The Housing Delivery Test (HDT) 2021 results were published last Friday (14th January) and they continue to make interesting reading. Just under a third of authorities subject to the test (93 of 315) have not reached the required 95% delivery against housing target in the last three years.
There are some notable ‘movers and shakers’ in the list from the 2020 figures:
The following authorities will now move from a 5% buffer to a 20% buffer for calculating their five year housing land supply:
- Kingston upon Thames
- Somerset West and Taunton
- Tonbridge and Malling
- Windsor & Maidenhead
Bradford, Canterbury, Tonbridge & Malling, Walsall, and, Windsor & Maidenhead have become presumption authorities and are now required to automatically consider the presumption in favour of sustainable development with each planning application.
The majority of these authorities (with the exception of Greenwich, Merton and Windsor & Maidenhead) are yet to reach an advanced stage (at least Regulation 19) of their respective emerging Local Plans. The absence of forthcoming allocated sites could lead to opportunities for speculative development.
In better news for other authorities, the following will move from a buffer of 20% to 5%:
- North Somerset
- Tower Hamlets
- Wyre Forest
Gateshead, Gedling, Redbridge, Southwark, and, Tower Hamlets have divested themselves of the presumption.
Another quirk of these last HDT results is the Government’s attempts to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing delivery, with the following caveat added to the calculation:
“For the 2021 measurement, there is a reduction in period for measuring total homes required – usually this would be measured over a 3-year period, but an 8-month period has been used for the 2020/21 monitoring year. This is to account for the considerable variations in levels of housing delivery as local planning authorities and construction industry faced disruption on a national, regional, and local level due to the pandemic. Additionally, an 11-month period has been used for the 2019/20 monitoring year. This was to account for disruption to housing delivery and monitoring caused by the first national lockdown in March 2020”
Time will tell if this is an accurate reflection of the impact on development delivery but this planner’s view is that it has rebounded well, and that the reduction in targets is unlikely to necessarily retained in future HDT statistics.