Over the past few weeks we have been asked how the Covid-19 situation will affect the proposed Otterpool Park housing estate.
We are not Economsits but the very fact that output across the globe has rapidly declined will have a devastating effect on the supply chains across building and civil engineering sectors.
The latest information we have is that UK construction output saw its fastest fall for almost 11 years in March as the government’s coronavirus lockdown led to stoppages on building sites and a slump in new orders.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 39.3 in March from 52.6 in February, against the neutral 50 reading and marking the steepest fall in output since April 2009. It should be noted that anything under 50 signals a contraction.
Emergency public health measures to halt the spread of the outbreak were overwhelmingly blamed for reduced activity.
All three broad categories of construction work saw output declining, with civil engineering activity seeing the steepest rate of decline. The residential reading came in 46.6.
Historically, it has always been the building sector that falls into recession first and always the last to come out.
Couple this with the fact that FHDC never recieved the £281 million from central Government towards infrastructure, requiring them to borrow £100 million from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) (which won’t even touch the sides of infrastructure), adding to a debt which may be a bridge too far if we see a recession turn to a depression causing permanent job losses and an ever increasing burden on the Councils Finances in dishing out housing support and associated benefits. Moreover, a reduction in Council Tax revenue would further dent the FHDC coffers.
The David Monk rhetoric that this will not be a piecemeal development has always been an absurdity, even more so now. And let’s not forget that the Core Strategy Review has to be set before an Indepedent Planning Inspector with all submissons from groups and Residents across the District taken on board before it even gets to the Otterpool application.
Hoops to be jumped for our beloved, crooked Council – Against a sea of troubles
In your Town, Village or Hamlet, have a peaceful weekend.