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5 Housing

Affordable housing on open market sites

View Comments (1) 5.1 At the time of writing the National Planning Policy Framework's Glossary defines affordable housing as 'social rented, affordable rented[28] and intermediate housing[29], provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision. The definition explicitly excludes 'low cost market' housing.

No Comments 5.2 The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced starter homes into legislation. They are expected to be added to the definition of affordable housing, will cost 20% less than market value for first time buyers and regulations to control their provision were expected. However the Government has since produced a Housing White Paper (HWP)(February 2017) which has suggested a different approach to their provision and revisions to the definition of affordable housing. This means that the policy and supporting evidence will probably need to be altered from that set out below before the Plan is adopted.

No Comments 5.3 Paragraph 159 of the NPPF requires Local Planning authorities to have a clear understanding of housing needs in their area via an assessment to identify the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that the local population is likely to need. It also states that if Housing Market Areas cross boundaries such assessments should be prepared cooperatively between relevant councils. The Buckinghamshire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) has therefore been prepared for the four district councils in Buckinghamshire based on relevant Government guidance. The final revision of the HEDNA published in December 2016 identifies a need for Aylesbury Vale district to accommodate 4,200 affordable homes in the Plan period.

View Comments (1) 5.4 As a result of meeting housing need from adjacent councils which cannot meet their need in their own areas, Aylesbury Vale will also need to deliver a suitable proportion of affordable housing to address transferred affordable housing need within the overall unmet need. Such provision will need to recognise that the requirement in policy H1 below has been subject to viability appraisal based on the situation in Aylesbury Vale and the provision will need to match the requirement set out in the policy and not necessarily what would be required on site within the adjacent council areas. 

View Comments (3) 5.5 The majority of affordable housing in the district is achieved by requiring developers to provide affordable homes as part of open market housing developments (through Section 106 agreements). To enable the Council to meet the identified need, it will seek to secure 25% affordable housing on qualifying development sites. The HEDNA identifies an affordable housing need of 4,200 dwellings during the Plan period. This equates to 21.3% of Aylesbury Vale's overall housing need, but to achieve the required number of affordable homes an allowance must be made for the developments which will be below the 11-house threshold and will not deliver affordable housing. Based on a viability assessment of the potential to deliver affordable housing on new developments, it is considered that a rate of 25% will deliver the required total of affordable housing and still allow landowners and developers to secure the competitive returns referred to in paragraph 173 of the NPPF.  Allowing for 25% affordable homes to be provided on the entire housing figure (i.e. including the unmet need element referenced above) a total of 6,850 additional affordable homes must be provided in the district in the Plan period.

No Comments 5.6 Policy H1 states that affordable housing will be sought on developments of 11 or more dwellings or, to prevent the development of sites with large houses at very low densities simply to avoid the threshold, sites of 0.3 hectares or larger. This reflects the recently introduced Government threshold of 10 dwellings or fewer under which Section 106 planning obligations for affordable housing should not be sought. Where the affordable housing policy would result in a requirement that more than half of an affordable home should be provided, the calculation will be rounded upwards and where it would be less than 0.5 a financial contribution of equivalent value may be sought.

View Comments (1) 5.7 Applicants seeking a lower percentage of affordable housing than sought by the policy must demonstrate why it is not economically viable to provide the required level. Open book calculations will need to be provided by the applicant and then verified at their expense by an independent consultant chosen by the Council who will then give it their consideration.  Applicants will need to demonstrate that the viability assessment in place to support the Local Plan does not address the factors that they consider make the proposed development of the site unviable. Where development is demonstrated to be unviable, further negotiations will take place including consideration of the mix and type of social housing proposed, to test whether there is a better and more viable arrangement.

