Local Plan Watch: Inspector backs LLDC plan's departure from standard housing need method

An inspector has backed the London Legacy Development Corporation's (LLDC's) local plan review and said that "exceptional circumstances" justify the strategy using an alternative approach to the government's standard method for calculating housing need. .

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (pic: Getty)
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (pic: Getty)

The LLDC's Revised Local Plan proposes the delivery of 22,000 new homes in its area between 2020 and 2036, or 1,375 homes per year.

The standard method was introduced in the 2018 revised National Planning Policy Framework as the basis of calculating local housing need and can only be departed from by plan-makers in exceptional circumstances. 

The examination report on the LLDC's plan review accepts that the development corporation was justified in using an alternative approach to the standard method for calculating housing need. 

The data sets from the household projections, published by the Office for National Statistics, "does not include a separate projection for the LLDC area", inspector Mike Fox’s examination report noted.

“Likewise, the latest Greater London Authority demographic projections for London are for the boroughs and not for the development corporations,” his report, published in late April, added.

“The LLDC’s lack of nationally available data for its area means that it is not possible to use the ‘standard’ methodology for determining housing need, and in this situation, exceptional circumstances justify using an alternative approach.”

The inspector noted that the emerging London Plan housing needs figure of 2,160 homes per year is “significantly higher” than the corporation’s objectively-assessed need figure of 619 dwellings per annum.

However, he concluded that the proposed provision of at least 22,000 hew homes in the area over the plan period 2020-36 is justified.

“There is a need for the plan to strike an appropriate balance between housing delivery and economy growth”, the report said. “The evidence points to the limited capacity for new housing”. 

Elsewhere it states: "An important part of the reasoning behind the housing figure in the plan is the identified capacity, which is limited in the corporation’s area, especially when considered alongside the need, as part of the Olympic legacy, to prioritise land to provide an effective employment base for the plan area."

LOCAL PLAN UPDATES

CONSULTATION NEWS

Derbyshire: North East Derbyshire DIstrict Council is set to start a three-week consultation on 2 June to update its housing land supply data, to inform a forthcoming examination hearing session. The move follows a planning inspector giving the green light to the examination hearing following a delay during the coronavirus outbreak. According to the council, the technical consultation will be followed by a wider public consultation on main modifications to the plan, including seeking views on the removal of three large previously-allocated green belt sites. Dates for the main modifications consultation and how it will work will be announced on the council’s website. 

Aberdeenshire: Aberdeenshire Council has published its proposed local development plan (LDP) 2020 and accompanying strategic environmental assessment environmental report for consultation. The documents were published for online consultation on 25 May, and are open for comments until 17 July.

EXAMINATION NEWS

Oxfordshire: Inspectors have found Oxford City Council’s local plan sound. The plan, which proposes almost 11,000 new homes up to 2036 and the release of eight green belt sites for housing, was found sound in a report by inspectors Jonathan Bore and Nick Fagan published on 15 May.

Essex: A planning inspector has written to the North Essex Authorities Group to advise that the area’s joint local plan should drop proposals for two of three garden communities proposed in the document due to financial viability concerns. The joint plan is being prepared by Braintree District Council, Colchester Borough Council and Tendring District Council. 

Essex: Inspectors examining the Uttlesford local plan have confirmed that the document has been withdrawn by the council. Inspectors Lousie Crosby and Elaine Worthington confirmed that the council had requested the withdrawal on 5 May after the inspectors had previously raised “significant concerns” about the document, including “vague” evidence to justify proposals for three garden communities.


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