction of another 1,000 homes by 2020 and aim to have delivered 10,000 homes by 2025.

Funding is one part of the puzzle, but the role of HGP goes beyond simply investing money. It seeks to be a genuine partner. We’re developing long-term relationships with smaller housebuilders, helping them to grow their businesses and the number of homes they are able to build across Britain. In fact, over the last 12 months our senior adviser panel of housing experts from across the U.K. has delivered more than 1,000 hours of free mentoring to small housebuilders. We all benefit when these firms can overcome those initial entry barriers, establish themselves in the industry and grow.

Addressing systemic challenges in the housing industry

It’s clear through the conversations we have with U.K. housebuilders that they face challenges at all stages of the development process.

A fundamental issue is the supply of skilled labor. I’m meeting with more and more of our partners who are looking to address this by employing apprentices. Many have formed connections with their local colleges and education centers, and are actively encouraging young people into the sector. Getting youngsters involved and engaged in housing helps create a pipeline of future leaders and also brings in a diverse range of innovative thinking.

This is where the partnership can make the most impact. By investing in companies across the housing supply chain, we can help firms employ more people, develop specialist skills and create more opportunities in the future.

We also lobby for crucial change across the industry and drive financial innovation in the sector. The determination of planning permissions, alongside the growing number of consented conditions to satisfy ahead of starting work on-site is a particular area of concern for housebuilders.

It’s clear through the conversations we have with U.K. housebuilders that they face challenges at all stages of the development process.

This complex and often difficult process limits their ability to grow their businesses and, in turn, increase the supply of new homes to the U.K. market. We are working hard with our partners to understand the key issues within the U.K. planning system and identify what can be done to address them. Alongside this, we are also looking at how we can support developers to introduce Modern Methods of Construction into their building processes.

Finding new solutions to the challenge of a skills and labor shortage, alongside the need to increase the speed of production and develop more energy-efficient homes will be key to the future success of the industry.

New solutions to housing challenges

We’re often asked ‘what comes next?’ There is so much innovation and development in housing at the moment and it’s evolving quickly. At the moment we are seeing a strong focus on Modern Methods of Construction.

What’s fascinating about this type of production is how efficient it is to produce units in a controlled environment — an environment that crucially, is weather proof. This could be a real game changer in the U.K.

What’s clear though is that the U.K.’s housing challenges cannot be solved in isolation. Genuine collaboration, both across the industry and in partnership with the U.K. government, will be crucial in driving further innovation and overcoming the challenges that the industry faces.

By ANDY HULME

Source: Politico

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Affordable green homes in the Scottish Borders could soon be a reality

Warmer, cheaper, more affordable homes is something we all want, and this could be a reality as Eildon Housing look at future house building and its impact on the environment.

They are investing millions of pounds as part of their strategy to make sure everyone has access to somewhere they can call home.

The need for affordable housing in the Borders has hit an all-time high, with recent figures showing, on average, 17 people bidding for every home that becomes available.

To meet this need it is important to be able to build a house quicker and make it cheaper to heat and therefore eradicate fuel poverty especially in rural parts of the Borders reducing our use of fossil fuels.

An exciting building project will start construction in the New Year that they hope will tick all those boxes as they look to test different construction methods across four new sites.

Working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Glasgow School of Art (MEARU) the new developments will be part of a study to compare construction costs, time to build, living quality, and whether the homes are financially viable to build.

The developments at Westruther, Broughton, Denholm and Innerleithen will see up to 50 new green homes built and will test different building methods from Passivhaus, Energiesprong, Volumetric and the traditional build we’re all used to.

Potential new tenants will be heavily involved in the study for a period of time when they move in, as the results will be used to determine not only the future building programme for Eildon, but also lead the way for how Scottish homes are built and lived in, in the future.

By DAWN RENTON

Source: Scotsman

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UK construction output declines for third consecutive month

Output in the UK construction sector declined for the third month running in July as lower volumes of work were recorded across all three broad categories of activity.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index recorded 45.3 in July – below the 50 no-change value – to mark the third consecutive monthly fall.

