The Housing Delivery Test

The Housing Delivery Test: What is it and what does it mean for landowners?

Colin Muller, Chief Executive

Land and planning, particularly for housing, feels like it has enough measures, metrics and policies attached to it. From the NPPF to local planning policies, from 5 Year Housing Land Supply to Objectively Assessed Housing Need, there is plenty for landowners to get their heads around.

The Housing Delivery Test is the latest measure to add to the list. Like some, but not others before it, this has teeth and will have a significant impact in either enhancing or constraining the prospects of achieving planning permission for potential housing land.

What is the Housing Delivery Test?

Put simply, it is a measure of how local authorities are performing in their actual delivery of new housing against the number of new homes required in their respective strategic policies. It is measured over a rolling three-year period, using the following calculation:

Housing Delivery Test (%) = total net homes delivered over a three-year period divided by total number of homes required over three-year period

It is measured annually, with the first measure, covering 2018, released on 19 February 2019.

Why does it matter?

The Housing Delivery Test matters because failure to deliver has significant consequences for local authorities that get progressively more onerous, as follows:

  • action plan to improve delivery
  • requirement to identify 20% more land for development than in their current pipeline
  • “Presumption in favour of sustainable development” – i.e. local planning policies overridden and prospects of achieving outline planning consent enhanced

What does this mean for landowners?

If you have land in within local authorities that are under delivering against their housing targets, the barriers to your land gaining that all important outline planning consent may be reduced. This is particularly the case for local authorities whose delivery is sufficiently low to trigger the presumption in favour of sustainable development. From November 2020 the threshold they will have to pass to avoid this will be a Housing Delivery Test score of 75%. Based on the February 2019 Housing Delivery Test results, the following local authorities (outside London and the south east) would be subject to having their local planning policies overridden:

Blackburn with Darwen Bolton   Broxtowe            Bury       Calderdale

Chesterfield       East Cambridgeshire       Erewash               Gateshead          Gedling

Great Yarmouth               Herefordshire   Ipswich New Forest        North Hertfordshire

North Lincolnshire           North Somerset               Oldham                Pendle  Poole

Sefton  South Holland    Staffordshire Moorlands              Tameside            Trafford

Warrington         Waveney             West Devon       Wirral   

If you have land in the above local authorities, now is the time to get your cap in the ring for development! However, if you have land elsewhere, do not despair, a lack of 5 Year Housing Land Supply (to be discussed in a future article) can reduce barriers and Local Plan reviews provide opportunities to get your land in a position to achieve planning. Expert strategic land promoters, such as ourselves, have the means, knowhow and persistence to get that all-important planning permission for your land.