Housing Numbers

Very thorough analysis that gives insight into why there is a myriad of different potential targets. Although originally posted in October 2013 and therefore reflective of the 2009 SHMA that was available to the 2013 Guildford draft Local Plan, it raises serious questions that the new SHMA (December 2013) has failed to address.

Guildford Plan

Guildford Borough Council’s paper “How many new homes?” sets out to provide a range of different approaches to calculating housing numbers between 2011 and 2031.  The resulting picture is a potentially confusing one with estimates of NEED ranging from 181 homes per year to 1,066 new households per year.  This seems to be akin to a game of ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ – a blindfold stab in the dark.

Before going on to the paper itself, it might be helpful to review the requirement placed on us by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012.

NPPF (Section 6) Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes

47. To boost significantly the supply of housing, local planning authorities should:

  • use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as…

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New SHMA no better than wetting a finger and sticking it in the air

So much for “objectivity”.

The more I sat there and listened to the director of the GL Hearn planning consultancy trying to explain the numbers, the more I realised what a cosy little world exists between these highly rewarded professionals and the local planning authority [LPA] apparatchiks.  He claimed he had already appeared at, at least, four PINS public enquiries into submitted Local Plans in the last few months, so knew exactly what he was talking about.  However, when challenged on simple facts of the SHMA Guidance issued in 2007 concerning the types of stakeholders with which he was required to engage to inform his company’s consideration of the “objectively assessed” number of houses, he singularly failed. Continue reading

What is a SHMA?

If you type “what is a SHMA?” into popular Internet search engines, among other things a list of hundreds of local authority web pages will be presented to you, all describing the role that a Strategic Housing Market Assessment study [SHMA] is playing in helping them determine the number of houses they will need to plan to build over the forthcoming years of their local plan, how they have gone about it and what it means for their community. Continue reading