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Item Rural Housing Needs Survey Staffordshire Moorlands

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					                                                               AGENDA ITEM 11.1

         STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS DISTRICT COUNCIL

                               Report to Cabinet

                                 18th July 2006


               TITLE:       Rural Housing Needs Survey – Peak
                            National Park Area

               PORTFOLIO:   Regeneration

               OFFICER:     Corporate Director and Chief Finance
                            Officer

               WARD:        Non-Specific


1.    Recommendations

1.1   That Members note the outcomes of the Peak National Park area housing
      needs study

1.2   That the ongoing work with the Peak National Park Authority to identify
      potential solutions for affordable housing development in the area is
      supported.

Reason for Recommendations: The Rural Housing Needs survey carried out in
2005-6 represents a key piece of housing intelligence to allow the Council to target
resources and strategies to improve housing conditions and deliver additional
affordable housing in the more rural parts of the district


2     Executive Summary

2.1   Outside Research and Development have recently completed a Housing
      Needs Survey for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council specific to parishes
      in the district that lie within the Peak District National Park. This housing
      needs assessment follows and supports the comprehensive district wide
      housing needs data that is held by the Council. The purpose of this specific
      study is to obtain more detail about the specific housing needs in these parts
      of the district. The outcomes will be used to underpin the Council’s housing
      strategy, to support land use planning and to inform other planning processes
      such as those for the provision of affordable housing.



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2.2   The Housing Needs Study used a three-stage methodology to address these
      aims and objectives. The approach brought together the views of residents,
      the experience of key stakeholders and information contained in secondary
      data sources.

2.3   The study results were analysed across individual parishes and the main
      findings from the study were as follows: -

         Overall there has been a steady decline in newly forming households
          finding accommodation within the parishes.
         It is harder for newly forming households to find accommodation in the
          Peak parishes.
         Earnings of newly formed households are a lot lower than for current
          households.
         Nearly half the parishes surveyed (seven) had no social housing.
         In a third of the parishes surveyed no private rented property was
          identified
         For the majority of the Peak parishes entry house prices are considerably
          higher than the district as a whole.
         The supply of houses is also a key issue for the Peak Park parishes.
         Concerns were aired about any housing not being provided for, or failing to
          stay in the possession of, local people,
         Concerns were also raised about the impact of new buildings in the area
          however the overwhelming majority of respondents (81.6%) were in favour
          of a small amount of new homes to help meet the needs of local people.
         All of the respondents who expressed an opinion wanted to own their
          homes

2.4   The conclusions that can be drawn from the findings emerging from the study
      are as follows: -

         When considering these findings it should noted that there are often
          differences between aspirations and actualities.
         The desire of local people to own their houses reflects aspirations across
          the country but could also be a result of not seeing renting as an option
          with little property available to rent, especially at an affordable level
         Given that most people wish to own their own properties shared ownership
          could be the answer to the affordability issue.

2.5   Although there is not as yet any firm outcomes from this survey it is essential
      that the Council liaises closely with the Peak National Park Authority in order
      to identify potential solutions to the affordable housing shortfalls. This could
      involve the identification of some additional sites for affordable housing. This
      also necessitates consideration of the development of the Council’s own
      affordable housing initiative into the more rural areas of the district




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3      Evaluation of Options

3.1    There are no options to consider at this stage. Options for dealing with the
       shortfalls in affordable housing need to be identified in conjunction with the
       Peak National Park Authority.


4      Implications

4.1   Community Safety:              None

4.2   Employees:                     None

4.3   Equalities:                    Assessing housing need in rural areas is the first
                                     stage to ensure that citizens that are excluded
                                     from the housing market are identified and where
                                     possible provided for in future development plans

4.4   Financial:                     None at this stage although future provision of
                                     affordable housing may have significant financial
                                     implications for the authority.

4.5   Legal:                         None


4.6   Sustainability:                None



                               ANDREW P STOKES
                    Corporate Director and Chief Finance Officer



Background Papers                Location                  Contact
Peak Park Housing Needs Survey   Housing Services          Ian Young
2006                                                       Head of Housing Services
                                                           01538 483426




Decision:

Reason:

Interests Declared:




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5     Background and Introduction

5.1   As members will be aware the Council’s strategic housing activity is informed
      by a comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment. The aim of this assessment
      is to underpin the housing strategy, to support land use planning and to inform
      other planning processes such as those for the provision of affordable
      housing.

5.2   The last major update to the Housing Needs Assessment was published in
      September 2003. The approach used brought together the views of residents,
      the experience of key stakeholders and information contained in secondary
      data sources. The primary data was obtained from a hybrid survey of 1,500
      face-to-face interviews combined with a postal survey of 10,000 households.
      The data was held separately for seven geographical sub-areas of the district.

5.3   Since 2003 the survey has been updated regularly by utilising the secondary
      data available about key macro data such as house prices, volume of sales,
      building completions, earnings information etc. An additional detailed
      assessment was undertaken in 2004 in order to assess the specific demand
      issues of key workers throughout the district.

5.4   The Council’s housing needs assessment is used by all housing stakeholders
      throughout the district to inform development requirements. The data
      produced in the assessment for the Peak National Park sub area has been
      particularly useful for the Peak National Park Authority as they are the
      planning authority for development in this area of the district.

5.5   Regular liaison takes place between the Council and the National Park
      Authority around housing needs as the Council still retains the strategic
      housing role in the Peak Park area. The National Park Authority is aware
      through its consultation processes of the increasing concern of residents in
      the area about the increasing shortfall of affordable housing.

5.6   It was agreed that in order to be able to look at the housing needs in more
      detail that a specific housing needs research should be conducted in the sub
      area. A survey was therefore commissioned and has now been completed.
      The purpose of this report is to report to members the findings of the survey.


