The starting point for examining future housing policy is the Government White Paper 'Fixing our broken housing market', published by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in February 2017. Prior to the White Paper, input was received from various bodies such as the Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) which made various recommendations concerning local planning, Local Plans and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make local planning more efficient and more effective ('Local Plans - Report to the Communities Secretary and to the Minister of Houses and Planning', LPEG, March 2016). The White Paper states at the outset in the Introduction (page 9) that there is a need for 225,000 to 275,000 new homes per year to keep up with population growth. However these figures were not based on evidence, but on consensus opinion of various bodies going back to 2004. These figures are repeated in the Government consultation 'Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals' published by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in September 2017, where it is stated that the figures are the belief of "external commentators".
In the consultation it is stated that housing need in local authorities should be based on the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) projections for numbers of households, but adjusted by a complex factor to get a total housing need close to the figure of 225,000 to 275,000 per year given above. The ONS data are based on a methodology given in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) report 'Household Projections 2014-based: Methodological Report', July 2016. The data and methodology are summarised in DCLG report '2014-based Household Projections: England, 2014-2039' and are given in a spreadsheet '2014-based live projections', 12th July 2016. The methodology is based on the assumption that housing will be built in "places where affordability is worst" (see for example Fig 3 of the White Paper).
An extract from Table 427 of the spreadsheet for the Devon local authorities is given in 'Devon Household Projections'.
It should be noted that all the above documentation use the term 'projection' and not the term 'prediction' for future housing need. In other words, the Government can claim that it is not forecasting what future housing need will be, rather it is just giving one of many possible guesses or estimates of future housing need. By using the word 'projection', the Government can in future deny that its policy is based on forecasts it has made and which turn out to be totally wrong.
A few other papers that may be of interest are:
'Better Planning for Housing Affordability', February 2017, RTPI: states that a specific housing challenge in the South West is the ageing population and also highlights the dwindling amount of affordable housing in rural areas.
'Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposal', September 2017, APSE: an overview of the consultation proposal and further Government proposals.
'Housing capacity on suitable brownfield land', October 2016, CPRE.
'Brownfield; The Housing Crisis Solved?', December 2017, The Gracechurch Group.
Government information, planning issues, white papers etc.
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- White Paper Fixing_our_broken_housing_market.pdf
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- Devon Household Projections.pdf
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- Planning for the right homes in the right places - consultation proposal.pdf
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- Brownfield - The Housing Crisis Solved - Report 111217.pdf
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