New plans to tackle the housing shortage and a predicted 17% rise in Medway population

Medway Council have just announced new plans to try and tackle the housing shortage in the region. This is curiously timed just weeks after news headlines stated that they failed to meet their house building targets. They weren’t alone in missing their target mind, Ashford, Dover, Gravesham, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge and Malling councils all failed too. On a positive note, despite falling short, Medway managed to complete more properties than the previous year (ending March 2017). At the time, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government were said to be considering consultation feedback about fresh house building “aspirations”. Estimates from the consultation indicated that Medway would need to build between 730 and 1,410 properties a year to be in line with demand. This equates to 23,970 new homes by 2035. But there was conflicting information from another news outlet this week who suggested that the Government had stated Medway Council need to provide 37,000 new homes. That’s 13,000 more houses than the earlier indicative numbers…quite a jump! Then the KM reported that the latest draft of the Local Plan has the number of homes to be delivered by 2035 as 30,000. Another different figure to juggle.

The council’s Local Plan should summarise all of Medway’s growth and plans for how that growth will be managed. The document outlines the number of homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure that is required to support predicted population growth all the way through to 2035. The most recently published Local Plan document stated that the Medway population is predicted to grow to 330,200 people by 2035. Based on statistics from ONS and Medway Council, that’s a population increase of around 18.5% from June 2016, when Medway’s population was 278,542.

There are various of figures floating around for predicted population growth. With all these conflicting stories and statistics, I think what we need to take from it all is the overall message of Medway population growth, which is supported by KCC. The social portrait they provide in their Understanding Growth Requirements figures are insightful. They show that Kent + Medway will grow by at least 293,000 people (17% increase) by 2031, with the highest concentration of growth in Medway:

Medway population growth

The implications of that for property investors is fantastic. With increasing population could of course equate to higher demand, leading to higher rents, less void periods and being able have a wider choice of tenants.

It should also have a positive impact on the economy and employment. What does need to be considered though, is the infrastructure that underpins all this growth. Not just roads and highways but essential services like schools, doctors and shops. The Local Plan should address all of this in detail. Although at the moment information is coming thick and fast, it is all very confusing. Medway Council are entering a third round of consultation for their Local Plan, which ends in May. From this a final draft should be produced which outlines the full proposal. Watch this space…

If anyone knows more about the plans or has any views on the impact of such heavy growth, I’d love to hear from you either by email or on my Facebook discussion group; Property Investors in Medway, Maidstone, Gravesend and Bexley.


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