The latest reading was up from June’s ten-year low of 43.1 but still signalled a marked downturn in total construction activity.

The latest survey also revealed a sharp drop in new order intakes, which survey respondents mainly attributed to subdued economic conditions and domestic political uncertainty. Weaker demand contributed to a slide in business optimism towards the year-ahead outlook for construction activity, with the degree of confidence the lowest since November 2012.

Commercial construction was the worst-performing category in July, followed closely by civil engineering activity. Anecdotal evidence suggested that risk aversion among clients in response to Brexit uncertainty continued to hold back work on commercial projects. At the same time, some survey respondents noted that delays to contract awards for infrastructure work had acted as a headwind to civil engineering activity.

Housebuilding fell for the second month in a row during July, but the rate of decline was only modest and eased from the three-year record seen in June. Reports from construction companies suggested that sluggish housing market conditions had a negative influence on residential work during the latest survey period.

July data pointed to a downturn in total order books across the construction sector for the fourth successive month, which is the longest continuous period of decline since 2016. Lower volumes of new business were often linked to a lack of tender opportunities amid weaker domestic economic conditions and ongoing political uncertainty.

Employment numbers were cut back in response to deteriorating order books, although the rate of job shedding was only modest and largely reflected the non-replacement of voluntary leavers. Sub-contractor usage meanwhile decreased for the sixth consecutive month.

Demand for construction products and materials continued to soften, as signalled by a solid drop in purchasing activity during July. This helped to alleviate some of the pressure on supplier capacity, with lead times lengthening to the smallest extent since September 2016. A robust rate of input cost inflation persisted in July, partly reflecting rising prices for imported items and those in short supply (particularly insulation and plasterboard).

Construction companies meanwhile reported a sharp drop in their confidence regarding the year-ahead outlook for business activity. The latest reading was the lowest since November 2012. Survey respondents often cited Brexit uncertainty, the prospect of a General Election and delays to infrastructure work.

Tim Moore, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said: “UK construction output remains on a downward trajectory and another sharp drop in new orders has reduced the likelihood of a turnaround in the coming months.

“Total business activity declined at a softer pace than the ten-year record seen in June, but this should not detract attention from the challenges ahead for the construction sector. Customer demand has been squeezed on all sides in recent months, which has pushed down business expectations to the lowest since the second half of 2012.

“July data revealed declines in house building, commercial work and civil engineering, with all three areas suffering to some degree from domestic political uncertainty and delayed decision-making.

“Construction companies have started to respond to lower workloads by cutting back on input buying, staffing numbers and sub-contractor usage. If the current speed of construction sector retrenchment is sustained, it will soon ripple through the supply chain and spillovers to other parts of the UK economy will quickly become apparent.”

Responding to the statistics, the Federation of Master Builder (FMB) called for a delay to the implementation of Reverse Charge VAT.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The fall in construction activity for the third month in a row and business optimism being at its lowest levels since 2012 means the building industry is heading towards crunch time. The Government must immediately postpone its plans for a complex and burdensome tax change if the supply chain is to start to turnaround its consistent decline. The time is not right to implement Reverse Charge VAT, which would restrict cashflow and add extra administrative burdens which risk sending small businesses to the wall. The government’s guidance on the policy is confusing and complex, and it wasn’t published with enough time for companies to prepare.”

Berry added: “Reverse Charge VAT, Making Tax Digital and a no-deal Brexit will create the perfect storm for construction’s small businesses, and today’s PMI data shows that the resilience is not there to weather it. If we are to deliver the housing and infrastructure that we need now and in the future, we will need to maintain capacity in the construction industry which means looking after the supply chain. The government must support the industry by delaying Reverse Charge VAT for six months at least.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, added: “New work and business optimism dropped in July as customer demand plummeted for the third month in the row, in response to the increasingly gloomy economic outlook and heightened political uncertainty.

