RTPI Cymru commissioned a research study by the School of Planning and Geography Cardiff University to consider the process for developing robust housing projections for Local Development Plans in Wales. The research was carried out in response to some local planning authorities' uncertainty and concerns about how much flexibility they have to interpret household projections.
The research can be downloaded from the links below.
The project makes several recommendations on the delivery of further training and skills so that local planning authorities and other stakeholders can interpret, refine and adapt household projections data; the preparation of a good practice guide on the use of household projections in preparing Local Development Plans; minor amendments and clarifications to Planning Policy Wales; and the preparation of a set of Welsh Government local authority level household projections, specifically for the purposes of land use planning that utilise longer-term trend data.
Some of the recommendations have a wider relevance beyond Wales, and are transferable across other nations and systems, in particular the recommendation to explore the development of local authority level household projections using longer-term trend data to better reflect the character and purposes of the planning system and the skills issue. This recommendation suggests that Welsh Government explores the practicality of preparing a set of Welsh Government local authority level household projections specifically for the purposes of land use planning that utilise longer-term trend data on which to base the projected figures and should include the possibility of developing household projections for National Park Authorities.
Welsh Government household projections are used for a variety of different purposes and activities, and land-use planning has some distinctive qualities that are not addressed through use of shorter-term trend projections. The 10 year migration trend is one example that has been incorporated into the Welsh Government household projections, and the recommendation requests that an extension of this practice be explored.
This in turn requires local planning authorities to share experience and skills to support this work and to continue to build and maintain skills in this area. There are various areas of the land use planning system where there is pressure to develop better skills and expertise. The ability to develop robust housing evidence, including through the capacity to adapt household projections data, is a key area where skills and expertise needs arise. The significance of assessing housing requirements in the preparation of a Local Development Plan suggests that this should be a priority for development of skills and expertise. A further recommendation of the research proposes the RTPI, Welsh Government and other stakeholders should work together to deliver further training and skills development opportunities on interpreting, adapting and refining household projections data for land use planning purposes.
Manual of integrated demographic forecasting for local planning in Wales
A key recommendation of the research was to provide Local Planning Authorities with the skills for investigating housing projection data. RTPI Cymru, with support from Welsh Government delivered this training for LPAs in March 2017, with very positive feedback. The majority of Welsh LPAs attended the training. The Manual of Integrated Demograhic Forecasting for Local Planning in Wales was produced following the training in April 2017. Many thanks to Professor Ludi Simpson for providing the training and writting the Manual.
RTPI Blog on housing projections
You may also be interested to read our RTPI blog on housing projections, written by Neil Harris, Chartered Planner and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. Neil is part of the team that completed this research for RTPI Cymru on the use of household projections in preparing Local Development Plans in Wales.