Local Plan Housing Allocations Survey - research report

Summary

Background

In September and October 2020 the Local Government Association (LGA) conducted a survey of Heads of Planning of English local planning authorities. The purpose of this survey was to estimate the number of dwellings allocated in local plans which had not yet either received permission or were yet under consideration. A total of 192 replied – a response rate of 59 per cent. The respondents were broadly representative of all English regions and types of council.

Key findings

The regions with the longest housing pipeline were Yorkshire and Humberside, at 9.1, and the East of England, at 8.6. The shortest pipelines were in the South West and North East at 5 years.  

Introduction

In September and October 2020 the Local Government Association (LGA) conducted a survey of Heads of Planning of English local authorities with responsibility for planning. The purpose of this survey was to estimate the number of dwellings allocated in local plans which had not yet either received permission or were yet under consideration. The survey also aimed to estimate, using the annualised housing requirement, the number of years it would take for those dwellings to be processed.

The results of this survey were to inform the LGA response to two consultations: a consultation on changes to the current planning system, closing on 1 October 2020, and the ‘Planning for the future’ consultation, closing on 29 October 2020.

Methodology

Between 22 September and 16 October 2020, the LGA’s Research and Information Team sent an online survey to all Heads of Planning or equivalent for all local authorities with responsibility for planning in England. This includes district councils, unitary authorities (including the Isles of Scilly), metropolitan borough councils, London boroughs (including the City of London) and a small number of non-council local authorities such as National Park authorities. The survey was sent to a total of 326 local authorities. A total of 192 replied – a response rate of 59 per cent.

Whilst these results should strictly be taken as a snapshot of the views of this particular group of respondents, rather than representative of all Heads of Planning, this level of response means that the results are likely to provide a good indication of the position of the sector more widely.

Table 1 and Figure 1 provide a breakdown of response rate by type of authority. As can be seen, response rates varied between different authority types, although in general a reasonable number of authorities from each type, with the exception of ‘Other’, non-council local authorities, took part in the survey. The type of authority with the highest response rate was unitary authorities, at 70 per cent. The type of authority with the lowest response rate, excluding ‘Other’ authorities, was metropolitan districts, at 44 per cent.

Table 1
Type of authority Total number Number of responses Response rate %
District 188 119 63%
London borough 33 16 48%
Metropolitan district 36 16 44%
Unitary 57 40 70%
Other 12 1 8%

 

Table 2 and Figure 2 provide a breakdown of response rate by region. As can be seen, response rates differed significantly by region, although a reasonable level of participation was received from all regions. The region with the highest response rate was the East of England, at 75 per cent. The region with the lowest response rate was London, at 46 per cent. Please note that there are 35 local planning authorities in London (33 London Boroughs plus two development corporations).

Table 2: Response rate by region
Region Total number Number of responses Response rate%
East Midlands 40 30 75%
East of England 46 26 57%
London 35 16 46%
North East 13 8 65%
North West 41 20 49%
South East 66 37 56%
South West 32 23 72%
West Midlands 30 17 57%
Yorkshire and Humberside 23 15 65%

 

Estimation of values for non-responding local authorities

In order to produce the overall estimates featured below, it was necessary to estimate values for those local authorities which did not respond. These authorities were assigned the average value reported by responding authorities which shared the same region and authority type – for example, the average for metropolitan boroughs in the North West.

Local Plan Housing Allocations Survey

This section contains analysis of the results from the survey.

Net additional and annualised housing requirements

Each authority was asked for the net additional housing requirement adopted in their Local Plan. This refers to the need for additional housing within an authority’s area by the end of the period to which its Local Plan applied.

As Table 3 shows, the estimated total of these net additional housing requirements across England was just under 4.1 million. This can be broken down by how recently the Local Plan was adopted, by region and by authority type. Of the 4.1 million total, almost 1.8 million – 44 per cent – was accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted less than five years ago[1]. The remaining 2.3 million, 56 per cent of the total, were accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted more than five years ago. The region with the highest share of the housing requirement was the South East, at 17 per cent, and the region with the lowest share was the North East, at three per cent. District councils accounted for the largest share of the housing requirement, at 44 per cent, whilst London boroughs accounted for 13 per cent.

