Rural villages will bear the brunt of district's new housing

The Council’s revised emerging Core Strategy suggests that thousands of new houses should be “dispersed” among rural villages across the district, despite the fact that many are poorly served by facilities or fall within the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

39 villages in the district have been identified to take 2,240 new homes— 40% of the total number required —and a further 560 new homes are destined for smaller, as yet unidentified, hamlets.

The council previously focused new house-building between Stratford-upon-Avon and other rural centres which have existing services where new homes are most sustainable, but has now reversed this approach to devise a plan that spreads the housing further afield.

Also, the council now seeks evidence to support this new strategy by instructing consultants to reverse the conclusions of those it originally employed to underpin its earlier strategy.

The council claims that none of the 39 villages would grow by any more than 2 per cent of their current housing size under the new plan, but the policy just doesn’t add up and would leave the council far short of its overall target.

In fact, some villages will grow by up to nearly 14 per cent if they are to accommodate the required number of houses.

There are some clear flaws with the council’s new approach:

  1. Spreading new houses around the district’s smaller villages is not a sustainable approach. They will be far removed from local services and employment – which is primarily focused in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  2. Small housing estates will not provide the capital contributions that the district needs, so new roads and community facilities will be paid for from the public purse.
  3. The dispersal strategy identifies 39 ‘Local Service Villages’ to take 2,240 of the new homes, but stipulates that the growth should be no more than two per cent of the existing homes in each village.Research shows that there are around 15,200 existing homes in these villages, but 2% growth would only deliver 304 new homes.
  4. Some of the 39 ‘Local Service Villages’ are located in special areas where development is not permitted - i.e. Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Beauty.

So where else does the council plan to “disperse” houses to in order to meet future housing demand?

We have produced a map which shows all of the 39 villages identified by the council to bear the brunt of its new housing dispersal strategy.

The map highlights all the Local Service Villages that have been singled out by the Council and shows how many homes the Council would be suggesting for each. We have also shown the seven ‘Main Rural Centres’ that the Council has designated for an additional 1,680 homes.

There are also an additional 560 homes to be allocated; but the Council has not yet said where they will go.

The table below shows each of the 39 ‘Local Service Villages’ and their status in terms of Green Belt or AONB. The first column of numbers shows the current households in each village and the second column of numbers calculates the new homes in each village that the Council’s 2% growth would create (just 304 houses). The final column of numbers estimates the new homes that each village would receive as a proportionate share of the Council’s stated target of 2,240.

Local residents are being asked to comment on the new dispersal strategy in the meantime.  

It is important that you let your local councillors know what you think of this strategy before the end of March by writing to your parish council or district council ward member.

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