HOUSING: In excess of requirements

In February 2019, the Government published the Housing Delivery Test results.

It lists all the local authorities across the country and shows the number of houses they have delivered over the years 2015-2018 as set against the Government requirements.

The statistics for Northumberland are as follows.

The housing requirement in 2015-16 was 645, but it delivered 988 houses.

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For 2016-17 the requirement was 678, but it delivered 1,530.

For 2017-18 the requirement was 609, but it delivered 1,376.

This means that Northumberland delivered 197 per cent of what was needed over the past three years, with a total of 3,984 new homes delivered against a requirement of 1,932.

Ben O’Connell, writing in the Northumberland Gazette, observed that ‘Northumberland already has more homes built or committed that it requires across the 20 years period of the under-development Local Plan’.

It begs the question, why any further housing is needed?

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Surely, we are now all aware that throughout Gazette territory and beyond new houses are emerging at a considerable rate. Why?

What/who is driving this excess? Certainly not Government requirements.

Northumberland Estates’ application for 100 houses in Lesbury parish, to me, is irresponsible, swamping a rural setting and covering much needed arable farmland with concrete.

Half of our food is imported. Once we have left the European Union there will be a great reliance on UK grown produce.

Concrete doesn’t yield crops.

Arable land should be sacred in the interests of our children and grandchildren.

Our county councillors must deliberate in the interests of all Northumbrians.

Janet and Hal Platt,