Report of Director of Planning, Strategy and Regeneration.
The committee considered the report of the Director of Regeneration and Planning providing Members with an update on recent housing delivery at the end of the 2016/2017 financial year.
The Core Strategy (adopted 2013) planned for the delivery of 5,022 net additional dwellings between 2006 and 2027. As of the end of 2016/17, a total of 2,576 units had been delivered since the start of the plan period. This left 2,446 units to be delivered until the end of the plan period at an annual average of 244.6 units per year.
Falling housing delivery rates over recent years had meant that the total number of units that had been delivered was now less than the cumulative target. At this point in the plan period, 2,640 units should have been delivered, so actual delivery was 64 units short of the number of houses that should have been delivered at this point in the plan.
In the 2016/17 year, a total of 203 net additional dwellings had been completed, compared to an annual target of 240 new dwellings per year. Those 203 net dwellings were provided across 48 sites. The highest number of dwellings was completed in Quarter 4. During the 2016/17 financial year, a total of 305 net additional units were granted permission across 79 sites. By comparison, a total of 246 units were committed in 2015/16.
Of the 305 units granted permission, 91 units were committed through changes of use of office to residential at 20 Upperton Road (56) and 2 St Anne’s Road (35). 64 sites (81%) were granted permission of less than 5 unit, with 33 sites (42%) being granted permission for just one additional unit.
It had been identified that a total of 173 net additional units across 25 development sites were refused planning permission in 2016/17. A list of these refusals was attached to this report within Appendix 2. Members recognised that not all of the units granted permission would be built. Evidence over the Core Strategy plan period (since 2006) suggested that 76% of units granted permission were completed. At a 76% delivery rate, meeting the Core Strategy target of 240 units per year would require 316 units to be granted permission each year.
Members were advised that the Housing White Paper proposed the introduction of a new Housing Delivery Test on local authorities from November 2017. The test would identify the number of houses built against the housing target over a rolling three year period
If during the first assessment period the delivery of housing fell below 95% of the target, local authorities would be required to publish an action plan setting out an understanding of the key reasons for the situation and the actions that could be taken to get home-building back on track. Where local authorities were delivering less than 85% of their housing target action would also be required to add a 20% buffer to their Five Year Housing Land Supply calculation.
An analysis of housing delivery over the first assessment period shows that 576 units were delivered against a target of 720, which equated to 80% delivery. This meant that the from November 2017, the Five Year Housing Land Supply buffer will be increased to 20% and an action plan on housing delivery would need to be produced.
National planning policy placed considerable weight on the delivery of new housing, and the five year housing land supply was a material consideration in the determination of planning application.
Eastbourne currently had a housing land supply equivalent to 839 units, which represented 2.8 years supply of land, including the 20% buffer required as a result of persistent under-delivery of housing and the housing delivery test. Therefore a five year housing land supply could not be demonstrated, which meant local plan policies relevant to the supply of housing were out of date and could not necessarily be relied upon to refuse development.
The process for identifying additional sites was currently underway through the Strategic Housing & Employment Land Availability Assessment. This study was due to be completed over the summer 2017, and would inform the production of a new Local Plan. The more sites identified as developable through this process, the closer to the Five Year Housing Land Supply requirement would be. This would give Members better control over approvals and greater comfort that refusals would not be overturned on appeal.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.