Table 3 also shows the net additional annualised housing requirement. This is the total housing requirement divided by the number of years in an authority’s Local Plan period. The total represents the average number of new houses required each year to meet the total housing requirement.

The estimated total for the net additional annualised housing requirements across England was around 223,000. Broken down, around 96,000 (43 per cent) of this was accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted less than five years ago, and 127,000 (57 per cent) was accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted more than five years ago. The region with the biggest share of net additional annualised requirements was, as with the total net additional housing requirement, the South East, at 17 per cent, and the region with the lowest share was once again the North East, at three per cent. District councils again accounted for the largest share of the annualised housing requirement, at 41 per cent, whilst London boroughs accounted for the lowest share among council local authorities, at 16 per cent.

Table 3
  Total housing requirement   Annualised housing requirement  
  No. % No. %
Overall for England 4,092,300 100% 223,000 100%
         
Plan adopted less than 5 years ago 1,790,000 44% 95,600 43%
Plan adopted more than 5 years ago 2,302,300 56% 127,400 57%
         
East Midlands 410,600 10% 20,700 9%
East of England 571,800 14% 28,000 13%
London 529,200 13% 35,100 16%
North East 140,900 3% 7,200 3%
North West 419,000 10% 23,200 10%
South East 697,800 17% 38,900 17%
South West 529,100 13% 27,000 13%
West Midlands 361,800 9% 17,700 9%
Yorkshire and Humber 432,200 11% 25,300 11%
         
District 1,804,500 44% 91,000 41%
London Borough 529,200 13% 35,100 16%
Metropolitan borough 700,100 17% 39,600 18%
Unitary 1,058,500 26% 57,300 26%
         

Note: figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. As such, they may not add up with complete precision. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole per cent. Authority types classed as ‘Other’ have not been analysed separately due to small numbers and sparsity of provided data.

Dwellings allocated over the Local Plan period

Authorities were asked for the number of dwellings for which their Local Plan allocates land over the period to which it applies. These allocations are intended to partially, but not wholly, fulfil the Local Plan’s adopted total housing requirement.

As Table 4 shows, the total number of dwellings for which land was allocated in Local Plans across England was around 2.7 million. Just under 1.2 million of these (43 per cent) were accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted less than five years ago, and the remaining 1.5 million (57 per cent) were accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted more than five years ago. The South East had the largest proportion of these, at 16 per cent, whilst the North East had the lowest, at three per cent. Districts accounted for the greatest percentage of allocations, at 45 per cent, whilst London boroughs accounted for 13 per cent.

Table 4
  Dwellings allocated over the local plan period  
  No. %
Overall for England 2,676,200 100%
     
Plan adopted less than 5 years ago 1,156,100 43%
Plan adopted more than 5 years ago 1,520,100 57%
     
East Midlands 300,700 11%
East of England 375,900 14%
London 344,700 13%
North East 75,600 3%
North West 232,200 9%
South East 441,400 16%
South West 275,500 10%
West Midlands 307,300 11%
Yorkshire and Humber 322,900 12%
     
District 1,201,500 45%
London borough 344,700 13%
Metropolitan borough 497,500 19%
Unitary or other 632,600 24%

 

Note: figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. As such, they may not add up with complete precision. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole per cent. Authority types classed as ‘Other’ have not been analysed separately due to small numbers and sparsity of provided data.

Dwellings currently without permission and not under consideration

Authorities were asked for the number of dwellings allocated in their Local Plan which had so far received permission. They were also asked for the number of dwellings allocated in their Local Plan which had not received permission, but were currently under consideration. The sum of these two measures was subtracted from the total number of dwellings allocated to arrive at a measure for the number of allocated dwellings which were without permission and not under consideration at the time of data collection.

