The interesting part of this (Warrington) case rather than the predictable Forest Heath type challenge
- The question is whether there has been compliance with Policy. I find that there has not been compliance. The reasons are as follows:
(i) The assessed need for affordable housing was 477 dpa.
(ii) This assessed need was never expressed or included as part of the OAN.
(iii) Under the “Housing Requirements” section of the Report the Inspector does not deal with affordable housing. Paragraphs 102 – 104 set out above is under a section entitled “Other Housing Needs”. This is in the context of Policy SN2 which relates to the percentage of housing developments that should incorporate affordable housing.
(iv) No is there anything in Mr Bell’s statement which suggests that the proper exercise was undertaken. This exercise is:
(a) having identified the OAN for affordable housing, that should then be considered in the context of its likely delivery as a proportion of mixed market/affordable housing development; an increase in the total housing figures included in the local plan should be considered where it could help deliver the required number of affordable homes;
(b) the Local Plan should then meet the OAN for affordable housing, subject only to the constraints referred to in NPPF, paragraphs 14 and 47.
This is pretty dramatic (especially the second part), most inspectors having considered the need for such a boost have considered it impractical as it requires a massive uplift to have any significant impact on affordability and this would be impractical in infrastructure terms. Also it breaches the principle that if every local plan met OAN then national OAN would be met, not every LPA can ‘boost’ affordable housing at the same time, this would result in oversupply and likely under delivery as sites are half and unbuilt (as in Ireland and Spain).