|The Quintain site surrounded by 'low density suburban housing'|
It is estimated that 1525 new dwellings need to be built every year until 2026. The report expresses confidence that this can be met in the early part of the period through developments taking place, particularly in Wembley, but additional measures will be needed in the future.
One immediate problem is that developers favour one or two bed-roomed units to ensure a maximum return while Brent's Strategic Housing Marketing Assessment 2016 said that to meet local needs 66% of them should be of 3 bedrooms or more.
The report says that one option would be for the Council to control dwelling size as a condition of the sale of its land, rather than at the planning stage. This comes up against current 'market sentiment' when the Council tries to meet the 50% 'truly affordable' renting target and developers have recourse to viability assessments as well as limits on the ability of the Council to cross-subsidise from other funds.
Given the recent controversy about the development of Heron House, near the Quintain redevelopment area around the stadium, this possibility for finding additional sites is a concern:
...on a potentially more contentious note redevelopment of extensive areas of low density suburban housing where there are high public transport accessibility levelsOne of the Heron House residents' issues was that the development was out of keeping with the largely traditional suburban nature of the immediate area.
Could this mean that those traditional 'Metroland' homes in the north of the borough that happen to be close to tube stations and bus routes (see above) might be under threat in the future as high rise-high density housing becomes the norm? Could we see speculators buying up such houses, with their large gardens, in order to redevelop them into blocks of flats with the blessing of the Council?
Other suggestions in the report may also cause concern:
The opportunities for additional sites for housing are likely to be found from a variety of sources for example:
· within existing growth areas, through for example increasing densities on already identified sites and identifying new sites;
· extending where appropriate existing growth areas into adjacent areas;
· more supportive policies for redevelopment/conversion of existing residential into addition dwellings;
· having a more pro-active approach to identifying sites within town centres;
· the identification of further extensive growth areas
· a more flexible approach to existing non-residential allocations, the most obvious due to their scale and existing developed nature being employment sites.
The last obviously raises the possibility that local employment opportunities may be lost as employment sites get used for housing.