Housing for Haywards Heath

PLANNING THE HOUSING FOR HAYWARDS HEATH

1.  THE MID SUSSEX DISTRICT PLAN
A draft Mid Sussex District Plan was put out for consultation in November 2014.  On housing needs, it says in paragraph 3.11  "The level of housing that would be required if births, deaths and migration followed recent trends amounts to an annual requirement of 516 homes or 8,800 over the lifetime of the Plan [up to 2031]".  The draft Plan does not give further details on how it calculated this figure.  
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) produced in April 2013 a projection up to 2021 of the households required by district.   For Mid Sussex the DCLG projection from 2011 to 2021 averaged 543 extra households per year, slightly above the draft District Plan annual figure.
The draft District Plan endorses the proposal to build 3,500 - 4,000 new homes to the north and east of Burgess Hill (paras 3.14 & 3.15).  Para 3.22 says "The Plan assumes the strategic developments proposed for around Burgess Hill will yield 3,865 homes over the lifetime of the Plan".   The draft Plan therefore assumes that around 8,800 - 3,865 = 4,935 extra households would be needed from the rest of Mid Sussex by 2031. 
In the 2011 census the number of households in Mid Sussex excluding Burgess Hill was 45,283, of which Haywards Heath accounted for 11,587, ie 25.6%.   Applying that percentage to the 4,935 figure derived from the draft Plan would give Haywards Heath 1,263 extra households by 2031.
Of course, this calculation does not take account of constraints on land suitable for housebuilding.  Haywards Heath contains just 3% of the land area of Mid Sussex. Most of that is already built on; from 2001 to 2011 Haywards Heath added 14.9% more housing, more than two and a half times the 5.7% added in the rest of Mid Sussex (see Appendix 1). Other parts of Mid Sussex need to step up to the plate over the Plan period.
Top-down estimates from the government and the draft District Plan give rough indications, but Haywards Heath needs an evidence-based estimate of its own local housing needs. The Town Council is commissioning this.  

2.   ISSUES WITH BOUNDARIES
Most of the land in Haywards Heath is already built up or is unsuitable for new building. The town boundaries are now drawn quite tightly and this makes planning difficult for the town.
The possible remedies are:

  • Extend the town boundaries, so that new developments which would use the town infrastructure would be considered within the town's plan, and any income from developers would go to the town.  Or:
  • Reach agreement with neighbouring authorities that the Town Council would have a voice in the siting of such developments, a share of the income, and recognition that these count towards the Haywards Heath household planning figures.

The Society believes that any dispute about developments adjacent to the town boundaries would need to be resolved at District or higher level, using clear and objective criteria.

3.    HOUSING NEEDS
Young people on an average local salary cannot afford to buy a home in Haywards Heath.  Privately rented households in Haywards Heath more than doubled between 2001 and 2011 (see Appendix 2).  The difficulties for local buyers are likely to grow, since:

  • jobs are less certain, with short-term and zero-hour contracts widely used and average salary growth is consistently less than the growth in local property prices.
  • lower job security makes both buyers and mortgage lenders wary of long term commitments.  Careers within a single firm are becoming rare.    
  • High property prices are supported at the top end of the market by people moving from London, financed by London salaries or the sale of London properties.  At the lower end of the market they are supported by buy-to-let investors, particularly for flats where external upkeep is low and simple to arrange.  The changes in pension law from April 2015 will boost buy-to-lets substantially. Both types of buyer are actively targeted by developers and estate agents.

The executive committee of the Haywards Heath Society believes that the Town Council should give priority to the housing needs of local people -  people who currently live locally or have local jobs.  It should encourage home ownership in preference to those who are making an investment rather than buying their home.
From the census population figures of 2001 and 2011 the 0 to 7 years and the 20 to 29 year age groups have among the highest growth rates - which puts a clear focus on young families (see Appendix 3).  The "baby boomer" age group 60-64 also shows high growth.
The Town council might express, through the use of planning guidelines:

  • Preference for affordable housing for small families, such as two or three bedroom terraced houses.
  • Restricting the proportion of flats, since here buy-to-let investors may outbid first time buyers.  There are some projects, such as the conversion of empty office blocks, where flats may be the only sensible option; but elsewhere the building of flats should be discouraged.
  • Restricting the number of 4+ bedroom detached houses.  These are land-hungry, and attract migrators from London with no previous local connection.
  • Creating more public space within developments, in the form of cycleways, footpaths, play areas and just plain trees and greenery.  Substituting small houses for the luxury detached dwellings does not mean ramping up the housing density - instead it could free more land for public use.
  • Support for the needs for sheltered accommodation and the care & health industry which might follow growth in the older age groups.

