What does MHCLG's Housing Delivery Test mean for North Somerset?

In February, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced the results of its first Housing Delivery Test, which assessed whether local authorities across the country were delivering enough homes to meet demand.

Two Thirds of Local Authorities Deliver Homes Target
The figures, which had been expected to be announced at the end of 2018, showed that 219 out of 328 local authorities had delivered at least 95% of their housing targets and therefore would face no action.

22 local authorities failed to achieve at least 95% of the assessed government target and have been required to develop action plans to meet the under delivery within their council area. A further 87 local authorities failed to hit 85% of the target which means that they will now need to identify an additional 20% more land for housing than was required for their five-year land supply.

MHCLG will report the results of the Housing Delivery Test annually and the ultimate penalty for local authorities not meeting their delivery targets would be the presumption in favour of development being applied. Currently the figure that would trigger the presumption in favour of development sits at 25% of the overall delivery target. However, this will increase to 45% by the end of this year and 75% in 2020. Based on the 75% figure, which comes into force in 2020, 65 local authorities would see the government impose a presumption in favour of development in their area.

North Somerset Misses Delivery Target
MPC’s Western Team have looked at the figures specifically for the local authorities that make up the area subject to the West of England Joint Spatial Plan. Below outlines the delivery of homes in the four constituent council areas:

- Bristol City Council delivered 99% of the assessed target

- South Gloucestershire Council delivered 131% of the assessed target

- Bath and North East Somerset Council delivered 267% of the assessed target

- North Somerset Council delivered 73% of the assessed target

As a result of North Somerset Council’s failure to deliver the assessed required amount of homes, the Government have requested that they allocate an additional 20% of land for housing development in their Local Plan.

North Somerset’s new Local Plan is currently awaiting the adoption of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) which will now be heard by a Government Inspector later in 2019. There is currently a large amount of public opposition to two new garden villages in in North Somerset which have been allocated as part of the plan.

Residents and councillors expressed concern that the garden villages, proposed for Banwell and Churchill, would be unsustainable and some are calling for the plans for 4,500 homes in the Vale, to the south of Bristol, to be revisited following a decision to refuse planning permission in September 2018. Residents see the building of homes on greenbelt land at the Vale as meeting a large amount of the assessed housing need which would protect many rural villages in North Somerset from development.

With the JSP already facing delays and potential political difficulties in a number of the allocations within North Somerset, the local authority’s new Local Plan is someway off being adopted. This will make it difficult for North Somerset Council to increase housing delivery with a plan-led approach in the upcoming years. Ultimately, with the penalty of presumptive development kicking in at 75% in 2020, North Somerset councillors would have great difficulty in refusing speculative planning applications should they not be able to increase delivery in the next 12-18 months.

Contact Us
MPC’s Western Team works to achieve successful planning outcomes through community consultation across the region. If you want to discuss the impact of the Housing Delivery Test results or the West of England Joint Spatial Plan on planning please contact tomphipps@mpc.email.

Tom Phipps- Account Manager