- Beacons archive
- Beacons round 10
- Homes for the future
- Case studies
- Bolton application case study
- Greenwich application case study
- Sheffield application case study
- St. Helens application case study
- Greenwich Kidbrook case study
- Greenwich housing provision case study
- Greenwich requirements case study
- Greenwich Millennium Village
- Sheffield's Norfolk Park case study
- Sheffield 'SWaN' case study
- Older People’s Housing - Bolton Council
- Refurbishment of existing properties
- Park Hill
- Chaucer district centre
- Strategy, planning and delivery
Requirements study and South East London Housing Market Assessment
The London Borough of Greenwich Council has a strategic responsibility to assess housing need and demand in its local area and, alongside its sub regional partners, to understand the workings of the local housing market which crosses borough boundaries.
Greenwich Council commissioned Opinion Research Services (ORS) to undertake a Housing Requirements Study in 2008. This was in conjunction with our sub regional partners, Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and Southwark.
The Council also commissioned ORS to undertake a Strategic South East London Housing Market Assessment on behalf of the South East London Housing Partnership
Key learning themes
The boroughs were keen to take on board this approach in line with the government view relating to the development of the sub-regional Housing Market Assessments (HMAs). The five boroughs of the South East London Sub region have all commissioned parallel Housing Requirement Studies, also carried out by ORS.
A total of over 7500 household interviews provides a comparable local evidence base for each of the boroughs. It also produces a sub regional evidence base consistent with good practice.
This sub regional approach is considered to be good practice compared to Local Authorities which have commissioned individual studies. Those authorities will need to seek to integrate these with the sub regional approach to the SHMA, which may have been carried out by other research teams using different methodologies.
It is critically important to have a well researched and up to date understanding of local Housing Needs on which to base local Housing Strategies, and to make informed policy responses both individually and collectively.
In terms of primary data the previous census information dates from 2001. It is considered to be out of date. Additionally, information from the previous housing needs study carried out in Greenwich in 2002 had also become out of date and open to challenge This prompted the Council to commission this new integrated and comprehensive study.
Greenwich has also recently undertaken a full population study to assist with service planning with regard to health, education, transport etc.
The next opportunity to update the information will be the 2011 census - the information will probably become available in 2012. It is important that the information can be refreshed or updated on a regular basis.
Making it happen
Those involved include members of the Sub regional Housing Strategy group, generally the Strategy Managers in each borough plus the South East London Housing Partnership.
The coordinator has responsibility for the formulation and development of the strategy and its action plan.
The South East London Housing Strategy 2006-2010 sets out seven key objectives:
- Provide sufficient new good quality homes in all tenures that are affordable.
- To tackle overcrowding.
- Provide choice in housing to meet the needs of the sub region.
- Prevent homelessness and reduce the use of temporary accommodation.
- To improve housing in the private sector.
- To tackle empty properties.
- Support independence and vulnerable households.
A clear study setting out the housing needs of the area provides the foundation for gaining support and funding, both locally and regionally, in order to achieve these objectives.
The joint commissioning of one research company to carry out the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and the individual borough Housing Requirements Surveys produced a cost saving for the boroughs against a situation where they each commissioned a survey separately, perhaps with different companies.
The SHMA covers new ground and raises new issues for:
- local authorities who are seeking to understand the population movements across the sub region and
- between boroughs and to identify the key drivers for individuals and families to move between tenures.
There is a data set that arises from this study and each borough can make use of it for their own purposes.
The Housing Requirements study is important for the local authority as it enables the authority to identify what supply of new accommodation will be needed to meet the requirements of existing residents and projected future growth. It also assists with identifying the most appropriate mix and tenure for future supply.
There have been difficulties with ensuring that the two separate studies, the sub regional SHMA and the individual Housing Requirements Study conform with each other. However, this can be easily overcome through discussions between the boroughs and the company because everyone is working together.
Development of the requirements study and the SHMA has also seen close collaborative work between strategic planners, responsible for the LDF, and those responsible for the strategic housing function.
Greenwich has enabled this to happen more coherently and effectively by the amalgamation of the strategic housing and enabling functions into the directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise & Skills. This clearly shows the importance of strategic housing, planning and economic development working effectively together. At a Member level these functions are also overseen by the Deputy Leader who is the Cabinet Member for Regeneration.
Making a difference
In 2003 the Government set out their current vision for housing in the communities plan. A central plank of recent UK government Housing policy has been to ensure that everybody has the opportunity of living in a decent home that they can afford.
The challenge for Local authorities is to negotiate with private developers, who are the main providers of new homes, to secure the necessary mix of units, including the number of family units required.
In order to achieve this Councils need clear policies on affordable housing laid down within their Unitary Development Plan (UDP). Greenwich has also adopted an affordable housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which is available on the Council’s website so that it is accessible to all.
As part of Greenwich Council’s affordable housing policies there are clear statements regarding standards of accommodation that are expected to be provided. For example affordable rental accommodation is required to meet Parker Morris space standards. Ten per cent needs to meet the Council’s wheelchair standard which has been adopted as good practice by the other boroughs within the sub region.
There have been cost savings made through joint working with the other sub regional boroughs. They have all used the same template for gathering the information and the same contractor. They were also able to 'piggy back' onto a single procurement process.
In addition, the local authority needs to make best use of all housing resources. For example, use of information gathered on the Housing Register or provided through Registered Social Landlord (RSL) surveys of tenants of new homes.
The information gathered from the Greenwich Housing Requirements Survey will feed into the new Greenwich Housing Strategy and will be widely discussed as part of the consultation process. The SHMA will feed into the development of the Local Developmen Framework (LDF) due to be published in 2012.
Download a PDF of this case study: London Borough of Greenwich housing market assessment case study (PDF, 5 pages, 183KB)
Author: Nicola York, Development Officer, Greenwich Council
Gill Ackrill Housing Strategy & Enabling Manager
Tel. 020 8921 5630