How Much Housing Does Haslemere Need?

I’ve been researching the facts about the need for housing in Haslemere.  So far, my conclusion is “not much”.

Waverley Borough Council has posted on its webite a document called the “West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment,  September 2015“, which covers the whole of West Surrey, with assessments broken down by borough. More importantly for Haslemere, there is also a “Waverley Addendum” to this document, which includes some detailed figures for Haslemere (alongside  Farnham, Godalming, Cranleigh and “others”).

This assessment evaluates estimated housing need from all sources – existing backlog, exisisting households falling into need, and newly forming households. The bottom line, as shown in this table, is that estimated annual need for Haslemere is 55 houses per annum, with a net need (total need less supply) of just 25  :

But it is not just the bare numbers that matter. The assessment also considers the mix of housing needed, both in terms of market, intermediate and affordable/social housing,  and in terms of house size. The conclusion is clear: the major need is for social/affordable housing. Of the estimated net need of 25 houses per annum, 17 should be social/affordable rented.

Furthermore, the need for affordable housing is  primarily for young people establishing their first homes, and for elderly people downsizing. That translates into smaller homes, especially those of only one or two bedrooms.  Between them, these two sizes represent abouit 80% of the net need for  social/affordable housing in Haslemere.

Even in the market sector, the need is for mid-sized houses, of two – three bedrooms, rather than larger. Only 20% of the net housing need in this sector is for homes of four bedrooms or larger.

This account draws on only one source – the Waverley Addendum to the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment, but as it is the one published by Waverley Borough, it is a particularly authoritative one.  I will continue to seek out additional sources, which may yield different conclusions. (A full assessment should also examine housing supply already in the pipeline, from existing brownfield and windfall developments, as well as brownfield sites earmarked for development in the Waverley local plan – all of which I have looked at).

It is unlikely though, that other sources will differ much in the main thrust of the conclusion: that the annual net need for new housing in Haslemere is relatively modest, and that the primary need is for smaller units, especially in the social / affordable rented sector.



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