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General Discussion

07 May 2016 08:25

All, for info - see letter below that I sent to our MP last week. I copied in all our local councillors. To date, I have had no response back from MP.  


"Dear Ms Morris,

The Housing and Planning Bill and Starter Homes

I note it is the government’s policy that Starter Homes, which outside of London can cost up to £250,000, should not only be officially defined as a form of Affordable Housing but that Local Authorities will have to actively encourage the provision of these Starter Homes as part of any Affordable Housing provision. Furthermore, I understand that the government is saying that all local authorities should promote Starter Homes to the extent that they should form 20% of any Affordable Home provision.

During the H&P Bill’s time in the House of Lords, an amendment was passed stating that it should be up to individual councils to decide on the amount of Starter Homes needed. I agree with that amendment. Not least because I am gobsmacked at the centralist nature of a policy that seeks to dictate to councils what their local affordable housing need is and, more to the point, how it should be met. Whatever happened to Localism?

I feel at this point that I need to state that I am not in any way against people owning their own homes. I am a homeowner myself. And whilst I would far rather people owned their home I am not so blinded by home owning ideology that I do not see that there are many who, although they would love to do so, are not in a position to become homeowners.

We do after all live in a predominantly low wage/ high housing cost part of the country. 

So the question is, how are such people, who cannot afford to buy, be housed? In the private sector where market rents prevail or in the housing association affordable rental/shared ownership sector where rents are lower? What will be the impact on the housing benefit bill if social/affordable rented and shared ownership properties are not provided thus pushing people into the more expensive private rented sector?


This is what the Local Government Association had to say on the matter:

“Starter Homes: As local planning authorities, councils need the flexibility to shape the

number, type and quality of Starter Homes within and across developments alongside

other types of affordable housing. It is vital that new housing products are delivered in

response to the needs of residents and economies in local housing markets as

assessed locally by councils as part of developing their local plans.”



The Teignbridge Local Plan

So, on the matter of Local Plans let us look then at the situation in your constituency. What does the Teignbridge Local Plan (adopted May 2014) have to say about Affordable Housing need and Affordable Housing provision. This link should take you to the TLP

Might I suggest you take a look at the Wellbeing section that begins on page 48. Note that at the top of page 50 the following is written:

“The Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2012 indicates the need for affordable housing is expected to amount to about 40% of the overall housing need. It is the Council’s aspiration to meet this need.”

That would be affordable housing of the affordable rental/shared ownership variety of course.  So what happens then to all those comprising the 40% in need of affordable rental/shared ownership homes if the government has its way and insists on 20% of the affordable homes now being Starter Homes which can cost up to £250,000 to buy?

What on earth is the point of local authorities doing the necessary research on their own local housing market and housing need and then going through all the procedures and bureaucracy attached to the forming and adoption of a Local Plan only for the government to come along and tell the local authority that it (central government) knows better.



Another TDC document that you might like to look at is the draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document dated July 2015. This link should take you to it:

Note that at section 6 it talks of the Affordable Housing being broken down into 75% affordable rental and 25% intermediate housing (eg shared ownership). So what will happen to all those in need of such housing if TDC have to promote 20% of the 40% as Starter Homes? Will they all suddenly find the financial wherewithal to afford to buy? Some might. But what about those who cannot buy and who need affordable rental accommodation? How will their housing needs be met?



Although the Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2012 indicates a 40% affordable housing need, the TLP settles for a 25% affordable housing provision within new developments in Dawlish. And as this percentage was arrived at before the concept of Starter Homes as Affordable Housing arrived on the scene I’ll take it that the 25% was to be comprised of affordable rental and shared ownership schemes of some kind presumably in that 75%/25% ratio as outlined in the draft July 2015 Affordable Housing SPD.

BUT WAIT!  For the situation has now changed as, according to the government ,20% of that Affordable Housing provision should now be of the  Starter Home variety!  

And yes, I do know that Starter Homes are to be priced at 20% below open market level.

The government it seems now sees affordable housing not as that of below market level rented housing but as a 20% discount for first time buyers of Starter Homes. 

But what about all those in need of housing who do not have the financial wherewithal to buy a home even allowing for a 20% discount?

How will their housing needs be met? 

I would be very interested to receive your views on all the issues I have raised above."


1 Agree
13 May 2016 14:47

The Housing and Planning Bill has now become an Act of Parliament.

What it contains will impact on Dawlish.

Especially with regard to the lack of link road and sewerage issues.

