Sharp fall in housebuilding rate after ‘record’ high

New homes completed in  Horsham in 2012
New homes completed in Horsham in 2012

Housebuilding across the Horsham district has fallen by more than a third last year following a previous ‘record’ high, new figures have revealed.

Net completions dropped from 1,201 in 2015/17 down to 795 in 2016/17, according to the Horsham District Council’s Authority Monitoring Report (AMR), which was published at the end of December.

Last year’s figure for the district, excluding the national park, is comparable to the rate in 2013/14 where 824 homes were built and 2014/15 where 855 dwellings were finished, taking into account estimated losses.

The rate has improved significantly compared to 2011/12 and 2012/13 where 285 and 507 homes were completed.

The level of social and affordable rented units delivered increased in 2016/17 up to 154 from 130 the year before, compared to 175 in 2014/15 and 125 in 2013/14.

Meanwhile 70 shared ownership homes were completed in both 2016/17 and 2014/15 with no figures available in the year in between.

However the number of households on the council’s housing register rose to 696 in 2016/17 compared to 606 the year before and 508 in 2014/15.

The AMR, which sets out data to monitor the effectiveness of the council’s planning policies, explains how an average of 982 units a year are expected to be built over the next nine years, well above the council’s annual target of 800 homes per annum up to 2031.

Although the 795 net completions in 2016/17 is below the annual target the council says it can still demonstrate a five-year housing land supply of 116 per cent.

A spokesman for HDC said: “Going forward over the next five years, it is expected that the strategic sites at Kilnwood Vale, land west of Southwater and land south of Billingshurst will deliver significant numbers of new homes together with the delivery of planning permissions granted in the last few years.

“These, together with sites allocated in neighbourhood plans, as well as the recently allocated strategic site on land north of Horsham, will all contribute to the council maintaining its five year housing land supply.”

The previous level of housebuilding in 2015/16 was described as a ‘record annual total’.

Over the next three years the council is projecting net completions of 1,110, 1,221, and 1,172 homes.

Since the Horsham District Planning Framework was approved in 2015 the number of homes approved on appeal by the planning inspectorate has fallen.

In 2014/15 planning permission for 250 units was granted on appeal, compared to 287 in 2015/16, and 92 in 2016/17.