GBSLEP and Black Country Strategic Housing Needs Study

The GBSLEP and Black Country planning authorities have commissioned a Strategic Housing Needs Study (SHNS) in order to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (including the duty of cooperate, which replaced the revoked Regional Spatial Strategies).

The report on Phase 3 of that Study can be downloaded here.

The outputs include:

  • A definition of the Housing Market Area (HMA) and an estimate of its future housing need
  • A comparison of forecast need against current supply
  • An exploration of spatial scenarios to address the forecast shortfall


In summary, the main findings of the Study are as follows:

  • The HMA comprises the GBSLEP area (minus Wyre Forest and East Staffordshire) and the Black Country as well as North Warwickshire, South Staffordshire and Stratford-upon-Avon (in part).
  • The report subdivides this further with the Black Country and South Staffordshire comprising a Black Country sub-market and the remaining authorities the Birmingham sub-market.
  • The Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) stands at 207,093 dwellings for the HMA. In terms of supply, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of 37,572 dwellings across the HMA.
  • Over 90% of this shortfall is need arising in Birmingham which cannot be met within the authority boundary, with much smaller proportions from Solihull and Tamworth. The Black Country estimates that it has capacity to meet its own requirements up to 2031.
  • Local Authorities are required to provide enough housing to meet needs identified across the HMA to have their Local Plans found sound. In addition, the consequences of not meeting this need are greater problems with overcrowding, rising house prices and a failure to provide sufficient affordable housing.
  • The study notes that there is a balance between future job and likely economically active population but this assumes that the land and infrastructure is made available to accommodate the additional housing. Economic potential will not be fully realised if there are insufficient dwellings for the workforce.


It should be noted that the SHNS is an evidence-based study and, while it does explore spatial scenarios, it does not identify a preferred option to accommodate future housing need. Under the duty to cooperate, all local planning authorities in the HMA will work together to discuss the options for distributing local growth, and with authorities outside the HMA who may have potential surplus housing capacity.

The outcome of these discussions on the distribution of growth will be reflected in each local authority’s Local Plan – which is to say that the study will not impact on the sovereignty of local authorities to determine where housing growth can be accommodated. However, it is clear that additional housing growth will need to be accommodated within the HMA and, as a result, some policy designations will need to be revisited.

In the context of the GBSLEP area, this will be taken forward in the forthcoming Spatial Plan for Growth, which will deal with cross-boundary strategic planning and infrastructure matters.