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Statement from South Northamptonshire Council on the Impartiality of Housing Need Surveys

Posted 5 weeks ago (29/06) by Theresa Goss

This statement has been prepared in response to concerns raised over the Housing Need Survey currently being undertaken in Newbottle and Charlton.

Housing Need Surveys are used to assess the housing needs of residents in a parish and those with strong connections to that parish (such as employment or past residency). If a Housing Need Survey identifies a need for housing, the results of the survey can be used to support proposals for new homes to meet that need.

A survey may be commissioned by a landowner or developer considering developing housing in a parish or by the Council if it needs to understand the housing requirements of local residents, with a view to meeting those requirements. Parish Councils can also request a survey, as part of preparations for a Neighbourhood Plan.

Because the results of a Housing Need Survey are used to inform decisions on future housing it is essential that the survey is impartial, robust and reliable. Surveys are either undertaken directly by the Council or by Midlands Rural Housing (MRH) working in partnership with the Council. The Council and MRH work with the relevant Parish Council to prepare and distribute the survey and then the Council or MRH (whichever party undertook the survey) analyse the results and compile a report.

In order to ensure that the survey is impartial and reliable, a landowner or developer who commissions and pays for a survey is not involved in the survey process. They do not have any role in data collection or analysis of the data. The report prepared following the survey is either written by the Council or by MRH in collaboration with the Council. The landowner/developer has no input into the report.

Because a landowner or developer commissioning a survey has no input into the survey, it is not necessary for the Council to make public their identity. Maintaining the anonymity of the party commissioning the survey also avoids any bias in the results that may occur if that party is known in the parish. For these reasons the Council do not normally publicise their identity. There may however be reasons why a party wants their involvement to be made known and, in such circumstances, if asked, the Council will state their identity.

The Housing Need Survey currently underway in Newbottle and Charlton has been commissioned and paid for by the Newbottle Estate, and the Estate have asked that this information is shared. However, in accordance with the above, the Estate have not had any input into the survey process and will not have any say in analysing or reporting on the results.

For further information on the Housing Need Survey please contact Midlands Rural Housing on 03001234009 or email enquires@midlandsrural.org.uk.

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