Agenda item

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (Agenda item 6)

Report of the Strategic Director (Business Transformation).


The Senior Planning Policy Officer gave a presentation and explained that the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) was an essential piece of the evidence base for the Local Development Framework (LDF) required by national guidance as set out in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing.


The purpose of the assessment was to identify sites with potential for housing, assess that potential and predict when those sites were likely to be developed. Consultation was undertaken on a draft methodology for the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment in August 2007, the results of which indicated the need to make revisions to the method. The key element of the revisions was the establishment of a project steering group comprising Council officers and development industry stakeholders whose expertise could help to ensure that the conclusions reached were credible and could be relied upon. The expedient production of the assessment was essential if existing milestones for the submission of the Core Strategy and Development Control Policies DPD were to be met and that the soundness of the document was not put at risk.


The assessment would aim to identify as many sites with housing potential in and around as many settlements as possible in Breckland.  As a minimum, it should identify specific sites for at least the first 10 years of a plan from the anticipated date of adoption and ideally long than the whole 15 year plan period.


In answer to various questions, the following points were noted:


  • The assessment would look at overall housing figures and would not be specific to affordable housing or by location.  While exception sites would be screened these were considered unlikely to form strategic sites in the Core Strategy but would be borne out as the process moved forward to identify sites as part of the site specifics work.

  • The Project Steering Group would include representatives from local developers, major and local planning consultants, regional housing providers and surveyors.  While membership of the Steering Group was on a voluntary, unpaid basis, it was acknowledged that there would be concerns about conflicts of interest.  However, given the need to work and consult with stakeholders, it would be very difficult to find representatives from the relevant fields without any interests.  The role of this Panel would therefore be important to ensure concerns were managed through the public scrutiny process.

  • The assessment would look at issues of scale of sites and their sources, for example brownfield or garden sites, and what, if any, exception or other criteria should be applied to them.

  • Density multipliers under PPS3 offered more flexibility to look at lower densities of development on sites.  In this regard, using existing density multipliers, densities were close to or slightly below the figures from actual planning applications, so that assessments appeared to be well related in terms of actual planning applications.  Densities could also be reduced by other factors, such as site constraints.  The Steering Group would be considering this issue and reporting its views to the Panel for further comment as part of the consultation process.


         RESOLVED that the Panel notes the importance of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and the proposals for its production.


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