Strategic housing land availability assessment (SHLAA)
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Strategic housing land availability assessment (SHLAA)

What is SHLAA?
A SHLAA is a technical exercise to assess the amount of land that could be made available for housing development.  It is part of the evidence base that will inform the plan making process.  A SHLAA must be prepared by local authorities with involvement of external interests, including house builders, in a “Partnership”.  Government advice makes clear that areas of countryside and green belt should not be ruled out of the assessment.

The process
Leeds undertook its initial SHLAA between summer 2008 and the end of 2009.  A final report was agreed in January 2010 and published shortly after.  The report examined sites already known to the Council through internal monitoring arrangements as well as new sites generated by the “call for sites” that was issued in September 2008. Most conclusions reached were by compromise and consensus, although the majority decisions were also reached with contrary opinions recorded.

The SHLAA will be updated on an annual basis.  Sites which are submitted to the Council, or which receive planning permission (and are 0.2ha and greater) will be included.  Sites should be submitted by the 31 March each year to guarantee inclusion in the update.  The new sites will be reviewed by the SHLAA partnership in the spring/summer, with the aim that the report will published in Autumn each year. 

The SHLAA Update 2011 was published in December 2011, the 2012 Update in April 2013 and the 2014 Update in July 2014.  The SHLAA 2015 Update is in draft and is at technical consultation stage.  It will be made available early 2016. 

SHLAA and the planning process
The inclusion of a site within the SHLAA does not imply support for development. It is the planning policies of Leeds City Council as well as national and regional planning policy which will determine suitability for development.  Where sites are classified in the SHLAA as “LDF to determine” this means that the City Council’s LDF Core Strategy and Site Allocations DPD will determine the extent to which these sites will actually contribute in practice. Many sites within this category will not be needed or are likely to be inappropriate from a policy perspective.

Suggestions for New Sites
Any person can make a suggestion for a new SHLAA site, not just landowners and their agents. A guidance note and submission form can be downloaded from this webpage to help make site suggestions. A suggestion can be made at any time of year, but the site will not be added to the published SHLAA until the annual update takes place to the next 1st April base date.

SHLAA and Neighbourhood Planning
The SHLAA provides a source of information about potential housing land for those engaged in Neighbourhood Planning to draw upon for their local neighbourhood plans.  However, if neighbourhood forums or Parish Councils consider that other pieces of land would be appropriate for housing development, such land can still be suggested and included through one of the SHLAA annual updates.

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