Hallelujah, The WLBC Local Plan Rears Its Ugly Head Again

If there is one subject before the WLBC Cabinet and Council that is guaranteed to cause aggravation it is local planning.

Well, gird up your loins, fresh courage take, and wait for the Aughton Residents Group to be all over the Local Development Scheme January 2020 version, which is an item at the WLBC Cabinet next week.

SUBJECT: A LOCAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME FOR A NEW LOCAL PLAN

“PURPOSE OF THE REPORT 1.1 To seek endorsement of a new Local Development Scheme, providing a new timetable for the preparation of a new Local Plan and update on the Council’s Five-year Housing Land Supply position.

“RECOMMENDATIONS That the update in the Council’s position on five-year housing land supply set out at paragraphs 3.5-3.7 below and in the Updated Housing Land Supply Position Statement (at Appendix B) be noted. That the Local Development Scheme (at Appendix C) be endorsed for publication.

“In accordance with, and to satisfy, paragraph 33 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a Review of the adopted West Lancashire Local Plan 20122037 has been undertaken using part of the new Planning Advisory Service Local Plan toolkit (see Appendix A). This Review of the Local Plan is now a requirement for any Local Plan that is five years old and it simply assesses whether the adopted Local Plan is still fit for purpose, or whether it (or parts of it) need to be updated. If the Review finds that the Local Plan (or part it) does need updating, this then directs the local authority to prepare a new Local Plan (or new sections of the Local Plan where only part needs updating).

“It should be noted that this “Review of the Local Plan” is different to what the Council was preparing between September 2016 and September 2019 (which the Council called the “Local Plan Review”). The Local Plan Review was instigated before paragraph 33 of the NPPF was introduced by Government and was so termed to reflect that it was using the adopted Local Plan as a starting point and reviewing it to create a new Local Plan to extend into the future.

“It should also be noted that, by concluding as it does, the Review of the Local Plan triggers a change in how the Council will measure Five-year Housing Land Supply going forward until a new Local Plan is adopted. Paragraph 73 of the NPPF states: Local planning authorities should identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement set out in adopted strategic policies, or against their local housing need where the strategic policies are more than five years old. [my emphasis]

The West Lancashire Local Housing Need for 2019 uses: • The 2014-based Household Projections (average increase of 170.7 households in WL over 2019-2029); and • The 2018 Affordability Ratio (6.54). Using the PPG formula, LHN = [1 + 1 (6.54 – 4)] x 170.7 4 = ((2.54/16) + 1) x 170.7 = 1.15875 x 170.7 = 197.80 dwellings per year

When applying this figure to the five-year housing land supply calculation, the buffer is set at 5% because West Lancashire passed its 2018 Housing Delivery Test (published February 2019).

West Lancashire’s housing requirement for 2019 – 2024 is therefore: (197.8 x 5) plus 5% = 989 x 1.05 = 1,038 dwellings.

Supply As set out in Indicator HG.2 and Appendix A of the Annual Monitoring Report 2019, the anticipated deliverable housing land supply for 2019-2024 in West Lancashire is 2,242 dwellings. Therefore, against a LHN requirement of 1,038 dwellings, the number of years of deliverable housing land supply for West Lancashire Borough on 1 April 2019 was 10.79 years (2,242 / 1,038 x 5 years).

Clear as mud? Don’t blame me, its planning gobbledegook at its best.

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