Calculating housing targets
'The National Planning Policy Framework expects strategic policy-making authorities to follow the standard method for assessing local housing need. The standard method uses a formula to identify the minimum number of homes expected to be planned for, in a way which addresses projected household growth and historic under-supply. The standard method identifies a minimum annual housing need figure, it does not produce a housing requirement figure.
Planning Practice Guidance states that whilst the use of the standard method is not mandatory, if it is felt that circumstances warrant an alternative approach, authorities can expect this to be scrutinised more closely at examination. There is an expectation that the standard method will be used and that any other method will be used only in exceptional circumstances.
The baseline for the standard methodology is the 2014-based household projections and Planning Practice Guidance specifies that these are used within the standard method to provide stability for planning authorities and communities, ensure that historic under-delivery and declining affordability are reflected, and to be consistent with the Government's objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes.
Planning Practice Guidance states that where an authority can show that an alternative approach identifies a need higher than using the standard method, and that it adequately reflects current and future demographic trends and market signals, the approach can be considered sound as it will have exceeded the minimum starting point. However, the Guidance states that where an alternative approach results in a lower housing need figure than that identified using the standard method, the authority will need to demonstrate, using robust evidence, that the figure is based on realistic assumptions of demographic growth and that there are exceptional local circumstances that justify deviating from the standard method. This will be tested at examination.
It goes on to state that any method which relies on using the 2016-based household projections will not be considered to be following the standard method as set out in paragraph 60 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
You can view further information on national planning policy and guidance in respect of calculating housing need in the National Planning Policy Framework (Gov.uk - National Planning Policy Framework) and in Planning Practice Guidance (Gov.uk - Housing and economic needs assessment).