St John Housing Needs Survey

1. Introduction

A local Housing Needs Survey offers a snapshot of the housing situation in the parish at the time of the survey; the outcomes will alter with increasing/decreasing values of housing, changes in the economic climate and the lending policies of banks and building societies, demographic changes in the community, and the changing circumstances of individual households.

St John Parish Council conducted a Housing Needs Survey in partnership with Cornwall Council.  341 forms and an explanatory letter were dispatched on 4th April 2013, and the closing date was 17th May 2013. A copy of the survey form and letter are attached as Appendix 1.

It is generally held that local needs surveys remain robust for a period of 3 years and should be updated, if necessary, after 5 years. This document sets out the survey results, and includes additional data from Cornwall Council’s Homechoice register.  As well as identifying housing need within the parish the results of the survey will be used in support of the generation of the St John Neighbourhood Development Plan by the Parish Council.

2. The objectives of the survey were to:

  •  Establish the need for affordable housing within the parish;
  •  Identify the extent and nature of the affordable housing need;
  •  Establish attitudes towards further residential development;
  • Identify land that may become available in the future.

3. The methodology used for the research criteria consisted of:

  •   Sending out surveys and explanatory letter to all households of the Parish of St John who are on the electoral register;
  •  A freepost return address for the replies;
  •  A standard questionnaire designed to seek information on current and emerging affordable housing need;
  •  A comments section within the questionnaire for residents to expand on their responses.

4. Response Rate

A total of 341 surveys were sent out, of which 36 were returned by Royal Mail as undeliverable. In total 23 questionnaires were completed giving a total response rate of 7%.

5. Analysis of Results

In terms of assessing statistical accuracy using a ‘confidence level’ of 95%, there is a ‘margin of error’ (a ‘confidence interval’) of 15. In straightforward terms this means that if (say) 45% of respondents pick the same answer to a particular question, the level of confidence suggests that we can be 95% certain that between 30% (45 minus 15) and 60% (45 plus 15) of all households would have picked that same answer had all households responded to that particular question. The results provide an indicative picture of the current housing and household circumstances, and some understanding of what people might need and can afford, but the margin for error of 15 is higher than other comparable samples and so some caution should be exercised when interpreting data as this is less robust than other surveys.

6. Summary of Findings

Current position within the parish

Of the 23 surveys returned:

  • 91% of properties are main homes
  • 9% are second homes

The remaining questions in Part One of the survey were answered only by those respondents whose main residence is within the parish (21 possible responses).

Question 2 had 20 responses and of those:

  •  45% of homes are houses, 50% are bungalows and 5% are flats.

Question 3 had 21 responses and of those:

  • 86% of homes are owned outright
  • 14% of homes are owned with a mortgage

Question 4 had 21 responses and of those:

  •  5% of properties have 1 bedroom
  •  33% of properties have 2 bedrooms
  •  52% have 3 bedrooms
  •  10% have 4 or more bedrooms

Question 5 had 21 responses and of those:

  • 10% of households have 1 person living there
  • 76% of households have 2 people living there
  • 14% of households have 3 or more people living there

Question 10 had 20 responses and from those households:

  •  42% of residents are male
  •  58% of residents are female
  •  7% of residents are aged 0-10
  •  9% of residents are aged 11-20
  •  0% of residents are aged 21-30
  •  7% of residents are aged 31-40
  •  7% of residents are aged 41-50
  • 11% of residents are aged 51-60
  •  38% of residents are aged 61-70
  •  16% of residents are aged 71-80
  •  7% of residents are aged 81-90

7. Need for Affordable Housing

None of the respondents said that they knew of family members who had moved away due to difficulties in finding an affordable home in the parish.

2 people stated that their household wished to move to another house either now or within the next 5 years.

Part Two of the survey, addressing specific needs for affordable housing in the parish, was completed only by respondents who answered yes to either of these questions (2 possible responses).

Part Two

Question 12 – Where does your household live?

  • Both respondents live as a single household within the parish

Timescale

Question 13 – When does the household need to move?

  • Both respondents would like to move into an alternative home within the next 2 years

Housing Requirements

Question 14 – Where are you looking to move to?

  •  2 respondents ticked within the St John parish
  •  2 respondents ticked outside the parish (but still within Rame Peninsula)
  •  1 respondent ticked outside the parish (and not within Rame Peninsula)
  •  1 respondent ticked that they didn’t mind

Question 15 – What is the minimum number of bedrooms you     require?

