Wealden District Council
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Annual Housing Factsheet – 2022

Background

Wealden District is made up of 42 towns and parishes. Wealden’s housing market is primarily focussed on a set of towns and larger settlements. These are influenced in turn by relationships with larger towns which sit just beyond the local authority boundaries. These relationships include those between Forest Row and East Grinstead, Crowborough and Tunbridge Wells, Hailsham and Eastbourne and, to a lesser extent, Uckfield and Haywards Heath. These relationships reflect local commuting patterns, with workers in these larger external towns seeking housing opportunities nearby. There is also some relationship in terms of localised house prices.

There is also a regional overlay to the housing market, with settlements to the north being closer in travel time to London as well as the Gatwick/Crawley area and the M25 corridor.

The overall effect is that the north of the District has a housing market that includes inner south east characteristics, while the south includes characteristics of its nearby south coast. This results in higher prices being found to the north on a per square foot basis or for similar types of properties. There is, of course, some variation within local areas.

The research highlighted that the Wealden District Council Housing Market Area (HMA) encompasses a wider area beyond the district, to include:

  • Wealden
  • Eastbourne
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Rother
  • Lewes and
  • Mid Sussex.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment identified that Wealden has a strong relationship with Eastbourne, Lewes, Tunbridge Wells, Mid-Sussex and Rother. Approximately. 43% of those moving to the District came from these locations, based on average annual flows for 2010 – 2013. There has been no further data published since then with the last official data from 2011 Census. We await the publication of the 2021 Census.

The tables below compares migration from 2010 to 2020 (when the last figures were published).

 

Migration from other parts of the UK, into and out of Wealden:

Year

2010

2020

Migration into Wealden – people

8,170

8,698

Migration out of Wealden – people

7,008

6,890

Net increase in population as a result of migration

1,162

1,808

 

The table above shows that Wealden’s population grew by 1,808 people in 2020 as a result of migration within the UK, up from 1,162 in 2010.

Migration from outside of the UK, into and out of Wealden:

Year

2010

2020

Migration into Wealden – people

459

528

Migration out of Wealden – people

344

386

Net increase in population as a result of international migration

115

142

 

The table above shows that Wealden’s population grew by 142 people in 2020 as a result of international migration up from 115 in 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall migration by age:

Year/Age

2010

2020

0-14 years

508

599

15 – 24 years

-536

-267

25-44 years

527

877

45-64 years

476

442

65+ years

187

157

 

The table above illustrates that the 25-44 years olds are the biggest group affected by migration. 

 

 

The 2011 Census found that Wealden had a population of 148,915 people across 62,676 households. The Office of National Statistics estimated that as at mid-2020 the population in Wealden had increased to 162,733 an increase of 13,818 people over 9 years.

Trend based population projections estimate that the population in Wealden will continue to grow reaching 179,965 by 2043. There will be a growth in numbers of all age bands between 2016 and 2043. However, those aged 0-17 as a percentage of the overall population will fall by 1.9% and those aged 18-64 years will fall by 5.8%, whereas those aged 65+ will grow by 7.7%.By 2043 those aged 65+ will make up 33/6% of Wealden’s population.

 

All

Owned – all

Shared ownership

Social rented

Private rented

Living rent free

England and Wales

23,366,044

14,853,678

 

Outright =

7,206,954

 

With

mortgage or loan =

7,646,724

 

178,236

4,118,461

3,900,178

315,491

South East

3,555,463

2,404,517

 

Outright =

1,156,081

 

With

mortgage or loan =

1,248,436

 

39,280

487,473

578,592

45,601

East Sussex

231,905

160,557

 

Outright =

87,976

 

With

mortgage or loan =

72,581

1,495

25,600

41,180

3,073

Eastbourne

45,012

27,788

 

Outright =

15,071

 

With

mortgage or loan =

12,717

295

5,953

10,494

482

Hastings

41,159

22,706

 

Outright =

11,071

 

With

mortgage or loan =

11,635

193

5,988

11,863

409

Lewes

42,181

30,648

 

Outright =

16,797

 

With

mortgage or loan =

13,851

285

4,609

6,108

531

Rother

40,877

30,060

 

