Greater Birmingham housing shortfall can be slashed by allocating more urban sites, says study

The shortfall of planned homes in the Greater Birmingham city-region could be significantly less than previously thought due to extra urban capacity being potentially available, according to a report.

Birmingham: additional housing capacity identified
Birmingham: additional housing capacity identified

The strategic growth study for Greater Birmingham, published by consultancy GL Hearn, says that there is an outstanding minimum shortfall of 28,150 homes to 2031 and 60,900 homes to 2036 across the city’s housing market area (HMA), "based on current supply assumptions and taking into account proposed allocations in emerging plans".

At the time of the adoption of the Birmingham local plan last year, it was estimated that the shortfall for the city-region’s housing market area - which also covers the Black Country - was 38,000 to 2031.

A previous study published in 2015 identified a shortfall of at least 37,600 homes against a need of 207,000 homes up to 2031, based on a review of council strategic housing land availability assessments, the GL Hearn report notes.

But GL Hearn concludes in its report, which was commissioned by the area’s local authorities, that there is "a developable land supply of (rounded) 180,000 dwellings across the HMA to 2031, and 198,000 dwellings to 2036, based on sites and supply currently identified."

The report finds that provision of between 205,000-246,000 homes is needed across the housing market area to 2031; and of between 256,000 to 310,000 to 2036. When needs arising from neighbouring Coventry and Warwickshire are taken into account, the figures rise to a minimum provision of 208,000 by 2031 and 258,500 to 2036, it says.

The report identifies potential additional urban capacity in the area of 15,125 new homes to 2031. "GL Hearn sought to collate information on brownfield development opportunities, current and potential estate regeneration schemes, and the potential supply from employment land," it says.

The GL Hearn study also finds that developing at higher densities on existing sites and around transport hubs could yield an extra 13,000 homes, further reducing the housing shortfall.

To close the remaining shortfall, the report recommends the creation of 11 areas of search for strategic development within and beyond the green belt. These include four new settlements - south of Birmingham, around Balsall Common, around Shenstone and between Birmingham and Bromsgrove/Redditch. The study also proposes four urban extensions and three employment-led areas of search.

Birmingham City Council last week announced that it would be increasing its housing target after boosting efforts to intensify development. And a growth deal to deliver 215,000 homes across the West Midlands by 2031 was signed with the government last week.

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