  •  Both respondents require 2 bedroom accommodation

Question 16 – Preference for buying/renting

  • Both respondents would like to rent from a Housing Association or purchase a shared ownership property

Neither of the respondents to these questions are on the
Homechoice register.

Question 18 – Type of accommodation required

  •  1 respondent requires a bungalow
  •  1 respondent requires sheltered or retirement accommodation

Question 19 – The reasons given for needing to move were:

  • Need a physically adapted home (1 response).
  • Need a cheaper home (1 response)

Question 20 – Type of household

  •  Both respondents are couples

Local Connections

  •  Both respondents have been permanently resident in the parish for the last 5 years and have worked in the parish for the last 3 years
  •  They also have family members who have formerly lived in the parish for a continuous period of five years

Affordability

If you wish to buy a home what total house price can you afford?

  •  1 household can afford house prices of less than £50,000
  •  1 household can afford between £70,000 – £99,999

If you wish to rent a home what is the maximum rent you can afford

  •  Both households can afford between £50 – £99 per week in rent

Total monthly take home income

  •  Both households have a monthly take home income of between £835 – 1249

8. Support for Affordable Housing in the parish (Q.6/8)

21 people responded to the question about support for Affordable Housing in the parish and of those:

  •  57% (12 respondents) would support a small development of affordable housing for local people within the parish if there were a proven need
  •  14% (3 respondents) said that they might be supportive
  •  29% (6 respondents) would not support this
    Statements of support for affordable housing within the parish

Respondents were asked to tick all statements which they agreed with relating to affordable housing:

  •  4 agree that affordable housing should ideally be provided in one compact development;
  •  15 agree that affordable housing should ideally be provided in small sites scattered throughout the parish;
  • 17 respondents agree that affordable housing should be provided to anyone living in, or homeless (but formerly resident) in the parish who can’t afford to rent or buy;
  • 15 agree that affordable housing should be available to people who have lived or worked in the parish for the past 3 years;
  •  8 agree that affordable housing should be available to people who have lived in the parish for 5 years, but may not live there now;
  • 13 agree that affordable housing should not be made available to anyone who has never lived in the parish.

Some respondents chose not to tick any statements.

9. Identifying land within the parish (Q.7)

Respondents were asked if they were aware of any sites in the parish that might be suitable for an affordable housing scheme.  The following location was given:

  •  Mendennick Hill

10. Other Housing Needs data

Cornwall Homechoice

In order to identify more local housing needs information the Council has invested in Cornwall Homechoice, a sophisticated housing register system to collect and collate housing needs information by village, parish and town.  The register also contains information about local people who may not necessarily be currently resident in the parish. It is important that local people who need affordable housing are registered with Homechoice.

Homechoice data (Non Questionnaire information)
A total of 11 applicants with a local connection to the parish of St John have applied to the housing register as of May 2013.

Size of Accommodation
Applicant Type 1Bed 2Bed 3Bed 4Bed+ Total
Band A 0 0 0 0 0
Band B 1 0 0 0 1
Band C 0 0 0 1 1
Band D 0 0 0 0 0
Band E 7 2 0 0 9
Total 8 2 0 1 11

A total of 1 applicant to the Homechoice register expressed a preference for living in the parish of St John.

Size of Accommodation
1Bed 2Bed 3Bed 4Bed+ Total
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
1 0 0 0 1
1 0 0 0 1

11. Conclusions and Recommendations

The survey identified only 2 households in need of affordable housing in the parish, and whilst there are 11 qualifying local households already registered with Homechoice, only one indicated the parish as a preferred location, and most did not complete the survey.

Survey respondents indicated a level of support for a small scheme of affordable housing for the benefit of those with a local connection, and a potential site location was identified. However, with a relatively high margin for error, the survey findings would need to be interpreted with some caution. If a project were to be pursued it should be for a small number of dwellings and, acknowledging the low income levels identified through survey, affordable rented homes would represent the most appropriate tenure.

Next Steps

The Parish Council notes that there is support for the provision of a affordable rent properties in the village, and will reflect this in its preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan, but also that identified local need is very limited and if a project is pursued it would be for quite a small number of homes.

The parish council can refer to Cornwall Council’s Rural Toolkit guidance for identifying opportunities to provide affordable housing, and should refer to this report when assessing any opportunities that landowners might bring forward in the interim.

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