Outright =

18,554

 

With

mortgage or loan =

11,506

 

219

4,242

5,742

614

Wealden

62,676

49,355

 

Outright =

26,483

 

With

mortgage or loan =

22,872

 

503

4,808

6,973

1,037

Source: 2011 Census                                           

 

Wealden is the largest district in East Sussex and covers 323 square miles. The Council continues to own and manage its own housing stock. As at 4th July 2022  Wealden owned 3017 rented properties across the 5 main towns in the District and in 30 of the 37 parishes. This is made up of 15.5% retirement living housing (of which 0.43 are bungalows and 1.09 bedsits), 33.8% flats, 0.2% bedsits, 8.1% bungalows and 42.4% houses. In addition, the service manages 27 Housing Association properties in Crowborough, 205 leasehold flats sold under the Right to Buy, 76 retirement leasehold properties and two Right to Buy shared ownership properties and 11 other shared ownership properties.

The table below shows the property prices in Wealden and compares it to the national, South East and East Sussex prices. These prices are taken from the ESIF (East Sussex in Figures) for 2020 and shows the increase in property prices since 2015.

 

 

Median property prices 2021

Median property prices 2015

Increase in £’s and as a %

Lower quartile property prices 2021

Lower quartile property prices 2015

Increase in £’s and as a %

Wealden

 

£372,000

£250,000

£ 0r %

£285,00

£163,600

 

England and Wales

£285,000

£200,000

£

 

£185,000

£130,000

 

South East

£365,000

£250,000

£

 

£270,000

£182,000

 

East Sussex

£330,000

£226,975

£65,025

28.6%

£250,000

£163,000

 

The percentages have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.

The table shows that Wealden’s median and lower property prices in 2021 were higher than the England and Wales, South East at East Sussex figure at £372,000 and £285,000 respectively.  

It is also worth noting that within East Sussex Wealden and Lewes have the joint highest median property price at £372,000 followed by Rother at £345,625. Wealden has the second highest lower quartile property figure at £285,000 behind Lewes whose is £295, with Rother third at £252,000.  

Property Size

Social Rent

Affordable Rent

Bedsits

£89.21

N/A

1 bed

£83.91

£128.19

2 beds

£98.78

£172.92

3 beds

£113.43

£194.31

4 beds

£122.78

£256.38

5 beds

£143.87

N/A

6+ beds

£163.92

N/A

All properties

£97.34

£153.30

   

Source: Wealden’s Housing Management System, as at 10th April 2022. Please note where N/A is used we do not currently have these types of property at that type of rent.

Please note that traditionally all council rents were social rents, however any new properties built or acquired with Government grants must be set at affordable rents which are up to 80% of the cost of private rents for the same type of property in the same location.

The table below shows the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates. These are set by the Rent Service and are based on the lowest 30th percentile of properties available for rent in the broad rental market by size. The amount of Local Housing Allowance used in the calculation of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit depends on the accommodation needs of the household, not the size of property.  These rates were frozen for 4 years up until April 2020.

Local Housing Allowance Rates

 

BRMA

 

1 Bed Shared

1 Bed Self Contained

2 Bed

3 Bed

4 Bed

Crawley & Reigate

Weekly

£101.61

£172.60

£218.63

£276.16

£356.71

Monthly

£440.31

£747.93

£947.40

£1196.69

£1545.74

Eastbourne

Weekly

£74.81

£138.08

£176.05

£207.12

£276.16

Monthly

£324.18

£598.35

£762.88

£897.52

£1196.69

High Weald

Weekly

£101.11

£159.95

£207.12

£260.05

£345.21

Monthly

£433.81

£693.12

£897.52

£1126.88

£1495.91

Sussex East

Weekly

74.79

£115.07

£149.59

£195.62

£230.14

Monthly

£324.09

£498.64

£648.22

£847.69

£997.27

To find which Broad Market Rental Area (BRMA) a property is within, view details on the  Valuation Office Agency Rent Officers website

 

