Posted by: John Brace | 23rd October 2019

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”

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”

                                  

University of Liverpool invoice to Wirral Council

University of Liverpool invoice to Wirral Council

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

An objective assessment of the latest ONS Household Projections for Wirral Metropolitan Borough (Professor Ludi Simpson, University of Manchester) 21st December 2018

Determining Housing Need on Wirral: a review of the commissioned evidence

and

Context note for University of Liverpool housing reports

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The context note however states that the standard method for calculating housing need should be used (based on more out of date 2014 figures) and refers to the National Planning Policy Guidance which states at paragraph 60, “To determine the minimum number of homes needed, strategic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.

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Responses

  1. Surly if you look at the number of people on the housing waiting list, and then how many houses are available, take one from the other and this would give you the number of houses you need to build,
    do i send my invoice to the council

    • Thanks for your comment.

      The housing waiting list as far as I know just includes people wanting to rent, whereas how many houses built each year needs to consider how many are needed to rent and houses people want to buy.

      The figure of new houses a year also has to take into account how many of the unoccupied (or empty) properties will be brought back into use as well as how many people there are likely to be in each household etc.

      Also for the Local Plan it has to predict how many new houses will be needed for each of the fifteen years between 2020 and 2035!


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