“A no-deal Brexit in October is looking more likely than ever – which is terrible news for the sector. Not only is the knock-on effect on the pound likely to make the cost of construction materials shoot up even more, but an end to free movement will see thousands of skilled workers return home, further deepening the skills shortage that the sector faces.

“All eyes are now on Boris to get Britain building again. Bold decision making, clear commitments, and guaranteed funding for infrastructure investment all have a proven track record of igniting economic recovery and growth. We are counting on his ‘can do’ attitude to cut through the paralysis on decision-making we are experiencing in the public sector.

“With just three months until our Brexit date, there is no room for error. Boris’ government now hinges on a majority of one, but right now a general election will only further distract Whitehall from the issue at hand – securing a deal that works for all.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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New affordable homes to be built on site of former Wigan scrap yard

Jigsaw Homes Group has had a planning application approved to build 49 high-quality affordable homes on the site of a former scrap yard on Pocket Nook Lane in Lowton.

The new development will comprise a mix of one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses, providing a much needed range of quality affordable accommodation for Lowton.

Jigsaw has committed to carrying out decontamination of the site as part of the development process, turning a derelict and contaminated piece of land into a place fit for habitation.

Funding has been secured from Homes England through its Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme (SOAHP) 2016-21.

Garnet Fazackerley, Jigsaw Group’s operations director for development said: “We are delighted to receive planning permission to develop 49 affordable new homes on a former industrial brownfield site.

“Jigsaw Group is committed to tackling the housing crisis by building new homes for the people in our communities.

“We have plans to develop over 2,000 new homes by 2022 and developments like this one bring us one step closer to that goal.”

Work is due to begin this Autumn, with completion likely to be in 2021.

The new homes will be let and managed by Adactus Housing Association, part of the Jigsaw Group.

By Neil Hodgson

Source: The Business Desk

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Aberdeen pushes ahead with largest council house programme in 50 years

The biggest council housebuilding programme in Aberdeen in more than half a century has taken another major step forward as plans progressed for 283 new homes.

First Endeavour LLP is set to deliver the housing units at Wellheads Road in Dyce after entering an agreement with Aberdeen City Council.

The site was marketed at a Developers’ Day held by the council last year to encourage the private sector to come forward with housing provision.

Council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are delighted to announce that we are partnering with First Endeavour LLP to provide nearly 300 council homes.

“As a council, we are committed to finding innovative ways to deliver both services and new infrastructure, including an additional 2,000 council homes.

“We are working with landowners and developers to provide much-needed local authority housing.”

Fellow council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Our new-build programme is gathering momentum with a number of projects under way or about to start.

“This isn’t just about building housing – it’s about building communities and opportunities and ensuring that our city continues to prosper in an inclusive way.”

A First Endeavour LLP spokesperson said: “First Endeavour are delighted to be working with Aberdeen City Council to be building much-needed council homes in Dyce.

“These homes will be built to the highest standards to meet the needs of council tenants, including those with a disability.”

Last year 99 council homes were built at Smithfield, 80 are nearing completion at Manor Walk, 369 are earmarked for the former Summerhill Academy site, and there are plans for more new homes at Tillydrone, Kincorth, Craighill and Greenferns.

Project and programme consultancy Faithful+Gould has been appointed to help hit the target of 2,000 additional council homes across the city.

Stewart Ferguson, regional director of SNC Lavalin’s Faithful+Gould business, said: “Building upon our long-term relationship with Aberdeen City Council, we are delighted to be leading one of the most high-profile and ambitious housing programmes in a generation.

“The council’s innovative approach is based upon the ‘Building in Quality’ methodology and will positively contribute to Aberdeen’s social housing offer and the city’s prosperity.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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UK construction sector suffers worst output in 10 years

Activity in the UK construction sector “dropped like a stone” last month as suffered its steepest fall in output since the height of the financial crisis, according to a closely followed industry index.

Construction activity plummeted to its lowest level since April 2009 in June, on the back of the sharpest drop in UK housebuilding demand for three years.

