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New Standard Methodology for Calculating Local Housing Need Confirmed

Following earlier criticism, the Government has this week announced a ‘new’ method, which DHA's Mark Bewsey explains

Earlier this year the Government proposed a new standard methodology for calculating local housing in order to reach their much heralded target of building 300,000 dwellings per annum. This received significant criticism in the local and national media and across the political sphere due to fears that these requirements would result in protected landscapes and countryside being concreted over. The new method was dubbed the ‘mutant algorithm’ and would have set a target nationally in excess of 300,000 including some very significant requirements within the south east.

As a result of the criticism, the Government has this week announced a ‘new’ method, which is not in fact new at all. The original method will stay, other than for the 20 most populous cities and urban centres in the Country, which will be subject to 35% uplifts. This includes London, which is now subject to an annual need of 93,579dpa and in the wider south east this includes Reading, Southampton and Brighton & Hove who were not able to get close to their previous requirement of 924dpa due to the constraints posed by the South Downs and the sea. Their local need now sits at 1,247dpa which will put pressure on neighbouring authorities such as Horsham and Mid Sussex. All other authorities will be subject to the previous figures, first set out in 2017 and based on household growth projections dating back to 2014.

We have compiled a list of new housing requirements for local authorities across the wider south east, and have run quick calculations of the implications of scrapping the proposed method and reverting to the previous figures for most authorities. Across our study area, the confirmed method totals 44,353 new homes per annum. This is just over 10,000 lower than the scrapped method would have required, but is still coincidentally 10,000 homes more than current adopted Local Plan targets require.

Click here to see a list of local authorities across the wider south east and details of their various requirements under the scenarios of their adopted local plan targets, the previous standard methodology, the now scrapped proposed method, and the new method.

We would be pleased to discuss implications of this news for your sites, local plans and development requirements in more detail. For more information please contact Mark Bewsey.

For more information call 01622 776226 or email:

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