Implications of SM and NSM Worcestershire calculations
The Government is proposing a radical shake up to the Planning System which could
affect many rural communities and drastically reduce the opportunities for
communities and individuals to influence planning decisions. These changes are
contained in ‘Planning for the Future’ consultation.
They would mean that the ability of communities to respond to planning applications
would be reduced and areas of land designated in local plans for Growth would get
almost automatic planning permission.
However, in a parallel technical consultation paper the Government is proposing
change in its method of calculating the local housing requirement.
The reason for this is to exceed the political target of 300,000 new dwellings per year,
even though this is not based on the most up to date evidence which projects lower
house hold growth.
CPRE Worcestershire is concerned that the Government is changing the methodology
in a way which would increase housing in the county beyond what is genuinely needed,
and in way which led to more housing being built on poorly located estates in the
Worcestershire countryside, undermining urban regeneration across the wider West
Midlands and failing to deliver either affordable housing or to address climate change.
There is also a concern that these local housing targets would be almost impossible to
challenge and would allow developers to cherry-pick green field sites.
As well as undesirable social impacts this could hamper goals to reduce carbon
emissions and fail to provide the affordable housing needed, especially given proposed
changes to funding for affordable housing.
With this background in mind, Worcestershire CPRE commissioned me to undertake
calculations of housing requirements for both the existing and new methodologies.
I first explain how the new methodology would work and then consider how it might
impact on the housing requirements in Local Authorities in Worcestershire.