MORE than 200 new homes need to be built in Hyndburn every year up to 2036 in order to stimulate economic growth, a new report claims.

A Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) carried out in the borough tested what level of population growth might be needed so that the resident labour-supply increases sufficiently for the job figures in the ‘economic growth scenario’ to be met.

The average number of new homes built in the borough over the last five years is 125 but according to the assessment, 216 homes are needed.

The assessment also found a minimum of 60 new homes per year is required but added that level would not help grow the borough’s economy.

Leader of the council Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “Housing is growth and employment is growth – both are critical. This is not about today, it’s about the future of the borough.

“The assessment says 60 homes is the minimum requirement but if we just did that, we would see a decline in population and that would affect economic growth.

“The document outlines what the aspiration should be and it is growth we should be aiming for.”

The findings from the HENA study will now be used to help formulate proposed draft policies for the Core Strategy public consultation planned to start next month.

Papers will be brought to the February cabinet meeting providing details of the proposed consultation, and seeking approval to start consultation.

The public consultation will include draft proposed planning policies recommending appropriate levels of housing growth and employment growth to plan for in the borough to 2036.

It will also consider the broad distribution of growth across settlements in the borough and present some initial site assessment information on a large pool of potential development sites referred to as the ‘long list of sites’.

Last year, the council consulted on proposals to build as many as 2,000 new homes in a new garden village proposal for Huncoat.

The HENA study looks at housing need through analysis of demographics, market signals and economic forecasting.

It looks at the need for general market housing, as well as affordable housing, older persons’ needs, and the appropriate housing mix to plan for by tenure.

The HENA study also considers employment forecasts for the borough. It begins by considering likely job growth under an economic baseline scenario derived from national economic forecasts.

It goes on to set out what it considers and justifies as a local ‘economic growth scenario’ and provides forecast growth figures for that.

The study concludes by considering the link between planning for future employment and housing growth, making recommendations for both in terms of the quantum of land required for allocation in the Local Plan.