No Comments 5.8 Affordable housing should be provided on the application site as this offers the best prospect of ensuring a mixed and balanced community. To achieve this it will be important to avoid the affordable dwellings being overly concentrated in only a few areas of a development. Affordable homes will therefore be expected to be integrated throughout the development site. Methods for achieving this will be set out in the forthcoming Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

5.9 Exceptionally, off-site provision or financial contributions in lieu of affordable housing may be considered by the Council where it can be demonstrated by an applicant that on-site provision cannot be achieved. The mechanism for how this can be demonstrated will be outlined in the forthcoming Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

No Comments 5.10 The type, size, tenure and location of the affordable homes will be negotiated on a site-by-site basis, with reference to the stipulations of Policy H6 and the content of the HEDNA. The availability of any affordable housing subsidy and identified needs in the locality at the time of the proposal will be considered, based on the most up-to-date evidence on housing need and any available evidence regarding local market conditions. For example, a proportion of affordable dwellings may be required to be suitable or easily adaptable for occupation by the elderly or people with disabilities to accord with Policy H6. External factors such as subsequent changes in legislation, regulations or Government policy that affect the requirement of certain types of affordable homes, such as the changes suggested by the HWP, will also need to be considered. Further details will be provided in the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

View Comments (1) 5.11 Alternative housing delivery methods that may include affordable housing, such as Community Land Trusts and Community Right to Build, will be considered in line with national policy and in accordance with Policy H1 Affordable Housing.

No Comments 5.12 The allocation of affordable housing will be made in accordance with the Council's relevant allocations policy. Affordable homes are to remain affordable in perpetuity or, if this restriction is lifted, the subsidy should be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision within the district.

No Comments 5.13 Further details of the Council's approach to affordable housing and the implementation of this policy will be provided in the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

View Comments (56) H1 Affordable housing

Residential developments of 11 or more dwellings gross or sites of 0.3ha or more will be required to provide a minimum of 25% affordable homes on site. In addition:

  1. The type, size, tenure and location of affordable housing will be agreed with the Council, taking account of the Council's most up-to-date evidence on housing need and any available evidence regarding local market conditions.
  2. Where an applicant advises that a proposal is unviable in the light of the above policy requirement, other policy requirements, specific site characteristics and other financial factors, an open book financial appraisal of the development should be provided by the applicant which will then be independently assessed at the expense of the applicant*.
  3. Exceptionally affordable housing provision may be provided off-site or a financial contribution made in lieu of such provision. This will need to be justified as an exception to normal policy as part of the planning application.     
  4. Where a site forms part of a larger site of a size which is capable of being developed, the affordable housing requirements will be applied on a cumulative basis.
  5. The affordable homes will be expected to be integrated throughout the development site  in accordance with the adopted Supplementary Planning Document.

Further details regarding the implementation of this policy will be provided in the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

*the independent consultant who will assess the financial appraisal will be chosen by the Council. 

Affordable housing on rural exception sites

View Comments (1) 5.14 The largely rural nature of the district coupled with high house prices means the provision of affordable housing in rural areas to meet local needs is important. It helps to create and maintain sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities. The need for more affordable homes in villages tends to be particularly acute as opportunities for delivery are more limited.  This is mainly due to the limited availability of land suitable for residential development.

View Comments (1) 5.15 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines rural exception sites as small sites used for affordable housing in perpetuity where sites would not normally be used for housing, and seeks to address the needs of the local community. Such sites often provide fewer than 12 dwellings in locations within or immediately adjacent to the relevant settlement.

View Comments (1) 5.16 This policy applies to those areas designated as 'rural areas' in Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 625; The Housing (Right to Acquire and Enfranchise) (Designated Rural Areas in the South East) Order 1997, in accordance with national guidance. The statutory instrument lists the areas (parishes by list and part parishes by map) where there is an exemption from 'right to acquire' on social rented properties. This assures that properties built on rural exception sites within these designated areas remain affordable in perpetuity.

View Comments (1) 5.17 The Council expects exception schemes to be supported by the local parish council, and actively encourages parishes which are aware of a need for affordable housing to work with the Rural Housing Enabler or equivalent to undertake a local housing needs survey. Occupation of rural exception housing should be restricted to people with a local residential or employment connection to the parish and/or surrounding parishes where the development is proposed. A detailed description of the approach to establishing a local connection will be set out in the forthcoming Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

No Comments 5.18 It is expected that rural exception sites will generally deliver 100% affordable housing. In some cases however, as recognised in paragraph 54 of the NPPF, some 'market housing' may be appropriate on sites where it can be demonstrated that the market housing is necessary to cross-subsidise the delivery of significant additional affordable housing within the scheme. On the basis of the NPPF text it is considered that 'some ' cannot mean more than 50% of the houses within an exception site being market housing. In order for the Council to establish if market housing is required, and if so the quantity, the applicant will be expected to provide an open book financial appraisal of the development. This will then be independently assessed at the expense of the developer to demonstrate the viability of the revised scheme.

