In 2019 Emsworth CLT organised a Housing Needs Survey, engaging the consultants arc4 to distribute a questionnaire to every household in Emsworth and then to analyse the responses. The findings and conclusions can be found as Summary or Full Report. We have summarised some of the most important conclusions here:

  • Emsworth has a lower proportion of social rented housing than Havant District as a whole and the national average
  • Our housing is expensive when compared to Havant district
  • House purchase is out of the reach of low income groups unless they have a substantial deposit (much larger than 10% of purchase price)
  • There are high cost barriers to new households establishing themselves in the ward and to growing households moving to larger properties; this has created a pent-up demand which can only be released at present by moving outside of the town
  • The ‘affordable’ rented housing being delivered by the current and planned pipeline of development is beyond the resources of many of those in housing need for whom a more highly discounted ‘social’ rent is necessary
  • Amongst responders the priorities identified for better provision were public service workers, 1st time buyers and small (1 and 2-bed) houses for singles and small families
  • Smaller units and specialist housing for older residents are needed to meet a demand for downsizing and increase the supply of larger properties.

Many of these will come as little surprise to residents but we now have an authoritative evidence-base to underpin our initiatives and advocacy with Havant Borough Council (HBC) and other bodies.

It has been noted before that the nature of the land economy in Emsworth (scarcity, high cost, lack of exception sites) makes it very difficult to get conventional community-led housing projects off the ground. Also, that while the pipeline of affordable housing from commercial schemes is significant, its mix, character, rental terms and allocation to tenants is not necessarily sensitive to the local needs of our community.

Against this backdrop the principal focuses of Emsworth CLT are two-fold:

  1. To influence the drafting of agreements with developers (formalised in s106 deeds) so that the scarcities noted in the Needs Survey are met by at least some of the new housing in these commercial schemes.
  2. To investigate publicly-owned land for opportunities to transfer and develop underutilised assets.

Both of these require working in partnership with HBC who are very supportive but hard hit by the pandemic. Some normality is however returning and discussions have resumed recently.

On a final positive note ECLT have agreed model partnership arrangements which should enable the Trust to deliver housing efficiently and with an acceptable level of risk once a site is available. Any ideas for sites brought forward by members or others will be as enthusiastically received as ever!

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