Housing Delivery Test results finally published

The long-awaited Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results were finally published today. The HDT is different from a five-year housing land supply requirement, in which councils are required to have enough homes in the pipeline. Instead, the HDT requires that enough homes are actually being built. So even if a council has a healthy five-year supply, they may still fail the HDT and if they fail it badly, the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ kicks in.

What this means is that where a council has failed to deliver up to 45% of the number of homes it was supposed to over the last three years, the presumption in favour is engaged. Where they have delivered under 95%, they have to add a 20% buffer to their five-year housing land supply calculation. This is a clear incentive for councils to ensure that they allocate enough deliverable sites and make development plan led.

Chapman Lily notes a number of interesting results:

Authority HDT measurement Consequence
Arun 68% Buffer
Bournemouth 66% Buffer
Christchurch/East Dorset 82% Buffer
Eastleigh 90% Buffer
North Dorset 71% Buffer
Poole 74% Buffer
Purbeck 70% Buffer
South Somerset 97% None
Wiltshire 149% None
West Dorset 124% None

A full list and further analysis will follow soon.

Steve Tapscott, Senior Planner at Chapman Lily, commented that: “the results make very interesting reading, with a number of councils falling into the presumption in favour category. The situation will no doubt worsen for many councils over time, as out-of-date local plan housing targets get replaced with the government’s standard method, which will see a significant increase in many local authorities’ targets”.

If you have a site you are thinking of developing and would like to know how the HDT results affect your prospects, please contact Chapman Lily Planning.