Barton Willmore Map

Changes to housing assessment could impact Northern growth

Plans to increase the supply of homes across the North West could be stalled by the Government’s recent proposal to standardise the method for calculating housing need, according to Barton Willmore.

The Department for Communities & Local Government launched a consultation earlier this month on a new standardised way of assessing housing demand at Local Authority level, after Secretary of State Sajid Javid called the current system “an opaque mish-mash”. This technical review seeks to rebase housing growth projections, centred around projections from the Office for National Statistics.

Analysis by Barton Willmore suggests that Manchester’s estimated housing need and corresponding housing targets would be reduced by 15% a year, equivalent to around 460 less homes per year.

Across the North West, the estimated annual housing need would be reduced by a quarter, although across the country as a whole, total housing need would increase to 266,000 each year.

Housing targets are expected to increase in the most expensive areas of the country, which has led to criticism that the plan is too South-centre and would stifle growth in the North.

Region % difference between new proposed assessment of need vs current
Yorkshire and The Humber -25%
North West -24%
North East -20%
West Midlands -13%
East Midlands -3%
South East 2%
South West 4%
East of England 14%
London 50%
England 4%


Dan Mitchell, partner at Barton Willmore’s Manchester office, said: “If the DCLG’s proposed new methodology is adopted, it could have interesting implications for growth in the North generally. There’s a very real risk that local authorities may end up following housing requirements that are not in their best long-term economic interest.

“The supply of new homes is a vital cornerstone of economic growth, and local authorities in the North need to keep their foot on the pedal.  This new proposed way of calculating housing need risks putting the brakes on our growth in some boroughs – at the very time when we need to be rebalancing the economy away from London and the South East.

“Issues of affordability, regeneration and economic development go hand in hand with housing growth and we look forward to working with the public sectors in partnership as the implications of this centrally imposed position from government is further considered.”

Barton Willmore has created two interactive maps that explore the implications of the changes being proposed.

  • New housing need calculation versus household projections

  • New housing need calculation versus Council’s assessment of need


Your Comments

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Looks like Liverpool’s projections have increased though?

By on the dock

I agree, Liverpool increasing housing needs are shown in red, maybe that shoild have been in the heading.

By Man on Bicycle

Dan Mitchell appears to be saying that it doesn’t matter whether the DCLG’s calculations are right or wrong. He seems to suggest that we should continue with a possibly flawed system simply to achieve continued economic growth. When will people like him realise that, in developed countries, infinite economic growth is neither possible nor desirable? We already sacrifice too much on the altar of growth: family life, the living environment. Does Mr Mitchell think growth can go on forever? Across the world we are already up against numerous environmental barriers – climate, deforestation, overfishing, habitat loss. Mr Mitchell needs to have a re-think.

By christopher foren

Cornwall seems to need an increase! Is this so rich Londoners can build beach houses there,just for Summer use? The places in the North are the usual suspects.Nice to see Liverpool in that group though.

By Elephant