GBC Publishes its Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

The latest (long-awaited) document in the suite of Evidence Base documents has been published.

The SHMA provides (or is meant to provide) a clearer insight into the need for housing and the market conditions in the Strategic Housing Market.

The SHMA website is live or the documents can be found at the links below:





Analysis of this document is available HERE with a view to responding to the Council on or before 21st February.

initial thoughts from first reading are set out below:

a) too much reliance is placed on data for Guildford instead of the entire Market Area;

b) the Waverley and Woking housing numbers seem to be taken as read (and GL Hearn seem to have a conflict of interest between their representation of Waverley’s housing need and their preparation of Guildford’s SHMA); and, perhaps most importantly

c) perhaps as evidence of that conflict, GL Hearn seem to be preparing Guildford to increase its housing ‘need’ figure threefold while recommending to Waverley a disproportionately lower figure.

d) the SHMA is very confused in its approach to NEED (objectively assessed) and DEMAND

e) the SHMA pays lip service to influences from Rushmoor and Surrey Heath and (despite Guildford Borough’s 12 railway stations) does not regard commuting as sustainable!

The document will take some careful analysis to interrogate its assumptions and conclusions and to draw inferences.

PLEASE NOTE: the questions signposted as the Council’s consultation (as reported in the Guildford Dragon) are not particularly balanced or helpful:

• Should we be seeking to maximise housing delivery to meet the need for housing that has been identified?
• Should we be trying to reduce the cost of housing by boosting housebuilding?
• Should we try to deliver more affordable housing?
• What are the implications of not building enough homes?

In commenting on the Draft SHMA (which, for some reason my predictive text system seems to keep rewriting as SHAM!) I will endeavour to indicate my responses to these four questions.

Always remember that to have a say, you need to register your own comments and not to rely on someone else (even if you whole-heartedly agree with their point of view).