How many new homes should we be seeking to build? What sort of housing should we build? These are key questions for those who live and work in Haslemere, Shottermill, Critchmere, Beacon Hill, Hindhead and Grayswood. YOUR opinions are being sought in the Haslemere Vision (HV) Consultation Document landing on local door mats during the week commencing 7th September.
It is natural for people who want to preserve the status quo to object to developments that affect the beautiful environment which surrounds us. But how then do we accommodate the needs of young people and the forecast growth in the older, retired population in our area?
A local financial services‘ representative has estimated that a couple wishing to purchase a 3 bedroom terrace house within a 5 mile radius of the Town, need a joint income of £53,400 to support a mortgage of approximately £240,500. In addition, they need to be able to provide upfront costs of £31,250, for a 10% deposit, stamp duty and legal fees. The average price for a semi-detached property in Haslemere in the last year was £378,635. (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/)
The recent housing assessment carried out on behalf of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) showed that the disparity between income and house prices is a serious problem which has led to sizeable declines in the 20 – 40 age groups living in the area.
The outcome of this situation is likely to be an increasing housing problem for young and those on lower incomes distorting the shape of our community and a risk to the long term vitality of the town.
In a parallel development, the numbers of people in 60-74 age groups are expected to increase by 40% by 2021. Older, retired people living in larger properties often want to downsize. At present there are almost no suitable, smaller properties in Haslemere which will enable them to move (walking distance from shops and amenities being key in remaining independent and active). This will force them to remain in large family style property or to leave the community.
In the same timeframe, the number of older people with disabilities is expected to double (Source: Age Concern). Consequently demand for social care will double, but if we can’t house the carers within Haslemere standards of care could be compromised.
All this will reduce the vibrancy of the area which will increasingly become the preserve of higher paid commuters, the aged and a dormitory for Guildford and London.
So, how do you think that we should meet the housing needs of young and old alike?
- Encourage development of affordable housing for first time buyers and those on low incomes?
- Encourage the building of smaller dwellings appropriate for downsizers?
- Create a Community Land Trust formed and operated by local people to build homes that remain affordable, long term?
- Enable joint ownership or more rental properties through partnerships with housing associations?
- Encourage conversion of some larger houses into smaller rental apartments?
- Accommodate more new development by increasing the density allowed in central areas including the division of larger gardens? …..and/or
- Extend the boundary of our built up area (the building envelope) to allow more homes to be built on greenfield sites?
or perhaps you feel that the downside of new developments is too high?
IT’S YOUR TOWN, YOUR VILLAGE AND YOUR SAY!
Please think about your answers and take the opportunity to complete and return the Housing Consultation between 7th September and 30th October either online at www.haslemerevision.org.uk or by hard copy to the places listed on the second page of the consultation document.
You can read more background material here:
And more is available here: