The Government has been beset by issues with its ‘algorithms’ over the last year, whether related to calculating exam results or how they were proposed to be used in calculating the nationally 'binding housing' requirement flagged up in the Planning for the Future White Paper.
In the White Paper, it was said that the relative affordability of places should inform development targets, so that the least affordable places (where historic under-supply has been most chronic) takes a greater share of future development to meet need.
However, this ‘levelling up’ idea led a lot of the MP’s in the high demand and least affordable Shire County areas to cry foul over the likelihood of having to take that greater share of housing, arguing it would destroy the very attractiveness which made them the desirable areas to live, in the first place.
And just before Christmas, the government acted and abandoned the ‘mutant algorithm’ as dubbed by one Tory MP. Instead, under new plans drawn up by Robert Jenrick, the focus for housing numbers and affordable housing investment will switch to major cities in the North and Midlands.
In a statement released in advance of the publication of the formula itself, the housing secretary said the Government was sticking to the target of building 300,000 homes a year, but it would now be prioritising brownfield sites and urban areas.
It remains to be seen what impact the White Paper and the abandonment of the Algorithm will have on the housing requirements, as well as on the content of Local Plans in preparation in our own area, as there is still a long way to go before the Planning Bill is expected to be presented to Parliament.