The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local authorities to undertake an assessment of land availability to identify a future supply of land which is suitable, available and achievable for housing and economic development uses. The assessment of land availability includes a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)
Most sites are SUITABLE. Sites which have planning permission, recently lapsed, or, are allocated in the emerging Local Plan are considered to be suitable. For other sites, including those submitted by landowners or developers, an assessment is required. Assessing suitability requires consideration of whether the site offers a suitable location for development and would contribute to the creation of sustainable communities. If the constraints of the site cannot be overcome within the first 15 years then site is not suitable.
A site is AVAILABLE if it has a valid planning permission that has not lapsed or if you know the owner?s intentions are to develop residential units in the near future. If the site owner is not known the site is not available. Where sites are allocated for development or have been submitted for consideration in the SHLAA, there are assumed to be no legal obstacles to development, unless available evidence indicates otherwise.
A site is considered ACHIEVABLE for development where there is a reasonable prospect that housing will be developed on the site at a particular point in time. This is essentially a judgement about the economic viability of a site, and the capacity of the developer to complete and let or sell the development over a certain period. Considering all that you know about the site, can the site be developed within 15 years?
Once assessments of suitability, availability and achievability have been made an overall assessment of whether the site is `deliverable? or `developable? can take place:
Should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years. Sites which do not involve major development and have planning permission, and all sites with detailed planning permission, should be considered deliverable until permission expires, unless there is clear evidence that homes will not be delivered within five years (e.g. they are no longer viable, there is no longer a demand for the type of units or sites have long term phasing plans). Sites with outline planning permission, permission in principle, allocated in the development plan or identified on a brownfield register should only be considered deliverable where there is clear evidence that housing completions will begin on site within five years.
Sites should be in a suitable location for housing with a reasonable prospect that they will be available for housing from years 6 to 15 of the plan period but have ownership, viability or other constraints that makes delivery unlikely to occur until then. This mainly consists of sites which are suitable for development but do not currently have planning permission (or had planning history). This includes those that had planning permission lapsed.
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