The 20 councils we predict will be able to reduce their housing land supply thanks to the 2019 delivery test

Twenty councils are likely to be able to reduce their housing land supply under the 2019 housing delivery test, according to research by Planning.

Housing delivery: new test results estimated by Planning
Housing delivery: new test results estimated by Planning

The delivery test aims to measure how effectively each local authority is delivering housing. It works by comparing each councils' level of housing delivery - using the the net additional dwelling figures - over a three-year period to the total number of homes required.

The first test results for the 2015-18 period were published in February - three months late - and the second, covering 2016-19, were due last month. However, they have been postponed, the housing ministry told Planning last month, until after the general election.

As was the case last year, authorities found by the 2019 test to have delivered less than 85 per cent of their housing requirement are required to demonstrate a "buffer" of 20 per cent more housing sites than would be needed to meet their five year land supply target. The penalties take effect from the moment the results are published, according to the 2018 version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). 

Under the NPPF, all councils have to demonstrate a five per cent land supply buffer as standard, in addition to their five-year supply of housing sites.

Ahead of the government's release of the official 2019 test figures, Planning has carried out its own research to estimate what the results might be. More details on our methodology can be found here.

We found that this year, 112 authorities - or 34 per cent - scored under 95 per cent and seem set to face a penalty under the test, which means that at minimum they will have to produce an action plan showing how they will improve their housing delivery performance over the next year.

Of these, eight authorities fall under the 45 per cent threshold and we predict will face the presumption (although most of them already face the presumption for other reasons). Meanwhile, we predict that 83 - a quarter - will have to find the additional 20 per cent buffer due to scoring under 85 per cent. Some 66 per cent escape a penalty.

However, according to our research, 20 authorities that scored below 85 per cent in the 2018 test would now come above this threshold. They would therefore see their housing land supply buffer reduced from 20 to five per cent, or by 15 percentage points. 

These 19 councils are:

  • Barnet
  • Basingstoke and Deane
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Bradford
  • East Hertfordshire
  • Harlow
  • Hounslow
  • Melton
  • Mid Suffolk
  • Mole Valley
  • Newham
  • Pendle
  • Sefton
  • South Cambridgeshire
  • South Holland
  • Southwark
  • Tendring
  • Waveney
  • Wigan

Full details from our study of all the 112 councils' estimated housing requirement and delivery figures can be found here.

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