In a decision issued yesterday, an Inspector approved the use of a variant to the standard method for the purpose of calculating housing land supply in South Lakeland District.
Whilst the Council's land requirement was contained in policies which were more than 5-years old and had been found in need of updating, parts of the District are within the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Areas. In such circumstances, the PPG advises that an "alternative" to the standard method will need to be used (Paragraph: 014 Reference ID: 2a-014-20190220). The Inspector noted that just what sort of "alternative" approach is not defined in the NPPF or PPG.
The Inspector accepted the Council's approach of using the standard method adjusted to account for the number of dwellings needed in the National Park areas as opposed to using its 2017 SHMA (para.61).
The Inspector's decision will be a useful reference for those promoting or resisting schemes in council areas which include national park authorities.
In the case of South Lakeland, this resulted in a significant drop in its housing requirement but in many parts of the country, this approach would result in a significant increase.
The decision is of interest to both my public and private sector clients alike.
Ashley Bowes, who acted for the successful planning authority, has extensive experience representing developers and local authorities in appeals and local plan examinations where the housing requirement is in issue.
His book, A Practical Approach to Planning Law, has been published by Oxford University Press.