How will delivery tests affect Councils?
From November we will see the impact of delivery tests on housing land supply in our Council areas. When delivery falls below 95% of five year supply Councils must produce action plans to show how they will meet targets. Any Council below 85% will need to provide for a 20% buffer on top of their five year supply.
A recent study by consultancy Lichfields found that 56% of Councils across England would be providing the 20% buffer. Looking only at the South East, the figure was as much as 70%.
Failure to show that extra 20% will trigger the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Some might argue this is little different to the way in which persistent under delivery has applied following the NPPF. However, Lichfields’ study suggest a far larger number of Councils will be caught by the delivery test.
It is currently unclear how this might all play out after November. An automatic application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development concerns bodies such as the Planning Officers’ Society They argue this could have huge implications. In the development world some fear the presumption could be watered down. This would then have only limited impact on the delivery of homes.