Publication Draft

Ended on the 27th June 2014
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(2) 4. Housing


Overarching Policy

(35) H0: Housing

To ensure the District has the right amount, quality and mix of housing to meet future needs this Plan will:

  1. provide in full for the Objectively Assessed Need for housing in the District;.

  2. ensure new housing development is in locations which enable sustainable lifestyles, protect the aspects of the District that are most highly valued and which, where appropriate, support and regenerate existing communities; and

  3. ensure new housing delivers the quality and mix of homes needed in the District including affordable homes, a mix of homes to meet identified needs (including homes that are suitable for older and vulnerable people) and sites for gypsies and travellers.

Explanation

4.1 Housing is a basic human requirement and its quality, availability and affordability are crucial for a good quality of life. Maintaining a supply of decent homes that can meet the needs of all in a good quality environment is fundamental to maintaining strong, healthy communities and a sustainable and growing economy.

4.2 This not only applies to the quantity of housing but also to ensuring that new housing is developed in the most appropriate locations and provides for the differing needs of people, including house sizes, house tenures and accommodation adapted for specific groups within the community.

4.3 Nationally the population is growing and locally it is expected to grow to161,594 in 2031 (from 137,736 at the time of the 2011 Census). To meet the housing needs of this growing, and ageing, population this Plan must identify sites for a range of housing in suitable locations which can offer the necessary community facilities along with good access to jobs, key services and infrastructure. The homes must also be of the right types, sizes and tenures to meet the needs of the projected household types and be located in safe, attractive and sustainable environments.

4.4 Warwick District is a popular place in which to live and as a result house prices are amongst the highest in the West Midlands region. Many households are unable to afford decent housing without subsidies. This Plan must, therefore, include measures to help meet the needs of those who are unable to afford to rent or buy homes on the open market.

4.5 The Council recognises that allocating sites for new housing brings with it some difficult decisions. These include balancing the need for housing with the need to protect the District’s most valuable assets and at the same time ensuring that new development, and existing communities, will be served by suitable infrastructure provision which enables communities to thrive. This section of the Local Plan therefore seeks to ensure that these competing issues are addressed effectively in promoting and deciding on housing proposals.

New Housing

(23) H1 Directing New Housing

1. Housing development will be permitted in the following circumstances:

  1. Within the Urban Areas, as identified below and on the Policies Map;

  2. within the Growth Villages and Limited Infill Villages, as identified below and on the Policies Map;

  3. in the open countryside; where:

    1. the development is for rural affordable housing, in accordance with Policy H3;

    2. the development is for a rural worker in accordance with Policy H12;

    3. the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;

    4. the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings in accordance with Policy BE4 and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting; or

    5. the design of the dwelling is of very exceptional quality or innovative nature

2. Housing development on garden land, in urban and rural areas, will not be permitted unless the development reinforces, or harmonises with, the established character of the street and/ or locality and respects surrounding buildings in terms of scale, height, form and massing.

Explanation

4.6 The Development Strategy of this Plan directs most new housing development towards the urban areas. These are the most sustainable locations where there is an existing wide range of services and facilities including schools, shops, cultural and recreational facilities as well as jobs and transport facilities. These locations also provide the best opportunities for developing new, and expanding existing, infrastructure to meet the needs of new development. The urban areas are identified on the Policies Map and are listed below.

Urban Areas

Royal Leamington Spa
Warwick
Kenilworth
Whitnash

4.7 The Development Strategy also recognises the value of directing some growth to those villages which have a reasonable range of services and facilities. The Settlement Hierarchy Report 2014 identifies Growth Villages as being the most suitable for housing growth according to a range of sustainability indicators. New housing development in these villages will provide the opportunity for newly-forming households to stay in the area and for existing households to move house as their circumstances change. It will also provide for affordable housing and help to support existing services and facilities. The Limited Infill Villages are identified as having a lower level of services and facilities but limited infill development in these villages will help to deliver a wider choice of housing and help to support services in any nearby Growth Villages.

