Council plan for 6,000 new homes in Hartlepool in next 15 years

David Spencer heads the Hartlepool Borough Local Plan (2016) Examination at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
David Spencer heads the Hartlepool Borough Local Plan (2016) Examination at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

At least 4,300 new homes should be provided in Hartlepool over the next 15 years, according to council chiefs.

That was the submission by Hartlepool Borough Council to a planning inspector on the second day of a public examination into the council’s new Local Plan.

Methods of how the figure, which breaks down to 290 new homes a year, was arrived at were put before inspector David Spencer during the hearings at Hartlepool College of Further Education yesterday.

An Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) prepared on behalf of the council for the Local Plan forecasted the need for 200 new homes a year based on 2014 population figures.

The council says the figure increases to 290 dwellings a year when projections for migration, intended jobs growth, and making up for previous under delivery are taken into account.

The authority says it has consistently failed to provide the housing to meet a target of 309 homes a year resulting in an under-supply since 2006.

Matthew King, Hartlepool council’s planning policy team leader, added there were significant areas of central Hartlepool where old terraced housing needed demolishing or regenerating.

In 2015, there were about 560 surplus empty properties across Hartlepool.

Mr King said: “One of the challenges for Hartlepool has been maintaining a delivery programme of new houses and at the same time a programme of demolition.”

A Strategic Housing Market Assessment produced for the council by housing market assessors arc4 states: “In conclusion, the Objectively Assessed Need figure of 290 takes account of the need to deliver more housing for an increasing number of households and supports economic growth.

“The full objectively assessed dwelling need over the Plan Period 2016-2031 (15 years) is therefore a minimum of 4,300 dwellings.”

A 20% buffer in case approved developments stall or do not happen, replacing demolished properties and affordable housing needs, increases the Local Plan’s housing targets to 409 homes a year and 6,135 over the 15 years.

Richard Cowen, of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, challenged the figures.

He said: “What we have argued consistently in the North East, not just in Hartlepool, is that there has been regularly, if not always, an over-estimate of the number houses that are required for the Objectively Assessed Need. We would put this in the ball park figure of roughly 30%.”

The public examination into the soundness of the Local Plan will reconvene on Tuesday, when it will consider employment policies.