housing density of homes in Colchester

9,800 People Live in Every Square Mile in Homes in Colchester

Is Colchester Over Crowded?

Colchester is already in the clutches of a population crisis that has now started to affect the quality of life of those living in Colchester. There are simply not enough homes in Colchester to house the greater number of people wanting to live in the town. The burden on public services is almost at breaking point with many parents unable to send their child to their first choice of primary or secondary school and the chances of getting a decent Dentist or GP Doctor Surgery next to nil.

Well that’s what the papers would say.. but let’s look at real numbers, and in particular my specialist subject of Colchester Property, with the housing issue in Colchester. To start with, the UK has roughly 1,065 people per square mile – the second highest in Europe. The total area of Colchester itself is 12.169 square miles and there are 119,400 Colchester residents, meaning …

9,800 people live in each square mile of Colchester, it’s no wonder we appear to be bursting at the seams!

A square mile is enormous, so the numbers look correspondingly large (and headline grabbing). Most people reading this will know what an ‘acre’ is, but for those younger readers who don’t, it’s an imperial unit of measurement for land and it is approximately 63 metres square.

In Colchester, only 13.98 people live in every acre of Colchester … not as headline grabbing, but a lot closer to home and relative to everyday life, and if I am being honest, a figure that doesn’t seem that bad.

Yet, the issue at hand is, we need more homes in Colchester built. In 2007, Tony Blair set a target that 240,000 homes a year needed to be built to keep up with the population growth, whilst the Tory’s new target since 2010 was a more modest 200,000 a year. However, since 2010, as a country, we have only been building between 140,000 and 150,000 houses a year. So where are we going to build these homes … because we have no space! Or do we?

Well, let me share this fascinating piece of information I found out recently from an official Government report. Looking specifically at England (as it is the most densely populated country of the Union), all the 20 million English homes cover only 1.1% of its land mass. That is not a typo, only one point one per cent (1.1%) of land in England is covered by residential property.

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In more detail, of all the land in the Country:

  • Residential Houses and Flats 1.1%
  • Gardens 4.3%
  • Shops and Offices 0.7%
  • Highways (Roads and Paths) 2.3%
  • Railways 0.1%
  • Water (Rivers /Reservoirs) 2.6%
  • Industry, Military and other uses 1.4%

This leaves 88.5% as Open Countryside (and if you think about it, adding gardens, which are green spaces, and the country around 93% green space)

More Homes in Colchester?

As a country, we have plenty of space to build more homes for the younger generation and the five million more homes needed in the next 20 years would use only 0.25% of the country’s land. I am not advocating building massive housing estates and 20 storey concrete and glass behemoth apartment blocks next to local beauty spots such as Castle Park or the Beth Chatto Gardens, but with some clever planning and joined up thinking, we really do need to think outside the box when it comes to how we are going to build and house homes in Colchester for our children, and our children’s children, over the next fifty years. If anyone has their own ideas, I would love to hear from you – or add your comments below.

If you’d like a second opinion on an investment property you are considering or just to have an informal chat about any aspect of homes in Colchester and the Colchester property market please feel free to call me on 01206 862288 or email grahamwood@hometorent.co.uk. I’m happy to provide free feedback free of any obligation.
If you send me the hyperlink to the property from Rightmove or Zoopla I will usually respond within 24 hours. I am also happy to undertake free pre-purchase visits to your short list of potential properties to provide a rental valuation.

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