55 local planning authorities (LPAs) in England will face the most severe penalties following the latest Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results, which were published on 19 January 2021 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The 55 councils failed to deliver 75 per cent of their three year housing target during 2020 and consequently now face ‘the presumption in favour of sustainable development’. As a result, more speculative planning applications for non-allocated sites are likely to be submitted and potentially approved in these areas.
What is the Housing Delivery Test?
The HDT compares the net homes delivered over the previous three financial years to the homes required over the same period, with penalties for those councils delivering less than 95 per cent of their requirement. The most severe penalty, which was triggered in November 2020, is for those LPAs that delivered under 75% and now face the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.
The 2020 Housing Delivery Test Results
Many of the LPAs with the most severe penalty are located in the South-East of England, as was the case this time last year. This is likely a result of the lack of the availability or viability of land for residential development, for example, due to the presence of strategic policy protection such as Green Belt, meaning that it is more challenging to unlock.
Conversely, the East Midlands was once again the strongest performing region in terms of housing delivery, with 85% of the region’s LPAs having met or exceeded the HDT, followed closely by the North East and South West.
|East of England||79%||13%||0%||8%|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||77%||14%||5%||5%|
Mary-Jane O’Neill, Head of Planning – London & South East at LSH, commented:
“Attaining the volume of housing needed to sustain the UK’s growing population requires a harmonised approach to viability, planning, investment and delivery and LPAs, now more than ever before, need to work closely with private sector partners to unlock unallocated and undeveloped sites, or face being stripped of some of their planning powers.”
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