The Housing Delivery Test is a cornerstone of the Government's policy to boost supply and address the affordability of homes. The budget presented in March 2020 contains a clear steer on the direction of travel:
"1.145 Land availability, as constrained by the planning system, is the most significant barrier to building more houses. [ ...] Where LPAs fail to meet their local housing need, there will be firm consequences, including a stricter approach taken to the release of land for development and greater government intervention."
The bulk of our work to date has been to help councils consider and publish an Action Plan within six months of the publication of the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results. Now we are on the second year of the policy, we are trying to sharpen our approach - and to focus more closely on the impact of the Action Plan.
Support for councils who score less than 95% in the Housing Delivery Test
We started working with a cohort of councils, divided into those that were on the second year of making an action plan and those that were new to it. We are no longer going to be able to get people together in workshops, but we have been replacing these with online offers. If you have not previously signed up to our events, and you would like to be part of a group to share thoughts, ideas and drafts then sign up by emailing our project lead.
Housing Delivery Test Action Plans (HDTAP)
We have been fortunate to work with many excellent practitioners in the pilot and first year of the HDT Action Plans (HDTAP). You can find our thoughts on what makes a good Action Plan in the event materials in the sidebar, along with some more informal hints and tips as well as a list of those councils we think have found a good balance.
Our single most important piece of advice is quite simple: be clear what you are expecting the action plan to do. We found many people started writing one "because we have to" and had assumed that the reader of the document would be a government official. This is not a good basis to proceed. You can find more advice and a space to ask questions of us and each other in the specific forum in the KHub.
In the first year of the policy we outlined a process and checklist to set out the basics of the task, and provide an external 'second opinion' against which the council can check itself. This is the third draft of the advice note published in June 2020 and which takes account of the experience and lessons learnt to date.