Failing the Housing Delivery Test is bad news for local democracy in Enfield

Yesterday the Government published the results of its Housing Delivery Test and it was not good news for Enfield.  

What is the Housing delivery Test (HDT)?

Inside Housing describes the HDT as “Whitehall’s assessment of whether councils and other planning authorities are overseeing development of enough homes for their area. It is presented as a percentage of homes delivered against the number required over the past three years – with 95% constituting a ‘pass’.”

Did Enfield pass the HDT?


The HDT results published yesterday show that over the last three years Enfield’s target for new homes was 2,328 but only 1,314 were built (56%).

This means Enfield failed to pass the HDT by a significant margin.

What are the consequences of failing the HDT?

Planning decisions in Enfield are less likley to be determined according to local policy. Instead, proposals for new developments will be determined against national planning policies set out in the NPPF.  

This is called “the presumption in favour of sustained development”, which means planning applications should be granted unless the adverse impacts “would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits”.

As a result, the council and local residents could now have less control over house building and ensuring that the right homes are built in the right places in Enfield.

There is, for now at least, one possible saving grace (depending on your point of view). A lot of Enfield is Green Belt, and a footnote in the NPPF (footnote 6) could help reduce some of the consequences of failing the HDT for Green Belt land. Zack Simons, a planning barrister, suggests in his blog that the consequnces for Green Belt authorities will be nil. However, 60% of Enfield is not designated as Green Belt.

Enfield was not alone in failing the HDT, but was amongst the worst performing areas. The table below shows how Enfield’s performance compares to surrounding areas – only Epping Forest delivered a lower percentage of their 3 year target.

Table 1: HDT, Jan 2021, Enfield and surrounding areas


Housing Delivery Test: 2020 measurement – GOV.UK (

Inside Housing – Insight – The 95% challenge: how does the government’s new housing delivery test work?

Elephants in the Room: Green Belts vs. the Housing Delivery Test — #planoraks

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