4.     IMPLICATIONS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE
Analysis of local housing needs would help determine the mix of housing, the demographics of new households, and enable planning of infrastructure.   For instance:

  • Growth in young families points to demand for schools, play areas and particular types of leisure facility. 
  • Growth in older populations has implications for health care, sheltered accommodation and public transport. 

If more people work from home for at least part of the week, it affects travelling to work needs and gives more weight to wi-fi, broadband facilities and mobile phone coverage.

Appendix 1

MID SUSSEX: AREA AND HOUSEHOLDS BY PARISH AND TOWN

 

 

 

 

2001 to 2011

2001 to 2011

Parish/ Town

Area

2001

2011

change

% change

 

(Hectares)

hholds

hholds

in hholds

in hholds

Albourne

773

244

256

12

4.9%

Ansty & Staplefield

3869

630

641

11

1.7%

Ardingly

1609

648

689

41

6.3%

Ashurst Wood

251

684

723

39

5.7%

Balcombe

2105

716

755

39

5.4%

Bolney

1479

482

511

29

6.0%

Burgess Hill

947

11722

12126

404

3.4%

Cuckfield

432

1392

1439

47

3.4%

East Grinstead

2443

10112

11061

949

9.4%

Fulking

628

123

130

7

5.7%

Hassocks

1088

3157

3341

184

5.8%

Haywards Heath

975

10088

11587

1499

14.9%

Horsted Keynes

1581

620

643

23

3.7%

Hurstpierpt & Sayers Common

2030

2640

2848

208

7.9%

Lindfield

224

2477

2524

47

1.9%

Lindfield Rural

1981

1012

1015

3

0.3%

Poynings

666

171

180

9

5.3%

Pyecombe

887

87

93

6

6.9%

Slaugham

2432

988

1131

143

14.5%

Turners Hill

1390

740

755

15

2.0%

Twineham

784

107

111

4

3.7%

West Hoathly

2139

821

833

12

1.5%

Worth

1995

3778

4017

239

6.3%

Mid Sussex

32708

53439

57409

3970

7.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid Sussex excl Haywards Hth

31733

43351

45822

2471

5.7%

Sources:  Hectares figures from Wikipedia

No. households from Office of National Statistics, neighbourhood statistics website

from "Accommodation Type - Household Spaces, 2001 "

and "Accommodation Type - Households, 2011"

 

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

CENSUS STATISTICS

HAYWARDS HEATH: POPULATION BY AGE RANGE

2001-2011

2001-2011

2001

2001

2011

2011

  change:

change:

Age range (years)

people

% of total

people

% of total

people

%

age 0-4

1365

6.0

1850

6.8

 

485

 

35.5

age 5-7

786

3.4

1004

3.7

 

218

 

27.7

age 8-9

524

2.3

560

2.1

 

36

 

6.9

age 10-14

1431

6.3

1505

5.6

 

74

 

5.2

age15

292

1.3

299

1.1

 

7

 

2.4

age 16-17

563

2.5

567

2.1

 

4

 

0.7

age 18-19

484

2.1

439

1.6

 

-45

 

-9.3

age20-24

1116

4.9

1445

5.3

 

329

 

29.5

age 25-29

1435

6.3

1996

7.4

 

561

 

39.1

age 30-44

5277

23.1

6285

23.2

 

1008

 

19.1

age 45-59

4700

20.6

5201

19.2

 

501

 

10.7

age 60-64

1036

4.5

1598

5.9

 

562

 

54.2

age 65-74

1787

7.8

2134

7.9

 

347

 

19.4

age 75-84

1381

6.1

1437

5.3

 

56

 

4.1

age 85-89

398

1.7

445

1.6

 

47

 

11.8

age 90 or over

227

1.0

292

1.1

 

65

 

28.6

Total population

22802

100.0

27057

100.0

 

4255

 

18.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All figures are from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) 

website https://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk,

searching on "Haywards Heath" and selecting "Parish" then "Housing" for the tables