The Strategic Planning Policy Statement (SPPS) for NI (September 2015) outlines a ‘plan, monitor and manage’ approach to ensure that, as a minimum, a 5 year supply of land for housing is maintained. It states that monitoring should be an ongoing process with annual reporting and review. As a minimum, it states that monitoring must include:
- The housing land supply at the beginning and end of the annual reporting period;
- The number of net additional units built during the annual reporting period; and
- The number of net additional housing units built in the period since adoption of the local plan.
The primary purpose of the Housing Land Availability Monitor (referred to as the ‘Housing Monitor’) is to inform the formulation of the Council’s new Local Development Plan (LDP). However, it will also help the Council identify where a shortfall in potential land supply might exist and can inform house-builders on the availability of land that may be suitable for housing.
The information collated will allow a clear view of the overall progress in meeting the housing objectives of the existing development plan and in identifying issues likely to require intervention. For example, a need to release phased housing sites in order to maintain a 5 year supply of available housing land, or the release of a site providing for a particular housing need.
The Planning Act (NI) 2011 requires Belfast City Council to make an annual report to the Department for Infrastructure outlining the extent to which the objectives set out in the LDP are being achieved. In accordance with this legislation the Council are currently preparing the first new LDP for Belfast which will comprise two documents; the Plan Strategy (PS) and the Local Polices Plan (LPP). The PS was formally adopted on 2 May 2023 and work is now commencing on the LPP. This report relates to a period which predates the adoption of the PS and therefore takes the form of an annual Housing Land Availability Monitor report. In proceeding years, Annual Monitoring Reports will be prepared for the periods subsequent to the adoption of the PS.