BMSDC Joint Local Plan - Pre-Submission Reg19 (interactive) 2020

Ended on the 24 December 2020
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06 - Housing Needs & Requirements

Policy background and explanation

(2) 06.01 National planning policy requires that local planning authorities produce Local Plans to meet, as a minimum, the identified future housing needs in the Plan area, as well as cooperate with neighbouring local planning authorities to meet the overall needs of the identified Housing Market Area (HMA) as a whole. The relevant HMA for the Babergh and Mid Suffolk area is known as the Ipswich HMA which consists of the entire districts of Babergh, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk and the area of the former Suffolk Coastal District Council (now part of East Suffolk District Council).

06.02 To determine the minimum number of homes needed, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that strategic policies should be informed by a local housing need assessment, conducted using the Government's standard methodology for calculating local housing need[10]. The methodology is made up of a calculation involving key, publicly available data from Office for National Statistics (ONS) on household growth projections and local housing affordability ratios.

(2) 06.03 Babergh and Mid Suffolk have undertaken to produce a joint Plan document with many common policies, although the identified development needs and monitoring of performance will be undertaken and recorded for each respective local authority district area. The baseline year of the Plan is April 2018, with the Plan end date of March 2037 (19 years). Using the standard methodology, the local housing need for Babergh and Mid Suffolk is as follows:

Local Authority

Standard Method Total (2018 – 2037)

Annual Local Housing Need Target




Mid Suffolk



(3) 06.04 The local housing need represents a 'starting point' in identifying housing requirements for Babergh and Mid Suffolk. There are a number of other factors to consider when setting the housing requirement. The Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) indicates that there is a sufficient supply of land to meet the housing need set out in the standard methodology. National Planning Practice Guidance sets out that there may be circumstances where additional growth may be required. However, it is important to understand the likelihood of higher levels of growth being delivered. The local housing need figures produced by the Government's standard methodology is significantly higher (approx. 30%-40%) than the current levels of housing delivery. This Plan aims to set out a proactive approach which can significantly boost the supply of housing land and delivery in the district, consistent with Government policy.

06.05 Babergh and Mid Suffolk are planning to meet their full identified local housing needs. Unmet housing need has not been identified to Babergh and Mid Suffolk by any neighbouring authorities, either within the Ipswich HMA or beyond. An Ipswich Strategic Planning Area (ISPA) statement of common ground is agreed between authorities in the Ipswich HMA detailing a process to follow should unmet needs become identified. Should it be determined through the plan making process that another authority within the ISPA is unable to meet its minimum housing need, the Councils will, under the duty to co-operate, work collaboratively to determine whether housing development needs that cannot be met wholly within a particular area, could be met elsewhere. An agreement to seek to accommodate unmet housing need would trigger an immediate review of the strategic policies of this Plan.

06.06 As of April 2018, a substantial number of dwellings required are already accounted for via commitments, as set out in the table below. These will contribute to meeting the overall requirement.

Local Housing Need Plan requirement (2018 to 2037)

*Outstanding Planning Permissions (dwellings) as at 01/04/2018

Residual requirement (Local Housing Need minus outstanding planning permissions)





Mid Suffolk




* Major sites with significant delivery uncertainty have been discounted

(5) 06.07 Delivery is a key challenge of the Plan. In recent years, the delivery of new housing has been below the adopted requirements and the new local housing need figure in both Districts. The Councils are taking proactive measures to improve delivery rates including, reviewing stalled planning permissions and investing in building new local houses. In order to help maintain a consistent and favourable supply and delivery of development throughout the Plan period, the policies aim to identify and create flexibility for sufficient housing development. To achieve this, the Plan has identified a buffer of approximately 20% in the supply of new land (see Spatial Distribution chapter). This will give greater confidence to meeting delivery targets and also to communities knowing that land for future needs is identified rather than unknown.

(1) 06.08 The NPPF recognises that small and medium sized sites can play an important role in meeting housing requirements and can improve delivery as they can be built out relatively quickly. Paragraph 68 of the NPPF requires local planning authorities to identify land to accommodate at least 10% of the housing requirement on sites no larger than one hectare. This requirement is met by the Plan.

06.09 In addition to ensuring that enough new housing is being delivered, it is important to ensure that the right mix, type and size of new housing is delivered. This will provide a wide choice of homes and contribute towards sustaining mixed communities and demographics. The most up to date Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) will provide conclusions on the size of property needed in each tenure for the Districts as a whole. Currently, the SHMA (January 2019) provides the most up to date evidence on the needs for mix and type of housing across the Districts over the plan period. This demonstrates that the greatest need is for two, three- and four-bedroom accommodation. If appropriate new evidence is produced on the mix and type of housing required during the plan period, this will be made available on the Councils' websites in due course. In addition to the District wide SHMA, local housing needs surveys may give a more localised view on the type and size of new housing required. The appropriate tenure mix of housing development is set out in the relevant affordable housing policies of the Plan.

(50) Policy SP01 – Housing Needs

  1. Across the plan area the mix, type and size of the new housing development will be expected to reflect established needs in the most relevant district needs assessment, or any local housing needs surveys where relevant.


  1. The Joint Local Plan will seek to deliver a minimum of 7,904 net additional dwellings (416 dwellings per annum) within the Babergh district over the plan period (2018 – 2037).

Mid Suffolk:

  1. The Joint Local Plan will seek to deliver a minimum of 10,165 net additional dwellings (535 dwellings per annum) within the Mid Suffolk district over the plan period (2018 – 2037).
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