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Council calls for clarity on housing need methodology

Words: Laura Edgar
Statistics / iStock-507213599

Braintree District Council has written to the housing minister about the uncertainty surrounding the recently introduced standard methodology for calculating housing need.

Over the past two years the council has not had a five-year supply of housing.

Introduced in the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in July, the standard methodology and updated household projections sees Braintree's supply increase from 3.9 years to 5.83 years.

This methodology, though, is expected to be reviewed again, with revised household projections to be published in December 2018.

Lynette Bowers-Flint, cabinet member for planning and housing, sent the letter to housing minister Kit Malthouse. She said: “The fact that we can demonstrate a five-year housing land supply should be good news because it gives us more power to defend communities from developers who aren’t as single-mindedly focused on sustainability and good growth as we are.

“However, I am concerned that statements from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are clearly indicating that the government intends to revise it and will be consulting further on these proposals later this year.

“With the previous NPPF it felt at times as though the goalposts were being moved by the government. With the publication of NPPF2 and the new methodology and household projections, it feels as though we are playing a completely different sport with a new set of rules.”

Bowers-Flint added that the government needs to act “swiftly and decisively” to resolve the uncertainty.

Last week, Fareham Borough Council said it would rip up its draft local plans because of the standard methodology. In comparison to Braintree, the methodology means Fareham needs to provide 30 per cent more homes. Fareham said such uncertainty over housing numbers affects in the immediate term its five-year land supply, as well as the housing requirements that need to be met in the new local plan.

Leaders of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are also concerned about the standard methodology, and have delayed publication of the region’s spatial framework as a result.

The Planner wants to hear from you

If you are a council that needs to find additional sites to meets its housing need following the introduction of the standard methodology, please contact editorial@theplanner.co.uk. Alternatively, please get in touch if your council's supply has decreased as a result.

Image credit | iStock