Letter: Housing forecasts for Harborough need to be re-examined

Section 106 contributions from developers have paid for millions of pounds worth of improvements to local amenities and infrastructure says Harborough District Council.
Section 106 contributions from developers have paid for millions of pounds worth of improvements to local amenities and infrastructure says Harborough District Council.

The horror expressed in last week’s Mail by Richard Billington at the house numbers forecast by planners is not surprising.

The only surprise is that others have not also questioned the credibility of the numbers advanced by the district and county councils.

Local authorities are required to prepare plans for the objectively assessed needs for housing and other developments.

Our authority appears insufficiently equipped to assess housing needs itself and engages a consultant to provide estimates of housing requirements.

As the same consultant appears to have been employed for several years it is possible to examine how the estimates of housing requirements have changed over time; the number in the existing Development Plan for the Harborough District, adopted in 2011, of 350 dwellings per year has increased to 532 dwellings per year when estimated in 2017.

It seems that such increases in estimates of housing requirements are accepted without question by councillors and planners alike, and with equanimity.

This may be due to a lack of the in-house expertise to form an objective view of housing needs.

Clearly, there is an urgent need for affordable housing both in the district and nationwide.

Unfortunately, in the delivery of this type of dwelling the record of the district council has not been exemplary.

R A Flint, By email