Council concedes housing land supply inadequate

The development of 125 houses in Wiltshire has been approved, the local planning authority ultimately conceding that it could not demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable sites.

The Wiltshire core strategy (CS) had reached an advanced stage but the final level of residential development within the housing market area (HMA) had yet to be finally agreed. Provisionally, the inspector undertaking the examination of the CS had asked the council to consider the implications of the planning practice guidance (PPG) on land availability assessments and whether this affected his conclusion that the objectively assessed need (OAN) for the whole of the HMA was 44,000 dwellings. The council responded stating that the PPG methodology for calculating the objectively assessed need suggested a starting point of 39,400 dwellings but it ultimately committed to 42,000 homes.

In determining what the OAN was the section 78 inspector decided that the best estimate was 44,000 even though his colleague examining the CS had yet to reach a final view. Since the council accepted that the adopted local plan was not up to date, in accordance with Gallagher Estates Ltd v Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council [2014], the housing requirement for the local planning authority for the purposes of applying paragraph 47 of the national planning policy framework was the OAN. Consequently, the weight attached to the emerging CS policy which had yet to be adopted did not arise. The site was sustainably located and in the absence of a five-year supply of housing land the benefits outweighed any harm.

Inspector: Paul Dignan; Inquiry

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