Agenda item

Housing Numbers

(Verbal update)


Stephen Miles gave the group a short update on the proposals in the Government’s white paper and the separate consultation on the standardised methodology.


The calculation proposed in the government’s standardised methodology resulted in a need for 1,230 dwellings per annum across the district in order to meet a national target of over 300,000 homes per annum. The methodology is intended to address affordability issues for young people and provide homes where people want to live. This figure was much higher than the current calculation of approx. 700 homes per annum. The figures were based on median earnings and median house prices to adjust the need calculation to address affordability. The new calculation also included an add-on factor for worsening affordability over a ten year period. He current housing need figure was capped. The uncapped figure would be 800 homes per annum.  The new calculation proposes to remove the cap.  The only areas of the country with higher housing requirement numbers as a proportion of exiting dwellings are in the London Boroughs. The new figure of 1,230 reflected the assessment of housing need, not the housing requirement.


The white paper proposes to amend the standardised methodology taking into account other factors such as constraints, size of existing settlements and opportunities for brownfield development. It is proposing to make the final requirement figure binding to local authorities. It also mentioned that plans should include consideration of a buffer, but did not specify a number and no further details had been set out.


The Council should respond positively to the consultation and should set out any concerns over the future housing numbers. Additional points for consideration;


- The current proposals for setting housing requirements do not have any mechanism to take into account the government’s ambition for growth areas such as the O2C Arc

- Confirmation of how constraints were factored into the process of reducing the need to give a requirement figure

- Deliverability based on the size of existing urban settlements

- Comparison of neighbouring local authority areas will be included in the consultation response.


A draft response would be presented to the group at a later meeting.


The housing numbers came from the household forecast which was influenced by the population forecast. Both are published every 2 years. The most recent are the 2018-based forecasts which were published in July 2020. The figures project forward past trends.


The status of requirements needed to be explored. Government may not make them statutory as that might lead to challenges in the courts through applications for a   judicial review. The white paper suggested a local authority could borrow against the expected future receipts from the proposed infrastructure levy to fund infrastructure upfront. This process in practice could prove more challenging and would need further review.


The group expressed their willingness to assist with formulating the council’s response to the technical consultation and.  Share a draft with the Portfolio Holder and Chair at a later date.


The proposed date for the next meeting would be towards the end of September, or the beginning of October, to be confirmed following on from the All Member Workshop and the meeting with the Ministry.


As it was agreed to postpone any recommendation to Cabinet as to how to proceed, it was agreed the Community Engagement Strategy paper would be reviewed by members outside the meeting and comments sent to the Chair by August 31st. The Chair would collate comments from the group and forward responses to Stephen Miles.



Meeting ended 22:15.