We are today posting an update to bring your attention to a decision by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) which affects the amount of Green Belt land taken under the local plan.
The Local Plan inspector wrote to EFDC on 14th July, 2020 to ask about housing projections issued in 2018 since they were very different from those issued in 2014 which the local plan was based upon. They are as follows:
|Households 2011||Households 2033||Growth 2011-33||Annual Growth 2011-33|
This table shows that the growth in both housesholds and per annum are less than half the numbers which EFDC based the housing need upon.
Therefore the inspector asked EFDC “Whether the projected reduction in household growth affects the justification for the plan’s proposed Green Belt releases”
We feel that this was giving EFDC an opportunity to reduce the number of houses needed in the local plan and thus reduce the need to take so much of the green belt.
EFDC took 3 months to consider this and stated that “The conclusion of this work is that the 2018-based household projections, while demonstrating some variation from the 2014-based household projections, does not represent a meaningful change in the housing situation from the one which informed it. On this basis the Council consider that the housing requirement in the Local Plan Submission Version does not need to be adjusted. Given this conclusion the Council does not consider that it affects the justification for the plan’s proposed Green Belt releases”
This means that official statistics showing that housing growth has more than halved does not mean that we need to build any fewer homes according to EFDC. We believe that this decision needs further investigation and would encourage you to contact your district councillor to ask them to raise the question on your behalf as it feels like a chance to reduce the impact on our beloved green belt has been squandered.
All the documents can be found here called ED111, ED114 and ED114a https://www.efdclocalplan.org/local-plan/examination-documents/