View Comments (9) H2 Rural exception sites

In rural areas, small‐scale developments for affordable housing may be permitted, provided that the proposal meets the following criteria:

  1. the number, mix, and design of dwellings is appropriate to meet local housing needs established through a housing need survey
  2. it is located on a site within or adjoining the existing developed footprint of the village*
  3. developments must be appropriate in scale, design and character to the locality , and
  4. dwellings permitted in accordance with this policy will be reserved in perpetuity for those in affordable local need with a valid local connection by planning obligation or conditions

Cross-subsidy

Where an independently assessed open book viability assessment can demonstrate that 100% affordable housing cannot be delivered on an exception site, the Council may agree to a proportion of some market homes within the site, if they meet the above criteria as well as the criteria below:

  1. the viability assessment must show that the scale of the market housing component is essential for the delivery of the rural exception affordable housing scheme and that it is based on rural exception site land values and must not include any profit, and
  2. the majority of the development must be for rural exception affordable housing.

*the existing developed footprint is defined as 'the continuous built form of the village, and excludes individual buildings and groups of dispersed buildings, agricultural buildings and associated land on the edge of the village and gardens, paddocks and other undeveloped land within the curtilage of buildings on the edge of the settlement where the land relates more to the surrounding countryside than to the built-up area of the village'.

Rural workers dwellings

No Comments 5.19 National policy (National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 55) states that 'Local Planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside, unless there are special circumstances such as the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside'.

No Comments 5.20 The following policy sets out the Council's approach to the provision of dwellings for agricultural, forestry and other full-time workers in the countryside where there is an essential need for them to live at or near their place of work.

No Comments 5.21 A new permanent occupational dwelling will only be permitted:

  • for a full-time (rather than part-time) occupational worker
  • if it can be justified on a functional and financial basis
  • if the identified accommodation need cannot be met in any other way, and
  • if it is of an appropriate size, design and is well-sited.

No Comments 5.22 The Council may permit temporary agricultural, forestry operations or other rural-based enterprises workers' dwellings where the need for a permanent dwelling cannot currently be proved.

No Comments 5.23 The Council will control the occupancy of any occupational dwelling by condition or planning obligation. It will seek to secure such dwellings to support the rural economy unless it can be shown that an essential need on or within the vicinity of the site no longer exists.

Definition of a rural worker

No Comments 5.24 The definition of a rural worker is not limited to someone employed in agriculture or forestry. It can include for example, those employed in equestrian or other rural-based enterprises, water-based businesses, etc. The definition does not apply to someone whose business or occupation is carried out in a wide locality in the rural area, for example a tradesperson who does not require fixed premises.

The need for a full-time worker

No Comments 5.25 The provision of a dwelling for occupational purposes in the countryside is an exception to normal planning policy. Consequently, the Council will not permit such a dwelling unless available evidence clearly demonstrates that the scale and nature of an existing or intended enterprise is sufficient to require one or more full-time workers to live at or near to the place of work. Reference to full-time shall be construed as including a person who is employed to solely or mainly work in the relevant occupation. The Council will not permit a permanent occupational dwelling for a part-time worker.

No Comments 5.26 In considering whether the need is essential in any particular case, the Council will consider the requirements of the enterprise concerned and not the personal preferences or circumstance of any of the individuals involved.

Functional need and financial test

No Comments 5.27 The Council will seek functional and financial justification for all occupational dwellings in the countryside. The particular assessments applied can be different depending on whether the application is for a dwelling for an agricultural, forestry or other essential rural worker and whether the application is for temporary or permanent accommodation.

Functional need for a permanent dwelling

No Comments 5.28 The assessment of 'functional need' establishes whether the proposed dwelling is essential to enable one or more workers to be readily available at most times to ensure the proper functioning of the existing enterprise, provided that such a requirement cannot be reasonably dealt with by any other means. For agricultural workers, such a requirement might arise, for example, if workers are needed to be on hand day and night, such as in case animals or agricultural processes require essential care at short notice.

