Delivery of housing through the planning system in Wales: RLA response

Delivery of housing through the planning system in Wales: RLA response

Written by Victoria Barker of the RLA – 23rd October 2018

The RLA has responded to a consultation that was run by the Welsh Government on the delivery of housing through the planning system.

The Welsh Government undertook  a ‘Call for Evidence’ to explore ways for the planning system to assist in increasing the delivery of new homes in sustainable locations in line with the commitment in its national strategy, Prosperity for All, including achieving the delivery of 20,000 affordable homes during the current term of Government.

Prosperity for All is a national strategy in Wales, aimed at delivering its key priorities for the rest of this Assembly term, and set the right foundations to tackle the big challenges faced by the nation.

The consultation aimed at gathering views on how to improve the delivery of Local Development Plan (LDP) housing requirements, including looking at the interrelationship with the measuring of the housing land supply needed to meet these requirements.

The consultation ended on the 10th October, and the Welsh Government is currently reviewing responses.

Joined up approach

In our response to this consultation, which you can read here, we are championing a joined up approach between local planning authorities (LPAs) that considers Strategic Development Areas .such as the Cardiff City Region and would cite examples such as the Greater Manchester Combined Authorities ‘Our GM’ Place Initiative.

In response to the question around deliverable housing needs assessment, the RLA is calling for ‘a more holistic analysis of the needs of the Welsh population’, which would calculate the specific requirement and allocation provided by all sectors including the private rented sector.

For example, the private rented sector in Wales is housing more families and older people than it ever has done, while by 2031 it is estimated that 20% of all households will be in the private rented sector.

On the topic of affordability, the RLA believes that in order to tackle this and to allow
opportunities for down-sizing, consideration should be given to the allocation of smaller one-bedroom properties as well as HMOs. This is especially important where local communities have large proportions of student populations and short-term migrants.

“The Private Rented Sector is extremely well placed to tackle the problem of housing shortages in Wales and should play a major factor in any strategic planning”

How the RLA are proposing to stimulate growth in the private rented sector in Wales

At the end of the consultation response, we highlight some key, achievable ways in which growth could be stimulated in the private rented sector.

This includes establishing a new, specialist housing court to deliver quick and cost-effective justice tohelp landlords and tenants to enforce their rights. This was something that our Vice Chair and Director for Wales Douglas Haig spoke about at the Plaid Cymru party conference earlier this month.

As well as a housing court, some of our other suggestions include more effective enforcement against criminal landlords in Wales, through guaranteed long-term funding for local authorities, backed by a system of co-regulation for the majority of law-abiding landlords.