Posted by: John Brace | 14 August 2018

Was figure of 803 new homes a year in Wirral Council Cabinet report on the Local Plan calculated incorrectly?

Was figure of 803 new homes a year in Wirral Council Cabinet report on the Local Plan calculated incorrectly?


House building on the Wirral 2018

House building on the Wirral 2018

I’ll start this look at how the housing requirement figure was calculated for Wirral Council’s Local Plan consultation by pointing out some good news. The housing requirement figure was calculated based on population projections. The government response to the draft National Planning Policy Framework was published last month and states on pages 26 to 27:

“A number of responses to this question provided comment on the proposed local housing need method. The government is aware that lower than previously forecast population projections have an impact on the outputs associated with the method. Specifically it is noted that the revised projections are likely to result in the minimum need numbers generated by the method being subject to a significant reduction, once the relevant household projection figures are released in September 2018.”

However back to how the numbers are calculated, this document sets out the standard method.

Stage 1 – Setting the baseline

You look at the most recent figures for household projections for Wirral for this year and for ten years from now here.

These figures are:

2018 – 145,000 households
2028 – 152,000 households

The projected annual household growth per a year over that period is (152,000-145,000) divided by 10 = 700.

Step 2 – An adjustment to take account of affordability

You take the most recent workplace-based affordability ratio, then apply it to a formula to calculate the adjustment factor.

For Wirral this figure is 5.92, so the adjustment factor is ((5.92 – 4) divided by 4) times by 0.25 = 0.12.

This adjustment factor is applied to a formula to give the minimum annual local housing need figure.

So the minimum annual local housing need figure is (1+0.12) times by 700 = 784.

Step 3 – Capping the level of any increase

The figure in the existing Unitary Development Plan is 700 households a year.

The average annual household growth calculated in step 1 is 700 a year.

The minimum annual local housing need figure calculated in step 2 is 784 a year.

The cap is set at 40 percent above the higher of the most recent average annual household requirement figure or household growth. These figures are both the same (700 a year).

The cap is therefore 700 + (40% of 700) = 980 a year.

As the capped figure (980) is higher than the annual local housing need figure (784) then the annual local housing need figure is used of 784 new homes a year.

This figure differs from the higher figure of 803 new homes a year used in the Cabinet report. This 803 figure appears to be based on the figure in this table which is using the 10 year period 2016 to 2026, rather than 2018 to 2028. The figure in that table is marked with an asterisk which means it hasn’t been verified by Wirral Council and may be subject to correction. The table was published last year as part of a consultation by the government called Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals.

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  1. You need to go back to the Evidence provided in the SHMA 2016 to understand where the massive errors are in the figures.

    I don’t doubt the error in the calc but these figures are way over actual ‘need’

    The Wirral is a Peninsula with only one way in and out. No major infrastructure projects or big employers.

    The evidence data is fundamentally flawed and creates a grossly inaccurate view on the economic outlook for the Wirral and demand for housing.

    7000+ extra jobs? from where (experian generic data! )

    A reducing and aging population (so why the huge increase in housing?)

    Takes no account of the geography of the Wirral or surrounding areas. The Wirral is in between Liverpool and Manchester. Jobs are central to these locations, you will never create a pull from these areas.

    Figures where inflated because they where produced during a recession.

    The correct numbers can be found looking at what House builders actually build based on real demand. They aren’t going to build if they cant make money or drive the cost of housing down.

    Try 200dpa MAX and it would reflect the true ‘need’ on the Wirral