No Comments 5.29 By itself the protection of livestock from theft or injury by intruders will not be sufficient to justify the need for a new agricultural dwelling. Requirements arising from food processing or agricultural contracting, as opposed to agriculture, also cannot be used to justify an agricultural dwelling, nor can agricultural needs justify the provision of isolated new dwellings as retirement homes for farmers.

No Comments 5.30 It is unlikely that an essential functional need for a dwelling for a forestry worker could be justified given the nature of forestry due to its limited scale in the district, and having regard to conventional methods of forestry management (which can involve the use of a seasonal or peripatetic workforce). Special circumstances, such as the need to service the intensive nursery production of trees, may however do so.

No Comments 5.31 There may also be instances where special justification exists for new isolated dwellings associated with other rural-based enterprises. The essential need for a rural worker's dwelling should be justified in relation to the activities and operations of the business, not the personal preferences or circumstances of the individuals involved, or for security reasons. In these cases, the enterprise itself, including any development necessary for the operation of the enterprise, must be acceptable in planning terms and permitted in that rural location, regardless of the consideration of any proposed associated dwelling.

Financial test for permanent dwellings

No Comments 5.32 Permanent accommodation cannot be justified on agricultural, forestry or business grounds unless the business enterprise is economically viable. A financial test is necessary to establish whether this is the case.

No Comments 5.33 To justify a new permanent dwelling as sustainable development, the rural business enterprise must be well established.  When an application is submitted, it will need to be demonstrated that the enterprise to which the application relates:

  • has been established for a continuous period of at least the previous three years and in the case of an enterprise consisting of more than one activity, the three years shall apply to the latest activity relating to the application
  • has been profitable for at least one of those three years, and
  • is financially sound on that date and has a clear prospect of remaining so.

No Comments 5.34 A proposal should be supported by a business plan and accounts prepared by a suitably qualified person, and be accompanied by evidence of how the maintenance or growth of the enterprise will be funded. Applying the financial test can also help to establish the size and design of the dwelling the farming, forestry or rural business unit can sustain. In applying this test, the Council will take a realistic approach to the level of profitability, taking account the nature of the enterprise concerned.

Meeting need in other ways

No Comments 5.35 Applicants will need to show that the identified needs could not be met in ways other than through a new permanent dwelling. For example, applicants will need to demonstrate why agricultural, forestry or other essential rural workers could not live in nearby towns or villages, or make use of accommodation already existing on the farm, area of forestry or business unit. Where applicable, the Council will take into account the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 Schedule 2 Part 3 Class Q for agricultural buildings to dwellings.

No Comments 5.36 The Council will investigate if it believes genuine need may not exist. For example, the Council may look into the history of an agricultural holding, area of forestry or rural business to establish the recent pattern of use of land and buildings. This may include whether any dwellings, or buildings suitable for conversion to dwellings, have recently been separated from the farmland, area of forestry or rural business concerned. Such activity may indicate a lack of a genuine need and in such circumstances an occupational dwelling will not be permitted.

Dwelling size

No Comments 5.37 Agricultural, forestry or other occupational dwellings should be commensurate in size to the established functional requirement. In determining the appropriate size of a dwelling, the Council will consider the requirements of the enterprise rather than those of the owner or occupier. New dwellings must be of the minimum size commensurate with the established functional requirement and reflective of the enterprise's financial projections unless robustly justified.  The Council will not permit dwellings that are:

  • unusually large in relation to the agricultural, forestry or rural business needs of the unit, with net useable floor space not normally larger than 180sqm for the initial dwelling and 120sqm for each dwelling thereafter, excluding garaging but including associated offices such as a farm office, or
  • unusually expensive to construct in relation to the income the unit can sustain in the long-term.

Siting of the dwelling

No Comments 5.38 Agricultural, forestry or other occupational dwellings should be sited so the worker is conveniently located to undertake activities required to meet the established functional need. New agricultural or forestry dwellings must be well related to existing farm or forestry buildings, or other dwellings, where these exist on or adjacent to the unit for which the functional need has been established. Occupational dwellings associated with a rural business should be located on the site of the rural business and well related to existing buildings, or other dwellings, where these exist on the site for which the functional need has been established.

