Effective or Defective: The Housing Delivery Test


Effective or Defective

The Housing Delivery Test

27 Apr 2021
The Housing Delivery Test [HDT] is a monitoring tool that the Government produces annually to assess local planning authorities performance against their housing delivery targets over the past three years. Those that fall below 75% of their target are now subject to the NPPF’s ‘Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development’, also known as the ‘tilted balance’. The intention of the HDT is to encourage local planning authorities to boost housing supply to avoid the threat of losing control of development in their areas.

However, in four out of five cases, the authorities that fail the most punitive threshold are those that cannot demonstrate an up to date Five Year Housing Land Supply, meaning the tilted balance has already been triggered via another avenue. In addition, around half of the authorities that fail this threshold are significantly constrained by Green Belt and/or other NPPF Footnote 6 designations, meaning that the ‘very special circumstances’ (or similar) required to justify new housing development will, in many cases, over-ride the tilted balance.

Having regard to the factors identified above, this report investigates how effective the Housing Delivery Test actually is as a mechanism to tackle housing under-delivery in practical terms, including a review of appeal decisions to understand how much weight inspectors are attaching to the HDT in the planning balance and how it can be improved.