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Local Authority Direct Delivery of Housing

Local authorities are increasingly returning to housebuilding for a wide range of reasons. Planners should play a key role in this, both in terms of taking proactive roles in bringing development forward and scrutinising applications as they would for any other developer.

This practice advice note is for local authority planners who are supporting, or want to support local-authority led delivery. It outlines both how to pro-actively support delivery and how development management can best deal with scrutinising the local authority when it is the developer. It is both a best practice guide and a call to action as the RTPI believes planners can have a crucial leadership role in delivering new local authority-led housing.

It focuses on the policy context in England, though much of the learning may be valuable to planners in other nations.

This note is largely based on two pieces of research published by RTPI in 2017 and 2019, which were both conducted by Professor Janice Morphet and Dr Ben Clifford from the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. These projects considered the motivations for and means by which local authorities directly deliver housing. The full research papers contain far more detail than can be communicated here and we recommend the 2019 report in particular as a companion document to this advice. The findings of the research we supplemented by reviewing additional research on the topic and testing drafts with planners involved in delivery.

The advice focuses on advice for planners in particular, however elements of this advice will be relevant to a wider range of local authority officers.

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