RTPI concerned that the OAN methodology does not consider future growth
The RTPI have expressed concerns that the new OAN methodology would simply entrench existing housebuilding pattern by failing to recognise the importance of employment projections or grown aspirations.
The new OAN methodology was subject to consultation in September 2017, through which the concerns of the RTPI and other organisations were raised, mainly with regard to the lack of a forward looking approach and the failure to address the need for a mix of housing tenures and types.
The response from the RTPI notes that the new OAN methodology would result in lower housing targets in the north and higher in the south, therefore doing nothing to address the tendency to base housing growth on past trends. Instead, the RTPI claim the industry requires a forward looking approach, considering employment projections and future growth aspirations in order to ensure the methodology is not too short termed and narrow.
The RTPI also suggested that local authorities need to be more holistic and incorporate existing plans and strategies. These include a Council’s own economic growth strategy, local enterprise partnerships and wider government plans such as the Northern Powerhouse and the Oxford-Cambridge Corridor.
Concerns were also expressed over the proposal to stop using Housing Market Areas (HMAs) as geographical units for housing assessments. Assessing need based on local administrative districts could maintain existing house creation patterns and will erode the need for strategic planning and cooperation across boundaries. This was accompanied by concerns that increasing planning fee levels for authorities delivering homes but not increasing them across the board would leave under-performing authorities in a vicious cycle.
Harry Burchill, policy officer at the RTPI has said ‘The RTPI sees the benefit of a better way to identify local housing need using a clear and justified method, but the current proposals need work. There is not one housing crisis but many, each with different variants. There must be a multifaceted approach to dealing with it.’
The full response from the RTPI can be found on their website.