Agenda item

2015 Annual Statement of Five Year Housing Land Supply (Agenda Item 8)

Report of the Executive Director, Commercialisation.



The Planning Policy Team Leader presented the report.


The Council was required to update the 5 year housing land supply information annually. The details were summarised in the agenda pack with the full report that would be published.


The 5 year supply calculation was a comparison of the anticipated supply of new homes against the number of new homes that were required to be built in the core strategy plus a 20% buffer which was required to be applied by national policy through the NPPF.


The figure was a snap shot in time as of 1 April 2015.


The assessment incorporated a range of sites including those with planning permission, allocations, and wind fall and was based on survey results from developers, development assumptions and past trends.  A cautious approach had been adopted.


Against the housing target the Council was 2,333 dwellings below the required number. Once that deficit was added to the target for the five year period (as per the Sedgfield method) it created a new target of 1,247 new dwellings per year which equated to a 4.18 year supply of deliverable land.  With the 20% buffer applied that reduced to 3.79 years supply.  The figures for the same time last year were 3.72 and 3.29 years.


Under-delivery of housing in the past was not a reflection of the Council’s ability to allocate land for housing development. The Council had made good progress in bringing forward allocations and in granting planning permissions.   The reasons for under delivery were complex and influenced by a number of factors beyond the Council’s control including market forces and slow implementation of sites with planning permission, etc.


Breckland was not alone in failing to have a 5 year land supply.  The Greater Norwich joint policy area had claimed to have a 5.10 year supply in December 2014.  However, following a recent appeal where the methodology had been questioned that figure had been amended to4.89 – 4.94 years and Kings Lynn had claimed to have 7.51 years supply but following an appeal that figure had been reduced to 1.91 years.


A Planning Advisory Service survey in 2014 stated that 54% of councils claimed to have a 5 years supply, but in June 2015 Savills published data claiming that 43% of the councils claiming to have a five year land supply did not, in fact have one.


Councillor Duigan thought that the expected delivery figures for some sites were optimistic.  For example, 368 dwellings were expected from the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) by April 2017 and the Outline planning permission had not yet been signed.  He felt that the figure of 1300 for Breckland in 2017 was also optimistic.  He asked for a definition of housing delivery.


The Planning Policy Team Leader explained that the Thetford figures represented an average of the expected delivery over the next five years.  When the annual monitoring survey was carried out Officers visited every site and asked for the number of completions or did a physical count themselves.  Housing delivery was accepted as when there were four walls and a roof.


Councillor Smith asked whether the Sedgefield or the Liverpool method had been used and was advised that both methodologies had been illustrated in the report to show that whichever method was used the Council did not have a 5 year supply.  National Planning Policy Guidance gave a strong steer towards using the Sedgefield method and that had been used in the past.


Councillor Smith went on to ask why Traveller and Gypsy sites could not be counted towards the land supply as the Council had permanent sites.  The Planning Policy Team Leader explained that the Council was required to have a 5 year supply of such sites as well as a 5 year supply of other housing land.  If the two were combined relative need would also have to be considered and it was likely that the result would be the same.


Councillor Borrett asked whether Members had the final say on whether a 5% or a 20% buffer was applied.  He noted that under the Liverpool approach, without any buffer, the Council did have a 5 year land supply and he asked if that figure could be used.


The Planning Policy Team Leader advised that the Guidance was clear that a 20% buffer should be used and the Planning Contract Manager urged Members to give weight to the guidance, but agreed that it was up to them to decide.

The report was noted.


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