Wales planning news, December 2018


Wales planning news, December 2018

03 Dec 2018



Headline news


New approach to housing need assessment announced by Welsh Government

On 22 November, the Welsh Minister for Housing and Regeneration Rebecca Evans published a Written Statement setting out the new approach that will apply to estimating future housing need in Wales.
Specifically, and following the analysis of different assessment mechanisms currently in use across the UK, the Welsh Government has decided to adopt the housing need and demand tool developed by the Scottish Government. The tool will provide estimates of future housing need based on projections of newly forming households that will require additional housing units and existing unmet need; the overall estimates will then be broken down by tenure based on assumptions about future income, house and rent prices.
The intention is for the tool to be used to prepare estimates of housing need at both national and regional level. The first national and regional level estimates are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2019, while there are no ‘immediate plans to change the requirements surrounding Local Housing Market Assessment which are developed by local authorities to determine local housing requirements’.



Quote of the month

It is important to note that these official estimates of housing need and demand should not be interpreted as a target for the number of new homes required to be built in Wales. Rather, what these estimates provide is evidence to inform the development of local or national targets which also need to take account of national, regional and local policy and practical considerations to reach a view on the level of housing that can actually be delivered within an area.
Welsh Housing and Regeneration Minister, Rebecca Evans, announcing the new approach to housing need and demand estimates


Sustainable Drainage Systems to become mandatory from next year

On 7 January 2019, new secondary legislation requiring Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) in certain new developments will come into force.
The Sustainable Drainage (Approval and Adoption) (Wales) Order 2018 makes provision in relation to the requirements for approval, and requests for adoption, of SuDS. The Order also introduces ‘SuDS Approving Bodies’ (or SABs) which will be set up within every local authority and will be in charge of approving drainage plans.
Paragraph 8 (Application for approval) of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 provides two possible approaches for applying for approval of SuDS. If the construction work does not require planning permission, then the application for approval must be a free-standing application made in accordance with the requirements of Paragraph 9 (Free-standing application for approval). If the construction work requires planning permission then, in addition to the free-standing application route, an alternative combined application route is available; under Paragraph 10 (Combined applications) the application for SuDS approval can be made in combination with an application for planning permission.
The requirement for SuDS approval will apply to all developments involving construction works for more than a single dwelling (or where the construction area is more than 100sqm).
Exemptions to the requirement for SuDS approval cover:
- construction works involving a construction area of less than 100sqm (where planning permission is not required), under Article 4 of the 2018 Order;
- construction works in respect of which planning permission was granted (or deemed to be granted) or a valid application was received by a local planning authority before the coming into force of the Order (i.e. 7 January 2019), under Article 5 of the 2018 Order; and
- developments involving the construction of a single dwelling house (or where the construction area is less than 100sqm), irrespective of ‘whether or not planning permission is required for the construction work’, under Article 6 of the 2018 Order.
The Welsh Environment Minister, Hannah Blythyn, said:
‘Until now, the uptake of SuDS has been low. These regulations will help reduce flood risk and improve water quality, while also introducing homes for wildlife within new housing developments’.



The Lichfields perspective

The Minister’s acknowledgement that there is a need to move away from the 2014-based projections represents a positive step. Furthermore, having access to an official estimate of need will provide policy makers with a credible starting point for setting housing requirements, making them less vulnerable to local challenge. However, questions remain as to whether this new system and the publication of explicit housing estimates at the national and regional level will help to deliver the material change in housing delivery that is required in order to support the economy and meet the needs of future generations.
Stephanie Irvine, Senior Planner


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116