Below lists the total number of new homes that have been built in the District per annum since 2004/05 (includes both private and affordable housing and are gross figures).
Year Number of new homes (gross)
2021/22 685
2020/21 724
2019/2020 1,034
2018/19 831
2017/18 554
2016/17 575
2015/16 533
2014/15 608
2013/14 640
2012/13 679
2011/12 631
2010/11 756
 New Affordable Homes   The table below shows the number of new affordable properties built by year and tenure (excluding new council homes). It also shows the number of properties that have been acquired through the Homebuy scheme operated by Moat on behalf of the Government in this part of the country. In 2011/12 a new rented model was introduced which allows Housing Associations to charge up to 80% of the market value for their properties. Since this time all new build rented affordable housing built with Government subsidy, will have rents of up to 80% of market rent. It is worth noting here that the 2014 Strategic Housing Market Assessment identified the need for 322 affordable dwellings per annum.
Year of completion Number of intermediate rented units Number of social Rented units Number of Affordable Rent Number of shared ownership units Total new properties built Homebuy units – shared ownership via Moat and Government loans Total No of  homes
2004/05 not recorded 29 0 0 29 11 40
2005/06 not recorded 4 0 6 10 13 23
2006/07 not recorded 28 0 34 62 2 64
2007/08 not recorded 12 0 1 13 13 26
2008/09 not recorded 38 0 12 50 14 64
2009/10 not recorded 63 (2 gypsy and traveller pitches 0 15 78 10 88
2010/11 not recorded 180 0 35 215 13 228
2011/12 not recorded 161 13 33 207 22 224
2012/13 not recorded 37 71 19 127 36 163
2013/14 not recorded 30 121 50 201 6 207
2014/15 not recorded 0 179 14 193 3 to end of Sept 14 196
2015/16 not recorded 0 147 25 172 No longer recorded 172
2016/17 not recorded 0 55 14 69 Information no longer collected 69
2017/18 not recorded 0 107 40 147 Information no longer collected 147
2018/19 not recorded 0 74 56 130 Information no longer collected 130
2019/20 4 9 184 76 273 information no longer collected 273
2020/21 8 24 179 64 275 information no longer collected 275
2021/22 0 8 150 23 181 information no longer collected 181
 The Council began building new council homes in 2013/14 after a 30 year break. The table below shows a breakdown of the properties we have either built or acquired since that time. All of these properties have affordable rents.
Year Council New Build Council acquired new build properties Council street purchased properties (second-hand properties) Total
2013/14 16 0 0 16
2014/15 48 0 0 48
2015/16 0 0 6 6
2016/17 0 20 2 22
2017/18 12 0 0 12
2018/19 17 11 0 28
2019/20 67 0 0 67
2020/21 28 0 15 43
2021/22 0 14 5 19
The table above which shows the number of new council homes built in recent years and should be contrasted with the table below on Right to Buy sales. The table below shows the number of Council properties lost through the Right to Buy
Number of Council houses sold Number of Council flats sold Total number of council properties sold
2013/14 15 7 22
2014/15 10 4 14
2015/16 10 11 21
2016/17 13 6 19
2017/18 13 8 21
2018/19 11 4 15
2019/20 15 3 18
2020/21 9 0 9
2021/22 12 0 12
 

As at April 2022 there were 532 households registered on the Council’s Housing Register.

Of these 532:

  • 276 required a 1 bedroom property
  • 139 required a 2 bedroom property
  • 86 required a 3 bedroom property
  •  31 required a property with more than 3 bedrooms   

Breakdown of the 532 applications by Band:

  • Band A = 46
  • Band B = 45
  • Band C = 248
  • Band D = 193

This compares with the total 524 social homes, which became available to those on the Housing Register between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Of which 290 were Council properties and 254 Private Registered Providers (Housing Associations known as PRP).

Of the 290 council properties let:

  • 5 were temporary accommodation bedsits
  • 148 were 1 bedroom properties – with 10 bungalows, 72 flats of which were temporary accommodation and 62 retirement living flats
  • 110 were 2 bedroom properties – with 7 bungalows, 62 flats of which 12 were temporary accommodation, 40 houses and 1 retirement living flat
  • 26 were 3 bedroom properties – all were houses
  • 1 was a 4 bedroom house

Of the 254 PRP properties

  • 65 were 1 bedrooms, one of which was a sheltered/retirement living property and 64 were 1 bedroom flats
  • 136 were 2 bedroom properties, 70 were flats and 66 houses
  • 48 were 3 bedroom properties of which 1 was a flat and 47 houses

99% of our homes (other than those in retirement living courts awaiting refurbishment) meet the Decent Homes Standard which we maintain through an active programme of property inspections and works.  

