West Suffolk Five Year Housing Land Supply report (5YHLS) 2022 consultation

West Suffolk Five Year Housing Land Supply draft report 2022

2. The housing requirement

2.1. On 1 April 2019 St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath joined to become West Suffolk Council. As a newly reorganised authority the housing requirement has been calculated by combining the housing requirement for the two processor authorities in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 74) and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG): Housing and Economic Need Assessment (paragraph 039), taking the same approach used in the housing delivery test 2020.

2.2. On 16 December 2020 updates were published to the PPG: Housing and economic needs assessment. Paragraph 039 sets out advice on how housing need should be calculated for newly re-organised authorities, which includes West Suffolk. In calculating the local housing need (LHN), step two should use affordability ratios at the predecessor local authority level. This requires the affordability ratio published in 2018 to be applied to local housing need for the former St Edmundsbury area, the last data published before West Suffolk council was formed on 1 April 2019. For the former Forest Heath area the adopted local plan housing requirement is applied as the single issue review local plan which set the housing requirement for the former district is less than five years old.

2.3. Using this approach the housing requirement for West Suffolk is assessed as 770 dwellings per annum (dpa) which is the sum of the following:

  • 340 dpa housing requirement as set out in the former Forest Heath Single Issue Review adopted in 2019.
  • 430 dpa LHN requirement for the former St Edmundsbury area, as the adopted plan setting the housing requirement is more than five years old.

2.4. Paragraph 031 of PPG states where there is a shortfall in housing completions this should be added to the plan requirements for the next five year period (the Sedgefield approach), then the appropriate buffer should be applied. For the former Forest Heath area the shortfall will need to be addressed. However for the former St Edmundsbury area where the standard method for assessing local housing need is used there is no requirement to specifically address under-delivery separately, as step two of the standard method factors in past under-delivery as part of the affordability ratio. The shortfall for former Forest Heath area has been calculated as follows, a shortfall of 517 units over the plan period 2011 to 2022 measured against completions, see appendix 12 for full workings.

2.5. By addressing the shortfall in the next five years (the Sedgefield approach) gives an overall housing requirement of 874 dwellings per annum, which is the sum of 770 and 104.

2.6. The purpose of a five-year housing land supply (5YHLS) calculation is essentially forward looking, to provide assurance that sites are available to meet the future housing needs. By setting a single 5YHLS for West Suffolk will achieve this.

2.7. West Suffolk Council is currently producing a district wide local plan and is required to plan for housing requirement in accordance with the standard method (LHN), so will be determined according to the LHN figure of 791 dwellings per annum. Given the five-year housing land supply housing requirement figure is higher a separate report will not be required.

2.8. A note setting out how the LHN has been calculated for former St Edmundsbury area is set out in appendix 10.

The housing delivery test

2.9. The housing delivery test (HDT) was introduced as part of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (published in July 2018). It measures the actual delivery of homes over the past three years against the homes required within the local authority over the same period of time. The results published on 14 January 2022 take the form of a percentage. This showed West Suffolk delivered 128 per cent of the homes required, a positive result showing more homes were delivered than the target required. These results indicate a five per cent buffer should be applied to the 5YHLS assessment. As the test was met, there were no consequences and no requirement to produce a housing action plan.