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Paper 7 - 24 March 2000 Meeting


24 March 2000


Report by the County Planning Officer


That Members receive an oral update.

1. The report of the Panel which conducted the public examination into draft regional planning guidance for the South East was published on 8 October 1999. At the time of writing this report the Government's formal response was expected to be published on 20 March 2000. A twelve week period of public consultation has been promised.

2. The Panel's laissez-faire attitude to development, including a significant increase in housing provision across the South East and particularly in Hampshire (where the Panel's recommendation would result in an additional 74,700 dwellings in the County above the maximum envisaged in the structure plan) had the effect of uniting a wide variety of interests in protest. This Association made its detailed response following last November's meeting.

3. On 7 March the Deputy Prime Minister announced that he proposed to adopt a new approach to meeting housing needs in the South East. Details of the approach will be published on 20 March. In line with that approach he made a statement rejecting both the SERPLAN view on housing needs and that recommended by the Panel. Instead he told Parliament that he would consult local authorities in the South East on the basis that they should:

plan to provide 43,000 additional dwellings a year (subject to regular review of no less than every five years);

monitor the effects of that provision against a series of indicators;

if necessary adjust the rate of development in the light of monitoring.

The annual average suggested in this approach is higher than the SERPLAN equivalent (33,400 - 36,000 dwellings a year) but lower than the Panel's recommendation (54,900 dwellings a year).

4. He also referred to revised planning guidance on housing, and to other elements of the housing strategy planned for publication on 20 March. The main features of the Government's more responsive approach to meeting housing needs will involve:

adopting a "plan, monitor and manage" approach to plan preparation;

supporting the need for the greater use of previously used land and adopting a sequential approach to accommodating new development;

making better and more intensive use of land when it is developed.

These matters all feature in the recently adopted Hampshire County Structure Plan 1996-2011 (Review).

5. The House of Commons statement is very short on the detail of how the new approach is expected to work. It may all become more clear when the full report is published on 20 March. In the meantime the scale of proposed housing development in the region remains unjustified and the usefulness of a strategy which only provides a very short term framework for development in the South East remains doubtful.

County Planning Officer

Date: 13 March 2000
Annex: 0
Contact: Roger Lawes - 01962 847687 E-mail planrl@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 28/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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