Annual report reveals house building progress

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More than 1,100 new homes were completed in the district during 2017/18 and the city council can demonstrate it has a housing land supply of more than six years.

These are two of the key conclusions in the council’s annual authority monitoring report for the 2017/18 financial year, which checks progress on the delivery of the Local Plan and assesses the performance of the council’s current planning policies.

The report reveals that 1,119 (net) new homes were completed, which includes new builds, conversions, changes of use to residential and student accommodation of various types.

And it shows the council now has enough land available for housing in the district for the next 6.57 years, comfortably over the five year land supply that local authorities are required to demonstrate.

Over the period covered in the report, the council, through section 106 legal agreements, has secured £2.275 million of contributions from developers for infrastructure such as roads, medical facilities, school places, play areas and open space.

During the year, section 106 money was spent on a wide variety of projects across the district, including the new riverside path near the Westgate Towers, a new public space at the junction of Park Road and Kings Road in Herne Bay, several cycle paths, eight new bus shelters, and enhancements to William Street and Beach Street, and William Street car park, in Herne Bay.

Meanwhile, there were increases in employment floorspace across all types of employment use, with Whitstable in particular seeing growing interest in the construction of new industrial and office space.

Across 2017/18, the council processed 1,823 planning applications, of which only 56 went to appeal. And of those that were appealed, the council successfully defended 80 per cent of them.

Council Leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “The authority monitoring report makes for interesting reading, setting out the good progress made on providing homes, infrastructure, employment space and much more.

“One aspect of the report that is particularly important is the housing land supply, and by having well in excess of the five years we need, we are in a strong position to fend off speculative applications from developers for land we would not want to see developed.

“The report also puts to bed the myth that we grant planning permissions for houses but never secure the infrastructure that is needed to support them. A figure of well over two million pounds is a significant sum and we’ll be ensuring every penny of this gets spent to provide what the district needs.”

Read the full authority monitoring report.