Table 5 and Figures 3, 4 and 5 show the estimated total number of allocated dwellings currently without permission and not under consideration across England, including a breakdown by how recently the Local Plan was adopted, region and authority type. As can be seen, the estimated total number of allocated dwellings currently without permission or not under consideration was over 1 million. Of this, a little less than 460,000 (46 per cent) were accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted less than five years ago, and over 540,000 (54 per cent) were accounted for by authorities with Local Plans adopted more than five years ago. The regions with the greatest share of allocated dwellings without permission and not under consideration were the East of England, the South East and the West Midlands, each at 15 per cent. The region with the smallest share was the North East, at 3 per cent. Districts accounted for around 44% of these dwellings, whilst London boroughs accounted for around 13 per cent.

Table 5
  Allocated dwellings currently without permission and not under consideration  
  No. %
Overall for England 1,003,600 100%
     
Plan adopted less than 5 years ago 458,800 46%
Plan adopted more than 5 years ago 544,700 54%
     
East Midlands 99,200 10%
East of England 150,900 15%
London 133,800 13%
North East 27,200 3%
North West 100,000 10%
South East 148,100 15%
South West 68,000 7%
West Midlands 146,900 15%
Yorkshire and Humber 129,500 13%
     
District 437,100 44%
London borough 133,800 13%
Metropolitan borough 238,700 24%
Unitary or other 194,000 19%

Note: figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. As such, they may not add up with complete precision. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole per cent. Authority types classed as ‘Other’ have not been analysed separately due to small numbers and sparsity of provided data.

Number of years of supply

The final stage in the analysis was to estimate how many years of development are already allocated in plans – that is, how long would it take the development industry to build out all the land already allocated without planning permission. This was calculated using the following process:

Calculate the dwellings: The net dwellings allocated was divided by the total housing requirement, to understand the relationship between dwellings on allocated sites as opposed to ‘windfalls’. Windfalls are a standard component of land supply and defined by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as dwellings not specifically identified in the development plan that come forward as a reliable source of completion.

Calculate the annual delivery rate: The average yearly rate of additional dwellings for 2016/17 to 2018/19, according to data provided by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), was used to divide the number of allocated dwellings currently without permission and not under consideration, to provide the estimated number of years required to process allocated dwellings alone.

Calculate the years of supply: The 2,676,200 net dwellings allocated by local authorities across England constituted 65 per cent of the total housing requirement of 4,092,300 adopted in their Local Plans. The 1,003,600 allocated dwellings without permission and not under consideration, divided by the average annual rate of additional dwellings of 227,000, was 4.4, meaning it represents an additional pipeline of almost four and a half years of land supply. Factoring in windfalls increases the pipeline to 6.8 years. Table 6 displays these estimates, overall and broken down by when the authority’s Local Plan was adopted, region and authority type.

 

Table 6: Estimates for time required to process outstanding dwellings
  Allocations as % of housing requirement Average annual rate of additional dwellings Years of delivery on allocated sites Years of delivery including windfalls
Overall for England 65% 227,000 4.4 6.8
         
Plan adopted less than 5 years ago 65% 132,100 3.5 5.4
Plan adopted more than 5 years ago 66% 94,800 5.7 8.7
         
East Midlands 73% 21,100 4.7 6.4
East of England 66% 26,800 5.6 8.6
London 65% 35,800 3.7 6.7
North East 54% 10,100 2.7 5.0
North West 55% 26,800 3.7 6.7
South East 63% 39,100 3.8 6.0
South West 52% 26,200 2.6 5.0
West Midlands 85% 22,000 6.7 7.9
Yorkshire & Humber 75% 19,100 6.8 9.1
         
District 67% 94,500 4.4 6.7
London borough 65% 35,800 3.7 5.7
Metropolitan borough 71% 39,800 6.0 8.4
Unitary or other 60% 52,800 3.7 6.2