University of Liverpool report recommends Wirral Council use 430 dwellings a year in Local Plan, former government minister for housing denies higher figure using standard method is a “target”
Above is an invoice I requested and received during the 30 day public inspection period. The invoice is from University of Liverpool to Wirral Council for £18,600 (£15,500 + VAT) and is for “settlement for three commissioned reports on the relationship between demographic change and demand for new housing”.
I made an information request to Wirral Council and in response Wirral Council published the reports on their website (along with a context note).
Here are links to the reports and context note:-
Evaluating the validity of the population and household projections underpinning the Local Plan: A response to public submissions (University of Liverpool Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Cities) 5th December 2018
The last of the three reports makes the following recommendation to Wirral Council in paragraph 5.6 on page 11:-
“As such we recommend that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council considers 430 dwellings per annum as the minimum requirement.”
The context note however states that the standard method for calculating housing need should be used (based on more out of date 2014 figures) and refers to the National Planning Policy Guidance which states at paragraph 60, “To determine the minimum number of homes needed, strategic policies should be informed by a local housing need assessment, conducted using the standard methodology – unless exceptional local circumstances justify an alternative approach which also reflects current and future demographic trends and market signals.”
In a letter written to Wirral Council in January 2019 the former Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP denied this was a “target” and stated “You refer to figures calculated as housing targets. I must be clear that the standard method for calculating housing need does not produce a housing target. Authorities should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes their communities need as the starting point in the process. Once this has been established, planning to meet that need will require consideration of land availability, relevant constraints and whether the need is more appropriately met in neighbouring areas.”
The Local Plan is expected to come back to Wirral Council’s Cabinet for a recommendation next month.
If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.