The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Black Country Authorities Strategic Housing Study
The GBSLEP and Black Country planning authorities have commissioned a Strategic Housing Needs Study (SHNS) in order to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (including the Duty to Co-operate, which came into force through the Localism Act after the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy was revoked). The outputs of the Study include:
A definition of the Housing Market Area (HMA) and an estimate of its future housing need
A comparison of forecast need against current supply
An exploration of spatial scenarios to address the forecast shortfall
In summary, the main findings of the Study are as follows:
The HMA comprises the GBSLEP area (minus Wyre Forest and East Staffordshire) and the Black Country as well as North Warwickshire, South Staffordshire and Stratford-upon-Avon (in part).
The report subdivides this further with the Black Country and South Staffordshire comprising a Black Country sub-market and the remaining authorities the Birmingham sub-market.
The Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) stands at 207,093 dwellings for the HMA. In terms of supply, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of 37,572 dwellings across the HMA.
Over 90% of this shortfall is need arising in Birmingham which cannot be met within the authority boundary, with much smaller proportions from Solihull and Tamworth. The Black Country estimates that it has capacity to meet its own requirements up to 2031.
Local Authorities are required to provide enough housing to meet their needs in order to have their Local Plans found sound. In addition, the consequences of not meeting this need include greater problems with overcrowding, rising house prices and a failure to provide sufficient affordable housing.
The study notes that there is a balance between future job and likely economically active population but this assumes that the land and infrastructure is made available to accommodate the additional housing. Economic potential will not be fully realised if there are insufficient dwellings for the workforce.
It should be noted that the SHNS is an evidence-based study and while it does explore spatial scenarios, it does not identify a preferred option to accommodate future housing need. Under the Duty to Co-operate, all local planning authorities in the HMA will work together to discuss the options for distributing local growth and with authorities outside the HMA who may have potential surplus housing capacity.
The study will not impact on the ability of local authorities to determine where housing growth can be accommodated. Therefore, the outcome of any discussions on the distribution of growth will be reflected in each local authority's Local Plan. However, it is clear that additional housing growth will need to be accommodated within the HMA and as a result, some policy designations will need to be revisited.
In the context of the Black Country, the study will be used as evidence to assist with the identification of additional housing capacity as part of the review of the Black Country Core Strategy, due to commence in 2016.
For further information on the Study please contact:
Michele Ross, Wolverhampton City Council
Mike Smith, Walsall MBC
Martin Dando, Dudley MBC
Patricia McCullagh, Sandwell MBC