Stratford needs a Master Plan

A peper by Councillor Maurice Howse :

Why No Master Plan ?

These are my own views (and no one else’s) and they are what I consider to be some of the problems facing Stratford Upon Avon and the District.

There is no attempt at a solution, this is only meant to be a snapshot and is not an academic paper.

I hope it raises enough concerns for there to be debate and a proper in depth professional review of the District’s future before it’s too late and we reach a tipping point.

Please note that there is no implied criticism of any Department, Councillor or Party. Some of the statistics and Policies quoted may not be up to date and hence there might be some errors in omission.

Maurice Howse

Portfolio Holder. Enterprise Housing and Revenues

 

THE POTENTIAL FOR PROBLEMS.

Some Demographics of the Stratford District.

2011 Population 120,800 up by 8.2% since 2001

2035 Population projected to have grown by 24% to 149,792 . This is a higher

growth rate than Warwickshire or England.

2010. 15% of SD residents are aged 70+ i.e. 18000.

2035 The above figure will have risen to 37000 residents

2010. There are more residents over 70 than aged 20

2010. There are O.64 dependents ( i.e. children and older people) for every

one person of working age.

2035. There will be 0.92 dependents for every person of working age. The

National average is 0.69. Put another way there are only 7 people working to

support 9 who can’t !

2011. 27000 residents over 65 years of age.i.e. 22% of the districts

population.

2011~ 2035 those residents aged 85+ will increase by 221% compared to an

overall increase in the population of 24%.

In the 10 years (2001~2011) 0~4 year olds have only increased by 0.1 %

The 5~9 year olds have decreased by 3.8 %

The 15~24 year olds have increased by 15% but

The 30~44 year olds have decreased by 10.8%.

It is the older age groups that are increasing by far more than any other age

groups.

Problems?

A Growing and Ageing Population being supported by less and less people of

working age.

Provision of health and social care will be strained particularly by the increase

in the very old 85+

If the forecast growth is realistic then population growth strains the

infrastructure.

Will high population growth adversely affect tourism?

Employment:-

Jobs.

Total 57400 of which 39300 are full time. 18100 Part-time.

 

(2008 Figures page 5

Evidence Log Review 2012)

 

Note Local Economic Assessment 2011 quotes 71000 (see page 2)

 

 

Unemployment 1.5%

Number claiming Job Seekers Allowance 1.3% (955)

Number of business's 7625

Number of employees circa 60,000

Problems?

Not enough employment to support growth.

We have virtually full employment and very low unemployment is beginning to

cause businesses recruitment problems.

Housing.

Average Household Income. £42,789 however 22% earn between £30,000-

£40,000 and 24% less than £30,000

Households in the District 51900

Median House Price £239,000 (UK £184,995) Less affordable than the South

East. In Stratford -on-Avon a household with two incomes would require an

income of £49,190 to afford an entry level property. One income household

slightly less at £40,757.

Rents.

Private rents Range from £525 per month for a 1 bedroom dwelling up to

£1413 per month for a 4 bedroom dwelling. Demand is outstripping supply at

present. Stratford upon Avon is more expensive than the rest of the district.

Social Housing rents are lower (average £360 per month) but there are

concerns about this affordability and it is to be looked into in more detail when

the 2012 Strategic Housing Market Assessment is finalised. There are

concerns about the increasing number of Homeless Applications up from 152

in 2009/10 to 239 in 2011/2012 The housing team are doing a good job in

dealing with this...at the moment!

20 % of households are in Fuel Poverty. 31% of households questioned

claimed to be struggling to pay their fuel bills. 24% of benefit claimants claim

they pay between 11% to 20% on fuel.

Fuel prices are forecast to continue increasing in real terms. “Fuel poverty”

will get greater. (Although the definition may be no longer appropriate).

Councils Waiting List.

3750 on the waiting list and increasing at the rate of 150 / 200 per month.

Breakdown by applicants.

Single people 28%. Couples with no children 9%. Families with Children

36%. Pensioners including disability Allowance 23% others 3%. The most

common tenure of households on the waiting list (37%) is private rented

which is expensive and in short supply so is a big issue.

Note. This year (April) when the Welfare Reforms come in some many

households in the district will have their benefits reduced and will either have

to make up the shortfall in rent or move to smaller accommodation, which we

don't have enough supply of. Steps are being taken to address this issue.

Housing Breakdown by Type

District. England

Social Rented. 12.6%. 17.5%

Privately owned. 87.4%. 82.5%

Owner Occupied. 76.6%. 69.6%

Privately Rented. 10.8%. 12.9%

We are significantly behind the National Average on Social Rented.

Housing Completions 2002 -2012

Market Housing. 3597. Average 359 per year.

Affordable 1031. Average 103 per year.

Problem?

Simply not enough Houses

Policies and Strategies

We have got listed on the SDC Website 29 policies and Strategies which

doesn't include the Business and Enterprise Strategy 2012 ~ 2015. These

strategies cover a wide variety of issues.

The Enterprise, Housing and Revenues Service is faced with most of the

major problems to be tackled over the next 20 years.

In addition to SDC other organisations also have their own Strategies plans

and ideas these are:-

Stratforward

Stratford Vision

The Stratford Society

Stratford Voice ( in general opposing anything to do with progress)

Stratford Town Trust

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Stratford Town Council

CW LEP

There are also various Neighbourhood Plans under development.

(Possibly others I haven't listed!)

Problem

No co-ordination between the disparate groups.

Business Needs

What do Business's want, 'Growth and Jobs' is their mantra and our Business

and Enterprise Strategy seeks to help deliver that requirement! In para 2.5 of

our ‘Business and Enterprise Strategy 2012-2015’ we refer to the need for

additional Employment Land which is a clear requirement if business’s are to

grow.

Conclusion.

A statement of the obvious is that there is a problem with a growing and older

population that requires more help and accommodation, not only for older

people but for younger workers too. In simple terms more jobs and homes,

especially Social, with higher earnings for workers to enable more owner

occupation. (Although with a significant amount of employment in the hotels

and restaurants sector relatively low wages may be here to stay.) This can

only come from encouraging the right developers working in conjunction with

SDC to provide the homes and jobs we need. A new way of thinking has to be

brought into play as doing the same thing over and over again will only

produce the same result!

There is no one overarching or MasterPlan for Stratford upon Avon or the

Stratford District, every development that has, and is still being done, is

piecemeal with ad hoc developments and schemes popping up without any

thought for an overall plan for the future. Surely the time has come to change

things for all our sakes.

Given the strong opposition to development in Stratford Town itself and the

fact that overdevelopment and congestion are the two biggest problems

mentioned by Stratford residents the lack of a master plan and clear narrative

will adversely affect the views residents hold of the council.