Fareham Borough Council is set to tear up its draft Local Plan in order to meet the Government's demand to identify more land for housing than previously required. That is the message from the Executive Leader of the Council, Cllr Seán Woodward.
The decision comes in the wake of the Government's changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) announced in July 2018 which significantly increased the number of homes required in Fareham by 30%. Since the announcement the Council Leader has worked closely with Fareham's MPs Suella Braverman and Caroline Dinenage to try to secure assurances from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Housing Minister, that would have allowed the Council to continue with its existing draft Local Plan. However, those assurances have not been forthcoming.
Cllr Woodward said: 'I am extremely disappointed that we have not been able to secure the necessary protection that would have allowed us to continue with our existing draft Local Plan. Without that protection we will have to effectively rip it up and start again to include the Government's extra housing numbers – once there is final agreement about what they actually are!'
The ongoing confusion over the required number of houses is not just restricted to Fareham; it is national. In July 2018 the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) introduced a standard method for calculating the number of houses required in each local authority area. However, the Government has now announced it will consult on revisions to this new method by late January 2019 to ensure the Government achieves its widely publicised 300,000 homes each year. Additionally new 2016-based projections of housing need in each area were published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in September 2018, but revised figures are now to be published by the ONS in December 2018.
This uncertainty over housing numbers not only affects the housing requirement to be met in the new Local Plan, but also, more immediately, the Council's five-year housing land supply requirement which is important when considering planning applications.
The Council currently has approximately a five-year housing land supply. However, next month the Council's record of delivering new homes over the past three years will be assessed as the Government introduces its new Housing Delivery Test, which was also announced in July 2018 as part of the NPPF changes. The Council expects to fail this new retrospectively applied test, which will result in a significant and immediate 20% increase in the Council's five-year housing land supply requirement.
Updates about the draft Local Plan, the Council's five year housing land supply and the Housing Delivery Test will be published on the Council's website: www.fareham.gov.uk.
Notes to Editor:
The changes announced in July 2018 with the NPPF introduced a new standard methodology for calculating the number of houses required to support the Government's goal of building 300,000 homes per year nationally.
Projections about how many homes are needed for each area are based on the most recent published data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In July 2018, when the NPPF announcement was made, the new housing numbers were calculated using 2014-based ONS data.
In September 2018 the ONS published new 2016-based projections (using a new approach) which actually indicate only 165,000 houses are required rather than 300,000 mooted by Government. These have been widely criticised as significantly under-estimating housing need.
The ONS has now announced that revised 2016-based projections will be published in early December 2018.
Additionally, the Government then plans to consult (by late January 2019) on revisions to the standard methodology for calculating housing requirementsto ensure it achieves its goal of 300,000 homes per year nationally.
For further information contact:
The Communications Team, Tel: 01329 824310
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