Fringe Box



Letter: Standard Formula Would Not Reduce the Housing Number

Published on: 24 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2019

From: Tracey Coleman

GBC’s director of planning and regeneration

I would like to factually correct a statement made in Ben Paton’s letter, We Don’t Have to Fall for Conservative Propaganda, in particular the following quote: “Moreover, it is not true that starting the plan over would result in a higher Housing Target. Under the new rules housing “need” is determined using the “Standard Formula”.

This formula relates housing need in a borough to the average level of house prices vs the average level of earnings. If one takes the new standard formula and inserts the ONS [Organistion for National Statistics] statistics for house prices and earnings in Guildford the resultant housing need figure is 8,872 houses.”

The government has recently updated the National Planning Practice Guidance relating to how to calculate the minimum annual local housing need figure using the standard method. The government has also introduced the standard method to ensure a simpler, more transparent and consistent basis for calculating housing need.

It also uses data that is already in the public domain. The updated guidance stipulates that the 2014-based household projections are to be used (rather than the recently published ONS 2016-based household projections).

Applying the standard formula (which is available to view at: with Guildford data for the 2014-based household projections and the latest affordability ratio (ratio of average house price to average earnings), results in a minimum annual housing need figure of 736 dwellings per annum.

Assuming a 19-year plan period, using the standard method would result in an overall plan requirement of approximately 14,000 dwellings.

The use of the new standard method is required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2019. GBC’s submitted Local Plan was prepared and examined according to the NPPF 2012 under the “transitional arrangements” and takes the ONS 2016 household figures into account. This resulted in an annual housing requirement of 562, and an overall plan requirement of 10,678 dwellings in the Local Plan that is before the Executive and Full Council meetings on 25 April.


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test 4 Responses to Letter: Standard Formula Would Not Reduce the Housing Number

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 24, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    But GBC could have applied constraints to avoid over-development, as per NPPF. It refused to do so.

  2. Lisa Wright Reply

    April 24, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    But GBC hasn’t changed the overall housing number, it still stands at over 14,000 over the plan period, so in essence, there wouldn’t be any change would there!

    It’s all very good saying that GBC has a lowered the housing target but the reality is GBC hasn’t actually changed the overall target. There was more public money squandered on two extra days of the Local Plan Examination to agree the housing target should be lowered and then completely ignored by GBC.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    April 24, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    I’m confused. Were we not told that the plan period was 15 years? Now it seems to be 19 and, conveniently perhaps, making the total match the amount of land set aside in the plan. Why not 20 years?

    The Soviet Union preferred 5-year plans, but often found they couldn’t predict the future that far ahead.

    The “affordability ratio” is always going to be skewed if it is based on an average. Try the average of 10 people: 9 of them poor and the remaining one Jeff Bezos.

  4. D Fassom Reply

    April 25, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Can someone please tell me where the people that are supposed to be in one of the new 736 housing units are currently residing? If they are in rented accommodation then once they vacate these premises the rental property will become empty-who will then move into these rented dwellings?. If they are neither in rented accommodation or in other accommodation has anyone seen them roaming the streets? As we have not built 736 units for some years, by my reckoning, there should be thousands of men women and children living rough on our streets. I accept that there some rough sleepers but not enough to fill thousands of houses.

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