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The Land Development Team at the Bruton Knowles head office in Gloucester has released further advice for local landowners and developers regarding the impact that a shortfall in land supply can have on planning for future residential schemes.  

Paul Barton is an Associate at the Bruton Knowles Gloucester office and part of the specialist Land Development Team based there: “The fact that we have a housing shortage, particularly for affordable and sustainable homes, has not been far from the national and local media agenda, and that is sure to continue into this year and next. But the focus has shifted to include more of a discussion about available land supply to meet growing housing requirements – where this land is, who owns it and how do developers and landowners engage with the local authorities tasked with delivering their local housing need.

Local authorities strive to have a five-year land supply, in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework, effectively a supply of deliverable sites that can fulfil the housing needs, most often laid out in the local plan. However, a number of local authorities in the region are falling short of this five-year land supply requirement, some by a considerable margin. 

Calculation of the housing supply is always contentious and is a moving target. It is considered that some local authorities in the region could have land supplies below the five-year requirement: Tewkesbury BC (3.7 years), Gloucester CC (1.9 years), Cheltenham BC (2.7 years), Herefordshire Council (less than 4.4 years), Swindon BC (2.7 years) and South Gloucestershire DC (could be as low as 2.8 years). Wychavon DC is currently having its supply tested at appeal and due to it being the first year where larger allocations around Worcester have been included within calculations, Malvern Hills DC supply could also be tested this year.

Paul Barton continues: “For landowners and developers this is a strong indication that sites outside of settlement boundaries will continue to be opportunities for residential development, in advance of adopted development plans.

“It’s a complex area that has to be navigated with care and landowners and developers are well advised to seek professional advice from experts able to manage the planning process on their behalf and know when a local authority can be challenged on their development plan. The team at Bruton Knowles can also identify partner developers for the landowner – the developer can then take on the planning process usually for an agreed share of the land value. The advantages can be considerable for all parties including bringing to market much needed new housing stock.” 

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