I’ve submitted a representation to the Local Plan calling for social housing to be prioritised over other developments:
Re Policy H1 Housing Mix and Accommodation Types
This section and the following section H2 make many welcome references to affordable housing but there is no mention of social and/or council housing. At the time of writing 1,359 people are on the Housing Register. The register has strict eligibility requirements – the true social housing deficit will be much higher.
Per a recent Freedom of Information request Epping Forest District Council currently spends approximately £35,000 per month on temporary accommodation, further highlighting the urgent need for social housing.
Precarious housing has an impact on physical and mental health, education, employment and community cohesion, all of which have a short, medium and long-term financial impact, in addition to the housing benefit costs associated with private rented accommodation.
Paragraph 3.2 states, ‘It is important to consider, as set out in national planning guidance, the housing needs of
different sectors within the community.’
In order to fulfil this, and reduce costs, we need social housing to be the first priority for any planning applications.
Insert in Policy H1 Housing Mix and Accommodation Types a new item B, stating,
B. Planning applications for socially rented and council housing will be prioritised and encouraged. Any other applications will be suspended for a period of three months while social housing applications are sought. If at the end of that three month period no socially rented or council housing applications have been received the planning process will resume as normal. This policy will remain in place until [to be discussed].