Proven land supply to help protect against speculative development

Telford & Wrekin Council has secured a key legal tool it can now use to fight inappropriate new speculative housing applications in the borough.

Proven land supply to help protect against speculative development

The Council has confirmed that it now has a robust five year plus supply of housing land – a key requirement of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Introduced in 2012, the NPPF says that councils must prove that they have at least five years housing land supply to control housing development applications.

Without this, there is Government presumption in favour of sustainable development, a change that has made councils virtually powerless to refuse speculative and often large scale housing applications.

The Council’s confirmed supply statement means it now has much more secure grounds on which it could reject any unplanned speculative housing applications that the Council feels are not appropriate for the area.

Only a small number of UK councils have to date lodged proof of five year land supply.

The move applies immediately to any new applications, while the Council will also review a number housing applications previously granted but where permission has still to be issued.

Key legal issues affecting councils’ interpretation of five housing land supply were only clarified by the High Court last year. Following this, Telford & Wrekin has sought specialist advice using Office of National Statistics population data released in February 2015 to create the most robust case possible for its land supply statement.

Cllr Charles Smith, cabinet member for Housing, Development and borough towns said; “This now puts the Council in a stronger position when considering housing planning applications in future, together with a more robust defence against possible future planning appeals.

“We have lobbied Government for help on this matter to give us greater power to deal with unwelcome and inappropriate large scale planning applications but their position has remained to favour developers.

“Using this new information, we have created a very robust proof of housing land supply here.

“We have always said that we want to ensure that we decide on our terms, not developers, where housing growth happens. This will help us to ensure that we can now apply our local plans and that these are much less likely to be overruled by Government changes to the planning system which favours developers over local people.”