Jonny Britton LandTech

Takeaways from UK’s toughened housing delivery tests

LandTech has analysed the Government’s newly released housing supply data to give property professionals and the public deeper insight into what these figures mean for the UK’s housing market. This will be the first time that the Government will have to enforce the ‘consequences’ for Local Authorities that are falling behind on their targets – meaning a dive into uncharted territory over the coming months.




Below are five key insights from the data.

  1. We’ve got more houses. But is it enough?

Each local authority is given a unique housing target, based on household projections and local housing need.

On average in 2019, local authorities were performing at 117% of their individual targets, rising from 112% in 2018.

However, over a third (34%) of authorities missed their targets.

  1. Are those houses in the right areas?

England and Wales might be building more houses, but from the heatmap, it’s clear that new housing is still falling short in areas where people most want to live – and where prices are highest.

Kent and the commuter belt are increasingly red on the heatmap compared with 2018. Authorities such as Gravesham, Medway, and Sevenoaks are at beneath 75% of their new housing targets.

Compared with 2018:

  • Gravesham improved slightly – going from 64% to 75%
  • But Sevenoaks fell from 94% to 71%
  • And Medway is continuing to do badly, dropping from 47% to 46%

Regionally the North is still continuing to overdeliver on targets. Northumberland, Carlisle, and Eden all delivered 200% of their housing targets.

East of England has seen a mild improvement from 2018, with Mid Suffolk and Waveney going from 81% and 72% respectively to 99% and 89% in 2019.

  1. Here are the local authorities most overdelivering on their targets
Authority 2018 Measurement 2019 Measurement
Richmondshire 410% 863%
Burnley 388% 405%
Cheshire West & Chester 365% 382%
Redcar and Cleveland 292% 379%
Copeland 242% 351%
Preston 252% 313%
Allerdale 278% 304%
Scarborough 241% 282%
Cambridge 388% 280%
Ribble Valley 260% 278%
  1. Here are the local authorities falling furthest short of their targets

These are the authorities that are the furthest from hitting their housing targets over the past three years.

Authority 2018 Measurement 2019 Measurement
City of London 42% 32%
Havering 49% 33%
Thanet 44% 35%
Eastbourne 73% 38%
Three Rivers 67% 41%
New Forest 35% 43%
Basildon 75% 44%
North Hertfordshire 55% 44%
Ipswich 66% 46%
Medway 47% 46%
Calderdale 36% 48%
  1. There are some consequences for those LAs not hitting their targets

According to paragraph 215 of the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF), authorities face consequences if they don’t hit their targets.

If they are underneath 95% of their targets – they have to come up with an action plan detailing why they’re under-delivering, explore ways to reduce the risk of further under-delivery, and also set out measures on how they’ll improve delivery.

This applies to 26 authorities (8%)

If they are underneath 85% of their targets – they have to produce an action plan and provide a 20% extra buffer to the 5-year land supply they’ve allocated towards housing.

This applies to 74 authorities (27%)

If they are underneath 45% of their targets – authorities have to provide an action plan and provide a buffer and the “application of the presumption in favour of sustainable development will apply.”

This applies to 8 authorities (2.5%)

Note: This cutoff point will rise to 75% next year.

But this is all uncharted territory – so how these consequences will be enforced will remain to be seen.

Note: 218 authorities (67%) have met their targets and will face no consequence.

Jonny Britton, CEO of LandTech: “What’s clear from this data is that a lot of homes are being built – but it’s still not enough. The much-talked-about target of 300,000 new homes each year is still being missed by quite a margin.

“We know that developers are eager to do more. We work with housebuilders of all shapes and sizes, and the appetite to build houses is there. In particular, smaller SME developers are doing some great things in the space, and are always looking to do more.

“Supporting these developers – with new datasets and wider access to technology – will help them deliver the right houses, in the right places. We’ve seen firsthand the impact it’s had as LandInsight users have been able to find opportunities for new housing in sites that might once have been overlooked.

“There’s so much more that the Government can do to support this innovation. There’s funding, yes, but also things like opening up access to existing datasets, or creating standardised addressing across the country.

“A lot of proptech companies are doing a lot of incredible things – and we’re all eager to share everything we’ve learnt. We’re just waiting for the Government to ask.”

This is government data. To see how it’s measured, check the Government’s Housing Delivery Test Technical Note. Each measurement result was rounded to the nearest 1%.


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