Agenda item



  1. The PMO introduced the Annual Monitoring report and highlighted some of the information contained therein including mandatory indicators, house price changes, new build average price comparisons and population figures which were less than expected.


  1. The PPM added to the introductory remarks and clarified the purpose of the monitoring report, which he considered was a useful tool to assess the success of the previous Local Plan and what could be learnt from it. The principle purpose of monitoring was to establish the effectiveness of policy and to spot trends, this he argued, underpinned good quality decision making. The PPM considered the Council to be in a positive position noting that the Authority had met its housing delivery aims over the prior 20 year period, and delivered an additional 1,500 homes to those previously prescribed. Further, the Council had successfully met its annual delivery target of 400-500 dwellings per annum consistently over the last 4-5 years. With regards to affordable housing the PPM noted that it was a struggle to find the right sites, and the stressed the importance of the rural exceptions programme which, whilst resource intensive, had delivered 100 affordable dwellings in some years. He affirmed that the Council were 5th in a National League table for the delivery of rural expectations housing, commenting that this was a credit to the organisation and the flexibility built into the core strategy. He relayed the importance of regular monitoring which would inform the emerging Local Plan.


  1. The Chairman expressed her surprise that population growth did not reach the 2011 census estimate, given the amount of housing development within the district and perception of the increased number of people relocating to the area.


  1. The PPM advised that there were 5 key sources of information used to project population figures, including 3 sets of population and household projections from the O&S and 2 Census results. He noted that none of those reports produced the same figure and stressed the importance of examining what sits behind the figures. The PPM stated that there was no linear link between population growth and house building, in part because newly built dwellings formed a small amount of the total stock, and it was important not to disregard the other 95% of housing. The PPM noted subtle changes which were making household sizes smaller including the increase of divorce rates as well as second home ownership; which affected a significant proportion of some areas of the district. He noted that the 1.5% population growth was very low and that normally a 5% growth per annum was to be expected. The PPM advised that there was some scepticism over the statistics as to whether the population located in the broads, but within the NNDC boundary, had been recorded within North Norfolk and not a neighbouring district. If adjusted this would account for the gap between the projected population figure and the actual figure. He noted that census results were often modified and that the data contained therein became more secure and credible over time.


  1. The Chairman noted the ageing population within the District, which had one of the oldest populations within the Country. She considered that the death rate would also be higher as a consequence.


  1. Cllr V Gay stated that there was some evidence that longevity was dropping, and that it was clear that people were living more years in ill health.


  1. The PPM advised that birth and death rates were around the same and effectively cancelled one another out. He noted that the pace of growth was significantly lower than projections and that this supported the Councils housing delivery approach. The PPM noted the alternate argument that constrained housing delivery would result in slower growth.


  1. Cllr N Dixon commented on the dynamic of demographics including lifestyle, lifestyle changes, and lifestyle expectations. He acknowledged the impact on Heath Services as a consequence of an increasingly elderly demographic change, and stressed the importance to provide resources which would deliver population satisfaction with changing expectations. Cllr N Dixon reflected that there were parts of the housing delivery process which the Authority could and could not control. Whilst the Council could set targets, Members did not have much influence over final delivery as this was in the hands market forces who had the greatest influence. He commended the Council in setting realistic evidence based targets, aiding to manage expectations.


  1. The PPM reflected on the important, instrumental, role the Council had in housing delivery and acknowledged the influence of market forces. He noted the housing incentive scheme which had invigorated the market in 2011-2012 resulting in a large volume of house building, though this had not been universally supported. Outside of the Local Plan there were macro factors affecting housing delivery some years, however the PPM argued that market conditions were cyclical and other years delivered higher housing growth.


  1. Cllr J Punchard supported comments made by Cllr N Dixon, and stated that the historical data demonstrated that the Council was on target. He considered the impact of Covid on future housing needs, and noted several other factors including increased working from home, young people living with parents longer before buying as opposed to renting, changes in flat ownership were important in conjunction to the impact of Covid.


  1. Cllr L Withington noted with interest the population figures and affirmed the influx of households moving to her ward of Sheringham due to the prevalence of home working following the pandemic. She considered this type of inward migration was a new sector of movement aside from retirees.  Cllr L Withington noted that young people were moving away from the district, returning when they were more established and could better afford housing.


  1. Cllr N Pearce noted the imbalance between salary and house prices locally leading to local people moving away from the district, something he considered to be an uprooting of local heritage. He supported the provision of more affordable housing to address the growing affordability gulf.


  1. The PMO continued to introduce the Annual Monitoring report included within the agenda for the two periods 2020/2021 – 2021/2022. He noted that within the statistics for 2020/2021 housing delivery was exceptionally high due to the Fakenham development and reiterated comments from the PPM that housing delivery fluctuated between years.


  1. The PPM advised Members that there were two figures stated with regards to housing delivery for the emerging Local Plan, the first was a minimum number for 9,600 dwellings which would meet the projected population trajectory, the other 12,096 was for the number of dwellings the Local Plan was capable to deliver. The difference between the two figures was considered to be important to the strategy, building in failure contingency, satisfying the Planning Inspectorates expectation for a 10% contingency buffer. He advised that some of the growth would take place outside of the period ending 2036, and noted this included the large development at North Walsham.


  1. The PMO continued to introduce the Annual Monitoring report and noted the changes in population demographics with a projected 45% of over 65’s expected by 2036.  He advised that medium property price within the district was 11.44x higher than the medium gross annual income within the district. The PMO commented that the final report would provide further contextual details and would be published by the end of the year.


  1. Cllr L Withington thanked Officers for their report and asked if changes in housing stock was being considered. She noted of the large volume of applications within her ward pertained to extensions or garage conversions, as people could not afford to buy a larger property. This had resulted in a reduction in the amount of affordable first time homes. Cllr L Withington noted this matter had been considered by the North Norfolk Town and Parish Forum and polling detailed that some areas of the district, particularly those within National Park, were considered to have lost all first time buyer stock.


  1. Cllr V Gay praised the Officers report and the clarity provided. She questioned the garden plot figure provided for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 noting that it was the same.


  1. The PPM advised that this was the correct figure for each year, and it was not an administrative error. In response to question from the Chairman, the PPM stated that 50% of growth was delivered outside of allocated development sites and that small scale development was critical to housing delivery.


  1. Cllr P Heinrich considered 2 issues arising from the statistics. First, the increasing large number of elderly residents and the need to ensure appropriate type of development was provided to suit need. Second, the need of younger people and families which must be also be considered a priority. He acknowledged the growing numbers of people working from home but considered that good quality fibre internet was required to support this type of working.


  1. The PPM advised that the emerging Local Plan, unlike the prior Local Plan, prescribed within larger scale housing developments factors including, broadband, house sizes, bedroom numbers, and ensured elderly person accommodation was provided as percentage of the total overall development. He stated it was not just the number of dwellings built which was critical but also the type.


  1. Cllr N Dixon affirmed that it was important to have appropriate apportionment to enable people to get onto the housing ladder and so that they could continue to make progressions ensuring that the market was not static. He noted that people wished to migrate to the district for the better quality of life offered and that this was made easier by working from home options. He commented that it was important when considering planning applications and housing development that the character of the area was considered, and that work needed to be down to identify those properties which would be acceptable for garden development, and those which were not. Such work would better inform and ensure robust decision making.


  1. The PPM stated that the North Norfolk Design guide was the vehicle for this work, and agreed the need for robust guidance.


Cllr V Gay acknowledged the Council had created an award winning design guide which had been regularly utilised at Development Committee. She was uncertain where the 2019 draft was at with respect of its adoption

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