Agenda item

Presentation regarding future housing development in Thanet

Adrian Verrall to attend to outline proposed development in the district and how this will affect the work of the Panel.


Adrian Verrall, Strategic Planning Manager introduced the report and made the following points:


·  There is a relationship between the Local Plan, population trends and housing development;

·  There would new 18,000 dwellings in the district by 2031;

·  Housing requirements used 2014 population projections and the population figure was projected to be 161,252 by 2031, a growth of 26,850 from 2011;

·  Projected household growth was from 59,619 to 75,069 (+15,450)

·  This was 7,000 less as the 2021 census showed that the district’s population was 140,600;

·  Of the housing supply that was identified in the Local Plan, currently as at March 2023, the following are the completion stats:


§  Completions – 4.965

§  Under construction – 3,016

§  Not started – 10,470


·  There were some factors to consider when discussing population distribution to wards as it was difficult to know where all the housing development would be until applications were submitted to the Council;

·  The Strategic Planning team conducted site assessments and their progression each year. The team carried out about 400 site visits each year;

·  The team would usually write to developers to check on development of sites any planned future housing development projects;

·  The Council was largely dependent on private developers for information;

·  It was worth noting that currently there was a slowdown in the housing construction industry and some developers had gone out of business.


Nick Hughes added the following comments:


·  There was a steady increase in housing development trajectory;

·  There was a need to make an educated guess as to the number of houses there would be by 2030 and extrapolate that against elector numbers;

·  The houses should have been completed and have electors living in them by 2030;

·  This was quite challenging data to come up with;

·  The challenge column on the evidence document to be sent back to LGBCE had a column that would be populated with the Local Plan housing sites;

·  In instances where it was obvious that the ward had no large housing development like in Birchington North, the Council would use the LGBCE model;

·  For all the areas where major housing development projects were planned, there is a need to challenge the LGBCE model, as the Council believed that there would new electors living in the new dwellings in Birchington South, Garlinge, Westgate-On-Sea, Salmerstone and Northwood.


Members made comments as follows:


·  There new sites coming forward in such areas as Cliffsend and Pegwell;

·  Were the 1.6 electors living in each household up to date or whether there would be more people and therefore more electors than in old houses?

·  The housing statistics trajectory looked too high?

·  How would the review of the Local Plan affect these elector number?

·  Herne Road housing development will distort Thanet Villages elector numbers.


A Member speaking under Council Procedure Rule 20.1 asked the following questions:


·  Had the census reduced the elector numbers in the electoral register?

·  Should the Council not assume that of the new 18,000 dwellings to be developed in the district that some of the electors going into those new dwellings would be coming from other wards within Thanet District and not just assume that all of the electors would be coming from outside the district?

·  How would empty hokes affect the elector numbers and would this be factored in the statistics.


Adrian Verrall and Nick Hughes responded as follows:


·  The review would continue to use the 1.6 persons per household as the elector numbers for each home, but officers would see if a more up-to-date figure was available;

·  Officers did some work for the Local Plan Examination in 2019 on improving the house number projections. This involved holding a roundtable session which included private developers. The developers provided their projections for the Examination;

·  Officers would now be looking at what had changed, following the Census, that could impact on the population projections and dwelling numbers in the district;

·  The Government was considering reviewing its methodology for working out housing numbers (in 2024);

·  The Council was therefore waiting for government guidance under the NPPF;

·  The number one priority was to get an accurate figure of proposed councillor numbers to forward to LGBCE;

·  The centre of Thanet is where the most changes would be;

·  The community criterion would not allow the splitting of a rural ward into urban and rural wards. It would be designated as either rural or urban;

·  There was no direct correlation between elector numbers and population. It is more specifically about the number of people on the electoral register;

·  It was possible that some of the young people coming out of their parents’ homes to establish their own families would account for the movement from other wards into the new dwellings. It might be necessary to think more about this point to check if such numbers were large enough to impact the projected elector numbers;

·  There were a small number of empty homes. Officers did not view such numbers to be such that it would skew the elector numbers. However they would investigate.


Members noted the update report.

Supporting documents: