What are objectively assessed needs?

Understanding ‘objectively
assessed needs’
Nicky Linihan
Director – NJL-Solutions
National Planning Policy Framework
Para 47: To boost significantly the supply of housing, local
planning authorities should:
use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the
full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable
housing in the housing market area, as far as is consistent with
the policies set out in this Framework…..
Para 50 :
• Plan for a mix of housing based on current and future
demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different
groups in the community (such as, but not limited to, families
with children, older people, people with disabilities, service
families and people wishing to build their own homes);
• identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is
required in particular locations, reflecting local demand;
Para 159: Local planning authorities should prepare a Strategic
Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).
The SHMA should: identify the scale and mix of housing and the
range of tenures that the local population is likely to need over
the plan period which:
• meets household and population projections, taking account of
migration and demographic change;
• addresses the need for all types of housing, including
affordable housing and the needs of different groups in the
community (such as, but not limited to, families with children,
older people, people with disabilities, service families and
people wishing to build their own homes); and
• caters for housing demand and the scale of housing supply
necessary to meet this demand;
National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG)
The starting point: household projections
• They are trend based i.e. they provide the household
levels and structures that would result if the assumptions
based on previous demographic trends in the population
and rates of formation were to be realised in practice.
• They do not attempt to predict the impact that future
government policies, changing economic circumstances
or other factors might have on demographic behaviour.
NPPG Continued
Other factors that need to be taken into account:
• The level of affordable housing
• Economic/employment needs
Plan makers should not apply constraints to the overall
assessment e.g. limitations imposed by the supply of land,
environmental constraints.
In combination the above factors give an indication of the
number of homes likely to be needed which can then be
tested in terms of , for example, availability of sites,
viability/deliverability, infrastructure, environmental
Some practical assistance:
Provides an excel based toolkit using Office of National Statistics
and Department of Community and Local Government
population and household projections - presents it in a easy to
read way so that you can:
• See how a local authority area has changed and what it looks
like now
• What the overall level of population is likely to be in the future
• What it is likely to look like in terms of its age profile
• What type of households are likely to exist in the future in
terms of size and age
• See how these compare with neighbouring authority areas
NB The toolkit has not been updated to take account of the
2011 household projections published April 2013
• Provides the ‘starting point’ for having an informed
debate on the number and types of homes likely to be
needed in a local authority area
• Provides the same information for every local authority
in England
• Is supported by a Companion Guide produced by the
Local Housing Requirements Working Group (LHRAWG),
and a report prepared by the Cambridge Centre for
Planning and Housing Research: ‘ Choice of
Assumptions in Forecasting Housing Requirements’.
• It’s free!
LHRAWG includes: BPF, Building and Social Housing Foundation, CIH,
HBF, LGA, NHF, Northern Housing Consortium, POS, Shelter, RICS, RTPI,
Who is responsible for house building?
Nicky’s statistically invalid survey!!
Those questioned are not involved in the planning and housing
professions and the responses set out below are taken from
direct quotes:
‘local councils; housebuilders; government and government
policy; individuals through small site development; landowners;
capitalists/entrepreneurs; charitable institutions (e.g. provision
of alms houses); housing associations; building societies and
banks; the consumer (no demand – no housebuilding)’
The missing ingredient – local communities.
Nicky Linihan
‘Objectively Assessed Needs’
Community Context
meeting local needs with rural
Arlene Kersley
Rural Housing Enabler for Berkshire
07894 099384
The NPPF on rural housing
Para 54:In rural areas…local planning
authorities should be responsive to local
circumstances and plan housing development
to reflect local needs, particularly for affordable
housing, including through rural exception sites
where appropriate.
Local planning authorities should in particular
consider whether allowing some market
housing would facilitate the provision of
significant additional affordable housing to
meet local needs.
SHMA Guidance 2007
“… there are occasions where primary data could
be used. Examples include:
• to assess the requirements of specific
household groups of local interest or importance
relating to particular affordable housing products.
In addition, survey data can provide evidence
about housing aspirations and preferences.
Primary Evidence - Tools
• Surveys
• Consultation event feedback
• Registries of Interest
Policy - Shifting Sands
• Ensure surveys /reports reflect current
Local Authority allocations guidance and
take into consideration the impacts of
welfare reform and ‘spare room subsidy’
Different means to meet
different ends?
• Neighbourhood Plans
– Evidence must be wider in scope and take in
the requirements of the whole community
• Rural Exception sites
– Still dependent on evidencing local affordable
housing needs
• Is the LA waiting list sufficient?
Census 2011
Neighbourhood Statistics
invaluable for collecting LLSOA and parish data.
Census Consultation
3 month consultation on the future of the Census
23 September to 13th December
There is a risk that in the future the Census will not include small area statistics.
Nicky Linihan
Arlene Kersley

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