IHS Markit’s UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) revealed that total construction activity fell to a reading of 43, sharply down from 48.6 in May.

Anything below a measure of 50 marks a decline in activity on the PMI index.

Commercial construction dropped for the sixth month in a row, recording its steepest fall since December 2009 in the process.

Construction firms told IHS Markit that delays to projects as a result of Brexit uncertainty had hurt commercial activity, leaving it the worst performing area in the sector.

Civil engineering output also declined at the quickest rate since October 2009. Political uncertainty, delays to new projects and longer waiting periods for the award of new contracts all hurt activity.

Meanwhile new orders dried up, sinking to their lowest level in a decade.

“Purchasing activity and new orders dropped like a stone in June,” said Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

“This abrupt change in the sector’s ability to ride the highs and lows of political uncertainty shows the impact has finally taken its toll.”

IHS Markit pointed to “weakness across the board”, but warned that political uncertainty over whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not has spread to the housing market.

It came as UK house prices endured another “subdued” month of growth, according to today’s Nationwide house price index.

Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, warned the figures were so bad it was “almost impossible to sugarcoat” the industry’s performance.

“While the scale of the downturn is in no way comparable that seen during the global financial crisis,” he said, “the abrupt loss of momentum in 2019 has been the worst experienced across the sector for a decade.”

Sterling fell 0.22 per cent against the dollar to $1.261 this morning.

The UK’s manufacturing sector recorded its worst month in six years in June, IHS Markit said yesterday.

By Joe Curtis

Source: City AM

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Homes England delivers four year high of housing completions

From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 there were more houses being built and completed, including affordable homes, Homes England’s housing statistics have shown.

There were 45,692 housing starts, the highest level for nine years, and 40,289 housing completions delivered through Homes England programmes, excluding London, the highest for four years.

Some 30,563 or 67% of housing starts on site in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, up 10% year-on-year and the highest for five years.

Mark Dyason, managing director of the development finance specialist, Thistle Finance, said: “Based on this evidence, homes in England are finally starting to be built in earnest.

“For housing start levels to be the highest in nine years, despite the ever-present uncertainty of Brexit, shows there’s hope for the property market yet.

“So extreme is the supply deficit that developers are proceeding with projects as they feel hedged against the political headwinds. Crucially, homes are not just being built in greater numbers but are selling in greater numbers, with the increase in affordable housing especially welcome.

“Help to Buy is attracting growing criticism at present but it has without doubt had an impact on purchase levels in recent years. It helps that for experienced and financially strong developers there are opportunities aplenty and no shortage of finance options.

“While there is political stasis, the development finance market remains fluid and this is showing through in these strong numbers.”

Some 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, an increase of 4% on the 17,159 started in 2017-18. A further 11,560 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, 24% more year-on-year.

The remaining 1,231 were for social rent, a decrease of 12% on the 1,406 started in 2017-18.

Of the affordable homes started in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were: Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) with 89%, up from 71% in 2017-18, and the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) with 4.6%, down from 21% in 2017-18.

Some 28,710 (71%) of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, 11% more year-on-year and the highest for four years.

In addition, 18,895 affordable homes completed in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, 4% fewer than the year before. A further 8,854 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, an increase of 75% on the 5,069 completed in 2017-18.

The remaining 961 were for Social Rent, a 1% reduction on the 970 completed in 2017-18. Of the affordable homes completed in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were the SOAHP 2016-21 with 55% and the AHP 2015-18 with 39%.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, added: “Homes England are taking on the housing crisis with a sustained dose of horsepower.

“The nine-year high in its house building rate sends a clear signal that it has built up a head of steam, which is helping to propel the market and housing supply forward.

“Good progress in the past four years, with starts rising year-on-year, takes its building levels almost back to the high seen just after the financial crisis although there is still a long way to go to satisfy the existing deficit.

“All eyes are on this rebound, in the hope it marks the start of a concerted push to new levels of affordable home building in England, coinciding as it does with a renewed political focus on the housing crisis in recent years.

