The following frequently asked questions are related to the five year housing supply.

What is the 5-year housing supply?

Housing supply is the system by which councils demonstrate that they have enough land in their planning system to meet the annual targets for new homes. Supply is assessed as part of a rolling annual review process. This is designed to ensure local authorities continuously meet their required contribution to national Government housebuilding targets. A review is published annually after March 31.

How is Charnwood’s 5-year supply managed?

The council looks at housing sites which have either (i) already have planning permission or currently under construction or (ii) which are identified in a Local Plan as being likely to come forward for development over the coming five years. Officials work out how many homes can be built on the land and compare against the housing target. This gives a supply figure. For example,  Charnwood’s housing target for the next five years 2023 to 2028 is  1,105 new homes annually. This equals  5,525 homes over the next five years. The Council has calculated that the borough has  4,963 homes likely to come forward within the next five years.

What is CBC’s current supply figure?

Charnwood has allocated land for more than enough new homes to meet its housing target.  However,  not all of those homes are expected to be developed over the coming five years. The Council’s supply likely to come forward within the next five years is 4.27 years.

Who sets the housing target?

The system during recent years for setting the housing target for Charnwood has changed. In the past, it has been measured against the Council’s current Local Plan housing requirement of 820 homes a year. However, once a Local Plan is more than five years old, the supply of land must instead be measured against local housing need. This is calculated using a Government formula. It means that Charnwood must revert to the Government’s standard algorithm for calculating need. When a new Local Plan is adopted and replaces the old Local Plan, the Council can use the new housing requirement set out in the new Local Plan.

Can housebuilding be accelerated?

Charnwood has approved potential developments for around 13,060 homes in its pipeline. However, the majority of the permissions relate to three large Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) sites which have yet to be built (9,587 homes).

The three SUE sites, at Garendon Park, Broadnook and Thorpebury, are complex developments. As such, they require other considerations, for example resolution to legal questions, to be concluded before work commences. Even then, the scale of the SUE developments means that most of the new homes are unlikely to be completed within the next five years. Therefore, some of the planned homes  are not included in current housing supply.

Around  3,470 homes with existing planning permission in the Borough exist outside of the three SUE sites. However, while Councils can approve planning applications, they cannot force developers to build. Delays caused by external market pressures, such as the social and economic impact of the pandemic, may also slow completion of projects.

Why was supply focussed on the three Sustainable Urban Extensions?

Charnwood focussed development in the three SUE sites as part of the wider planning strategy to extend urban areas contained in its current Local Plan. In doing so, the authority could manage development in a way which supported regional infrastructure planning, for example around new roads and schools. It also meant that the bulk of planned development was confined to the extension of existing urban areas. This has benefits including preservation of the Borough’s countryside.

What does this mean for future development?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that local housing policies contained in the Local Plan should not be considered up to date if the local authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites. It means that the Council’s existing strategic planning policies relating to the location of new planning applications will carry less weight when planners make decisions on incoming applications.

How will the Council regain control over housing supply?

The Council will regain a five-year supply when the new Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37, which includes a housing requirement, is approved by Government. The Council, as with all other planning authorities, has spent several years preparing its Local Plan. It staged public consultations on draft versions in 2019 and 2021. The Local Plan 2021-37 has been submitted to Government and hearing sessions examining the plan concluded in February 2023. The Local Plan 2021-37 includes a buffer to provide flexibility in the housing supply in  case sites are delayed or do not come forward at all.

What happens next?

The new Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37 is currently in the examination phase. When the new Local Plan is adopted by the Council after it has been found sound by the Government, the Council would regain control over development in the borough by being able to demonstrate an annual five-year supply in future years.

Read more about the Charnwood Local Plan

Last updated: Thu 1st June, 2023 @ 13:46