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Five-year housing land supply

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council updates its five-year housing land supply information annually. The most recent data shows the council's position as at 1 April 2021 for a five-year period to 31 March 2026.

The Five-Year Housing Land Supply Statement 2020/2021 below explains in detail the approach taken by the council in producing the latest Statement, including an explanation on both how the target has been calculated and all components that have contributed to the borough's housing land supply.

Local authorities must calculate housing figures through the new Standard Method which uses the 2014 Household Projections to calculate housing targets.

The council had identified in the Statement that, inclusive of a 5% buffer required by the National Planning Policy Framework, it could demonstrate a housing land supply of 4.93 years.

In August 2021 the council updated the position to 4.89 years, due to new information received during August 2021 regarding the extent of landownership issues which indicates that Brook House (consented under 17/03780/OUT for 25 dwellings) is unlikely to be currently considered available now, nor therefore deliverable. Consequently, the site has been removed from the supply.

Hawkhurst Golf Club Inquiry

On 2 February 2022 the Planning Inspectorate issued a decision on an appeal at the Hawkhurst Golf Club. This decision is available here.

The Inspector considered that, on the evidence available to him at the time of the Inquiry, a number of sites should be discounted from the supply. The Inspector concluded that the supply figure for the purposes of that appeal is 3,115 dwellings, which equated to a housing land supply of 4.38 years.

However, planning or reserved matters applications have been submitted for several of these sites since the Inquiry. These include reserved matters applications for the sites known as Triggs Farm and Brick Kiln Farm: the council considers that there is robust evidence that these sites should not been discounted. Similarly, a planning application has been submitted for 94 dwellings at Turners Pie Factory, and therefore only 6 (rather than 100) dwellings should be discounted from the supply for this site. In addition, the council has removed 18 units from the supply following the expiration of permission at the Multi-Storey Car Park at Garden Street in Royal Tunbridge Wells, as well as further discounted the supply at the Plant and Tool Hire site to 40 units (rather than 42 units as the proposal includes the refurbishment of two properties already included within existing dwelling stock), and also discounted Paddock Wood Town Centre by 2 units to reflect the revised number of units relating to a planning application at Land to the Rear of 7 - 9 Station Road in Paddock Wood.

This resulted in an updated supply figure of 3,378 dwellings, which equated to a housing land supply of 4.75 years as at 2nd February 2022.

Highgate Hill and Copthall Avenue Inquiry

Following on from the Golf Club appeal, on 22 March 2022 the Planning Inspectorate issued a further decision on an appeal at Land to the East of Highgate Hill and South of Copthall Avenue, Hawkhurst. This decision is available here.

The Inspector considered that, on the evidence available to him at the time of the Inquiry, three sites (Cornford Court, the Former Site of Springfield Nurseries, and St Michaels, Burrswood) should be discounted from the supply identified as at 2 February 2022. The Inspector concluded that the supply figure for the purposes of that appeal is 3,282 dwellings, which equated to a housing land supply of 4.61 years.

However, the council notes that, for Cornford Court, the Inspector considered “that until the LDC application has been determined there remains sufficient doubt to consider that the site does not meet the definition of deliverable in the NPPF”. Given that the Lawful Development Certificate (21/04097/LDCEX) was permitted on 11 February 2022 (but the Inspector was not aware of this permission when issuing his decision), the council considers that Cornford Court should remain within the supply. Accordingly, the council has only discounted the Former Site of Springfield Nurseries (24 dwellings), and St Michaels, Burrswood (37 dwellings, taking into account a C2 discount).

Updated Position as at 22 March 2022

Therefore, as at 22 March 2022, the council considers that it can demonstrate a supply figure of 3,317 dwellings, which equates to a housing land supply of 4.66 years.

It should be noted that the council will in due course be preparing the 2021/2022 Five-Year Housing Land Supply Statement with a position as at 1 April 2022, and which will have regard to all new permissions within the 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022 period. This next Statement covering the period 2022-2027 will also have regard to any changes introduced to national planning policy and guidance, as well as the status of the new Local Plan.

Please contact planning.policy@tunbridgewells.gov.uk with any related queries.

Housing Delivery Test

The Housing Delivery Test (HDT) has been introduced as a monitoring instrument to demonstrate whether local authorities are delivering sufficient homes to meet their housing need. The HDT, which was introduced in November 2018, compares the number of new homes delivered over the previous three years with the authority’s housing requirement for those years.

The latest HDT results were published in January 2022 and the Council delivered 97% against the requirement, which means no consequence for the Council. However, the Council intends to continue producing an Action Plan on an annual basis.

You can view the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan 2019/20, published in September 2021, below.

Five-Year Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Supply

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has produced a Five-Year Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Supply Statement. The most recent data shows the Council's position as at 1 October 2021 for a five-year period to 31 September 2026. It is anticipated that the next iteration of this Statement will be published with a base date of 1 April 2022.

The Five-Year Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Supply Statement below explains in detail the approach taken by the Council in producing the latest Statement, including an explanation on how both the need and supply has been calculated.

The Council has identified that it can currently demonstrate a Gypsy and Traveller pitch supply of 4.4 years. The Council therefore considers that it does not currently have a five-year Gypsy and Traveller pitch supply.

The next Statement covering the period 2022-2027 will have regard to any changes introduced to national planning policy and guidance, as well as the status of the new Local Plan.

Please contact planning.policy@tunbridgewells.gov.uk with any related queries.

Local Plan - Authority Monitoring Report

The Council has published an Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) in relation to Local Plan matters. It monitors key contextual indicators in relation to the demographic, social, economic and environmental characteristics of the borough and reviews progress against key indicators relevant to adopted generic Core Strategy (2010) policies. It also includes analysis of progress in the production of the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plans in the borough. In addition, it specifically reviews progress under the ‘duty to cooperate’ on strategic planning matters.

Taken together, this monitoring provides vital information about the effectiveness of Core Strategy policies and the extent to which they are successful in achieving the Council’s strategic aims for the borough, as well as helping to inform policy directions in the new Local Plan.

The AMR, in conjunction with the Council’s Housing Monitoring Reports, fulfils the Council’s obligation to produce an AMR containing the above information at least annually and to make it publicly available. It relates to the period 01 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, as it coincides with the statistical monitoring period, although in some cases commentary is added relating to more recent events where this is considered to be helpful.

Please contact planning.policy@tunbridgewells.gov.uk with any related queries.