“Although the government’s overall pace of building remains roughly 10,000 homes off target, Homes England could make considerable inroads here and close this gap significantly over the next few years.”

By Michael Lloyd 

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK construction market suffers sharpest decline since March 2018

Business leaders across the UK construction industry have blamed a combination of political uncertainty and Brexit for the gloomy figures in the latest IHS Market / CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index report.

The report stressed that business optimism amongst the construction industry is its weakest since October 2018, with survey respondents also widely citing concerns that domestic political and economic uncertainty would dampen business activity growth over the next 12 months.

The reports key findings include:

  • Another fall in construction output in May means the sharpest decline since the snow-related downturn in March 2018.
  • Commercial work remains the weakest performing category, with output falling to the greatest extent since September 2017.
  • The sharpest decline in workforce numbers since November 2012.

Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit, said: “May’s data reveals another setback for the UK construction sector, as output and new orders both declined to the greatest extent since the first quarter of 2018. Survey respondents attributed lower workloads to ongoing political and economic uncertainty, which has led to widespread delays with spending decisions and encouraged risk aversion among clients.”

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, said: “With the continuing uncertainty around Brexit and instabilities in the UK economy, client indecision affected new orders and particularly affected commercial activity. Policymakers will need to pull a large rabbit out of the hat, and fast, to improve these difficult conditions and prevent a further entrenchment of gloom and contraction this summer.”

Blane Perrotton, managing director of property consultancy and surveyors Naismiths, said: “There is precious little to cheer in this altogether bleak PMI report. New orders, confidence levels and recruitment are all down. Housebuilders have managed to keep growing, just. But their modest expansion in output has been dwarfed by the declines in commercial property and infrastructure building. While the residential sector is stoically grinding on, the industry as a whole is running to stand still. With investor confidence being pummelled by a double whammy of Brexit and political uncertainty, what work there is dominated by the completion of existing projects rather than new ones.”

Jonathan White, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said: “The steady stream of infrastructure work across the UK had strengthened order books and buoyed confidence, but there is a clear sense that the market is slowing down in the commercial sector as the Brexit impasse puts a halt on decision-making. The hope is that the forthcoming Infrastructure Finance Review, for which the consultation closes later this week, will offer some clarity on how to finance the projects that will feed contractors’ pipelines in the future.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “The lack of clarity over the future leadership of the current government is hurtling us into uncertainty. We thought progress in infrastructure and safeguarding the future of the construction industry was a low priority before. It will be even further from ministers’ minds now. This government won its mandate on a commitment to invest in UK plc, ensuring the country continues to attract business and good jobs across the whole country. But now a reluctance to spend and a lack of decision making is holding the UK back, stopping the country reaching its potential.

“The only way to increase confidence is to treat today’s economic and political climate as the new normal. That means we need to get on with the business of building. Firms should take advantage of the easing of raw material costs while they can and press ahead with planned projects. Only then can we ensure that this weak period for the sector does not turn into a prolonged and painful slump.”

By Rob O’Connor

Source: Infrastructure Intelligence

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New homes set for Nottingham city centre

Twenty new homes are being built in The Meadows area of Nottingham which will go to local families on Nottingham’s council house waiting list.

On behalf of Nottingham City Council – Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and contractor Woodhead Group will develop the homes on the site of the former Clifton Miners Welfare on Ainsworth Drive.

The two-bed houses are expected to be completed in spring 2020.

After planning permission was approved last year, these new homes are the latest for the Meadows area which form part of the city’s Building a Better Nottingham programme and follow the completion of 55 homes in June 2018.

Nick Murphy, chief executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “There has been significant regeneration in the Meadows and we have invested in creating new homes there over the last few years. We are now creating a further 20 good quality new council homes – homes that people can be proud of and that they want to live in.

“Not only is it a busy year for us in terms of developments, we are also celebrating 100 years of council housing, when councils were first given the task of developing where it was needed. A hundred years later this is still our vision; we want to build warm and secure family homes that the people of Nottingham can afford to live in and these new properties will be no exception”.

