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Written Statement - ‘Call for Evidence’ regarding the delivery of housing through the planning system

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Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs

High quality new homes in the right locations are essential in Wales to meet the growing need for housing. The national strategy, Prosperity for All, strengthens the role of the planning system by recognising planning decisions as critical in delivering the central goal of prosperity for all. The planning system therefore plays an important role in delivering the objectives of the national strategy – this includes ensuring development plans are delivery focused in future.

On the 10 May 2018 I announced my intention to undertake a wide-ranging review into the delivery of housing through the planning system. This was in response to the current housing land supply position and directly related to the under delivery of Local Development Plan (LDP) housing requirements.

As an initial part of the wide-ranging review, I am undertaking a ‘Call for Evidence’ to explore ways the planning system can assist in increasing the delivery of new homes in sustainable locations. The ‘Call for Evidence’ starts today, 18 July 2018, and will run for a 12 week period.
 
The ‘Call for Evidence’ provides stakeholders with the opportunity to put forward views and proposals, supported by evidence, to address housing land supply and delivery issues. However, I believe the following overarching principles apply and should be addressed through the evidence submitted:

• Planning decisions must be based on an up-to-date development plan – the plan-led approach to development management;

• Housing requirements should be based on evidence and all sites identified to meet the requirement must demonstrate they are deliverable;

• Monitoring arrangements and any associated actions must reinforce the plan-led approach to development management.

As a result of the current housing land supply position across Wales some Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are receiving ‘speculative’ applications for housing on sites not allocated for development in LDPs. This is generating uncertainty for communities and is to the detriment of the plan-led system. Therefore, in support of the review and to alleviate some of the immediate pressure on LPAs, I have decided to dis-apply paragraph 6.2 of Technical Advice Note (TAN) 1: Joint Housing Land Availability Studies. This removes the paragraph which refers to attaching “considerable” weight to the lack of a 5-year housing land supply as a material consideration in determining planning applications for housing.

As a result of the dis-application of paragraph 6.2 of TAN 1, it will be a matter for decision makers to determine the weight to be attributed to the need to increase housing land supply where an LPA has a shortfall in its housing land.

The dis-application of paragraph 6.2 of TAN 1 takes effect from 18 July 2018. The planning applications affected will include all those which have been made but not determined by the relevant authority. The dis-application will not apply to planning applications where it has been resolved to approve subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in increasing housing delivery to meet the needs of communities across Wales to respond to the ‘Call for Evidence’.