Published on Monday, 25th March 2019


In a surprise development, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet has reluctantly agreed that it does not have a five-year land supply. In other words, it cannot demonstrate a sufficient list of housing sites, whether with or without planning consent that will likely come forward for development by 2024, to meet its housing need. This has serious consequences.


For the last few years, national policy has been in such places, the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ applies. That means in effect that local policies that restrict the supply of housing no longer apply and that in turn means the local plan has in effect gone.


This doesn't mean every undeveloped site is in the gun sights. Areas such as Farlington Marshes and Southsea Common are protected by national policies. It does, however, mean that rules stopping business land in Copnor, Farlington and elsewhere from being replaced with housing have probably gone out of the window. It also makes it harder to resist high-density schemes.


This is all bad news. In Fareham, which is in the same boat, the presumption has lead to unallocated, Greenfield land going for housing. Portsmouth effectively contains no countryside, but the effect will still be real.


The reason why this has happened now is the movement to using a nationally set housing needs formula. This has increased the target to 863, which is about double the level that has actually been achieved over recent decades. The revised local plan is now running late and won’t be adopted for another 18 months. It will, hopefully, be possible to reduce the target at that point, but it won’t be before then.


It is also interesting to note that about half of the housing completions over the last two years come from student rooms. Read more here.


Tags: Planning