6     Rural Housing Needs Survey – Peak National Park

6.1   Outside Research and Development were appointed to undertake the
      Housing Needs Survey for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in the
      Peak Park Parishes.

6.2   As will previous assessments, the Housing Needs Study used a three-stage
      methodology to address the aims and objectives. The approach brought
      together the views of residents, the experience of key stakeholders and
      information contained in secondary data sources.



                                         4
6.3   The Staffordshire Moorlands parishes that fall within the Peak National area
      are as follows: -


                              Parish            Approx.
                                               Number of
                                               Properties

                      Alstonefield                      210
                      Butterton                          70
                      Fawfieldhead                       90
                      Grindon                            90
                      Heathylee                          40
                      Hollinsclough                      70
                      Ilam                               70
                      Leekfrith                         180
                      Longnor                           150
                      Onecote                           120
                      Quarnford                         130
                      Sheen                             110
                      Warslow & Elkestone               200
                      Waterhouses                       500
                      Wetton                             70

                      Total                            2,080



7     Findings and Conclusions from Study

7.1   The main findings that emerge from the study are as follows: -

         Overall there has been a steady decline in newly forming households
          finding accommodation within the parishes. Of the people who last
          moved over ten years ago 16.4% were setting up their first home, 6.7% of
          people who last moved six to ten years ago were doing so, 4.7% of those
          who moved three to five years ago moved for this reason but none of
          those who moved in the last two years were setting up their first home. As
          house prices in the survey area increase and rented property is scarce it
          is harder for newly forming households to find accommodation in the
          Peak parishes.

         Over half of new households were earning less than £1,250 a month, over
          a quarter earned between £751 and £950 per month. Earnings of newly
          formed households are a lot lower than for current households.

         The cost of renting social housing within the Peak parishes was mainly
          between £201 and £300 per month (two cases of the rent being between
          £301 and £400 were also recorded), although nearly half the parishes
          surveyed (seven) had no social housing. Fifty percent (47.6%) of rents


                                         5
    were over £400 per month. In a third of the parishes surveyed no
    private rented property was identified; all except one of these had no
    social rented property either.

   The cost of buying an entry-level house in the whole of Staffordshire
    Moorlands is an average of £102,686. The cost of buying an entry-level
    house in the survey area varied as the table below shows. Only the ST13
    8 postcode sector, which covers most of Leekfrith and half of Heathylee,
    had entry-level house prices comparable with that of the district, for the
    majority of the Peak parishes house prices which begin at £131,666,
    are considerably higher than the district as a whole.


Postcode              Parish              Entry Level          Number Sold
 Sector                                  Property Price

DE6 2         Alstonefield                         £131,666          3
              Ilam
              Wetton


SK17 0        Fawfieldhead                     est. £187,000         0
              ½ Heathylee
              Hollinsclough
              Longnor
              Quarnford
              Sheen
              Warlsow and
              Elkstone


ST10 3        Waterhouses                          £144,000          4


ST13 7        Butterton                            £149,950          4
              Grindon
              Onecote


ST13 8        Heathylee (50%)                      £102,535          21
              Leekfrith



   The supply of houses is also a key issue for the Peak Park parishes.
    In six parishes no entry-level properties have been sold in the last two
    years. The SK13 8 postcode sector has seen the most movement in the
    housing market at entry-level (this is also where the cheapest properties
    are). None of the newly forming households can afford buy properties in



                                   6
          the most expensive postcode sector (SK17 0, where nearly half the
          properties surveyed are situated).

         Concerns were aired about any such housing not being provided for,
          or failing to stay in the possession of, local people, therefore if any
          new properties were to be provided restrictions would need to be placed
          on these homes to make sure they continued to be available for locals.

         Concerns were also raised about the impact of new buildings in the
          area and quite a few people made comments about converting existing
          buildings for residential use instead of building new properties or making
          sure that any new build matched the existing housing, however the
          overwhelming majority of respondents (81.6%) were in favour of a
          small amount of new homes to help meet the needs of local people.

         All of the respondents who expressed an opinion wanted to own their
          homes although a third left this blank. As previously mentioned there is
          little social housing in the survey area (less than 4%). Peak District Rural
          Housing Association has six shared ownership properties in the fifteen
          parishes, four in Leekfrith and two in Waterhouses. Many of the newly
          forming households would be able to afford a fifty percent share in a
          shared property although, if market prices were applied, this would still
          exclude many in the SK17 0 sector.

7.2   When considering these findings it should noted that there are often
      differences between aspirations and actualities. In the Peak Park parishes by
      far the most dominant tenure is owner occupation, some of this is made up of
      farm and other houses that have stayed in the same family for years, in recent
      years many houses have been bought by new residents who are in a better
      position to afford the high prices in the Peak District and some have been
      bought by locals although this has declined as prices have increased. The
      desire of local people to own their houses reflects aspirations across the
      country but could also be a result of not seeing renting as an option with little
      property available to rent, especially at an affordable level

7.3   Given that most people wish to own their own properties shared ownership
      could be the answer to the affordability issue, if houses were bought or
      produced at market prices in many parishes the share invested by the
      resident might need to be as low as 25%. If such properties were available to
      people living currently in rented properties as well as newly emerging
      households this would free up rental property for those who could not afford to
      buy.

7.4   Although there is not as yet any firm outcomes from this survey it is essential
      that the Council liaises closely with the Peak National Park Authority in order
      to identify potential solutions to the affordable housing shortfalls. This could
      involve the identification of some additional sites for affordable housing. This
      also necessitates consideration of the development of the Council’s own
      affordable housing initiative into the more rural areas of the district



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