Planning Reforms

New Government proposals would dramatically increase Gloucestershire housing

The Government is proposing radical new changes to the planning system which would dramatically increase the number of new houses in Gloucestershire.

Local authorities are required to use a Standard Methodology set out by the Government to determine the amount of new housing that will be needed in their area. The Government’s target is for 300,000 new homes to be built per year across England.

The Government is proposing such far-reaching changes to their new proposed methodology for calculating the number of houses required, that in some areas of Gloucestershire, there would be an 150%  increase of houses to be planned for.  

Required housing delivery: dwellings per annum

  Current Standard Methodology Proposed New Standard Methodology Percentage Change
Gloucestershire (total) 3245 4747 +46%*
Cheltenham Borough 531 529 -0.4%
Cotswold District 487 1209 +148%
Forest of Dean District 370 608 +64%
City of Gloucester 658 578 -12%
Stroud District 635 786 +24%
Tewkesbury Borough 564 1037 +84%

 

We found that the proposed new methodology would increase housing numbers in the county far beyond what is genuinely needed. We believe that the methodology would lead to more housing being built in the countryside on poorly located, car-dependent sites, failing to deliver sufficient affordable housing or to address climate change.

How are these figures calculated?

Both methods of determining housing needs are based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) projections of population growth and the number of homes that will be required. Under the current method, ONS projections from 2014 are being used. To these an ‘affordability adjustment’ is then added to calculate local housing requirements on the basis that the higher house prices are relative to earnings the greater is the need for additional housing.

Under the proposed new method, the calculation would be based on the 2018 ONS projections which in general are lower than those for 2014. The method would also take into account the existing housing stock numbers. The ‘affordability adjustment’ would be amended to account for changes in affordability over the last ten years, which results in those areas with the steepest house price rises since the recession in 2009 getting the highest adjustment whether or not this is the best place for that housing.

What this means for Gloucestershire
  • For Gloucestershire as a whole, the new housing requirement is 80% above the baseline figures derived from the ONS projections.
  • The figures for Cotswold District are particularly alarming as 80% of the District lies within the Cotswold AONB and there are comparatively few local opportunities for employment. Across the District, and particularly within the AONB, the need is for local jobs and affordable housing and not more homes for people working outside the area or more second homes. The same can be said for the Forest of Dean.
  • The Tewkesbury figures are equally alarming for another reason. Under the Joint Core Strategy, the Borough has provided the lion’s share of the housing needs for Gloucester and Cheltenham which have constrained boundaries meaning that houses had to be built on our Green Belt. Further loss of our Green Belt should be avoided.
What can you do to take action?

Write to your MP

Sign this petition

Donate to us as we continue our campaigning to ensure that the Gloucestershire countryside isn’t lost to swathes of tarmac and concrete because of a methodology that isn’t fit for purpose.

The more detailed report of the impact of the new methodology which we commissioned is below, as well as a summary report.