Land Supply

Land supply is a key part of planning and links plan policies & sites with actual delivery. Predicting when and how sites will be built-out is a core part of monitoring for councils.

Forecasting when and how sites will be built-out is a key part of plan making and monitoring. Councils are required to produce trajectories to show how strategic policies identify a 5yr housing land supply from the intended date of adoption of the plan as well as the housing land supply for the entire plan period.

The need to demonstrate a 5yr rolling supply of sites, known as 5yr housing land supply (5YHLS), is an embedded part of the planning system. However actually forecasting the when and how delivery will occur can be challenging and relies on both analysing planning data and engagement with developers & housebuilders. The end result might be a single figure of X-yrs supply however the processes to get to that figure requires a lot of work by councils.

What actually is 5YHLS?

5YHLS is essentially a table or spreadsheet of data about sites where they are expected to come forward to build-out within the next five years. The table or spreadsheet is usually accompanied by a trajectory or graph illustrating how many dwellings are expected to be delivered in each year of the five-year period.

Councils produce this table/spreadsheet at various instances

  • to support their plan, usually at examination
  • annually as part of their Authority Monitoring Report, housing land supply statement or Housing Delivery test Action Plan
  • or at any point needed, usually as part of a planning appeal.

When putting together the table or spreadsheet council officers assess what is the realistic prospect that those sites will come forward for delivery. This assessment includes looking at planning application and monitoring data but also engaging with developers/builders and seeking evidence that sites will be built-out. The spreadsheet needs be accompanied by evidence to justify the site data within it; this should include both generic assumptions on delivery rates as well as site-specific evidence.

When councils are unable to demonstrate a 5YHLS the presumption in favour of sustainable development (the titled balance) is triggered. You can learn more about this on our webpage (link to presumption event)

You can watch our recent event which covers how to keep planning when the titled balance has been applied alongside top tips for producing a 5YHLS.



Here you can see the proforma used by Sunderland City Council in their assessment of land supply for an Annual Position Statement.

COMING SOON – we will soon be launching a 5YHLS Frequently Asked Question section of the webpages. If you have a question you would like answered then email [email protected]