Data blog: How many authorities will be caught by the delivery test's toughest penalties?

An analysis by Planning shows that only a handful of authorities will initially be caught by the housing delivery test's toughest sanction, but proposals to make the test stricter over time could see dozens more face penalties.

New homes: delivery test now set for 2018 introduction
New homes: delivery test now set for 2018 introduction

Last month, an analysis by Planning sought to establish how many authorities could be caught by the housing delivery test’s first phase of sanctions.

But what about the test’s tougher penalties, set to be introduced from next November, which would see the presumption in favour of sustainable development applied if delivery of housing falls beneath certain thresholds, which would get progressively tougher over time?

The delivery test is intended to assess housing delivery - measured using official figures for net additional dwellings over a three-year period - against councils’ housing requirements.

Initial sanctions set out in the February housing white paper would see councils falling beneath certain thresholds required to produce an action plan (additions below 95 per cent of housing requirement), or plan for an additional 20 per cent buffer on their housing land supply (additions below 85 per cent).

But from late next year, the penalties would get tougher. The white paper proposes that, from November 2018, the presumption in favour of sustainable development would "apply automatically" in authorities where delivery falls below 25 per cent of the housing requirement.

In order to establish how many authorities could be caught by the proposed sanctions, Planning assessed delivery over the period 2013-16, the most recent three-year period for which net additions data is available (the test’s first assessment will cover the period 2014-17). The methodology assumes the introduction of the standard housing need method in the form set out in last month’s consultation, and unchanged plan-making progress.

November 2018: 25 per cent threshold

The analysis suggests that only a handful of authorities (shaded in dark red on the map below) would be caught by the 25 per cent threshold proposed for November 2018. It found that housing delivery rates in only seven authorities - Southend-on-Sea, New Forest, Redbridge, Adur, Haringey, Trafford and Luton - were lower than 25 per cent of the housing requirement. However, with these sanctions more than a year away, this group of authorities is certain to change. Luton, for example, is close to adopting its local plan - a step likely to alter its delivery figures.




November 2019: 45 per cent threshold

The white paper proposes that, from November 2019, the presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply in authorities where delivery falls below 45 per cent of the housing requirement.

Planning’s analysis suggests that this tougher threshold would catch an additional 51 authorities (shaded in light red on the map above). With the authorities below the 25 per cent threshold also included, the total number of authorities beneath the threshold is 58, the analysis finds.

November 2020: 65 per cent threshold

The presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply in authorities where delivery falls below 65 per cent of the housing requirement from November 2020, the white paper proposes.

Planning’s analysis suggests that a total of 124 authorities would be caught by this sanction. Housing delivery rates in 66 authorities (shaded pink) were between 45 per cent and 65 per cent of the housing requirement, the analysis indicates.


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