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Worcestershire Housing Supply Update

Every Council is required to maintain an up-to-date housing land supply to meet the current and future needs of the community. Usually, Councils are required to provide a minimum of a five year housing land supply, with an appropriate buffer. However, in December 2023, as part of the Government's updates to the National Planning Policy Framework, this was amended so that councils with an emerging local plan which has been submitted for examination or one which has reached the Regulation 18 or 19 stage would only be required to provide a four year housing supply. The intention is to encourage Local Authorities to have an up-to-date local plan which should independently allow the Council to ensure development meets the needs of the community.


The Government are expected to publish further guidance on how precisely to calculate the four year housing land supply, although recent appeal decisions have already dealt with this matter.


The South Worcestershire Development Plan covers three Council areas: Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council, and Wychavon District Council. This Plan is subject to review which has been submitted for independent examination. Therefore, the four year housing land supply requirement would apply to these three Councils.


In December 2023, the three South Worcestershire Council's housing land supply report were published. This demonstrated that none of the three can demonstrate a five year housing land supply, and only Worcester City has a supply of over four years including the appropriate buffer. The exact calculations are included below:


Council

Five Year Housing Land Supply Calculations

Malvern Hills

3.31

Worcester City

4.81

Wychavon

2.65


This means that new housing developments in the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Council areas will benefit from the tilted balance, where the presumption in favour of housing will apply and must be considered within the determination of any planning application or appeal. This is an extremely important factor for town planners to consider for any housing scheme in the area and will likely have an impact on housing applications in the area.


Viable Placemaking have great experience assisting with the preparation, submission, and management of planning applications and appeals and have worked on many schemes for housing where the Council's housing land supply is part of an applicant's case. If you would like more information on how this may impact your scheme or the implications of housing land supply generally, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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