Cllr Linda Woodings, portfolio holder for planning and housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “Working together with Nottingham City Homes and other partners, we are transforming Nottingham’s neighbourhoods, by regenerating sites which are no longer fit for purpose and replacing them with new, warm, safe and quality homes.

“Together we’re giving sites like the one in the Meadows a new purpose whilst creating opportunities for jobs and training and providing much needed housing which Nottingham people can afford to buy or rent in communities where people want to live and work”.

Leo Woodhead, director at Woodhead Group said: “Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council share our commitment to deliver social value while building quality new homes. Having delivered the first ever CCS housing UltraSite together, we learned a lot and are really looking forward to working closely with the community and our supply chain partners to create a better experience for all.”

By Sam Metcalf

Source: The Business Desk

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This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough

Tunbridge Wells town would be better protected from large scale new house building if the council proposal goes ahead to put 6,800 homes at Tudeley and Paddock Wood.

The controversial proposal for the tiny village in the heart of the countryside and the small town were officially unveiled this week to parish councils.

Residents were getting to grips with the shock of the proposition put forward by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. which is grappling with a housing target more than doubled by the Government, to reach 13,500 new homes in the 20 years up to 2036. This is around 680 each year.

But while two areas could be changed forever during a timescale council leader Alan McDermott put at “probably 25 years” – Tunbridge Wells, which for years has seen controversial infilling, office conversions to residential, sizeable brownfield developments and new estates built or under way, might get something of a breather.

The proposals are in the draft Local Plan which will go out for public consultation in the early autumn.

Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.

“Similarly, this option does not add such intense pressure to the existing infrastructure as much as other options would – for example, if the vast majority of the development were to be around the main urban area, Tunbridge Wells and Southborough.”

Mr McDermott said new infrastructure, potentially including schools, drainage, utility links, a road off the A228, doctors’ surgeries and employment development, would be built as part of the Tudeley and Paddock Wood proposal.

Talking of the council’s track record in Tunbridge Wells as the planning authority, Mr Baughen said: “We always look to prioritise previously developed land and the redevelopment of previously developed land but as you are seeing, a lot of the sites which have been identified as suitable for redevelopment sites in the previous Local Plan and the Site Allocation Local Plan now have planning permission or indeed are being built out.”

 Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district
‘Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?’ asked resident Petrina Lambert (Image: Lewis Durham)

He added: “This is a finite resource but this Local Plan looks again to make sure that suitable sites within the urban areas are being identified and allocated but a number of them have permission already.”

Petrina Lambert, who lives in Brampton Bank, Tudeley, said: “Our first reactions were shock, distress, upset then extremely angry.

“The whole idea made us feel sick. We moved here to live in a rural community that was now going to be destroyed.

“Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock Wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?

“There is also the development at Woodgate Way in Tonbridge only two miles away and no infrastructure in place to support this and a new development with a sudden and large increase in this area’s population.

“It is the destruction of a small and happy community and that of an area of outstanding natural beauty that upsets us most and there are not the right words to describe the loss.”

 Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.
Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Local Plan will go out to public consultation

The original housing target of 6,000 new homes for Tunbridge Wells was more than doubled by the Government to 13,500 during the past few years.

The Local Plan, an evergreen and constantly updating document, is in its 2016 to 2036 planning period.

In order to work out how many homes need to be built in the future, the council must take account of the housing which has already been built or permitted since 2016.

This leaves 9,000 homes – and the council is putting forward Tudeley, which is little more than a large cluster of homes, and Paddock Wood, which had a 8,253 population in 2011, for around 6,800 of them.

The explosive proposal was unveiled officially to parish councils on Monday and Tuesday nights, although the borough council said it had been working with the parishes behind the scenes.

The council said by building homes on such a large scale rather than ad hoc, proper planning could go into infrastructure.

The Local Plan will go out to consultation in September/October and again a final consultation on the final Local Plan next September before submission to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2020. It will be examined formally in the spring or summer of 2021.

By Mary Harris

Source: Kent Live