New report reveals size of Harrogate's housing problems

Are there too many houses being built in the Harrogate district or too few?
Are there too many houses being built in the Harrogate district or too few?

A new report reveals that new house building in Harrogate has yet to recover to the levels of the pre-banking crash era.

The new data showing house building across the Harrogate district is nowhere near returning to the 400-500 per year norm, has emerged as part of a comprehensive report on the country’s housing crisis put together by regional journalists on secondment with the BBC Shared Data Unit.

Under the heading “homes built per year (including conversions)”, the Government assessment of the new housing need for Harrogate district each year is 669 homes.
But the report shows that the Harrogate has not hit anything like that number since 2009-2010 when the effects of the banking crash started to be felt nationwide.


Decline in house building in Harrogate: The figures

Residents groups from Bilton to Hampsthwaite may be up in arms as developers have pounced across the district..
But BBC report shows house building has been historically low in recent years.
The BBC report shows the average of new houses built in Harrogate in 2016-2017 stood at 289.
That compares to 526 new homes built in 2001-2.
After the banking crash, figures fell to 354 in 2008-9, before falling further to 204 in 2011-12, then to just 109 in 2012-13.


Figures disputed by Harrogate Borough Council

But Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning, Coun Rebecca Burnett said the council’s own figures showed a better performance than was being suggested.
And the council had already taken steps to increase the numbers in line with goverment policy
She said: “We know we have under-delivered on housing in the past but this is been fully addressed now and the shortfall not delivered previously is included in what we will see built in the future.
“Through a new housing delivery test, the government has introduced a measure that compares a three year average with the government’s figure.
“When the three year average is compared against the government’s figure we are 102 per cent.
“Last year’s completions 2017/18 totalling 598 were up on the previous three years:
2016/17: 316 dwellings
2015/16: 305 dwellings
2014/15: 414 dwellings.”


Difference between Government's housing targets and Harrogate Borough Council's

In the past year, residents grops in Harrogate have questioned why there is a difference between what the Government thinks the Harrogate district needs in terms of new housing each year and the calculation by Hartogate Borough Council.
The BBC Data Unit report shows the Government figure of 395 homes.
But it also shows the council’s assessment of housing at 669 homes.
The council says it is simply playing catch-up on housing after its previous Local Plan was rejected by the Government.
In addition, it is planning ahead for the district’s economic growth and expansion in the jobs sector.
Coun Burnett said: “The government’s assessment of need quoted in the table is a minimum requirement based on a demographic based calculation that does not include any uplift to support economic growth.
“Our locally determined figure includes an uplift in order to support the delivery of our economic ambitions for the district; balancing homes and jobs.
“Locally we have identified that we need to plan for 669 homes per year and this is set out in our emerging Local Plan.


Harrogate - 6.500 new homes in the pipeline

Coun Burnett said: “In line with national planning guidance we are preparing a Housing Action Plan later this year in order that we can identify measures to increase delivery in future years.
“We have already taken steps to increase the supply of housing land, with permissions granted equivalent to 6,500 new homes. “


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