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Stratford district is one of the highest-ranking locations for new houses in England

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Stratford district is one of the highest-ranking locations for new houses in England, according to a new report.

Based on Office for National Statistics data and shared before Christmas, the report declared Stratford as the sixth highest council area in England for the proportion of housing stock that has been built since 2017, scoring 6.3 per cent.

South Derbyshire comes in at number one with 7 per cent. Salford, ranked second, has the most number of new builds with 8,533. Also above Stratford is the Vale of White Horse, and two London locations, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

Figures for England show there are a total of almost 25 million homes in the country of which 630,000 were built in the last three years, which represents 2.6 per cent of the total.

According to the data 3,945 houses have been completed in Stratford from 2017 to 2020.

However, Stratford District Council aims to build many more houses to fulfil its ambition of completing 14,600 new homes during the period of 2011 to 2031.

The council’s plans are set out in its core strategy. It bases its strategic plans on data from ONS, the Census and perceived demand for housing, as well as other financial, health and social considerations.

Responding to the report, Cllr Tony Jefferson, leader of SDC, commented: “The fact that we have a number of houses being built is a reflection of the economic success of the district and the inescapable reality that people want to live here, as it is such an attractive area.

“Government policy encourages house building, so we cannot easily restrict the number of house builds in the district, nor would we want to. Increasing the number of residents enables us to maintain a wide range of services and also helps to support the local high street. It is far better to be successful than not I think.

“However, we know affordability is an issue and the district council has a long-standing commitment to providing more affordable homes for local people and our local communities.

“Last year (April 2020 to March 2021) we recorded the second highest number of affordable homes, 386, built by our partner housing associations. Over the last ten years a total of 2,709 affordable homes have been provided across the district.

“Our core strategy includes a requirement for 35 per cent of homes (on eligible market led ‘S106’ sites) to be affordable. The district council continues to work hard with its partners to get the homes we need built in the places that need them.

“Overall, the number of houses built in the district must count as a success story, However, going forward we will need to recognise the stress this places on infrastructure and take this into account.”

Some have criticised the rapid expansion of new housing in the area, in particular with concerns about the lack of infrastructure such as medical centres, schools and adequate roads.

Sir Andrew Watson, chair of Warwickshire Campaign for Rural England, told the Herald: “Originally local service villages [nearby locations that can provide infrastructure for people living in new houses] were capped on numbers, reflecting the new homes they could accommodate. The allocated numbers were systematically ignored by SDC and have now been abandoned.”

He continued: “You take somewhere like Meon Vale. There’s over 1,000 houses and there’s no infrastructure – there’s one Londis shop and a gym and no medical centre, with people having to go to Quinton. All the travel is into Stratford, as that’s the nearest bigger town, and it is clogging the roads and the inside of Stratford and that’s because there’s a lack of proper planning.”

Sir Andrew also thought the core strategy would need to be re-evaluated with the upcoming release of the latest census.

“It’s important that councils wait until the new Census is out as it will tell us how true the population projections are, because I suspect the current ones are out of date and irrelevant.”

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