Now Released the Alternative MOAN Housing Needs Model

Here it is

The Model for Objective Assessment of of Need (Moan) arose out of work conducted across most of 2017 anticipating the need for return of ‘Big Planning’ (Strategic Planning) in England.

I have outlined the model on here before here and here.

The model is demographically based – extending the thinking behind the demographic model devised by the late Alan Holmans and then extended by the NHPAU to include affordability.  So the starting point is the the spreadsheet model by the ONS – the 2014 based household projections. 

These projections are then projected forward over 35 years.

It should be stressed these are trend projections not forecasts.  Based on past rates of house building by area which in turn reflects on household formation.

The problem with this of course is that areas which have seen low housebuilding and higher housing costs will see lower household formation in the future.

The government consultation on a new method last year partially attempted to tackle this by redistributing the crude difference between households and home based on affordability.  It had no demographic or statistical basis for this – it was based on a hack – a global fudge factor. As such it didn’t distinguish between areas that were genuinely land or environmentally constrained and areas that had constrained house building because of slow plan making performance.  Hence it produced ridiculously huge uplifts in land constrained areas such as Greenwich and unsupportable difference such as a 5% uplift in Berkshire and 90% in Bedfordshire.

As an alternative the MOAN model takes estimates of house building actually likely to be achieved in major cities such as London and Manchester – whilst maintaining the broad form of the Green Belt – and then redistributing this based on the proportion of non Green Belt non NPPF constraint areas with commuting distance of each city.



As a final step allowance is made for second order effects on the economy of house building, on supply chains etc.  In a key change from the initial national results published last months these figures are calculated after redistribution away from land and environmental constrained areas.

A fundamental difference from the DCLG consultation is that it doesn’t see housing need as an ‘atomic’ issue to be added up from local calculations.  Rather it sees housing need as a national issue, and therefore if the political will is there to resolve it if it cannot be solved in one local area then it must be resolved by an uplift in another.  As such its is based on a balance sheet based approach.  if there is compensation for failing to meet the stock of housing need in one locality it must be exactly matched by a flow to raise a stock of housing target exactly pro rate to another area.  In other words it is stock flow consistent.

The geography for the calculations is explained in this post.

England is divided into 44 Housing and Planning Areas -based on ceremonial counties or travel to work areas

in the vast majority of cases county or combined authority boundaries will do just fine for strategic planning areas and for defining housing need. Only in a very few cases do they need to be adjusted where they widely diverge from Travel to Work Areas, in most cases there will be small areas at there edges in other TTWAs (such as the small part of Oxfordshire in the Swindon TTWA) but who cares.  As long as the requirements of the Duty to Cooperate are clarified to ensure that the needs of nearby land and policy constrained settlements are taken into account they will do.  Indeed in my mapping of areas for housing need – which I term Housing Planning Areas (HPAs) I have based on them always on counties (ceremonial) or combined authorities, with just a dew necessary adjustments as follows:

-Halton and Warrington assigned to Merseyside rather than Cheshire. as they fll within the St Helens TTWA and form part of teh Atlantic Gateway

-Cheshire and North Staffordshire merged as North Staffs looks toward Manchester and jointly plans with Cheshire as part of the ‘northern gateway’

-Part of Suffolk merged with Cambridge as falling within the Cambridge TTWA and the existing Cambridge Policy Area arrangements for assigning Housing Numbers

-Part of North West Essex merged with Herts (around Stansted) to enable joint planning around the London Stansted Cambridge corridor.

-Warwickshire merged with Coventry because of major overspill from Coventry.

-Leicestershire merged with Rutland, Rutland falls within the Peterborough TTWA but culturally much more an Midlands rather than East of England area.

These areas can in turn be gathered into regions, such as the Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse etc.  In the South and South West I gathered them into regions based on rail corridors (Great Central – Oxford-Mk-Cambridge and London Stansted Cambridge Corridor), Southern, Great Eastern andreat Western.  Calculations for each of these regions are also presented.

The methodology for reallocation away from land and environmental constrained areas is as follows.  The latest housing targets for areas such as West Midlands, Black Country, Greater Manchester and Greater London are used, together with where available estimates of how much of this need will be overspill.  In Greater Manchester and Greater London realistic estimates of how much of the need can be dealt with in City are used.  for example in Greater London that there will be a 20% uplift on typical post recession housing completions.  In Greater Manchester that 5,000 units will be in the Green belt rather than the initially planned 20,000.

The overspill is distributed by region, for example for London to areas outside the Green Belt without restrictive NPPF designations within 1 hr (120km) of London depending on the proportion of unconstrained and not already urbanised areas within this radius.  for example 50.85% of such ‘planagons’ (areas teh size to contain a new community) are in the ‘Great Central’ area to the North West of London (roughly equilvalent to the Oxford-Mk_Cambs and London-Stansted Cambs corridors) emphasising its importance) whilst only 12.4% of the overspill goes tothe Southern Area (Kent, Sussex and Surrey) as it is much more constrained, more urbanised and has large areas of sea.  Outside the Great central Area the areas getting most overspill are Hampshire (because of its less constrained northern area), Kent (because of its less constrained Central Area) and East Suffolk.  So by this method is it fairly clear where the broad locations of large Garden Cities would have to be.