Housing Delivery Test – the good, the bad and the ugly……of 2021!

by Jo Hanslip

Another year gone (again, much of it spent in our homes) and the Housing Delivery Test (HDT) 2021, has produced some interesting results. In our HDT review of 2019 and 2020, we revealed the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ results for Local Authorities’ (LPAs) performance under the test across the Country. A year on, we have reviewed the 2021 data to see who the movers and shakers are and in what direction!

In the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor stated:

1.145 Land availability, as constrained by the planning system, is the most significant barrier to building more houses. [ …] Where LPAs fail to meet their local housing need, there will be firm consequences, including a stricter approach taken to the release of land for development and greater Government intervention.”

Obviously since the pandemic, much has changed in the country since this statement, but the sentiments and intentions behind the need to secure new housing have not faltered. In fact the need for suitable homes for us all, has probably be further intensified by recent events and we hope that the Chancellor remains true to his words of 2020!

A Covid-19 Adjustment has been included in the 2020 Housing Delivery Test Measurement:

To reflect the temporary disruption caused by the first national lockdown announced on 23 March 2020, the period for measuring the homes required in 2019/20 has been reduced by 1 month. As ‘homes required’ data (detailed above) can be calculated by the day, the 19/20 ‘homes required’ measurement period has been reduced by 31 days.”

The HDT measurement is published annually and covers the previous three financial years; in the case of the 2020 measurement the years are 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020. The HDT compares the net homes delivered over three years to the homes required over the same period.

Housing Delivery Test (%) =

Total net homes delivered over 3-year period / Total number of homes required over 2-year 7 month period

It should be noted that the test states:

“For the 2021 measurement, there is a reduction in period for measuring total homes required – usually this would be measured over a 3-year period, but an 8-month period has been used for the 2020/21 monitoring year. This is to account for the considerable variations in levels of housing delivery as local planning authorities and construction industry faced disruption on a national, regional, and local level due to the pandemic. Additionally, an 11-month period has been used for the 2019/20 monitoring year. This was to account for disruption to housing delivery and monitoring caused by the first national lockdown in March 2020.”

Depending upon the output of performing the HDT test, LPAs were categorised as follows:

  • Good – Over 95% – No requirement
  • Bad – Over 85% – Action Plan to be prepared
               Under 85% – Action Plan and 20% Buffer to be applied to 5-year HLS calculations
  • Ugly – The LPAs in 2019 who were in this category were performing at under 45% but from 2020, this was raised to 75%, where an Action Plan, Buffer and presumption in favour of sustainable development apply.

In preparing their Action Plan, the LPA is required to:

  • Forecast rates of delivery
  • Understand local plan position
  • Identify what is going to happen to Local Housing Need

Authorities were required to have prepared their Action Plans and should undertake the following steps:

  • Evidence gathering
  • Root cause analysis
  • Action planning and
  • Consultation and publication

We have reassessed the Local Authorities performance under the HDT and the (good) identify those who need to prepare an Action Plan; the (bad), those that need to apply both the 20% buffer to their 5-year housing land supply calculations  as well as preparing an Action Plan, and finally the (ugly) – those where a presumption in favour of sustainable housing exists as performance is poor.

We provide a snapshot of the LPA performance by region below, however if you wish to review the full material, please view the England wide spreadsheet of poorest performers here: 

Housing-Delivery-Test-2021 can be viewed below:

2021_HDT – All LPAs

2021 Technical Note can be viewed below:

Technical Note

Good To see the over 207 good performers, click below:

2021_HDT – Good


Since 2019, the number of sites requiring an Action Plan has increased from 25 to 31. In 2021, it has decreased to 23 where an Action Plan is required. There are a total of 19 Authorities who scored under 85% and need to prepare and Action Plan and implement a 20% buffer on their 5-year land supply calculations.

These 42 poor performers can be viewed here:

2021_HDT – Poor


About 51 Authorities now have a presumption in favour of sustainable development delivering less than 75% of their housing requirement.  The following Authorities have failed to deliver more than 75% of their housing target.

2021_HDT – Ugly

We can all look forward to reviewing some of the published Action Plan in forthcoming weeks to see how Authorities propose to start redressing their balance, the worst three performing Authorities are the very similar to last year:





Eastbourne (29%)

Eastbourne (32%)


Epsom (34%)

Epping Forest (35%)


Havering & North Hertfordshire (36%)

Epsom & Erwell (35%)

The statistics show the significantly changing picture across the country with many more authorities faulting on their housing supply, despite COVID provisions being applied to the statistics. It will be interesting to see if the figures improve for 2022….. however there is some consistency in terms of the quality of performance – both good and bad…..!

Share With Friends