Housing Delivery Test starts to bite as growth in housing delivery slows
Housing delivery reached 222,000 homes in 2017/18, up 2% on the previous year. This was a substantial slowdown on the 17% per year increases of the previous three years. The risk in housing delivery was the growing reliance on change of use, which reached 17% of total delivery in 2016/17. But in 2017/18 change of use was down 20% and comprised only 13% of total housing delivery. Meanwhile, new build completions were up 6%, to 195,000 in 2017/18.
The revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July, reconfirmed that all local authorities should have a Local Plan. Over six years on from the original NPPF, 44% of local authorities in England have not produced a Local Plan. Under the 2014-based standard approach to assessing housing need, these authorities have a combined housing need of 131,100 per annum.
Plans need to be less than five years old to be considered up to date. 12% of the local authorities in England have a plan adopted after March 2012 that is now over five years old.
There is a significant minority of local authorities failing to meet another requirement of the NPPF by not producing a schedule demonstrating five years of deliverable land. 16% of local authorities have a most recently published land supply of less than five years, and an additional 25% had a lack of five year land supply confirmed at appeal in the year to November 2018.
The new Housing Delivery Test aims to identify those areas where past delivery has fallen short of targets. At time of writing, MHCLG has yet to release the official results, but with all the required data now available we have estimated them on the last page of this note.
No local planning authority is in line to have a presumption in favour of sustainable development applied, due to the low threshold of 25% delivery against target to avoid this sanction. This threshold will increase to 45% next year and 16 local authorities would have failed to meet it at this level. 203 local authorities delivered over 95% of their housing target and have passed the test. That leaves 122 with intermediate sanctions of having to prepare an action plan or having a 20% buffer on land supply.