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Environment and planning

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)

What is a SHLAA and why do we need one?

The SHLAA is a piece of research which gathers together information on all known site options for housing development ranging from those which already have planning permission to those which have been proposed on a speculative basis by land owners, developers or the public for future consideration. It also includes any vacant land which has been identified by officers in survey work. The study informs the Council whether there is an adequate supply of land across the District for new homes. It assesses the current supply of unconstrained land and the likely deliverability of new homes in the short term together with an appraisal of other future options that could be considered in the longer term.

The SHLAA is not a policy document, it does not make decisions or recommendations on which sites will go forward and be allocated for development. It is however a key piece of the evidence base which will inform the strategic and site specific elements of the Local Plan and provides useful information to inform where the current development pressures are, the scale of constraints in any one area and how many new homes could be delivered from those sites. It will also provide preliminary information about sites to determine their likely contribution to future land supply.

It is a Government requirement that the Council produce a SHLAA and then update it at regular intervals. The Council produced (and consulted on) its methodology for undertaking the first SHLAA in 2008 and a copy can downloaded below.


The first SHLAA was published in October 2011 (see below). This study examined sites already known to the Council as; having planning permission, allocated for short and longer term development in the adopted RUDP or identified through survey work as either underused, derelict and vacant land. The Council also invited landowners, developers and local people to submit sites over 0.4ha for consideration as part of a Call for Sites exercise.

An update of the 2011 SHLAA has now been completed (see below). This both updates all the assessments in the first SHLAA and assesses a further 270 new sites. These new sites have come from a variety of sources:

  • Sites submitted by landowners since the cut off date for inclusion in the first SHLAA
  • Sites suggested by the general public;
  • New sites which have gained planning permission;
  • Sites added as a result of lowering the site size threshold to 0.2 ha

The Council welcomes the submission of any further sites for inclusion in future updates of the SHLAA. A form which sets out the type of information required is included below.

The SHLAA update report should be read in conjunction with the 2011 report.

SHLAA and the planning process

The inclusion of a site in the SHLAA does not provide any indication of the Councils view of acceptability for future development. Sites considered in the study have been assessed against current local policy constraints some which would currently prevent their development for new homes. The decisions on whether a site will be allocated for future residential development will be taken in the Local Plan which will be subject to several stages of production and public consultation.

The Government requires that all Councils aim to ensure that there is a five year supply of deliverable land. The current 5 year land supply analysis, which is based on the information gathered by the SHLAA, is included in the SHLAA Update report.

Next Steps

The SHLAA will continue to be updated to take account of new information from planning permissions, implementation of development on sites comprising the study and addition of further new sites.

Any future further updates will be placed on this website. Updating the study does not involve starting again, but will mean that sites already included will be rolled forward into the second update. Further updates will continue to assess whether the Council has a current five year supply of deliverable sites to meet the short term need and allow further information to be collected on sites that could make up the longer term supply of land to inform future the Allocations DPD’s .

New sites can be submitted for consideration in the SHLAA by completing and returning a copy of the Call for sites proforma (see below) to . Further information on the SHLAA process can also be provided by email or by phoning 01274 434461.

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