Temporary rural workers' dwellings

No Comments 5.39 The Council may permit a temporary dwelling for a full-time rural worker if it can be demonstrated that it is essential to support new farming, forestry or rural-based enterprise, whether on a newly created agricultural unit or an established one. The Council will assess the functional need and apply a financial test to any proposal for a temporary dwelling.

No Comments 5.40 The functional need for temporary accommodation will need to be justified in the same way as the need for a permanent occupational dwelling, except that need will have to be demonstrated in relation to the new enterprise. Clear evidence of a firm intention and ability to develop the enterprise, such as significant investment in new buildings and equipment, will have to be available. The Council will also require evidence that the functional need could not be fulfilled in any other way.

No Comments 5.41 In the case of assessing financial need, the Council will require the available evidence to demonstrate that the proposed enterprise has been planned on a sound financial basis with a reasonable prospect of delivering a sustainable profit before or by the expiry of the temporary period that the proposal seeks to secure.

No Comments 5.42 The temporary dwelling should take the form of a caravan, a wooden structure or other temporary accommodation which can be easily dismantled. This is because any temporary permission will be granted for a specified period that will usually be for no longer than three years. Conditions will be imposed requiring its removal at the end of that period. Strong and clear justification will be required to support any proposals that a temporary period should extended.

No Comments 5.43 The Council will not normally give temporary permission in a location where a permanent dwelling would not be permitted, or grant successive extensions to a temporary permission over a period of more than three years. If permission for a permanent dwelling is subsequently sought, the merits of the proposal will be assessed against the criteria in this policy relating to permanent occupational dwellings in the countryside.

Occupancy and other conditions

No Comments 5.44 Where a dwelling for a farm, forestry or essential rural worker has been permitted, the Council wishes to ensure that the dwelling is kept available for meeting this need for as long as it exists. The Council may control the occupancy of dwellings for farm, forestry or essential rural workers by condition or S106 agreement.

No Comments 5.45 Where a dwelling for a farm, forestry or essential rural worker is proposed, the Council will also usually seek to impose, as part of any permission, conditions removing permitted development rights to ensure the continued viability of the property for its intended use. Permitted development rights allow certain developments, such as extensions, within the curtilage of a dwelling house that could result in an occupational dwelling increasing to a size either not justified by the identified functional requirement of the unit, or becoming too expensive for any future potential occupier to buy or rent.

Removal of occupancy conditions

No Comments 5.46 The removal of an agricultural or forestry occupancy condition will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated that it has outlived its usefulness. In such cases the Council would expect evidence to demonstrate why the dwelling is no longer required in connection with the related enterprise. The Council will also expect it to be evidenced that the dwelling has been:

  • made publicly available without any unreasonable restriction and with amenity land proportionate to its size, and
  • suitably advertised and marketed at a price reflecting its condition and the existence of the occupancy restriction for a continuous period of at least12 months or an appropriate period as agreed with the LPA immediately prior to the date that an application is submitted.

No Comments 5.47 The Council would not expect an occupational dwelling for an essential rural worker to be severed from the business unit to which it is tied, unless the business fails. In particular the Council would be unlikely to support any subsequent application to remove an occupational condition on such a severed dwelling or any future application for a new dwelling relating to the business. Even if the business to which the dwelling relates fails, the Council would expect every reasonable effort to be made to retain the occupational dwelling. The Council would apply the same principles as it would to a proposal to remove an agricultural or forestry condition.

No Comments 5.48 Proposals for the removal of an agricultural or forestry occupancy condition will be considered on the basis of an up-to-date assessment of the demand for farm or forestry dwellings in the locality and not just on the particular farm or forestry holding. When considering proposals to remove the occupancy condition for an essential rural worker, the Council will need to be convinced that the dwelling is no longer needed for the continuing rural enterprise or, in the event that the enterprise fails, is not needed for any proposed new use with planning permission or to meet a wider need in the locality for an occupational dwelling for an agricultural, forestry or essential rural worker.

Information and appraisals

No Comments 5.49 Applicants must provide sufficient information to enable the Council to determine any application for an occupational dwelling or the removal of an occupancy condition. The Council may also seek the advice of agricultural or other consultants to give a technical appraisal of the case being put forward.

