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Lancashire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

Five year housing land supply rule

Five year housing land supply rule

Report released showing devastating imapct on countryside

Our newly released report (see link below) shows that more housing permissions than ever before are being granted on Green Belt and greenfields due to the coalition government’s new planning system and a rule requiring a five year supply of housing land.

Evidence from our report shows that the government’s planning policies are harming Britain’s precious countryside and the urban fringe. 

CPRE is campaigning to improve these planning policies so ministers’ claims to be giving local people a meaningful voice in deciding what they wish for their local areas become a reality, rather than remain a fiction (see CPRE National on England's disappearing landscapes). 

Too much damaging development in the countryside is now being allowed and the avalanche of planning applications for sites in the Green Belt and on undesignated green fields currently descending on local planning authorities threatens an accelerating rate of irreversible harm.

Local authorities which cannot demonstrate a five year supply of land for housing development – and there are many - are presumed to have an out-of-date Local Plan, which triggers a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable’ development and consequential off-Local Plan development on choice greenfield sites while more appropriate brownfield sites lay undeveloped.

Our evidence shows that, in the first two years of the NPPF, sixteen major housing developments were allowed at appeal comprising 3,049 dwellings on 111.70 hectares which is the equivalent of 155 Wembley Stadium football pitches. The inspectors allowed these appeals because they attributed more weight to failure to comply with the five year housing land supply rule than to other material considerations.

CPRE Lancashire believes that in addition to CPRE’s strategic campaign to change the fundamentals of the government’s planning policy, we need to deploy tactics with the more modest objective of bringing about immediate change to those policies which are currently doing the most damage to the countryside.

We believe our first target should be to mobilise public opinion to persuade the government to allow sites with planning permission to be included unconditionally in the estimate of the five year housing land supply.

Currently, if at any stage it can be shown that a residential site with planning permission has not been, or could not be, developed within the five year time limit, the site will immediately be removed from the estimate of the five year housing land supply. Local authorities are finding that, as they continue to grant planning permissions which then are stalled, their supply of housing land gets ever smaller. This contributes to their eventually falling victim to the five year housing land supply rule, thereby losing the ability to prevent housing development on sites which under the Local Plan were never intended for housing development.

The real problem is the five year housing land supply rule, but, as a first step, let us get a fairer way of estimating the housing land supply itself, viz. have sites with planning permission qualify for unconditional inclusion in the estimate of the housing land supply. That is politically achievable in the short term – it would require merely a change to Note 11 which qualifies par. 47 of the NPPF in which the rule is specified. So please, everyone start campaigning for that!



To focus more effort on important rural campaigns CPRE Lancashire has closed the Springfield Office in Leyland.  To get in touch with us, please contact or phone 01772 378831. Post can be sent to CPRE Lancashire, c/o Acres Brook, Sabden Road, Higham, BB12 9BL

Registered charity number: 1107376, registered company number: 05291461