In 2021/22 we completed the following works:

  • Repointing Works to 15 properties
  • Door canopies replaced to 36 properties.
  • Resurfaced 156 footpaths
  • Fencing repairs and replacements to over 50 properties
  • Replacement windows to 70 properties
  • Replaced doors to 298 properties including upgrading of fire doors
  • New doors, windows  or roofs to  75 sheds
  • Replaced 128 kitchens and 32 bathrooms

We are continuing to work with resident groups and analyse feedback from surveys to further improve our service and ensure we prioritise our works according to need and their expectations having consideration to available budgets.

In 2021-22 the Council have:

  • Replaced 130 gas boilers.
  • Installed new gas central heating system to 1 properties.
  • Upgraded 10 electrical heating systems.
  • Installed 4 air source heat pumps

We continue to work in partnership with statutory and voluntary groups to disseminate information and advice on energy efficiency and are currently developing a program of work to improve the energy efficiency of our properties. (We work in partnership to offer advice and signpost owner occupiers to grant funding schemes available for energy efficiency measures and have been undertaking a project to locate and improve the energy efficiency of private rented properties which do not meet the minimum standard)

The Council continues to fund adaptations to properties to both council and private homes (including Housing Association properties) via the Disabled Facilities Grants Procedure. Work carried out includes major adaptation works such as conversion of bathrooms into shower rooms as well as minor adaptations, such as handrails, were undertaken for council tenants.

In 2020-21 there the following major adaptations were carried to:

  • 32 Council tenants
  • 28 Owner Occupiers
  • 2 private tenants
  • 1 Right to occupy
  • 18 Housing Association tenants

Additionally 156 minor adaptations were carried out for council tenants

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2021 reported that the median gross annual income for all employees working in Wealden was

 

£22,214.40 (up 1.1% from 2021), which is lower than the England figure of £26,228.20, the South East median figure of £27,248 and the East Sussex figure of £23,025.60. It is ranked second lowest in East Sussex out if the five authority areas, behind Rother whose median annual earnings figure is £20,612.80.  

However, the median weekly income of Wealden residents is higher than employee based figures at £25,344.80 (up 6.8% on 2020) per annum. This figure is higher than the England figure of £26,228.80, the South East figure of £28,236 and the East Sussex figure of £24,923.60. It is also the second highest in East Sussex behind Lewes whose annual median income is £28,766.40.

The median annual income of Wealden residents is higher than that of Wealden employees due to high levels of commuting out of the District.

 

 

 

 

Average income for all Wealden residents in 2020 in comparison to elsewhere (both full and part time workers):

 

Annual Median Income – Wealden employees

Annual Median Income – Wealden residents

England

£26,228.20

£26,228.80

South East

£27,248

£28,236

East Sussex

£23,025.60

£24,923.60

Eastbourne

£22,994.40

£23,280.40

Hastings

£22,531.60

£24,674

Lewes

£26,010.40

£28,766.40

Rother

£20,612.80

£23,665.20

Wealden

£22,214.40

£25,344.80

East Sussex in Figures taken from Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2021

 

 

 

Wealden residents continue to experience low levels of unemployment. With unemployment estimates for the calendar year 2021 reported at 3.5% ( a decrease of 0.1% from 2020) of Wealden’s working age population to be unemployed which is lower than the England estimate of 4.5%, the South East figure of 3.8% and the East Sussex figure of 3.4%. Within East Sussex Wealden has the lowest levels of unemployment at 3.5%. Hastings has the highest at 5.5%, (from East Sussex in Figure) followed by Eastbourne at 4.8%, then Lewes at 3.9%, then Rother at 3.65.