View Comments (2) H3 Rural workers dwellings

Permanent rural workers' dwellings

A new permanent dwelling for an agricultural, forestry or rural worker will only be permitted if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The need relates to a full-time worker and does not relate to a part-time requirement
  2. There is an essential existing functional need for a worker to live at, or in the immediate vicinity of, their place of work
  3. The economic viability of the enterprise to which the proposed dwelling relates can be demonstrated by satisfying the 'financial test' applied by the Council
  4. The functional need could not be fulfilled by any other means
  5. It is of the minimum size and an appropriate design commensurate with the established functional requirement and reflective of the enterprise's financial projections unless robustly justified
  6. It is sited so as to meet the identified functional need and is related to existing farm, forestry or rural business buildings, or other dwellings
  7. Suitable accommodation, including that which might have been converted, has not been sold separately from the land within the last five years
  8. Planning permission will be granted subject to a planning condition or S106 protecting its continued use by agricultural, forestry and other rural workers
  9. Permitted Development Rights may be removed in order to ensure that a dwelling is not subsequently extended to a size which exceeds its functional requirement.

Temporary rural workers' dwellings

A new temporary dwelling for an agricultural, forestry or rural worker will only be permitted if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The need relates to a full-time worker and does not relate to a part-time requirement
  2. It is essential to support a new rural business activity for which there is a clearly established functional need for the worker to live on or in the vicinity of the holding
  3. The future economic viability of the enterprise to which the proposed dwelling relates can be demonstrated by a sound business plan
  4. The functional need could not be fulfilled by any other means
  5. It takes the form of a caravan, a wooden structure, or other temporary accommodation of the minimum size required to support the proposed new rural business activity
  6. Suitable accommodation, including that which might have been converted, has not been sold separately from the land within the last five years.

Removal of occupancy conditions

An agricultural, forestry or rural worker occupancy condition will only be lifted if it can be demonstrated that both of the following criteria are met:

  1. A suitable sustained attempt has been made to advertise and market the dwelling for sale or rent at a price  that reflects the occupancy restriction for a continuous period of at least 12 months or an appropriate period as agreed with the LPA and
  2. The rural worker dwelling no longer serves a need in connection with the holding to which it relates, and there is no agricultural, forestry or rural worker occupational need elsewhere that it could reasonably service, nor is it likely that any such needs will arise in the foreseeable future.

Replacement dwellings in the countryside

View Comments (1) 5.50 In the countryside outside the Green Belt, the replacement of existing dwellings will generally be acceptable. Whilst accepting the principle of the erection of replacement dwellings, it is important to take into account the overall effect of the proposed replacement. The effects of the proposed replacement should be compared with the impact of the existing dwelling. If the dwelling allowed exceeds the original size, the Council may impose a condition withdrawing future permitted development rights. For the purpose of the comparison the term 'dwelling' will not include any detached garaging or domestic outbuildings.

View Comments (2) H4 Replacement dwellings in the countryside

The replacement of dwellings within the countryside on a one-for-one basis will normally be supported provided that the replacement dwelling is not significantly greater in size than the one it replaces, does not cause significant harm to the site or its surroundings and accords with the design principles set out in policy BE2.

Self/custom build housing

No Comments 5.51 The affordability of housing in the district is a continuing challenge, and delivering housing that is affordable to local families is a priority for the Council. The Council considers that custom and self build housing can play an important part in solving the housing challenge, by complementing the mainstream housing built by large house builders and housing associations.

No Comments 5.52 The Community Infrastructure Levy regulations define self/custom build housing as 'a dwelling built by or commissioned by someone to be occupied by them as their sole or main residence for at least three years.' Because the VALP allocates mainly larger housing sites, without this policy it is likely that custom builders would struggle to compete for sites.

No Comments 5.53 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF paragraph 50) expects local authorities to deliver a wide choice of high quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities. Local authorities must also plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community, such as, but not limited to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes.

View Comments (14) H5 Self/custom build housing

The plan will expect developments proposing 100 dwellings and above (including partial development(s) of a wider site  and the cumulative need for provision)  to provide a percentage of serviced plots for sale to self/custom builders. These numbers  will be determined on a site-by-site basis dependent on evidence of  demand and viability, and subject to a legal agreement.

