Census 2021 Results

04 July 2022

Census 2021 First Results Published.

The first results of the Census have now been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The results so far published can be found at this link.   There is a useful ability to look at each local authority in the context of its area.

Housing Numbers

The recent publication of census figures has reignited the debate on whether the Housing Numbers can be challenged and revised for Guildford. It should be noted that Mole Valley go to examination this month trying to argue for a lower number than OAN.  It will be very interesting how the Inspector deals with it.

Guildford Borough Council are working on refreshing data for the 2019 Local Plan Review which has to be conducted after five years.  Whether this results in a challenge to the housing numbers is not clear, particulaly as the full Census Figures are not yet available.

Housing Numbers are complex.

Although the Census figures are one of the significant factors in calculating the Objective Assessed Need for housing in the Local Plan process; the ONS calculate housing need on using a number of factors.

"Household projections are trend-based and indicate the number of additional households that would form if recent demographic trends continue. You can find out more about the methodology used and the accuracy of the projections (data quality analysis) in household projections: notes and definitions for data analysts.

The projections are a demographic projection informed by the projected population, produced by the Office for National Statistics, and projected household representative rates informed by Census and labour force survey data.

Household projections are therefore driven by assumptions on future levels of fertility, mortality and net migration, and household formation behaviour, that is how this population groups into household units (as measured by household representative rates)."

There are also significant changes in how the figures are calculated coming because of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

The House of Commons Library has a very useful summary on how housing need is assessed .

The House of Commons Library also shows a Lichfield’s report on how the new standard method will change housing need for Guildford (and other LPA’s). Guildford drops from 787p.a. to 733p.a. , if you accept this unofficial calculation.  NOTE the 2019 Guildford Local Plan is not based on the standard method (being part of a transition process on planning) and has a lower figure of 563p.a.  A risk is that any re-opening of the agreed housing numbers would be recalculated using the Standard Method.

Note Lichfield’s have a very good website with posts on various aspects of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. 

The 2021 statistics are very clear that the 25-50 year olds are declining as % of population in Guildford, and that we are becoming an ageing town and student town.  Where these 25-50 year olds have gone is not clear.  Are they forced to commute to Guildford for employment due to lack of family housing (not very sustainable)? 

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