The standard method for determining the ‘local housing need’ forms a key part of national policy. The method provides the minimum number of homes that should be planned for in every local planning authority and is used to assess the five-year land supply position when a Local Plan becomes more than five-years old. These policies are intended to support the Government’s objectives to significantly boost the supply of housing and to meet housing needs. This is particularly important in the context of the national housing crisis.
Since its introduction in 2018, the standard method has however been subject to numerous criticisms including because it provides for substantially less than the 300,000 homes per annum that the Government consider are required to tackle the housing crisis.
The standard method also relies upon trend-based household projections which has the effect of embedding previous rates of delivery that are not necessarily reflective of housing need. This produces some surprising results. For example, where positive steps have been taken to address the housing crisis locally and address the backlog of housing need, delivery rates are required to be sustained notwithstanding that the backlog of housing need may already have been addressed. Conversely, where positive steps have not been taken such that the backlog of housing need is likely to have increased, the standard method will produce a lower ‘local housing need’ figure.
This reflection of historic rates contributes to the fact that the standard method identifies seemingly low figures in the north and the midlands.
Notwithstanding these concerns, national planning policy including the standard method is a material consideration that should be afforded great weight in the determination of planning applications and the preparation of Local Plans.
The Government has recognised that the standard method is in need of review and has committed to do this by September 2020.
In the attached paper, Pegasus Group consider these and other concerns and explore how these can be addressed in the context of the recently published 2018 Household Projections.
Take a look at the paper here.
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