Agenda item

Issues related to Housing Windfall Sites


The Committee considered the Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management’s covering report summarising the main issues relating to unplanned windfall sites which make up a significant proportion of housing completions in East Devon.  Members also considered the appendix which contained more technical details relating to some of those issues. 


Windfall sites are those that have not been identified in the development plan which make up a significant proportion of our housing completion.  In total 2,267 windfall sites in the last five years and 39% of the total housing completions in East Devon.


The summary of the main issues included:

·       Issue 1 highlights the role of windfall sites which is supported by the NPPF (paragraph 71).

·       Issue 2 highlights the compelling evidence that windfalls provide a reliable supply source.

·       Issue 3 highlights the extent to which development is to be plan-led arising from the balance between windfalls and allocations for housing.

·       Issue 4 highlights the options for a windfall allowance in forecasting housing supply.


The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management summarised the following options in relation to this issue as outlined in the appendix: 


Option 1 – HMU 2023 windfall allowance of 138 dwellings per year

This is based on the evidence in Appendix A and whether the windfall allowance used in the five-year housing land supply assessment in the East Devon Housing Monitoring update ending 31 March 2023 which Committee endorsed as evidence on 3 October 2023.  The windfall allowance would be 10% of the housing requirement based on local housing need of 910 homes per year plus a 10% supply headroom.


Option 2 – Non-strategic increase – adding in garden land windfalls

A – Increasing the windfall allowance

There is compelling evidence to demonstrate that garden land windfall sites of 1 to 9 dwellings would provide a reliable source of windfalls in the future which would increase the allowance rate by 39 dwellings per year.  This is not included in option 1 due to the lack of evidence on the impact of local areas.


B – Decreasing the windfall allowance

For more certainty by changing the balance between windfalls and allocations by decreasing the windfall allowance and increasing the amount of allocations for housing development.


Issue 5 – The ability for local plan policies to support windfall delivery

This will result in more areas within settlement boundaries to have more potential for windfalls.


Issue 6 – Producing windfall evidence in a timely manner

This is a very technical but necessary piece of work that will have considerable demands on resources for evidence and plan preparation.


Discussions included:

·       It was noted that windfall sites from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2040 will count towards the housing supply in the emerging local plan completions between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2040.

·       In estimating the five-year housing land supply figures it was suggested the figures were being suppressed and an extra column should be included titled ‘brought forwards’ so that these figures are not lumped together as windfalls.

·       Clarification was sought on the concept of paragraph 2.27 as planning decisions were taken in accordance with policies in the NPPF and local plan and neighbourhood plans.  The Assistant Director – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged the issue which could be used against the council in terms of promoting specific applications but in reality the Planning Committee would be considering individual application on their own merits.

·       Clarification was sought on paragraph 2.29 and whether the objections received were predominantly from developers.  It was advised the objections were mainly from developers.



1.          The use of the evidence in Appendix A be endorsed for development Management and plan-making purposes.

2.          To defer the endorsement of Option 1 to a future meeting so that Members can better understand the preferred approach to justify the housing windfall allowance used to calculate the 2023 East Devon five-year housing land supply position for development management purposes.

3.          Option 2 be endorsed as the approach to inform the council’s plan-making, its housing supply forecasts and ‘rolling’ five-year housing land supply assessments which the council will reply on to justify emerging local plan policies.

4.          To note the current five-year land supply position and the related windfall allowance for development management and for plan-making will be updated in 2024 and in subsequent years when new evidence at relevant monitoring points becomes available.

5.           That should Government policy and/or guidance change regarding a windfall allowance then matters should be reviewed to determine whether an alternative approach is applicable, appropriate and desirable in the East Devon Local Plan.

Supporting documents: