Northamptonshire Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2021
The focus of attention should be on Strategic opportunities following progress of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) Local Plan (Part 1) Reviews of both the new Unitary Authority Areas of North and West Northants.
North Northants Council are expected to publish an updated Local Development Scheme by December 2021 for the review of the JCS. It is anticipated that a call for sites consultation will be progressed as part of the review before the end of the year, followed by Regulation 18 Consultation in early 2022.
The emerging Northamptonshire Part 2 Local Plans comprise of East Northants, Kettering and Northampton Borough. Adoption of the Local Plan for Kettering is expected in December 2021, this will be followed by the Northampton Borough Local Plan Part 2 with their adoption timetabled for April/May 2022, subject to the upcoming examination.
At a North Northamptonshire Executive Council meeting held 5th August 2021, it was formally decided that North Northamptonshire’s five-year housing land supply (5YHLS) would be measured against the Local Housing Need (LHN) for the North Northamptonshire Housing Market Area (HMA). This approach suits the Council, allowing greater land supply in some districts to offset weaker positions in others, particularly Corby and East Northants.
West Northants’ Local Development Scheme was approved by Cabinet alongside a new Statement of Community Involvement on 14 September 2021. This came into effect on 24 September 2021 and set out an up-to-date timetable for the Strategic Plan moving forward. After the completion of the current Spatial Options Consultation, a Draft Plan and Regulation 19 Consultation is timetabled for December 2022, with submission of the Strategic Plan for examination anticipated by April 2023. The Spatial Vision for the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan will be extended up to 2050 to ensure consistency with the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework which will be a key driver of development and opportunities. Previous consultation on the Plan has indicated that West Northants may also seek to push their housing requirement up from the minimum Local Housing Need (LHN) figure to support the wider aspirations for the Arc.
West Northamptonshire Council have split their 5YHLS across the districts. Their assessment for housing requirement is based on the housing requirement as set out in the adopted West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy. It is considered by the Council’s collectively that a 5YHLS can be demonstrated. Recent appeal decisions in South Northamptonshire have been dismissed on the basis the Council have a five-year housing land supply of circa. 5.65 years. This figure is less than that noted in the Housing Land Availability studies (April 2021) produced by West Northamptonshire Council, in which the 5YHLS in South Northamptonshire is 6.32 years, Northampton Borough is 5.61 years and Daventry is 6.3 years.
The market for residential development sites in Northamptonshire is extremely strong at the current time. Seen as fertile housebuilder territory, house prices have remained robust with the UK House Price Index reporting growth of 11.6% in the 12 months to July 2021.
A combination of relatively affordable prices, stunning countryside and good sporting and cultural facilities, together with achievable commuting times to London and Birmingham have seen an increase in buyer demand. Land demand from developers is high due in part to the lack of available sites with those developers without strategic land banks needing to acquire in the open market, creating a very competitive bidding environment.
Bidwells has successfully concluded several transactions in 2021, on development opportunities ranging from 50-700 units, with frequent approaches from housebuilders enquiring about the availability of new opportunities, which demonstrates the current positive sentiment in the land market.
For detail on emerging Local Plan position in every authority please click on the map below.