MHCLG begins consultation on housing need guidance

31 October 2018

Minor clarifications proposed to NPPF and NPPG

Due to recent uncertainty within Local Planning Authorities (LPA’s), the Government has released a consultation document, which seeks to update national planning policy and guidance.

The document proposes minor clarifications to national policy on housing land supply, the definition of deliverable sites, and the appropriate assessment for habitats sites, following a European Court of Justice ruling earlier this year.

Taking the proposed changes to housing first, despite the recent publication of household projections by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), identifying that in general they were lower, the document is clear that this does not mean that fewer homes need to be built. The ONS figures have clearly led to some confusion over recent weeks, and this consultation aims to clarify a number of key matters.

The approach set out in the document is to specify that the 2014 ONS data should be the demographic baseline for the assessment of local housing need, and to make it clear that the lower number identified within the 2016 projections do not qualify as an exceptional circumstance to justify a departure from the standard methodology. The use of the standard methodology from January 2019, in plan making terms, will still apply. The Government is keen to ensure that guidance is aligned with the aspiration to deliver 300,000 homes per year by the mid 2020’s, and minor changes to the NPPF are proposed to ensure this remains a key message.

Other matters relate to the definition of ‘deliverable sites’ and further clarification with regard to development requiring Habitats Regulations Assessment.   

The consultation is open until 7th December 2018.