Devon’s Local Planning Authorities - with the exception of Torbay - have over-delivered on housing for the last five years, according to the government’s own figures.
Devon CPRE’s analysis of the 2020 Housing Delivery Test shows the county as a whole has delivered 30% more new homes than it was required to over a five-year period, in effect building 6,332 more houses than it had to. The local countryside charity says the government data substantiates what it’s been saying for years - that Devon is building far more homes than required and the countryside is being ravaged as a result.
The Housing Delivery Test is a measurement published annually by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. It compares the net homes ‘delivered’ to the homes ‘required’ to be built over the same period.
The 2020 Housing Delivery Test ‘required’ an average of 4,667 homes each year across Devon from 2017/18 to 2019/20. The number of homes ‘required’ is increasingly higher than the true number of homes needed because of the government’s aspiration to deliver 300,000 each year across England. Devon CPRE says there is no evidence that this number of homes is needed.
Analysis of the 2020 measurement reveals:
• Exeter over-delivered by 45%, 25% and 90% over the past three years (average 53%); by 50% overall over the past five years (1,501 excess houses).
• Plymouth, West Devon and the South Hams over-delivered by 108%, 5% and 28% over the past three years (average 44%); by 44% overall over the past five years (2,401 excess houses).
• North Devon & Torridge over-delivered by 57%, 22% and 48% over the past three years (average 41%); and by 32% overall over the past five years (1,076 excess houses).
• Mid Devon has over-delivered by 76%, 19% and 28% over the past three years (average 39%); by 30% overall over the past five years (473 excess houses).
• East Devon has over-delivered by 37%, 5% and 28% over the past three years (average 22%); by 33% overall over the past five years (1,155 excess houses).
• Teignbridge has over-delivered by 32%, 5% and -35% (under-delivery) over the past three years (average -2%); and over-delivered by 11% overall over the past five years (342 excess houses).
Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills says, “The government’s own figures vindicate what we have been saying for years. In 2018, Devon CPRE commissioned an independent report from specialists at Opinion Research Services to establish the true number of homes needed across the county. It showed that delivering 4,300 homes each year would meet all local needs, allowing for a continuation of past migration trends and a fall in average household sizes.”
She adds, “In July 2020, a second report produced for us by ORS concluded that a total of 2.3 million homes are needed nationally over the decade 2020-30 to meet household growth and provide for past under-supply, an average of 230,000 each year, NOT the 300,000 which the government claim.”
Devon CPRE hopes local planning authorities, their officers and elected councillors will now start to put our countryside and green spaces first, before permitting any more unnecessary new housing developments.