HOUSING NEED AND DEMAND
Understanding the housing system as a whole
39. The local housing strategy is a key element of the reformed policy framework for housing and planning and should view the housing system 11 as a whole.
Housing need and demand assessments
40. A housing need and demand assessment is part of the evidence that will underpin the local housing strategy. Separate guidance has recently been published by the Scottish Government 12 on undertaking housing need and demand assessments. A pragmatic approach should be taken where local authorities have commenced or recently completed housing need and demand assessments. In such cases local authorities should use the best existing evidence to inform their local housing strategies and put plans in place to update their assessments in line with the new guidance.
41. SPP3 describes a process whereby the preparation of housing need and demand assessments, local housing strategies and development plans are complementary work streams which should be aligned to achieve more effectively the aim of delivering new homes in the right places. Taking account of the scale and nature of the identified housing requirements and opportunities to create sustainable mixed communities, planning authorities should allocate a generous supply of land 13 for housing on a range of sites within each housing market area.
42. Reflecting the planning modernisation agenda, the housing need and demand guidance encourages local authorities to co-operate regionally and set up housing market partnerships where housing market areas cross local authority boundaries.
Setting housing supply targets
43. The housing need and demand assessment will provide an important part of the evidence base upon which housing supply targets covering all tenures are defined in local housing strategies, and sufficient available land is allocated through development plans to meet these targets. Housing supply targets are to include new housing supply, replacement housing, empty properties to be brought back into use and conversions.
44. One of the key questions for partnerships to consider - where an assessment of housing need and demand has been undertaken at housing market area level - is how this translates into housing supply targets at a local authority level, for inclusion in the local housing strategy. This will depend to a large extent on the pattern of need and demand across the housing market area, homelessness pressures and agreement between local authorities within the partnership on how best to meet this need and demand.
45. Those local authorities covering large geographic areas may find it helpful to set housing supply targets at sub-local authority level.
46. Whilst the local housing strategy will cover a five year period, in order to link with the development plan process it is recommended it considers a fifteen year housing supply target.
47. As part of the new national housing planning framework it is expected that the housing need and demand assessment, local housing strategy and development plan will be reviewed in conjunction, every five years.
Joint housing strategies
48. Local authorities are encouraged to undertake housing need and demand assessments at functional housing market level. Some authorities may wish to consider preparing a joint local housing strategy. Section 89(9) of the Housing (Scotland Act) 2001 enables this, though a joint strategy must cover whole local authority areas. If any local authorities are thinking about producing a joint local housing strategy, the Scottish Government would be happy to support them achieve this.