Earlier today I sent the email below to all the Dawlish councillors (copying in our MP). I have since made a formal request to

one of the councillors that the issues I raise be an agenda item at the next full council meeting on June 1st.



You may be aware that the Housing and Planning Bill has now become an Act of Parliament.
Amongst other housing related issues, the Act requires that at least 20% of Affordable Housing should be of the Starter Home variety.
As it was in the Conservative manifesto that 200,000 of these Starter Homes should be built by 2020 and there are only 4 years left in which to build them all, it will be quite an undertaking to get that SH target met and to that end the government is intent that nothing should stop the building of them.
From the Commons debate on the (then) Housing and Planning Bill held on Monday 9th May
(my emphasis in bold red)

"Brandon Lewis

That will be a matter for the local authority to negotiate. I know from talking to developers in my own constituency, where we have had similar levels of affordable housing, that we will be able to have more affordable housing as a result of the starter homes requirement. Local authorities will be able to deliver more affordable housing through this programme. We will not allow anyone to prevent us from meeting our commitment to deliver those new homes for first-time buyers."

If then these Starter Homes are now to be a requirement on DA2 (the area north west of Secmaton Lane),
and if the government, as stated above, will not allow anyone to prevent that requirement being met, then I put it to you all that the twin issues of the missing DA2 link road and the sewerage/flooding problems in Secmaton Lane and the A379 will not be allowed to stop or delay housing development on DA2 because the housing developments on DA2 will have to have 20% Starter Homes and the government will not allow anyone (or anything?) to prevent those Starter Homes from being built. 
With me?
Would it be possible, I wonder, for the issue I raise above to become an agenda item at either committee level or a full town council meeting? I ask as I feel the matter would be one of great interest to residents of the town.
Many thanks"


13 May 2016 16:01

Question your honour - The muti-national developers have repeatedly made it clear that they cannot justify building large numbers of so called affordable and if the same as starter homes under the current market conditions. So who is the government going to get in to build them. Are we going to see a return to local authority direct works departments employing construction workers to build their houses on their own land. If so watch out Sandy Lane and other TDC owned green sites.

13 May 2016 16:13

Suggest all queries be addressed to this chap:


 Minister of State for Housing and Planning

Brandon Lewis MP



14 May 2016 07:32

Extract from the 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto.

"We will build 200,000 Starter Homes and 
more affordable housing.
We will build 200,000 quality Starter Homes over the 
course of the next Parliament, reserved for first-time 
buyers under 40 and sold at 20 per cent below the market 
price. We have delivered over 217,000 new affordable 
homes since 2010. We will now go further, delivering 
275,000 additional affordable homes by 2020. And we 
will offer 10,000 new homes to rent at below market rates".


Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
14 May 2016 09:12

So, making a broad assumption that the number of new affordable homes built in the Coalition years between 2010 and 2015 were delivered nationally at a ratio of 25% (the same figure as set for Dawlish) then the total number of homes built in that period would equate to 868,000 (217,000 / 25%). That would be an average of 173,600 total new builds a year, which I don't think is a mile away from the actual total.


If the figures quoted in the Conservative Party Manifesto are to be taken at face value and that Starter Homes are to form 20% of the Affordable Home total (per the Housing and Planning Bill passed in the Commons this week), then the calculation for the total number of homes to be built between 2015 and 2020 would be as follows: 200,000 / 20% (ratio of Starter Homes to Affordable Homes) / 25% (ratio of Affordable Homes to Market Homes) = 4,000,000 (800,000 per year) which is clearly wrong.


I think we are looking at double-speak and double-counting at work. If only the total of Affordable Homes quoted above, 275,000, was used as the basis for the calcs then: 275,000 / 25% (AH to MH) = 1,100,000 total over 5 years, or an average 220,000 per year. An ambitious total still, but acheivable given a favourable economic wind.


Starter Homes (for those under 40 to buy) must therefore be a part of this 275,000 5-year Affordable Housing projection total. In other words only 75,000 Affordable Homes as we have come to know them (e.g. permanent shared equity or below market rent) are to be built. Furthermore if the total number of 'below market rent' homes is slashed to just 10,000, it may just be that these homes have already been built in the period 2015/2016.


So the message from our government is clear: if you need a place to live, expect to have to buy it; if you can't afford to buy, or you do not qualify for a mortgage, tough.


That doesn't seem much like compassionate Conservatism to me.






1 Agree
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