Below is the written (and answer) question that Councillor Robert Alden (Conservative, ErdingtonWard) submitted to last weeks full Council. This answer is relevant to my my blog at http://martinmullaney.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/albert-bores-70000-new-houses-mad-and.html
|CITY COUNCIL – 12 JUNE 2012|
|WRITTEN QUESTION TO THE DEPUTY LEADER OF THE COUNCIL FROM COUNCILLOR ROBERT ALDEN|
|“To go green or brown?”|
The Council’s new policy includes plans for over 70,000 homes to be built in Birmingham the equivalent of 4 new Council wards. This obviously leaves the Council with a dilemma of whether to build on Brown field or Green field sites.
Therefore can the Deputy Leader now explain to the Council some details of the policy considered when working out that 70,000 homes was achievable and not just an empty election promise, where will the houses be built, what type of housing will they be and what percentage are you asking to be social housing?
The estimate of a 70,000 dwelling requirement is based on work carried out within the Development Directorate during the previous Conservative/Lib Dem led administration in looking at the implications of Government population projections and household forecasts. The background material to the housing requirement figure was made available to Members at the February 2012 meeting of the Co-ordinating Overview and Scrutiny Committee, of which you were a member. Since this figure was produced, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published new population projections which suggest the growth pressures may be even higher.
Two key pieces of technical work are nearing completion – a Strategic Housing Market Assessment and a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. These will be used to determine the level of housing growth. However, since the indications of long term capacity to build new homes within the built-up area of Birmingham are likely to be around 43,000 dwellings, there will be pressure to find additional capacity.
Within Birmingham, the Core Strategy will determine the scale of housebuilding. Through the new ‘Duty to Co-operate’ embodied in the Localism Act, collaborative working through the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, the West Midlands Joint Committee and bi-lateral discussions with neighbouring authorities, will help determine how much of the growth pressures might be accommodated outside Birmingham. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment will provide us with a robust analysis to help determine what types and sizes of dwellings need to be provided.
In relation to the title of the question, I would hope that all Members will agree that meeting future housing needs is crucial if we are to avoid severe social problems through over-crowding and deteriorating health and the development of brownfield sites will always remain a priority.