Local Housing Provision

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 2017.

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Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Conservative, Pudsey 12:00 am, 24th April 2017

What plans he has to introduce an alternative method of estimating the number of homes a local area may need.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

What plans he has to introduce an alternative method of estimating the number of homes a local area may need.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

It is essential that local plans start with an honest assessment of housing need in the area. As we set out in our housing White Paper, we will introduce a standardised approach to assessing housing need to ensure that that is the case.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Conservative, Pudsey

The methodology used by Leeds City Council has brought about an excessive 70,000 housing target, which has threatened swathes of green-belt and greenfield sites in my constituency. If the alternative method proves my community’s suspicion that the target is excessive, will that override the current target and help to save these important green lungs in my constituency?

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

The methodology will reveal the real level of housing need in Leeds. Local authorities across the country choose to build more homes than are needed because they have an ambition to grow. There is a legitimate debate to be had about that, but my hon. Friend’s constituents should have a clear understanding of what the relevant need is. I should add that the housing White Paper makes it clear that green-belt land should be released only in exceptional circumstances when all other options for meeting housing need have been explored.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

Pendle has lots of brownfield sites, and many homes that have been granted planning permission have not yet been built because of the depressed property market, leading to low demand. How can we ensure that low demand in areas such as Pendle is better reflected in housing targets?

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

That is exactly the purpose of the new methodology that we plan to introduce. The level of housing need for which we plan should reflect the real market demand for housing in an area.