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Agenda item

City of York Local Plan - Objective Assessment of Housing Need

The purpose of this report is to update Members on the report regarding the Objective Assessment of Housing Need (OAHN) produced by consultants Arup to inform the preparation of the emerging Local Plan.


Members considered a report which provided them with an update on the Objective Assessment of Housing Need report produced by consultants Arup to inform the preparation of the emerging Local Plan.


The Head of Planning and Environmental Management addressed Members to advise that the purpose of the report was to update Members on the Objective Assessment of Housing Need (OAHN) produced by consultants Arup and that this was part of the evidence base for the emerging local plan and would  be used as a starting point to establish the amount of housing land required in the Plan. The report was not setting policy and the recommendation reflected this.


Members received a presentation from Christopher Tunnell, Director at consultants  Arup. The presentation is attached to the online agenda for this meeting for information.


A number of points were discussed in detail as follows:


·        The impact of the student population in York – The representative from Arup advised that the Universities had now confirmed that they expected student numbers  to continue to grow at the same rate over the plan period having a resultant impact on the housing market of 10 dwellings per annum. As such, there is no evidence that the figure should be adjusted to take into account student numbers. Officer indicated that they would being a further paper back to LPWG looking at the student population issue in more detail in terms of student numbers, student accommodation choices and future options.

·        A Member queried the impact of international migration and requested that figures be provided clearly, in the same format as in the December 2014 LPWG,  showing the impact that international migration has upon York’s housing figures. Officers confirmed that they would provide a table showing the components of population change including percentages. Arup also confirmed that migration was a national policy issue and that limited evidence at local level to challenge figures.

·        A Member pointed out that the analysis of market signals was limited in the report and it did not show how affordability had changed over time or provide comparison with regional and national averages. It was confirmed that further analysis of affordability will be undertaken and that a new Strategic Housing Market Assessment will look at the issue in more detail. At present the data available did not show a worsening trend in respect of affordability in York so an adjustment to the housing figure to reflect market signals was not recommended by Arup. Officers confirmed that the SHMA would be reported back to LPWG.

·        A Member queried the start date of the Plan at 2012 and asked whether the plan start date could be 2015 so that undersupply would not have to be considered in previous years. It was confirmed that the date was 2012 because that was the start date of both the 2012 based population and household projections which the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and practice guidance (NPPG) advise should be the starting point for the objective assessment of housing need. Officers confirmed that if Members wanted officers to explore further the use of a 2015 start date for the Plan then it may be necessary to seek legal advice on this matter.

·        In relation to windfalls, a Member pointed out that there was not sufficient analysis of windfall trends included in the report and following his own calculations the availability of windfall sites is decreasing. Officers confirmed that the Council will need to consider how to deal with windfall sites going forward and further analysis would be carried out and a paper brought back to LPWG.




Recommended:That the Executive be requested to note the Arup report on the Objective Assessment of Housing Need which is to be used as the starting point for determining the amount of housing land required to be identified in the Plan.


Reason:              To inform Members of the updated evidence base being used in further work on the development of an NPPF compliant

Supporting documents:


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