Surrey County Council’s £3bn funding shortfall for new homes infrastructure – even before extra demand from a new runway
The Airports Commission expected that a 3rd Heathrow runway might require over 70,000 new homes to be built. The figure at Gatwick might be over 18,000. Other estimates put the figure higher – up to 45,000 at Gatwick. The estimate for the number of new schools required is 56, for Heathrow. The cost of the additional infrastructure, not only surface transport, has been glossed over. Meanwhile, the local authorities are very concerned about the cost of paying for roads, rail links, and schools – not to mention the medical facilities, water, sewage, other utilities etc etc. for current housing demand – let alone the extra runway-generated demand. Surrey County Council (SCC) has assessed housing need and local plans over the next 15 years, and revealed a gap in funding for roads, public transport, school places, flood defences and other infrastructure. Only considering schemes currently planned to deliver more housing, SCC says it cannot fund the around £3 billion shortfall. It will need assistance from central government. Their report will be discussed at a meeting on 26th January. It cannot ask Surrey residents to fund “something that is completely out of the reach of the council taxpayer.” How will the councils fund the massive infrastructure costs of a new runway, on top of all this?
Surrey County Council’s £3bn funding shortfall for new homes infrastructure revealed
22 January 2016
BY JAMES WATKINS (Get Surrey)
Surrey County Council says it will likely have to turn to the government for support to afford the infrastructure needed to cope with housing demands
Surrey County Council is facing a £3bn funding shortfall
A multi-billion pound shortfall in funds to pay for infrastructure improvements needed to cope with Surrey’s swelling demand for housing has been highlighted in a new report.
The document, which assesses housing need and local plans over the next 15 years, has revealed a gap in funding for roads, public transport, school places, flood defences and other infrastructure – understood by Get Surrey to be in the region of £3bn.
Senior borough council leaders have been briefed on Surrey County Council’s (SCC) draft Surrey Infrastructure Report, which is expected to be discussed during an SCC economic prosperity, environment and highways board meeting on Tuesday (January 26).
Councillor John Furey, SCC’s cabinet member for highways, transport and flooding, could not confirm the exact amount needed for the infrastructure works, as costing has not been finalised, but said it was expected to run to billions of pounds.
“What we have done is taken all of the local plans that borough and districts have been preparing,” said Cllr Furey.
“[We have] analysed their economic development area, analysed the housing numbers they are proposing, analysed the requirements from that as to how we provide the infrastructure to go with those proposals, and then worked together to finalise the means by which we will fund the infrastructure requirements.”
He continued: “It is very much a collaborative issue. Surrey [County Council] is taking the lead because we are the highway authority. It is entirely dependent on what boroughs and districts are proposing.
“It is not going to be millions, it is going to be billions of pounds. It will have to be government funding. We cannot ask our residents to fund something that is completely out of the reach of the council taxpayer.
“What we have to do is present to government a compelling case that if we provide this infrastructure, what the economic growth will be and what the housing delivery numbers will be.”
Cllr Furey said one major issue was the refurbishment and upgrade of the North Downs railway line, adding it could be key in providing a better service – with extra trains to take people off currently congested roads.
“One thing that hits the economy is congestion,” he said. “More importantly, it affects ordinary residents who want to use roads to get from A to B and find themselves in a six-hour queue.
“Railway, roads, public transport – it is all of those things that have to be taken into consideration, so the infrastructure study will be very detailed.”
The report is currently in draft form and Cllr Furey expects it to be finalised by the end of March.
This would coincide with the release of Guildford Borough Council’s report on infrastructure proposals for the borough, expected to include plans for a new ‘sustainable corridor’, A3 junction improvements and a railway station at Park Barn.
The county council report, which was compiled by an independent body, also includes details on flood defences and primary and secondary schools.
As well as smaller developments, there are several major housing proposals that have caused alarm about the potential impact on the county’s creaking infrastructure.
Plans for the University of Surrey’s Blackwell Farm, Dunsfold Aerodrome, the former Wisley Airfield and Slyfield Area Regeneration Project, are each the subject of proposals for homes numbering in the thousands.
