Published: Thursday, 19th November 2015
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called for an overhaul of the way local authorities set housing targets after claiming the present system led to countryside being lost unnecessarily.
The pressure group claimed in a report that research it has commissioned showed that local authorities were being asked to base their plans on aspiration rather than need. This resulted in ever higher housing targets and the consequent unnecessary release of countryside for development without an increase in overall house building.
CPRE commissioned Housing Vision, housing market consultants, and Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, to review the methodologies used to determine “objectively assessed need” for housing since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012.
CPRE insisted there were a large number of problems with how the targets are calculated and said the research found a lack of clear guidance in the process, a lack of objectivity in the calculations, and a lack of concern for land availability and environmental impacts.
The organisation said the research demonstrated that the unrealistic targets were putting undue pressure on the countryside. “Setting targets far higher than can be realistically built just means that developers have more sites to choose from: as static building rates show, higher targets do not mean faster delivery” argued CPRE.