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Dorset Council Housing Strategy Online Survey

2nd October 2023

Dorset Council is aiming to produce its housing strategy by the end of 2023, setting out their vision for future housing in the Dorset Council area.

Article updated 2nd October. Please see below a link to Dorset Deserves Better and Dorset CPRE's joint response letter to Dorset Council’s Housing Strategy Consultation submitted on 2nd October 2023. The detailed letter focuses on the Evidence Base and a better Housing Strategy.

August 2023 

Dorset CPRE welcomes DC’s intention to assess the housing needs for the county, however, following our examination of the Housing Strategy Evidence Base July 2023 and the online survey, here is a summary of the points being raised with DC: 

  • The Housing Strategy Evidence Base (HSEB) - Whilst this document provides a broad overview of the current situation it lacks depth.
  • Social Housing - The HSEB identifies that there are 4,488 households registered on the social housing register, 83% (3,725) requiring general needs rented housing. The HSEB predicts future needs for ‘Affordable Housing’ but makes no indication of what proportion of the predicted need would be Social Rented Housing. 
  • Affordable Housing - The HSEB states that 1,757* new units of Affordable Homes are required per annum.  This figure is taken perhaps from the Dorset and BCP Local Housing Needs Assessment November 2021 by Iceni Projects and is the total predicted housing need for Dorset per annum calculated using the Standard Method for housing need calculation - as stipulated by the Government in its Planning Practice Guidance on Housing and Economic Needs Assessment. The Dorset and BCP Local Housing Needs Assessment identifies a need for 950 Rental Affordable Homes per annum and 767 Affordable Homes for Ownership per annum (Dorset and BCP Local Housing Need Assessment, Iceni Projects, p. 3, Executive Summary). However, these figures include existing households already housed – a deeper analysis suggests a need to provide just 577 rental affordable homes (Dorset and BCP Local Housing Need Assessment, Iceni Projects, p. 109, Table 7.31) and no extra need to provide affordable homes for ownership above the number available already in the market (Dorset and BCP Local Housing Need Assessment, Iceni Projects, p. 118, paragraphs  7.98 – 7.100). Furthermore, analysis of population data for Dorset indicates that it is unlikely that household growth in Dorset will be such as to fill those 1,757 homes if built annually (Dorset and BCP Local Housing Needs Assessment, Iceni Projects, p. 81, paragraph 6.44). The HSEB needs updating to list the correct number of new units of Affordable Homes required per annum.  (* Or perhaps 1,757 is a mistaken sum of 950 and 767?)
  • Definition Affordable Housing vs Social Housing - The HSEB uses the Government’s catch all definition of ‘Affordable Housing.’  It would be useful to be provided with an indication of Dorset Council’s working definition of what it considers to be Affordable Housing as opposed to Social Housing.
  • Projected Housing Delivery - The figures provided do not consider the 13,000 new homes that Dorset Council have granted planning consent for but have yet to be built. (The Dorset Council Housing Delivery Programme 2021, p. 5) 
  • Survey - We would welcome further information on how the data gathered in the online survey will be utilised. The survey is unlikely to solicit the responses required to inform a comprehensive strategy due its simplistic nature.

The online survey is now open and ends on 2nd October. 

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