Local Housing Strategy Guidance

Guidance for local authorities to assist in the preparation of Local Housing Strategies.

7. Supply of Housing and Place-Making

7.1 A local authority's ability to provide housing of the right types in the right places, to meet the needs of the population is fundamental to the LHS. Local authorities should undertake an assessment of housing need and demand and informed by this evidence, set a Housing Supply Target ( HST). In doing so, local authorities should consider the role, capacity and mechanisms available to its housing association partners, the private sector as well as its own ability to meet the need and demand of its population within its LHS.

7.2 Increasing the supply of housing involves the private sector, third sector and individuals as well as the public sector. Local authorities should ensure that stakeholders are fully consulted on the strategy, and share the same overarching vision for ensuring its delivery.

7.3 The provision of specialist housing is an integral part of this requirement, which is discussed separately in Section 9.

7.4 The authority's strategy for increasing the supply of private rented sector housing is also relevant and is covered in Section 10.

7.5 Each section in this LHS guidance sets out the policy context that local authorities will want to be aware of and the key aspects that they will want to give full consideration to when developing their LHS. The key aspects are set out under a sub-heading ` LHS Considerations' .

Harmonisation of the LHS and Development Plans

7.6 Local authorities, as both the statutory housing and planning authority, are responsible for assessing housing requirements, ensuring a generous supply of housing land and enabling the delivery of the both market and affordable housing. This section of the LHS should be consistent with and complement the local authority's Local Development Plan.

7.7 Housing and planning authorities should continue to work closely together to take forward the processes that underpin effective housing planning and the delivery of strong local housing outcomes. The principles for this have been set out in Scottish Planning Policy http://www.scotland.gov.uk/publications/scottish-planning-policy/ and guidance on Housing Need and Demand Assessments http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/supply-demand/guidance/guidance-info.

7.8 Central to the processes is the agreement of a HST, which should be set out clearly in the LHS.

Housing Supply Target

7.9 The Local Housing Strategy should draw on the findings of the HNDA to inform its approach to housing investment and delivery. The LHS should set out clearly the local authority's view of the type and level of housing to be delivered over the period of the plan in its HST. The HST set out in the LHS should be broadly consistent with the HST set out in the development plan.

7.10 In setting and agreeing the HST, authorities should give full consideration to those factors which may have a material impact on the pace and scale of housing delivery such as:

  • economic factors which may impact on demand and supply in particular parts of the area
  • capacity within the construction sector
  • the potential inter-dependency between delivery of market and affordable housing at the local level
  • availability of resources
  • likely pace and scale of delivery based on completion rates
  • recent development levels
  • planned demolitions
  • planned new and replacement housing or housing brought back into effective use.

7.11 The HST should be split by market and affordable housing and expressed at both local authority and functional housing market area.

7.12 Those local authorities covering a large geographic area or those with distinct sub-market areas may wish to set out a HST at sub-housing market area.

7.13 Local housing strategies should fully consider the scale and distribution of the affordable housing requirement for their area and where a shortage of affordable housing is identified, set out clearly any role that affordable housing policies are expected to play in addressing this.

LHS Considerations

a) The extent and type of housing need and demand and the role that specific tenures are likely to play, both now and over the longer term.

b) The local authority's strategic vision for the future of housing across all tenures taking into account national priorities.

c) Clear strategic direction for housing investment, and confirmation that development plans support the strategic aims set out in the LHS.

Sustainable Places


7.14 Well-designed, sustainable places increase both physical and mental well-being and housing has a key role to play. Housing helps to shape, maintain and support sustainable places, through both the provision of high quality development and the provision of effective services that assist in maintaining and supporting communities.

7.15 Sustainable communities are generally characterised as those that have a range of services, housing types and people, which promote interaction and integration and create positive, diverse neighbourhoods. They are places designed around people, not cars, encouraging creative activity and social interaction by providing easy access to both cultural amenities and green space. They can make use of green (and blue) infrastructure to deliver environmental and quality of life benefits. More information is available in the Scottish Government's `Green Infrastructure: Design and Place-making', available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/362219/0122541.pdf.

7.16 Sustainable communities help to improve safety by increasing the number of people who use local facilities and generating a real sense of community. They are sustainable places, environmentally, socially, physically and economically. The benefits of well-designed places that include green spaces for recreational and social use are widely recognised as having a positive impact on the health and well-being of both individuals and communities.

7.17 Scotland's policy statement on architecture and place, Creating Places, sets out the comprehensive value that good design can deliver and an action plan that sets out the work that will be taken forward to achieve positive change.

7.18 Designing Streets, published by the Scottish Government in March 2010 provides guidance for practitioners involved in planning, designing, approving and adopting new streets and agreeing modifications to existing ones. The document is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/03/22120652/0.

