Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment from 2016

We have updated our Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) to support the production of its new Local Plan. This is a requirement of paragraph 159 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The NPPF requires local planning authorities to prepare a SHLAA, in order to establish realistic assumptions about the availability, suitability and the likely economic viability of land to meet the identified need for housing over the plan period.

The assessment of land availability is an important step in the preparation of a Local Plan.

National Planning Policy Guidance outlines the purpose and process for housing and economic land availability assessments. An assessment of land availability identifies a future supply of land which is suitable, available and achievable for housing and economic development uses over the plan period.

An assessment should identify sites and broad locations with potential for development, assess that potential and assess the suitability for development and the likelihood of development coming forward.

It should be noted that the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Brownfield Site Schedule does not allocate land for development. It is an inventory and technical assessment of sites within the district. Sites, when they are required, have to be allocated through the Local Plan prior to development taking place, unless other circumstances indicate otherwise.

National Planning Guidance set out a methodology flow chart which should be used when producing the SHLAA. An outline of these steps is below.

We have written to all landowners or their agents in respect of the SHLAA to seek their view on information submitted within the document, and to ensure that each site has the most up to date information. Parish Councils were also contacted to see if they had any information regarding potential brownfield sites in their areas.

It should be noted that the definitions for what greenfield and previously developed land is taken from the National Planning Policy Framework (2012).

Strategic House Land Available Assessment process

The following stages were gone through in order to produce the new SHLAA.

Stage 1 - Site/Broad location identification

Determine the area and site size.

  • The SHLAA covers the entire District of Braintree, but it will include cross border strategic proposals with neighbouring authorities which could be considered through the Duty to Co-operate
  • The minimum capacity threshold for assessment is 5 units as per national guidance.

Desk Top Review.

The following documents were used for the desk top review of sites;

  • SHLAA (2010)
  • Residential Monitoring Report (2014)
  • Annual Monitoring Report (2014)
  • Call for Sites (2014)
  • Local Plan Review (2005)
  • Core Strategy (2011)
  • Pre-submission Site Allocations and Development Management Plan (2014)
  • Braintree District Council weekly list of planning applications Employment Land Review (2015)
  • Safeguarding Maps
  • Aerial Photographs

Stage 2 - Site/broad location assessment

Estimating the development potential - Density of sites will be calculated on the basis of 25 - 30 dwellings per hectare, unless the information is available indicating different density i.e. including but not limited to further information submitted through the Call for Sites, or a planning application etc. Densities may be reduced to take into account identified constraints such as flood zones.

Suitability - Sites are considered not suitable for inclusion in the SHLAA as follows

  • Majority of the site is within a flood zone and any remaining non flood areas could only accommodate less than 5 dwellings or would require access through a flood zone.
  • If it is a wildlife site or has another nature conservation designation
  • Proposed for a non-residential use
  • If it is not a natural extension of an existing development boundary if it is not a strategic site, e.g. isolated dwelling/extension of ribbon development, isolated countryside location
  • It is amenity greenspace or Visually Important Space
  • If employment it can be considered acceptable provided it is not allocated employment or has any other policy designation


  • If a site was submitted by a landowner or agent acting on their behalf through the Call for Sites, then it is considered available for development.

Achievability (Inc viability)

  • If a change to an existing allocation or policy in the Local Plan takes place which would make the site developable for alternative uses and if that site is in a generally sustainable location;
  • A site is achievable if an existing non-residential use can move elsewhere or that such a move is likely;
  • If evidence is available that constraints can be overcome such as an up to date Flood Risk assessment or a contaminated land assessment;
  • Sites within unsustainable locations such as isolated sites in the countryside some distance from existing settlements and major transport infrastructure, then the site is not considered achievable.

Stage 3 - Windfall Assessment

Our position regarding windfall allowance is set out in the Annual Monitoring Report.

Stage 4 - Assessment Review

We produce updates of its Annual Monitoring Report yearly. The next AMR will incorporate changes to housing supply and sites put forward for development.

Stage 5 - Final Evidence base

We will review the SHLAA on an annual basis. This is in order to monitor the delivery of sites, and to amend sites as and when new information becomes available about their suitability.

The SHLAA will also inform development plan preparation and subsequent reviews, as it provides an inventory of sites which we can consider for suitability of development in future plans.

SHLAA Key Statistics

Analysis of the SHLAA shows that 3194ha of land is available for residential development within the District on 344 sites. 1942ha are greenfield sites, 1142ha are mixed greenfield/brownfield and 110ha purely brownfield sites.

232 site are greenfield sites with the remainder being either previously developed or a mixture of previously developed and greenfield.

The total number of homes this could provide is 54,856, of which 41,254 are on greenfield sites, 11,559 on predominantly greenfield sites which include some previously developed land, and 2043 homes could potential be provided on purely previously developed sites.

The estimated total number of housing required to 2033 is between 12,000 and 15,200. As such the SHLAA shows that Braintree District has sufficient sites available to meet its housing requirements.

Brownfield Site Schedule

The SHLAA shows that we have 89 brownfield or mainly brownfield sites with an area of 131 ha, which potentially could accommodate a total of 2383 dwellings.

Updated Sept 2017

Planning Policy

Address: Causeway House
Bocking End

Telephone: 01376 552525