To What Area Does ‘Persistent Under-delivery’ apply to? – Why Cheshire East have got it Wrong

The case of Cheshire East today is an interesting one as they claim they should only have a 5% buffer not 20% as tow of its constituent authorities had a housing monirotium imposed by the RSS and so they cannot be blamed.  Two problems:

1) Appeals have consistently held that the 20% provision is not designed to be punitive, that is because of the wording in NPPF para. 47  that it is to ‘to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply’ i.e. to make dmaned sure you return to trajectory when below it.  Blame is not a material consideration here.

2) It is within para. 47 of the NPPF which makes clear the measurement of ‘needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area’ so if there is persistent underdelivery across the HMA as a whole then the 20% rule applies to all applications in that HMA, a view reinforced by 1) it is not about blame but about delivery.  There is nothing in para. 47 that implies measurement fo need and delivery occur across different geographic areas, that would be crazy.


3 thoughts on “To What Area Does ‘Persistent Under-delivery’ apply to? – Why Cheshire East have got it Wrong

  1. Thanks for the post about this. We’re currently fighting a 375 home development in our village of Mobberley in Cheshire East – just for clarity for me (I’m no expert) as the council now say they have a 20% buffer will this make it much harder for this development to go ahead? (its in an area down for commercial use in the current plan). The quote from the council leader seems to say there’s a 20% buffer now, where it was lower previously.

    “We have included a five per cent buffer for choice and competition because, historically, Cheshire East has always been a healthy housing market area. We actually have just over a 20 per cent buffer on housing supply. However, we do not believe that a larger 20 per cent buffer is appropriate because past delivery was artificially weakened by the regionally-imposed moratoriums imposed on Congleton and Macclesfield boroughs, which prevented us from delivering more homes over the last decade.”



  2. I suspect that arguments could be made for both sides. eg the sub-section that deals with the buffer specifically mentions the LPA’s housing requirement but does not mention the HMA. Therefore it could be argued that the buffer refers to the former. One for the courts to determine ultimately whereas a properly drafted policy would not be open to the slightest doubt.

    FWIW, here’s the Cheshire East report which doesn’t mention any punishment aspect (that’s just Jones trying to divert blame in his usual style). It does, however, state:

    “The impact of the moratorium, and its relevance in considering the Borough’s performance, has been recognised in correspondence from Nick Boles, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning. He clarifies that the past housing moratorium imposed in Cheshire is a relevant consideration in relation to the performance and the
    application of an appropriate buffer.”

    CEC actually claim a 5.14 year supply including the 20% buffer, but no doubt that will be heavily challenged in the current round of appeals.

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