Agenda item

Local Plan Affordable Housing Policy (Agenda item 6)

Report by Jemma March, Principal Planning Policy Officer (Capita).


Due to its size the appendix to the report will be sent as a separate supplementary agenda.


Stephen Ottewell, the Director of Planning & Building Control (Capita) presented the report.  Members were being asked to accept the Local Plan and CIL Viability Assessment as evidence for the Local Plan and to endorse Option 1 – to recommend the Local Plan be progressed with an affordable housing requirement of 25%.


A presentation was provided.


The Local Plan and CIL Viability Assessment had been presented to the Local Plan Working Group on 3 February 2017; however, since that time, minor modifications had been made to address matters raised at that meeting although the general content and findings of the Assessment remained unchanged.  The areas that had been amended were at Chapter 10 of the Appendix onwards (attached as a supplementary agenda).



The Director of Planning & Building Control (Capita) then provided Members with a detailed overview of the local context including:


·         the need for infrastructure

·         the need for affordable housing

·         affordable housing/S106 achieved between 2015/17

·         the modelling of different rates of affordable housing and S106 financial contributions in the Assessment

·         consideration of the findings of the Assessment in relation to the recommendations on CIL and the affordable housing threshold.


In summary the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) had identified a significant affordable housing need, which the Council was required to address as part of providing for its objectively assessed housing need.


The Infrastructure Development Plan (IDP) had identified that it was critical that an allowance was made for S106 contributions to ensure the provision of essential infrastructure as part of the allocations.


The Study had identified that a level of affordable housing of up to 25% still allowed for a level of developer contributions without undermining viability.  As a consequence, setting the policy at 25% would maximise the level of affordable housing required, whilst ensuring contributions to infrastructure could be made.  In doing so, it was accepted that for certain sites, in certain locations, a site specific viability assessment would be required and a lower level of contributions or affordable would be sought.  However, such an approach would maximise the amount of affordable housing delivered overall.


There was an opportunity to review the affordable housing threshold as a single policy review without having to review or amend the entire Local Plan should further evidence support changes to the adopted policy.



Margaret Holmes from Watton Town Council asked if there were any figures available that provided an analysis of the types of affordable housing being built.  The Chairman explained that affordable housing was mostly rental properties but could also form part of a shared ownership scheme.  He asked Mrs Holmes to send the question in an email to him so that the figure could be checked and the types of affordable homes it represented.    Mr Atterwill, the Chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council stated that affordable housing was normally split 65/35 in terms of rental and starter homes.  He felt that Breckland Council should promote and encourage more shared ownership schemes and had been surprised that these schemes as well as starter homes had not been addressed in this document.  Councillor Joel pointed out that there was a clear difference between starter homes and shared ownership schemes.  The definition of both was explained.


Referring to the presentation slide under the heading “The Need for Affordable Housing”, Councillor Claussen challenged the numbers in relation to the identified need of 882 affordable homes a year for the remainder of the plan period to meet currently unmet need for affordable housing.  He queried the volume and wanted to know what the needs of Breckland were and whether this figure was what Breckland genuinely had to target.  Members were informed that this figure had been based on primary survey work carried out from information on people who could not afford to purchase their own home.  This 882 figure was Breckland’s proportion split from central Norfolk.  In terms of starter homes, the Planning Policy Team would ensure that there was a policy provision for such dwellings.  In terms of meanings/definitions Members’ were informed that starter homes fell within national parameters.  Currently, there was not a definition for affordable housing.  Attention was drawn to page 22 of the appendix that gave a full explanation on starter homes.


Ian Martin, NP4 Yaxham, referred to table 9.1 of the report and asked for clarification as the distribution of potential development sites included 5 parishes categorised under PD05A. In response, it was noted that for those 5 parishes that were no longer classed as Local Service Centres (LSCs) this information was no longer relevant.


Members were asked if they were content at this time to go ahead with the preferred recommendations.  Members were reminded that Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would be considered but that it was not relevant to this Local Plan.


RESOLVED that the Local Plan and CIL Viability Assessment be accepted as evidence for the Local Plan.


RECOMMEND to Cabinet that the Local Plan be progressed with an affordable housing requirement of 25%.

Supporting documents: