The Government's National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) requires each local authority to undertake a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) as part of the evidence base required to inform Local Plans. A SHMA seeks to assess the long term need and affordability of housing in the area.
The latest SHMA for Somerset, published in October 2016, is a joint study undertaken by Justin Gardner Consulting (JGC) and Chris Broughton Associates on behalf of Mendip, Taunton Deane, South Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils. As well as Local Plans, the SHMA will also inform the new Somerset Strategic Housing Framework, due to be published in 2017.
In particular, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment identifies housing need per year up to the year 2039, specifically:-
- The number of homes required per district
- The mix of homes (bedroom size and tenure)
- Needs of different groups within the population, including the elderly and those requiring affordable accommodation.
Housing need for the county is established by a combination of methods:-
- Government Housing and Population Projections (DCLG, ONS)
- Test based on different migration assumptions (long term vs short term trends)
- Test different household size assumptions (people per household)
- Economic Forecasts
- Market Signals – for example, evidence of affordability, land prices, overcrowding, etc.
- Qualitative research with estate/letting agents and other stakeholders
- Excluding West Somerset, the analysis suggests a need for 2,355 dwellings per annum,
- This includes a need for 955 Affordable homes per annum
- The focus of need is for 2 & 3 bedroom market housing and 1 or 2 bedroom dwellings in the social/affordable rental sector
- There is demand for medium sized properties from newly forming households and those seeking to 'downsize'
- There may be a need for 395 specialist units of accommodation for older people (sheltered or extra-care housing) per annum, and
- An additional 186 registered care bedspaces per annum
- The SHMA also considers the potential impact on housing need of the Hinkley C construction project
The full report can be read or downloaded here.