Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

New housing developmentsWhat is the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment?

The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) is a technical study to inform future planning policy development. It also assists in the monitoring of whether there is an adequate supply of deliverable housing land.

Why is the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment important?

The SHLAA is a key component of the evidence base to support the delivery of sufficient land for housing; to meet the community’s need for more homes; and to inform housing policy within the Cheshire East Local Plan.

Why do we have to prepare a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment?

The SHLAA is required by national planning policy, set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Without one the Council’s emerging new planning policy will not be considered sound and may be rejected by the Government and the Planning Inspectorate. Having a SHLAA can also assist the Council in resisting applications for housing development in inappropriate locations.

How is a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment produced?

The SHLAA is produced by the Council following the Government Practice Guide with input from the Housing Market Partnership. The Government requires that Housing Market Partnerships include representatives from the house building industry, Housing Associations and land and property agents.

What does a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment do?

  • It identifies potential housing sites and assesses whether these sites are developable, how many housing units could be accommodated on them and when they could be delivered.
  • It includes all sites being proposed by landowners, developers and agents, as the site search has to be as wide ranging as possible – the Council cannot pick and choose which sites to include in the study.
  • It provides the information from which decisions can be made on how much development to put where, and helps reveal the extent to which greenfield and Green Belt land might be needed to meet the area’s housing requirement – allowing Councillors to make informed choices.
  • It highlights where action or policy changes are needed to make sure sites will become deliverable, for example where sites are constrained by land ownership issues, the need for infrastructure improvements – roads, drainage and so on.
  • It will be reviewed and updated as needed each year.

What does a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment not do?

  • It is not a policy document or a proposals and allocations document.
  • It does not determine whether any site is acceptable for future housing development, as that will be determined through the Local Plan.
  • It does not automatically rule out sites in the Open Countryside, Green Gap or Green Belt.
  • It does not mean that any site included will be granted planning permission for development.
  • It does not mean that any site not included cannot come forward for development in the future or will not be granted planning permission.

How will decisions be made on sites in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment?

Sites will be considered through the preparation of the new planning policy for Cheshire East and the public will be consulted. Planning permission will also be needed for the development of these sites. Any planning applications submitted will continue to be treated on their own individual merits and will be determined in accordance with planning policies contained within the adopted Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise

What do terms deliverable, developable and not currently developable mean?

  • The definition of Deliverable is that a site is available now, offers a suitable location for housing development now and there is a reasonable prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years from the date of adoption of the Plan.
  • The definition of Developable is that a site is in a suitable location for housing development and there should be a reasonable prospect that it will be available for and could be developed at a specific point in time.
  • The definition of Not currently developable is where it is not known when a site could be developed. This may be for example, because one of the constraints to development is severe, and it is not known if or when it might be overcome.