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Housing Need and the Standard Method

A new look for the Standard Method housing need formula


The Standard Method for calculating Local Housing Need, introduced to the planning system following the 2017 Housing White Paper, was intended to simplify and speed up the process of deciding on a housing requirement for Local Plans. But changes in the underlying demographic projections quickly exposed weaknesses in the formula and led to a Government commitment to look again at its methodology. A revised standard method is now overdue, but progress was promised in the Government’s Planning for the Future document, released on Budget day 2020. A White Paper is expected to set out proposals during 2020.

  1. It adds up to approximately 300,000 homes, the Government house building target for the mid-2020s;

  2. It is less susceptible to changes in the demographic projections;

  3. It takes a clear approach to addressing housing affordability by ensuring that the least affordable places have housing need numbers that would lead to the largest increases in total housing numbers.


It, therefore, provides the greater stability and predictability craved by both Local Planning Authorities and the house building industry. Bringing land forward for development is a long and often risky process for landowners and developers. A more stable planning environment would reduce the risk involved in land promotion and lessen the chances of conflict between land promoters and Local Planning Authorities.


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