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Questions raised over robustness of housing need methodology

Date: 22/9/2017

Planning magazine reports that questions have been raised over the robustness of the methodology proposed in last week's long-awaited consultation into a standardised method of calculating local authorities' housing need.

Catriona Riddell, strategic planning specialist at the Planning Officers Society, which represents senior local authority planning officers, said: "There are definitely planners at authorities out there with a 40 per cent increase that have their head in their hands. They can't even meet the current estimated need."

Planning suggests many suspect a political fight to implement the plan, particularly in green belt-constrained shire counties. Riddell said: "The more the numbers go up, the more there's going to be a backlash. The idea that if you simply increase housing numbers in an area it becomes more affordable is rubbish."

Riddell said: "If you're Tandridge (in Surrey) the new figure is 37 per cent above your assessed need, but it's actually five times the figure on your last local plan. But it doesn't change the fact Tandridge is 94 per cent green belt. Most of these areas are highly constrained, so in one sense this is fairly academic."

CatrionaRiddell2016_2.jpg Catriona Riddell

  • The consultation paper proposals include:
    • a standard method for calculating local authorities' housing need
    • how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
    • a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
    • making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
    • increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need
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