To receive the Housing Supply and 5-Year Supply Statement 2018 report.
Members considered a report on the Housing Supply and 5-Year Supply Statement 2018. The report set out the Housing Trajectory and 5-Year land supply statement 2018, and concluded that the Council could not demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing.
The Planning Policy Team Leader highlighted the main points of the report. He drew attention to the exceptional number of residential completions in the year April 2017 to March 2018. In this year there were 966 residential completions, which was a third higher than last year, which itself was previously the highest ever number of completions in the District. This brought the total number of homes built between 2011 and 2018 to 4,156. It was estimated that at least 2,496 more would be built over the next 5 years. Those completions and commitments had fed into the Council’s trajectory and 5-year supply calculation.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said a further new input into the calculations was the new government standardised methodology for calculating housing need, which linked to the new household projections that were released on 20 September 2018. Further detail on the new household projections and how they related to the Local Plan would be explained in the introduction into the next report on the agenda.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said the calculation of need using the standardised methodology indicated a need of 633 homes a year (or 13,922 over 22 years). When comparing this need with the supply, officers identified a 5 year supply of 3.46 years if new allocations from the draft plan were excluded; or 4.45 years if new allocations form the draft plan were included. Table 5 in the report showed these figures, however, it should be noted that there was an error in the two paragraphs preceding the table, in that at paragraphs 17 and 18, the figures referred to should reflect those in Table 5.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said the impact on the update in supply was that for the purposes of the Local Plan, 5.1 years of supply could be identified, and that the difference was primarily to the ‘stepped trajectory’ contained in the Local Plan. This methodology needed to be tested through the Local Plan and could not be used for the purposes of development management.
The Chairman invited questions from Members at this point. There were no questions. He then asked the Planning Policy Team Leader to explain the impact on the Local Plan of the updated projections.
The Planning Policy Team Leader explained the potential impact of the new household projections on the Local Plan. On 20 September the Office for National Statistics had released new household projections, which for Uttlesford indicated lower household growth of 10,070 from 2011 to 2033. These projections compared with household projections of 11,430 in the previous data set. The figure was therefore around 1,400 lower. The Planning Policy Team Leader added that there was an error in the report at paragraph 13 on page 38 of the document pack, as the figure of 11,733 should read 11,430.
The Planning Policy Team Leader explained the standardised methodology method of calculating the 10,070 household projections resulted in approximately the same figure of 14,000 homes, so if the Council were to submit the new Local Plan after 24 January if the household projections did not change, and if the Government’s methodology did not change, the Local Plan would include the same housing requirement.
Councillor Rolfe said the calculations although complicated were robust, the figure of around 14,000 was the correct one and the Council would continue to work towards this figure. He said the other main update in the report, that the Council did not have more than a 5.1 year land supply was a concern, so the sooner a Plan was submitted the better. He invited questions.
Councillor Lees questioned the inclusion in the overall housing target of the accommodation within communal establishments.
The Planning Policy Team Leader explained that taking out the accommodation within communal establishments from the overall target would mean that such accommodation would need to be contained within a separate target, and have its own supply identified to meet that target.
Councillor Lees said that if this had been done separately, then the figures could have been reduced by 500, which would have been better for housing supply.
The Planning Policy Team Leader said this approach would mean that the Council would then be down by 500 care home places.
Councillor Ranger said it would be immoral to juggle with mathematics to equate figures for care home spaces with those for homes.
The Chairman said as a general point he was not aware of any Inspector who had suggested fewer houses. It was also important to note that the Government was determined to achieve 300,000.
The report was noted.