Council’s housing assessment criticised

In a letter to the online Guildford Dragon News Ben Paton writes about Guildford’s Assessment of Housing Need that ‘Falls Far Short Of Any Acceptable Standard’

Ben Paton

The following is an extract of that letter

From Ben Paton (pictured)


The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that ‘objectively assessed housing need’ must be set out and analysed in a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). A SHMA is so fundamental to a Local Plan that it forms a specific chapter in the review of the National Planning Policy Framework carried out by a committee of the House of Commons.

This is what the committee said: “We encountered much disquiet, especially from local residents and community groups, about the figures emerging from the SHMA process, which many considered to be inflated or otherwise inaccurate.

“We are concerned about the widespread unease surrounding the results of SHMAs. Communities need to have confidence that the figures on which their local plans are based are accurate.

“We recommend that the Government work with local government and the house building industry to revise its guidance on strategic housing market assessments and produce an agreed methodology. Inspectors should then be required to test SHMAs against this methodology.”

Guildford Borough Council has subcontracted the work of assessing its ‘objectively assessed housing need’. It forms part of the West Surrey SHMA which the council commissioned from G L Hearn.

I requested a copy of the arithmetic demographic model which is the basis for the West Surrey SHMA from each of Guildford, Woking and Waverley Borough Councils.  Guildford replied that it did not have a copy of the arithmetic model.

To read more of this letter click here

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