 

Additionally as at May 2022 Wealden has a claimant rate (from East Sussex in Figure, as at May 2022) (including Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit) of just 2.3 % which is much lower than the national figure of 3.9%, the South East figure of 3.0% and East Sussex figure of 3.8%. It is the lowest rate in East Sussex, with the next lowest being Lewes at 3.3% and the highest Hastings at 6.0%. These figures vary across the age profiles of claimants in Wealden , peaking for those aged 16-24 at 3.5%, with 2.8% of 25 to 49 year olds and 2.9% of 50 to 64 year olds claiming unemployment benefits. 

 

The Indices of Deprivation were last updated in 2019. They assessed deprivation having regard to income and employment, education, skills and training, health deprivation and disability, crime, barriers to housing and services and living environment. They show that within East Sussex, Wealden continues to be the least deprived district in East Sussex, with Hastings the most deprived locally and one of the worst nationally. The most deprived wards continue to be in Hailsham East and Hailsham South and West, with the worse indices being Health, Deprivation and Disability and Crime or Living Environment.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. It requires all households in housing need now or within 56 days to have an assessment of their situation, support needs and housing requirements. A personalised housing plan (PHP) will be agreed between the local authority and themselves setting out the steps for the Council and the applicant to take to prevent or relieve their homelessness. Applicants will be supported to carry out the actions within their plan, which is monitored and regularly reviewed.

 

During 2020/21 we completed 482 personalised housing plans.

 

During 2021/22 364 homelessness applications were made, which is down from 567 the previous year. Of these 24 were accepted as homeless and 165 cases of homelessness were prevented or 45.32% up from 28.75% in 2020/21. Wherever possible those at risk of homelessness will be assisted e.g. through help to enable them to stay in their current accommodation or through assistance to secure alternative accommodation for example through a deposit or guarantee.  

In the 2021/22 the average length of stay in emergency accommodation was 7.8 weeks, down slightly from 8.11 weeks in 2020/21.

 

Total households in emergency accommodation (as at year end) was 42 and is consistent with the 45 as at 31st March 2021. This increase from previous years (2019/20 and before) is due to Government changes (Rough Sleepers Initiative) which have resulted in rough sleepers now being placed in temporary accommodation whereas in the past they would not have necessarily been eligible for assistance under the Homelessness legislation.

 

The Wealden area remains one of the safest places to live and work in the UK.  Last year (2021/22) there were 6,150 crimes reported to Sussex Police which equates to 38 crimes per 1,000 population.  This figure is the lowest crime rate per 1000 population when compared to other areas of East Sussex. 

 

Road safety remains a high priority; sadly far too many road users are killed or seriously injured on Wealden’s roads.  In 2021/22 434 road users were killed or injured on Wealden’s roads, 113 of these were seriously injured and 12 killed.  The statistics reveal that younger drivers are at particular risk as are motorcyclists of all ages. 

 

The statistics show that most of the more serious crashes occur relatively close to the driver’s / rider’s home.  One explanation for this is that we all have a tendency to think about other things when driving on familiar roads… habits take over.  And when we are not concentrating we put ourselves at higher risk.  Speed too always makes the outcome of any crash worse.  So the message is clear concentrate, avoid distraction whenever you are using the roads and slow down. 

 

The Safer Wealden Partnership brings together a number of agencies, all working together to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and manage the fear of crime.  The partners include: Sussex Police; Wealden District Council; East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service; the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner; East Sussex County Council; the Wealden District Association of Local Councils; the Probation Service; local education; and the NHS. 

 

The Safer Wealden Partnership’s priorities for 2022/23 are:

  1. Working to ensure local people feel safe and secure and reducing the fear of crime.
  2. Working together to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on Wealden’s roads and to improve road safety awareness.
  3. Working to protect and divert young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
  4. To work in partnership to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour.
  5. Working to reduce acquisitive crime.

Everyone has a role to play in reducing crime and there are practical steps we can all take to minimise our chances of being a victim of crime.  In addition we should always report anything that appears suspicious to the Police.  Take a look at the Sussex Police website for tips on crime prevention and on how to report crime, https://www.sussex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/ you can also report anti-social driving direct to Sussex Police via Operation Crackdown, visit the website http://www.operationcrackdown.org.uk/