arc4 was commissioned by Hermitage Parish Council to undertake a housing needs survey. The survey was conducted in order to gather evidence to support appropriate policies in the emerging neighbourhood development plan for the parish of Hermitage. The study area is that of the parish of Hermitage, West Berkshire.
What is the affordable housing need in Hermitage?
The housing needs survey (HNS) has concluded that:
• need exists for 24 additional affordable homes over a 5-year period;
• this need is in the form of affordable home ownership rather than social rented housing;
• this need arises from both existing and newly forming households; and
• all size and types of dwellings are needed, with an emphasis on bungalows for older people, and 2 or 3-bedroom dwellings for growing families.
Why is this?
• this is mostly due to high house prices, and that few affordable or market rented options exist for those unable to afford entry level market housing;
• there is virtually no supply of affordable home ownership housing in the parish;
• there has been no additional affordable housing of any type built in the parish in recent years;
• most existing households (52%) in housing need want to stay in the parish;
• most newly forming households (87%) plan to leave the parish; and
• the most frequent reasons cited for moving home by existing households is ‘rightsizing’ i.e., needing a larger or smaller dwelling.
What is the need for additional market housing in Hermitage?
There is a need for market housing across the board, with a particular demand for bungalows and larger family dwellings.
Why is this?
• The survey evidence suggests that this is because of older person households needing to downsize to smaller, more suitable dwellings. This would also free up larger homes for growing families. The survey demonstrates significant levels of need from households seeking to upsize.
House prices and affordability
• On average, parish prices are much higher than for West Berkshire district as a whole;
• this is due to the both high demand for housing and because the predominant house type is the 4 or more-bedroom detached house;
• this means that larger amounts of income and capital such as savings and equity are needed to fund house purchase or rents;
• this particularly affects younger households and first-time buyers; and
• it also means that affordable housing in its various forms is needed if younger people are to be and families are to be retained in the parish.
What demographic trends are likely to apply to the parish?
• According to government population projections, over the 25 years (2016 to 2041) the population of the district will decline by 884 people;
• the population aged 65 and over will grow by 14,858 people, or 49.7%. This is the only age group set to grow in number over the period; and
• this change will impact on the parish and future housing need as the population ages.
How and when was this evidence collected?
• data was sourced from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), the Land Registry, Rightmove and Zoopla; and
• data and other information were also collected from a household survey. 277 valid responses were achieved
• the household survey was conducted in February 2021 and the report was drafted in March 2021