Housing mix

No Comments 5.54 A variety of housing types and sizes is necessary to meet the needs of the local population to enable households to more easily find housing which suits their needs and that they can afford. During consultations many residents commented that the proportion of larger houses in new developments was too large and more smaller units should be available.

View Comments (2) 5.55 The Buckinghamshire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) (2016) provides conclusions on the required mix of market and affordable housing need by house type and size for the VALP period. These conclusions take into account projected changes in the population and estimates future demand. The majority of the housing need is for houses, with a need for some flats identified. The proportions are however a guide rather than a requirement as they may need to be varied on the basis of specific circumstances or evidence. Any variation in the proportions will need to fully justified and variations should not take place to simply accord with a developer's preferences.

No Comments 5.56 The HEDNA's conclusions regarding house sizes and types are set out below:

Market Housing

Flats

1 bedroom

4%

2 bedrooms

4%

Houses

2 bedrooms

13%

3 bedrooms

52%

4 bedrooms

21%

5+ bedrooms

6.5%

Affordable Housing

Flats

1 bedroom

9%

2 bedrooms

6%

Houses

2 bedrooms

38%

3 bedrooms

38%

4 bedrooms

9%




*NB percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding

Housing for older people

View Comments (3) 5.57 As set out in the NPPF plans should aim for a mix of housing to meet the needs of different groups in the community including the elderly (paragraph 50). The demographic projections in the HEDNA's housing needs assessment show that the population of Buckinghamshire is likely to increase by between 64,700 and 73,700 people over the 20-year period 2013-2033. The number of people aged 75 or over is projected to increase by around 35,000, around half the total growth. Those that do move home are therefore likely to need accessible housing that can meet the needs of older people. Specialist provision for older people is split into the following categories:

  • mainstream (including adapted and wheelchair homes)
  • specialised housing (including extra care and sheltered housing)
  • care homes (including both registered nursing and registered care homes)

View Comments (1) 5.58 The HEDNA identifies the following demand for housing for older people:

Change in population aged 75+ over Plan period

+13,978


Demand for older person housing

Extra care

Owned

420

Rented

210

Sheltered 'plus' or 'enhanced' sheltered

Owned

140

Rented

140

Dementia

80

Leasehold Schemes for the Elderly (LSE)

1,680

TOTAL

2,670

Percentage of overall Objectively Assessed Need (OAN)

12.5%

View Comments (1) 5.59 It is important to note that the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) for the district does not include the projected increase of the institutional population (including people in residential care homes and nursing homes, use class C2). For the district, it is projected that the institutional population aged 75+ will increase by 1,160 people.

View Comments (1) 5.60 Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) has prepared a document entitled 'Housing for Older Citizens in Buckinghamshire' on the basis of population forecasts. This sets out how housing for older people should be delivered, but will need to be interpreted to ensure that its provisions meet the content of the HEDNA. We will continue working with BCC as this document and their strategy evolve, to ensure that the Plan reflects their expectations and objectives.

View Comments (1) 5.61 The Plan will expect all larger developments in strategic settlements (Aylesbury, Buckingham, Haddenham, Wendover and Winslow) to provide an element of self-contained extra care dwellings as part of the overall housing mix, or an equivalent amount in an alternative location if this is agreed to be more appropriate. This will be based on the BCC document's expectations and requirements. It is considered that the 'larger' residential schemes referred to in the policy will be for more than 300 houses.

Households with specific needs

View Comments (1) 5.62 Paragraph 50 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) says that Local Planning authorities should plan for the needs of people with disabilities and Planning Practice Guidance refers households with specific needs. The need for housing to meet these needs is considered further in the Buckinghamshire HEDNA. The Government's reform of health and adult social care is underpinned by the principle of sustaining people at home for as long as possible. This was reflected in recent changes to the building regulations relating to adaptations and wheelchair accessible homes. This introduced three categories of dwellings:

  • category 1: visitable dwellings – mandatory, broadly about accessibility to all properties
  • category 2: accessible and adaptable dwellings – optional, similar to lifetime homes, and
  • category 3: wheelchair user dwellings – optional, equivalent to wheelchair accessible standard

View Comments (1) 5.63 The Buckinghamshire HEDNA identifies the proportion of dwellings in new developments that should comply with categories two and three above, based on the likely future need for housing for older and disabled people (including wheelchair user dwellings).

