Dorset council to revise housing figures in wake of standardised methodology changes

A Dorset council is looking to reduce the number of homes it is planning for following the publication of the government's consultation on a standard methodology for objectively assessed need (OAN).

Dorset coast: Purbeck Council to look again at housing targets
Dorset coast: Purbeck Council to look again at housing targets

Purbeck District halted a partial review of its local plan in 2016 amidst controversy over its proposed housing requirement of 238 homes in the borough per annum.

Now, the council says it is planning to consult on a lower annual requirement for new homes, after the government’s consultation found just 168 homes were needed each year, a reduction of 29 per cent.

The figure from the government consultation tallies with an updated assessment of OAN carried out by consultancy GL Hearn for Purbeck under the existing system, which was published by Purbeck in October just after the government consultation came out.

The GL Hearn update found an annual need for 173 homes.

Gary Suttle, leader of Purbeck Council, said: "The government’s consultation indicates housing need in Purbeck has reduced from the number calculated in previous assessments based on Government policy and guidance.

"We are currently considering the number of new homes required to be built, based on the government’s new proposed guidance, as well as environmental restrictions and anticipated further changes to government policy in the future."

The revised figure will form part of a consultation on a full review of Purbeck’s local plan, which dates from 2012.

The council said that it was already planning a full review prior to the government releasing its proposals for a standard OAN methodology, but has delayed its consultation to take account of it.

A spokesperson for the council said the local plan consultation will now take place in the new year.

Suttle added: "Once we have completed our studies, we will go out to public consultation enabling everyone to have their say. As we have said before, this is about the getting the right number of houses in the right places and the government’s new proposals enable us to ensure we get this right for Purbeck."

The figure of 238 homes per annum from the previous OAN had included 111 homes per year needed to support economic growth. The proposed standard methodology, however, doesn’t include any adjustment for economic growth, although the consultation makes clear councils can plan for more homes if they see the need.

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