Why Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are bucking the trend for new homes

New homes are being built on the Fylde coast at a rate of almost three a day.

Saturday, 14th March 2020, 11:45 am
The houses planned at Foxhall Village, where work is expected to resume in the coming months, will help Blackpool hits new homes target

Developers are keeping busing across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, where more than 3,000 homes have been built in the space of three years, according to the latest Government figures.

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The only time since 2016 that any of them fell short was in 2016/17, when the demolition of the Layton flats saw Blackpool’s housing stock decrease by 135 overall.

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Yet development since then has far outstripped the demands set out by the Government, with 368 built in 2018/19 alone – more than three times the target of 108.

But it is in Fylde and Wyre where most of the new homes have been built since 2016, with 1,438 and 1,268 respectively. Blackpool’s figure was 525 in that time.

It comes as Wyre Council is set to rule on a series of proposals – including one from Blackpool Council on land it owns just north of the border – that could see permission granted for 630 new homes and a school on land between Poulton and Carleton.

Yet housing charity Shelter said, in spite of the proliferation of new homes on the Fylde coast, many areas were struggling to cope with the demands placed on them.

Government figures show fewer than 60 per cent of local authorities in England hit the targets, leaving almost 36,000 houses unbuilt nationwide.

A total of 73 councils have been told they must revisit their local plan and outline 20 per cent more land for development than before.

A further eight, which achieved fewer than 45 per cent of their target, will have their planning powers curbed and have to put national planning rules first.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Slapping unachievable housebuilding targets on over-stretched councils and then penalising them when they can’t fulfil them is not the answer to ending the housing emergency.

“Councils have extremely limited funding and powers to build the homes they’re being asked for.

“What’s even more ridiculous is that the government’s targets don’t include a requirement to build any social housing, which are the genuinely affordable homes this country is crying out for.”

English local authorities built 247,000 homes in 2018/19 – nine per cent more than the year before, thanks to areas like the Fylde coast delivering above what was expected of them.

Redditch, in Worcestershire, has built almost 1,000 homes in the last three years – despite being set a target of just two.

Ms Neate added: “We will never meet the government’s targets without building social homes – the last time anywhere near 300,000 homes a year were built, councils contributed more than 40 per cent of them.

“To support councils across the country to deliver good-quality housing, we need the government to provide much-needed investment and reforms to our broken planning system – to make it easier and cheaper to build.”

Last month, Blackpool Council said it was planning to take control of the building site at Foxhall Village, where development stalled last October when Hollinwood Homes went into administration with just 200 of the planned 410 homes having been built.

It is hoped work will resume in the coming months.

It comes as the Local Government Association said councils needed more powers to take action where planning permission is granted but the work does not take place.

The LGA, which represents councils across the country, said its own analysis showed more than 1m homes granted approval in the last decade had not been built.

Its housing spokesman, Coun David Renard, said: “The planning system is not a barrier to house building. The number of homes granted planning permission has far outpaced the number of homes being built.

“Councils need powers to tackle our housing backlog and step in where a site with planning permission lies dormant and house building has stalled.

“If we are to solve our housing shortage, councils need to be able to get building again and resume their role as major builders of affordable homes.”