Project Description

Client:  Charnwood Borough Council
Location:  Charnwood Borough
Local Authority:  Charnwood Borough Council
Sector:  Local Authority
Project Status:  Complete


DPDS were formally awarded a contract to undertake an Urban Capacity Study on behalf of Charnwood Borough Council, to inform the preparation of a new Local Plan up to 2036. As part of the study, the Council sought to understand the capacity for residential development within existing urban areas in the Charnwood Borough. This would assist in identifying available sites for housing, particularly on previously developed land, and help identify the scale of greenfield land to be released outside of existing built up areas to accommodate the Borough’s housing requirements.

DPDS set out a project plan and methodology during the tender process, which was agreed and finalised at an Inception Meeting with Charnwood Borough Council. DPDS’ approach in undertaking the Urban Capacity Study included:

  • Assessment of sources of supply to identify available sites for residential development. This was achieved through appraising a wide range of Council documents such as the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment, Employment Land Review, Regeneration Frameworks, Annual Monitoring Data and Neighbourhood Plan allocations.
  • OS/GIS mapping and aerial photo analysis across 23 settlements to identify further potential sites. Details regarding a number of sources were obtained through consultation with Council Officers.
  • All sites identified were mapped on GIS and assessed based on their suitability, availability and achievability for residential development. Site assessments were assisted by analysis of GIS layers showing constraints and resources, and through site visits.
  • Capacity yields were identified for all sites, using an unconstrained yield based on best practice density multipliers per hectare. Discounted unconstrained yields were then applied to each site based on site size and discount rates contained within the Leicester and Leicestershire Housing Market Assessment.
  • Analysis of historic windfall trends to provide an indication of what level of future supply may be available from this source. This included supply from commercial building conversions, sub-division of housing and flats over shops. Analysis of empty home statistics was also utilised.
  • A technical report was prepared detailing the methodological approach adopted within the study. The report also set out findings of the Urban Capacity Study. Conclusions were based on a settlement by settlement basis. Available sites were identified per settlement with a site and settlement yield also generated. Conclusions were also drawn on potential supply from windfall data based on historic data trends. A total capacity across the Charnwood Borough was then identified.
  • A schedule of all 262 suitable sites identified through the study was included within the report. Each suitable site was also mapped on GIS, with settlement maps included within the final report.

DPDS Involvement

  • Preparation of evidence-based study to inform Local Plan preparation;
  • Attending meetings with local planning authority and liaison with Council Officers and project team;
  • Site identification and assessment, including evaluation of site constraints and opportunities, Council documents and historic data;
  • Report preparation;
  • GIS mapping for site analysis and production of settlement maps.