Cheshire East Council can now demonstrate a housing land supply figure of 7.5 years – giving a further boost to home buyers.
The rise, from a figure of 7.2 years in the same period in the previous year, means greater opportunity for people wanting to get on the housing ladder, access affordable housing or move into a new home. It also puts the council in a strong position to prevent unplanned, uncoordinated schemes in the wrong place.
The increased figure of 7.5 years supply of housing land places the council comfortably above the five-year threshold, which all councils are expected to demonstrate when contesting planning applications that run contrary to local planning guidelines.
Under national planning policy, planning inspectors can approve controversial applications where a local planning authority cannot show that it has a five-year housing land supply – an issue which has led to a number of unpopular housing schemes in the open countryside on the edge of towns and villages in previous years in Cheshire East.
Not only is there a strong supply of housing looking ahead but the council can also point to a record level of housebuilding in 2018/19, when a total of 3,062 new homes were constructed in the borough.
Councillor Toni Fox, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for planning, said: “Having 7.5 years of housing land supply places the council in a strong and resilient position in relation to planning applications in Cheshire East – and reduces, still further, the risk of a planning free-for all.
“This latest assessment means we can properly meet the demand for new homes, including affordable housing, that people need. It also helps ensure a sustainable workforce for our thriving economy in Cheshire East and a sufficient margin to ensure we have greater control over our planning decisions in future.
“I’m encouraged that many house builders are working positively with us and getting new homes built in a prompt and planned manner. We can now focus on ensuring that the remaining sites in our local plan are implemented as soon as possible and that the planning conditions are fully adhered to, in the interests of all our communities.”
As of 31 March 2019, the council had a requirement to show that 11,802 new dwellings could be built in the next five years. It is now able to show that 17,733 new homes can be built – the equivalent of a 7.5 year’s supply.
Cheshire East remains one of the busiest planning authorities in the country.