The Big Picturenewhousingnewhomes2

All local churches engaged in mission are likely to have the question of new housing on their agenda. In some places, like Calverton near Milton Keynes, the question is enormous as the village of 150 residents face the arrival of 16,000 new neighbours.

In June 2015 the Government website hosts a report of housing need from 2010 called Estimating Housing Need. This provides a background as to how housing need is assessed.

The official website for everything to do with planning - the Planning Portal (www.planningportal.gov.uk) provides up to date information about housing need from various sources for the Housing and Development Needs Assessment to what methodology is employed.

The official Government document 2012-based Househould Projections: England, 2012-2037 states that 'the number of housholds in England is projected to increase from 22.3 million in 2012 to 27.5 million in 2037.

IMGP1212The National Planning Policy Framework published in 2012, sets out the Government planning policies for England on which all regional and local planning. Section 70 is critical for the purpose of how the church engages with the new housing agenda, as it includes 'places of worship', making such provision possible in regional and local plans.

'Places of worship' are not the only way in which the church engages with new housing. Indeed there are many groups of churches engaging in other ways, eg with a faith school, pioneer minister, community centre, regular outreach, environmental project etc.

Before the 2015 General Election an Ipsos-Mori poll found that 'three-quarters of the public (75%) and two-thirds of MPs (67%) agree that “there is a housing crisis in Britain”. But both groups are less sure of the local dimension to the crisis; 48% and 40% respectively disagree that there is a housing crisis in their local area / their constituency'. During the General Election, a New Statesman article, based on the poll, said that housing would be a 'key battleground' in voting.

Housing, and new housing in particular, is a challenge for the church, but it is also an opportunity.

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