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Housing targets exceeded in the South East, highlighting the importance and success of partnership working

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is proud to have exceeded the housing targets it set out in its original South East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) in 2014, which highlights the importance and unmitigated success of partnership working and our housing delivery groups.

Accelerating housing delivery was a key ambition in the original South East LEP Strategic Economic Plan. This priority fed through into the 2019 Economic Strategy Statement and is a prominent feature of the ‘Communities for the Future’ strategic priority of the LEP’s recently published Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy.

The SELEP Strategic Economic Plan set an objective of delivering 100,000 new homes by March 2021. SELEP is proud to confirm that this target has been exceeded, with the final delivery being 110,100 net new homes completed over the life of the plan. This is expected to have generated over 340,000 jobs for the area.

Despite a difficult year in 2020/21, housing delivery across SELEP only contracted by 4.9% compared to a national contraction of 10.8%. Housing delivery across SELEP remains strong with the highest number of housing starts and housing completions nationally for a LEP area outside of London, with an average annual of nearly 17,000 new homes delivered in the three years to March 2021, which was a 7.2% share of England’s new housing. (Source: DLUHC, net additional dwellings, 25 November 2021.)

The South East will also be leading the country in delivering the government’s Garden Communities programme, with 25% (87,100) of homes planned for the area. This will significantly boost employment and growth, with the development of our garden communities alone generating over 270,000 jobs.

SELEP works closely with its partners through its Housing and Development Group and our Major Projects Group, which comes together to understand collective labour demand, the skills and employment development needed to address existing construction skills deficits, and to meet future demand including sustainable construction.

Nick Fenton, Chair of the SELEP Housing and Development Group, said:

“It is immensely satisfying to know that our ongoing work has produced tangible results for housing in the South East. We have not only delivered on our original ambition of 100,000 homes by March 2021 but surpassed it.

“This doesn’t mean that we will slow our efforts – we now face a new set of challenges that SELEP is already working to address. The skills gap in the construction industry is being felt keenly across the country, and sustainable housing development is key for the future of our communities.

“The true value of the LEP and our Housing and Development Group is the power to convene businesses and developers in the area, placing their voices at the forefront of the discussion, to know what is really needed to deliver on our housing goals.”

The South East LEP’s work within future communities and housing can be read in our Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy.