NJL Consulting were instructed by Bowsall Ltd to carry out a Rural Housing Needs Survey for the parish of Newton with Clifton, part of Fylde BC in Lancashire. Bowsall Ltd are a specialist affordable housing developer who work closely with Registered Providers to deliver new affordable housing throughout the UK.
Given the acute shortage of homes in England, national planning policy allows homes to be built on sites in rural areas that would not otherwise be considered by suitable if a specific need for those homes can be demonstrated.
This typically involves carrying out a survey of local residents to identify issues such as:
- The number of people living in existing households in the area who would rather set up their own home.
- Whether there are any relatives of existing residents living outside the area who would like to return.
- What the key obstacles are for those new households forming – which might be a lack of homes, affordability or some other factor.
Working alongside Bowsall, NJL prepared a questionnaire to attempt to answer those questions, drawing on best practice from elsewhere in England. This required carefully worded questions to make sure that appropriate information was identified and also that the questions were balanced, with no bias towards particular answers. The Council were also consulted before the questionnaires were finalised to ensure that the outcome of the survey would be accepted by them.
Once the questionnaires had been issued, NJL collated and analysed the results and prepared a report for the Council setting out the findings. The results of the survey enabled NJL to provide further advice to the client on the suitability of a particular site in the parish for development.