Ten councils that are considering higher density housing development

Ten councils say in their housing delivery test action plans that they will consider using higher densities to help boost development, according to research by Planning.

Southend: council looking at boosting housing density
Southend: council looking at boosting housing density

Our review of housing delivery test action plans published so far by councils finds that ten councils are committing to supporting or encouraging higher density developments in order to help deliver more homes, or to commission studies to explore the potential for higher density developments in their areas.


Read our council-by-council guide to measures being taken to boost housing delivery

The most common approaches to boosting housing delivery revealed by the action plans

The most common causes of housing under-delivery, according to action plans

The 21 councils who could be made vulnerable by the lack of a housing delivery action plan

Councils’ Housing Delivery Action Plans: Planning’s full Insight Report


The councils stating that they would consider exploring higher density development are:

  • Epsom and Ewell
  • Gravesham
  • Ipswich
  • London Legacy Development Corporation
  • Mole Valley
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Southwark
  • Spelthorne
  • Three Rivers
  • Wirral

Planning studied the 67 action plans published so far in areas shown by the government’s housing delivery test to have delivered fewer than 85 per cent of their target number of homes over the previous three years. The research covered all the plans that were published as of 7 October 2019. 

The research outlines the overall numbers of councils who have and haven’t published an action plan, and highlights the common causes of housing under-delivery as cited in the published action plans. 

It also identifies councils who, as part of their plans to boost housing delivery, are proposing to:

  • increase direct delivery of housing, either through the setting up of a council-owned housing company or involvement in a joint venture
  • make new land allocations or area designations in DPDs
  • initiate calls for sites or Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments
  • review use of conditions
  • review planning department resource and/or capacity
  • consider CPOs or direct purchase of land
  • encourage the use of small sites

and much more

View our exclusive council-by-council breakdown of proposed actions to tackle housing under-delivery to see the identity of the councils concerned, and view their action plans.

  • The Planning for Housing conference, organised by Planning, takes place in central London on November 12. Speakers include housing minister Esther McVey, MHCLG chief planner Steve Quartermain and Taylor Wimpey planning director Mark Skilbeck. For details, click here

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