The Government has published a consultation with proposals which, if introduced, could mean the proposed numbers of new homes in the Epping Forest District could be almost doubled over the next 10 years.
The consultation, entitled ‘Planning For The Right Homes In The Right Places’ introduces a standard method to assessing ‘local housing need’. Currently, the Local Planning Authority (in our case Epping Forest District Council – EFDC) establishes this itself, and in its Draft Local Plan published late 2016 proposed that the following numbers of homes should be built in our area up to 2033:
- 1,580 – North Weald Village
- 130 – Thornwood
- 1,050 – Hastingwood
This has now turned out to be a ‘best case scenario’. If EFDC do not have their Local Plan submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination-in-public before 31st March 2018, the new calculation would immediately come into effect, meaning that the numbers quoted above would be meaningless. The new housing numbers would be set using the proposed calculation, which means that rather than 5,140 homes being planned for the Epping Forest District for the next 10 years, this would be increased to 9,230. And where would these additional 4,090 new homes go? That… is the question!!
EFDC has publicly announced that it will be doing everything it can to ensure that the Local Plan is submitted for examination by 31st March 2018, and if they do so this will mean that as part of the transitional arrangements, the additional 4,090 new homes would not be needed. Of course the figures set in the Draft Local Plan are still subject to change, and could either increase, decrease, or there could be changes in the proposed housing sites. What is extremely clear however is that we must get behind our District Council and support their intention to submit before 31st March next year.
Most residents understand and accept that new homes are needed, and with some reluctance understand that the Green Belt will be affected, however the consequences for the Green Belt (and our villages) if EFDC do not meet this deadline could be disastrous!
For more information, go to:
EFDC Draft Local Plan information – http://www.efdclocalplan.org/