View Comments (1) 5.64 The demographic projections from the HEDNA show that the population of Buckinghamshire is likely to increase by between 64,700 and 73,700 over the period 2013-2033. The number of people aged 65 or over is projected to increase by around 53,000, around three-quarters of the overall growth. This includes an extra 18,000 people aged 85 or over, around a quarter of the total increase. Most of these people will already live in the area and many will not move from their current homes, but those that do move are likely to need accessible housing. Given this context, the HEDNA supports the need for all dwellings to meet category two requirements. The Government identifies that currently around 3.3% of households have at least one wheelchair user, although the rate is higher for households living in affordable housing (7.1%). These proportions are expected to increase over the period to 2033 in the context of the larger number of older people projected to be living in the area. The HEDNA therefore supports the need for 10% of market housing and 15% of affordable housing to meet category three requirements.

View Comments (2) 5.65 Implementation of the optional categories is dependent on there being evidence of need. The increasing proportion of older households in the population is deemed to be sufficient to justify the requirement for category 2 dwellings. This approach has been commonly used in other local plans. Evidence for wheelchair-using households is not available below the national level as the information is not collected in the Census. With the lack of alternative evidence it is considered reasonable to use the national figure to justify the requirement for category three dwellings. When pursuing the opportunities for the provision of extra care, specialist housing for older people and other supported housing for those with specific living needs, regard should be given to the design of the environment to promote inclusivity, i.e. 'lifetime neighbourhoods'.

View Comments (35) H6 Housing mix

New residential development should provide a mix of housing types and sizes to meet current and future housing needs. The housing mix will be agreed taking into account the Council's most up-to-date evidence on housing need and any evidence available regarding local market conditions.

Larger residential development schemes proposing 100 dwellings and above in strategic settlements will be expected to provide an element of self-contained extra care dwellings as part of the overall mix, or an equivalent amount in an alternative location if this is agreed to be more appropriate.

In all residential development schemes, opportunities for the provision of extra care, specialist housing for older people and other supported housing for those with specific living needs will be encouraged in suitable locations, taking account of viability.

All new residential development should meet Category 2 (Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings) of Approved Document M: Volume 1, 10% of market housing should meet Category 3 of Approved Document M: Volume 1, and 15% of affordable housing should meet Category 3.

Dwelling sizes

No Comments 5.66 As set out in the NPPF the Government attaches great importance the design of the built environment and considers that good design is a key aspect of sustainable development (paragraph 56). The NPPF's core planning principles say that planning should seek to secure a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of buildings. Homes should therefore be designed and built to ensure that there is sufficient space for normal use of the dwelling including activity, privacy, circulation and storage space. 

No Comments 5.67 Following concern about the size of homes currently being built, the Government has introduced Technical Housing Standards (March 2015) which set out requirements for the gross internal floor area of new homes dependent on the number of people expected to live there, as well as floor areas and dimensions for key parts of the home (notably bedrooms), storage requirements and floor to ceiling heights. The implementation of the new space standards is dependent on viability testing and evidence of need. Currently there is no evidence that space provision in new dwellings in Aylesbury Vale is below that set out in the standards.

No Comments 5.68 Nevertheless it is considered that a policy should be included to require new housing developments to provide sufficient space to meet the needs of expected occupiers. Further information about the Council's expectations will be provided within a design SPD. The provision of space within new dwellings will be kept under review and should evidence emerge to justify the implementation of the Government's space standards the need for a policy to implement them will be considered in any review of the Plan.

No Comments 5.69 Applicants will need to provide a schedule of floor areas for each type of dwelling unit proposed.

View Comments (12) H7 Dwelling sizes

New dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings will be required to provide sufficient internal space for normal residential activities commensurate in size with the expected occupancy of the dwelling.

[28] Affordable rented housing is normally let at less than 80% of market rent.

[29] Intermediate housing is provided at a cost below market levels and includes rented and shared ownership/shared equity homes.

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