LHS Considerations

a) Explain the local authority's overall approach to supporting the development and maintenance of sustainable communities, including through the delivery of good quality, sustainable housing.

Regeneration and Town Centres


7.19 Supporting our most disadvantaged communities and creating places which are sustainable and promote well-being is the cornerstone of the Scottish Government's approach to regeneration. To deliver success, a holistic approach to regeneration is required that addresses the social, economic and physical needs of our communities. Achieving a Sustainable Future: The Regeneration Strategy, was published in 2011 and outlines the wide range of supporting outcomes in place to deliver the Scottish Government's regeneration vision.

7.20 The Scottish Government recognises that town centres are a key element of the economic and social fabric of Scotland. The Town Centre Action Plan agreed in 2013 sets the conditions for a range of actions to be delivered to help revitalise local town centres.

7.21 The Town Centre Action Plan identifies the role town centres can make in meeting a range of housing needs. Similarly it recognises the contribution that the promotion of mixed use living can play in the creation of vibrant town centres. Local authorities are therefore encouraged to consider the town centre first principle, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/regeneration/town-centres/TheTownCentreFirstPrinciple and the role that town centre housing can play in meeting local need and demand as well as promoting and prioritising housing opportunities to support vibrant town centres.

LHS Considerations

a) Explain the nature and function of town centres within the local authority area

b) Consider the opportunities that exist for supporting town centre living and the scope that town centres may provide to meet housing need and demand.

c) Set out how opportunities will be prioritised to support effective delivery.

Rural Housing


7.22 The character of rural and island communities and the challenges they face vary greatly, from the more pressured areas around towns and cities to the more remote and fragile communities. The challenges faced in ensuring the supply and maintenance of good quality housing as well as the delivery of housing related services that meet the needs of their rural communities, will also vary.

7.23 Scottish Planning Policy recognises the contribution that development and specifically housing, can make to sustaining remote and/or fragile communities and includes provisions for small scale housing developments or single units to be supported where it contributes to sustainable economic growth.

7.24 Specific arrangements exist for assessing and delivering housing requirements in National Parks. While the National Parks are the statutory planning authority for their area, the statutory housing responsibility remains with the local authority. The requirement for close working between housing and planning responsibilities both within the National Park and the local authority will be critical to ensuring joined up approaches to housing strategy and delivery.

LHS Considerations

a) Ensure that any distinctive issues associated with addressing housing and housing related services within a rural context, are fully taken into account.

Empty Homes


7.25 The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 seeks to improve the condition of privately owned homes and to raise standards in the private rented sector ( PRS). A review of the PRS in 2009 identified the need for a focus on bringing empty homes back into use. The Empty Homes Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government and led by Shelter Scotland, helps local authorities work with owners to bring their empty properties back into use. The measures that were introduced, aim to tackle this issue via prevention and taking a holistic view towards tackling inequalities and ensuring longer term sustainability for individuals.

7.26 The Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Properties etc.) (Scotland) Act 2012 and the new powers that became effective in April 2013, allow local authorities to remove the discount attached to certain types of unoccupied homes and to increase the level of council tax payable.

7.27 Local authorities should also consider the use of Compulsory Purchase Order ( CPO) powers when working to bring empty properties back into use. The use of CPO powers is explained in Planning Circular 6/2011, www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/planning with relevant Scottish Government contacts listed at www.scotland.gov.uk/cpo.

LHS Considerations

a) Provide information on the extent to which empty properties could play a part in increasing housing supply.

b) Explain what is being done to bring empty properties back into use, such as employing an empty homes officer to provide advice and assistance to owners and using empty homes loans/grants.

c) Show how increased income from council tax generation is used to boost housing supply levels.

d) Set out the approach in using CPOs to tackle the issue of empty properties.

Self-Build/Custom Build


7.28 It is essential to consider a wide range of options when aiming to increase housing supply and deliver housing related support for individuals and communities. Self-build, or on a larger scale, custom build approaches, can be viable options for a variety of households across a range of areas, both urban and rural. Development can be individually driven or community led.

7.29 Custom build projects see a developer working with individuals, or groups of individuals, to bring forward new housing. A number of different models and approaches may be possible. This differs from self-build, where an individual leads in organising the development. Such approaches can be viable alongside mainstream developer activity or as a way of encouraging private sector investment in areas where developers have shown less interest.

7.30 It is for each local authority to determine what demand there is for such development locally; and to consider the potential role that self-build/custom build could play in supporting households to meet their housing requirements through, for example, facilitating access to suitable serviced plots.

LHS Considerations

a) If self-build or custom build are considered to be viable options for increasing housing supply, the LHS should be clear on the local authority's approach. Any existing policy or information related to developing such a policy, should be referenced in the LHS.


Back to top