Norfolk council proposes 2,000-home housing target cut in wake of new standard method

A Norfolk council is proposing to slash 2,000 homes from its adopted core strategy housing target following the publication of the government's new standard method for calculating housing need.

Great Yarmouth: consultation on new housing target published

Great Yarmouth Borough Council adopted its Local Plan Core Strategy Part 1 in December 2015, which sets a housing target of 7,140 homes over the period 2013 to 2030, or 420 a year.

According to the council, the document defines two strategic locations for major residential and employment development, at Beacon Park and the riverside land in central Great Yarmouth, and details overarching planning policies.

The council has now published a consultation on a new draft development plan, the Local Plan Part 2, Development Management Policies, Site Allocations and Revised Housing Target.

This proposes a reduction in the overall housing target as well as provisional policies for deciding planning applications and suggested allocations of land for development.

A statement from the council said it is proposing that the overall housing target, originally set in the core strategy, is reduced from 7,140 homes between 2013 to 2030, down to 5,139 over the same 17-year period - a cut of almost 40 per cent.

It said this was a result of the government's new standard method for calculating housing need, introduced as part of the new National Planning Policy Framework, which produces a much lower housing requirement for the town.

The draft plan states: "The new 'standard method' is more responsive to market signals of housing demand, resulting in increases in housing targets for many areas, but in the case of Great Yarmouth Borough it significantly reduces the minimum housing target. The 'local housing need' resulting from the new method is currently 357 dwellings per annum, compared to the 420 dwellings per annum average required by the core strategy."

The plan says this figure "is currently considered likely to fall to something of the order of around 289 dwellings per annum when revised household projections are published in September 2018".

This is because, it adds, the government's latest population projections, on which the household projections are based, showed "a 35 per cent reduction in population growth in the borough since the previous issue".

The council's statement goes on to say: "This means the draft document suggests fewer sites for housing development, as fewer draft housing allocations are required, in addition to the number of homes that have already received planning permission, are under construction or have been completed since 2013."

The council said that, after the consultation, the draft document "will be reviewed in light of the responses and further government advice and data about revised planning policy and guidance, which could further alter the proposed overall housing target".

In a joint statement, councillor Graham Plant, the Conservative council leader, and councillor Trevor Wainwright, the Labour Group leader, said: "While the proposed overall housing target is likely to change again as more guidance and information is received from government, the reduced figure is closer to the pace of housing delivery that we can achieve locally, and gives the community and council more control over planning decisions."

The consultation runs until 30 September.

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