Draft Local Plan

Government consultation on plans to change the way local housing need is calculated

Please note: this page is part of our Draft Local Plan and has been superseded by our Local Plan

On Thursday 14 September, the government published Planning for the right homes in the right places; a consultation on plans to change the way local housing need is calculated and makes the calculation of housing figures much simpler. The consultation runs until 9 November 2017.

What is local housing need?

Local housing need is an estimate of the number of additional homes that will be needed within a local authority over its Local Plan period. It is unconstrained by supply-side factors such physical constraints, policy designations and adverse impacts of development.

What is the proposed methodology?

The intention is to roll out a standardised 3-step approach for estimating Local housing need.

In summary:

  1. household growth projections produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would be used as the demographic baseline for every local authority area. The use of alternative projections will be “rigorously tested” at Local Plan examination
  2. a multiplier for less affordable areas will then be added - in areas where house prices are more than four times average earnings, the multiplier would increase the housing need figure by 0.25 per cent for each one per cent the affordability ratio rises above four
  3. there will be a cap on the level of any increase - for authorities that have adopted their local plan in the last five years, the new annual local housing need figure should be capped at 40 per cent above the annual requirement figure set out in their local plan. For authorities that adopted their Local Plan over five years ago, the housing need figure would be capped at 40 percent above the projected household growth for the area over the Plan period using household growth projections produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

When will local authorities be expected to use the new methodology?

The government is proposing to implement the new methodology on 31 March 2018. Local authorities who submit a Local Plan for examination before this date will be allowed to use their existing estimates of housing need, any authority submitting after this date will be expected to use the new methodology in calculating their local housing need.

What does this mean for Central Bedfordshire?

Currently Central Bedfordshire’s local housing need is 32,000 homes over the Local Plan period to 2035. Using the government’s proposed methodology, Central Bedfordshire’s housing need becomes 51,060 homes over this period, or 2,553 homes per year.

Our response to this consultation

Our councillors voted unanimously to robustly challenge the proposals through the national consultation.

We are currently doing so and would call on all town and parish councils and other interested parties across Central Bedfordshire to consider their own position on these proposals.

Whilst we will do everything in our power to challenge the proposed methodology, as a responsible local authority, we need to also anticipate the possibility that the new methodology may indeed be imposed. We are therefore updating our Local Plan timetable to allow us to submit our Local Plan before 31 March 2018 which would allow us to use housing need figure (32,000 homes) as the basis for Plan making.

How can I comment on the consultation?

Visit GOV.UK for more information about the consultation. It runs until 9 November.