Back in July,
Surrey County Council commented, after the Airports Commission recommendation of a Heathrow runway:
Heathrow expansion means more than 70,000 new homes and 56 schools
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge told a Runways UK conference:
- Expanding the airport could require up to 70,800 homes to be built in the local area* over the next 15 years
- That would mean a need for 50 more primary schools and six new secondary schools.
He discussed the figures contained in last week’s Airports Commission report after giving a speech in which he stressed that before any new runway is built at Heathrow or Gatwick there needs to be investment in local infrastructure.
Mr Hodge said: “We are not against expansion of either Gatwick or Heathrow. There are national and local benefits – especially economic – from both but we can only support expansion if the necessary investment in local infrastructure is put in place first.
“As a starting point for Heathrow, we need a fourth lane on the M25 from junctions 10 to 16, widening work at junction 11, a new rail service to Waterloo from the airport via Staines and more coaches and buses to link it to places like Camberley, Woking and Guildford.
“And if we are to be certain that our residents will see the benefit of the extra schools, homes and environmental measures that expansion requires, investment will need to go well beyond improving transport links.”
* The 14 boroughs surrounding Heathrow, including Spelthorne and Runnymede.
[Several Surrey boroughs are close to Gatwick, including Reigate & Banstead, Tandridge and Mole Valley. AW note]
Heathrow expansion means more than 70,000 new homes and 56 schools
Airports Commission estimates new homes needed for new runway – 18,400 at Gatwick; 70,800 at Heathrow (maybe more)
The Airports Commission estimates that a 3rd Heathrow runway could require up to 70,800 homes to be built locally to support the additional jobs created by the development. The Commission estimates a Gatwick 2nd runway could require up to 18,400 homes to be delivered across 14 local authorities, and it said this could be done up to 2030, with “land availability unlikely to be affected by green belt issues”. (Estimate of 30,000 – 45,000 homes by W Sussex County Council + Gatwick Diamond). More houses would be needed for Heathrow expansion than Gatwick expansion, due to more additional business activity following a runway at Heathrow than at Gatwick, and more from the airport’s north-west runway plan (up to 70,800), than the Heathrow Hub idea of extending the northern runway (up to 60,600). The Commission acknowledges that these upper limits may present challenges for local authorities, outlining that “many… already struggle to meet housing targets”. The only relief would be that the homes could be delivered over a number of years, and the pain would be shared between many authorities. However, Green Belt would be seriously threatened – not to mention urban cramming and loss of village character.
New town bigger than Hove needed if Gatwick runway is built
Finn Scott-Delany, Business editor (The Argus)
3 September 2013
Up to 45,000 new homes would be needed if a new runway is built at Gatwick.
That is the conclusion of a study by independent consultants commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the business-led Gatwick Diamond Initiative.
The report claims the housing – which is the equivalent of a town larger than Hove – would be needed to cope with a vastly increased workforce, dozens of new firms and the infrastructure required for the expanded airport.
Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), said: “This independent study, if correct, shows that a new runway would lead to widespread urbanisation, serious pressure on schools and hospitals, and the loss of much dearly-loved countryside.
“The more we find out, the more we doubt if the implications of the study were taken on board by members of the county council before they took their surprise decision in July to support a new runway.”
He added: “The Gatwick Diamond businessmen, who have been lobbying to promote a new runway, also have some explaining to do. They sponsored this study so they can’t disown it.”
The prediction was included in a document published by the local authority titled “Implications of changes to airport capacity”.
Up to 5,000 new homes would be needed in 2015-2020, 15,000 in 2020-2025 and 25,000 in 2025-2030.
Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, said he supported the findings but described their presentation as “alarmist”.
He said: “What the report also found was that if we don’t support a second runway we will see a decline of 10,000 jobs.
“GACC need to explain how our economy will recover should the runway be built elsewhere.
“The figures are alarmist. Maybe we could see 30,000 houses over ten to 15 years after 2025.”
It comes as Crawley and Horsham councils are struggling to find suitable sites for a few thousand houses.
Both are currently in the process of adopting their development plans, which will map out their area’s blueprint for the next two decades.