Calculating Devon’s housing need by algorithm

“This level of increase is simply not a credible prediction and much less so a credible policy response when it comes to planning for housing provision.”

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How many homes does Sidmouth need?

The Neighbourhood Plan looked into that:

Microsoft Word – Sidmouth HNA final report.docx

An outline of the housing polices covered by the Sid Valley Neighbourhod Plan | Sidmouth Herald

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And how many homes does East Devon need?

This gets more controversial:

The housing supply needed for East Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Futures Forum: Future housing needs and requirements in East Devon

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And as for Devon:

Devon’s Housing Needs Evidence – 12th October 2018 | Devon Planning Applications | CPRE Devon

The stark truth about Devon’s real housing needs revealed in major new independent report launched today by conservation charity, CPRE Devon – Devon Live

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Here’s the CPRE’s latest:

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How Many Homes? Reviewing the National Housing Need for England. July 2020

With the recent Government announcement about planning reforms and their proposals to ‘Build, Build, Build’ our new report, produced for us by Opinion Research Services, contains a wealth of information regarding actual housing need figures.

If you are concerned about new housing development anywhere in Devon, our comprehensive housing reports can provide you with some of the data you need to fight an unwanted proposal. ‘How Many Homes?’ is the third in our series of important reports regarding housing need in Devon and England…

How Many Homes? Reviewing the National Housing Need for England. July 2020 | Devon Planning Applications | CPRE Devon

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And in fact, East Devon’s situation is not only controversial, but it’s also very complicated.

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Firstly, it’s connected to Exeter’s housing needs – which themselves are not very clear, as the process for detemining them are not transparent:

The people who will help make Exeter’s 2040 vision a reality – Devon Live

Exeter City Council executive members take direct control of city planning decisions – Exeter Observer

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Then there is the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan – which is now in tatters:

The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan “is dead”: long live the East Devon Local Plan! – Vision Group for Sidmouth

East Devon rejects Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: the response – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Mid Devon set to reject Greater Exeter Strategic Plan: analysis – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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And there are the government’s plans for planning and house building:

There are two consultations on Planning Reform with closing dates 1st October and 29th October. The Algorithm comes first. | East Devon Watch

The ‘planning revolution’ in house building – consultation launched – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Yes, this is the famous ‘algorithm’:

A-levels and GCSEs: Boris Johnson blames ‘mutant algorithm’ for exam fiasco – BBC News

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And the question has to be whether the algorithms used to determine housing numbers are also ‘mutant’:

The government’s ‘algorithm for homes’ may be its next A-level style fiasco | Comment | Building

Housing: ‘Mutant algorithm’ could put Boris Johnson’s levelling-up dream at risk | The Independent

Boris Johnson faces Tory rebellion over radical plans to build more rural homes | Daily Mail Online

From viral conspiracies to exam fiascos, algorithms come with serious side effects | Computing | The Guardian

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This is where we are now – as reported by Daniel Clarke earlier today on Devon Live:

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Councils slam ‘ludicrous’ proposals to double yearly number of new homes

The new method could see the numbers in East Devon rise by 67 per cent, Mid Devon by 75 per cent, and Teignbridge by 102 per cent.

Councils across Devon have registered their opposition to a ‘ludicrous’ algorithm that could see double the number of new homes have to be built each year.

The Government is set to change the method they use for calculating the amount of housing each district should provide each year, with the new method seeing the numbers in East Devon rise by 67 per cent, Mid Devon by 75 per cent, and Teignbridge by 102 per cent.

But councillors have said that the figures are ‘completely unacceptable’, have come from an algorithm that makes no sense, and that it is very difficult to see there being enough people in the country that would want or be compelled to move to the areas to fill this number of houses…

Last week’s East Devon District Council Strategic Planning Committee also unanimously agreed to adopt their proposed response would see opposition to the methodology.

Ed Freeman, service lead for planning strategy and development, in his report, said: “The East Devon housing requirement is increased by a massive 67 per cent from 928 dwellings to 1,614 new homes per year. The increase, by any standards, can only be seen as a staggeringly high increase on top of what was a high level anyway…

“This level of increase is simply not a credible prediction and much less so a credible policy response when it comes to planning for housing provision.” …

Cllr Mike Allen said that being asked to increase by the numbers in this way was ludicrous. He said: “There is something fundamentally wrong with the algorithm, and it shows no relevance whatsoever to local democracy and reality on the ground.”

Cllr Ian Thomas added, referring to the chaos over exam results, said: “It has not been a good summer for the Government and algorithms. To jump by 67 per cent and 102 per cent worries me and it simply isn’t credible. We are dealing with a half cooked algorithm and whipping numbers out of the air is not acceptable.”

Councils slam ‘ludicrous’ proposals to double yearly number of new homes – Devon Live

   
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