A Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) is an appraisal of the amount of land available for housing and economic use and is required in order to assess the capacity of suitable land.

Its purpose is to test whether there is sufficient land to meet the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) and identify where this may be located. The HELAA does not allocate land for development or determine whether a site should be given planning permission for development. It will be for the Local Plan and the formal planning process to identify and allocate sites for development and to determine any application in accordance with local and national planning policy.

Stage 1 - Methodology

A HELAA Methodology was developed in partnership with all Norfolk Authorities as part of the Duty to Cooperate. Using a consistent methodology ensures that each planning authority prepares its HELAA in a consistent way. The HELAA is a key evidence document which supports the preparation of Local Plans. The Final methodology is available below:

Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment - Final Methodology


A period of public consultation was held on a draft HELAA Methodology between 21 March and 3 May 2016. While the HELAA is considered a technical document, Developers, Land Agents, and individuals were all able to submit representations. The Draft Methodology and the Schedule of Comments & Responses can be seen below.

Schedule of Comments and Responses

Draft Methodology

Stage 2 - Publication of the HELAA

A Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment establishes the potential housing and economic land supply in North Norfolk over the next 20 years (the Local Plan period 2016-36). The HELAA is being presented in two parts; part one covers land for residential use while part two will focus on potential economic land.

The HELAA provides the evidence:

  • As to whether the council is likely or not to meet its development needs within the district in relation to the identified future needs for housing and for economic growth;
  • To support discussions with other authorities under the Duty to Co-operate, if the council need to ask others to assist in delivering North Norfolk’s development needs.

Part 1 - Assessment of Housing Land

Key Findings

The HELAA identifies that there is potential capacity to accommodate 51,904 (gross) 38,369 (net) additional dwellings in North Norfolk. This report therefore concludes that there is sufficient residential development land across the district to accommodate the identified housing need across the Plan period, as specified by the Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2016.

Next Steps

The HELAA looks at need and capacity but does not determine which sites are the most suitable or sustainable. Therefore a further comprehensive assessment of all sites will take place as part of the emerging Local Plan. This assessment will include a ‘Sustainability Appraisal’ (SA) which will help to identify and inform the Plan of the most sustainable sites. The SA examines the social, economic and environmental impacts and benefits of development.

The intention is that preferred sites will be identified based on the emerging spatial strategy (which will identify the proposed general locations for future development) and consulted on during early 2018.

The Local Plan process is an iterative process and additional sites and updated information can come forward throughout the course of preparing the Plan. It should be noted that this HELAA represents a point in time.

Part 2 - Assessment of Economic Land

This provides information on the range and extent of land which could be considered for development to meet the needs identified for employment and economic purposes in North Norfolk. It also provides an updated baseline figure for the amount of land in employment use throughout the District.

Key Findings

The HELAA identifies that, District wide, there is a total of 277 hectares of land currently in employment use and has identified that there is the potential for 168 hectares of employment land available during the plan period. If all this land was developed for employment purposes there would be 445 hectares of employment land available in North Norfolk over the plan period 2016 to 2036.