Growth Villages

Baginton
Barford
Bishop’s Tachcbrook
Burton Green
Cubbington
Hampton Magna
Hatton Park
Kingswood
Leek Wootton
Radford Semele

Limited Infill Villages

Ashow
Baddesley Clinton
Beausale
Bubbenhall
Chessetts Wood
Eathorpe
Hampton-on-the-Hill
Haseley Knob
Hatton Green
Hatton Station
Hill wootton
Lapworth
Little Shrewley
Lowsonford
Norton Lindsey
Offchurch
Old Milverton
Rowington
Rowington Green
Sherbourne
Shrewley Common
Stoneleigh
Wasperton
Weston-under-Wetherley

4.8 In the case of Limited Infill Villages which are included within the Green Belt, the type and scale of development will be more limited. In line with national Green Belt policy, appropriate development includes rural affordable housing, limited infill development, the re-use of buildings; the redevelopment or partial redevelopment of previously-developed land and replacement dwellings.

4.9 New housing development in the open countryside will only be permitted for rural affordable housing, rural workers’ dwellings, replacement dwellings and other developments outlined in national planning policy. Where a new home of a design of exceptional quality or innovative nature is proposed the Council will only grant consent where the proposals are truly outstanding.

4.10 There is a limited supply of vacant, urban brownfield land in the District at any one time due to the fact that when sites become available, or vacant, they are relatively quickly redeveloped and re-used. However, windfall sites play an important role in the supply of housing in the District and these are expected to continue to come forward. Development on infill sites on greenfield land will only be permitted following a strict assessment against policies aimed at protecting the District’s green and open spaces for recreation, biodiversity, or landscape quality.

Inclusive and Mixed Communities

(22) H2 Affordable Housing

Residential development on the following sites will not be permitted unless provision is made for a minimum of 40% affordable housing to meet local needs :

  1. within the urban areas, sites of 10 or more dwellings, or 0.3 hectares or more in area irrespective of the number of dwellings; and

  2. within the rural areas, sites of 5 or more dwellings, or 0.17 hectares in area irrespective of the number of dwellings

The form of provision, its location on the site and the means of delivery of the affordable element of the proposal will be subject to negotiation at the time of a planning application. The viability of the development will be a consideration in such negotiations. Planning permission will not be granted until satisfactory arrangements have been made to secure affordable housing as determined by the following principles: -

  1. the affordable housing will be provided on site as either serviced land or dwellings, or a combination of the two;

  2. the sizes, types and tenures of homes provided will be determined on the basis of local need as identified in the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment and, where appropriate, by other local needs surveys and information;

  3. the accommodation provided will be genuinely available to those households who have been identified as being in housing need;

  4. the affordable housing will be well integrated into the overall scheme along with the market housing with consistent qualities of materials, design and open spaces;

  5. the affordable housing will normally be provided through the involvement of a Registered Provider (of social housing) who is either a Preferred Partner of the Council or who has otherwise been approved in writing by the Council;

  6. the affordable housing will be built within an agreed timescale; and

  7. the affordable housing will be available as such in perpetuity, where practicable, and only to those with a demonstrable housing need.

The Council will, in exceptional circumstances, accept contributions of equivalent value in lieu of on-site delivery. This should include financial contributions, land or off-site provision of affordable homes. In such cases, the developer will be required to demonstrate why on-site delivery is not practical.

Explanation

4.11 National planning policy is clear that Local Plans should meet the full, objectively assessed need for both market and affordable housing in the housing market area. The Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 (Joint SHMA 2013) included an assessment of affordable housing need in each local authority area. In Warwick District, the need was assessed to be 268 new affordable homes each year between 2013 and 2031. This is equivalent to a total of 4,288 homes, or 37% of the total, to be provided over the remaining plan period.

4.12 The seriousness of the affordability problem in the District is demonstrated by comparisons with other authorities in the Housing Market Area. The Joint SHMA 2013 shows that purchase prices for entry-level homes of all sizes (except 3-bed homes) were highest, or equal highest, in Warwick District compared with all the other local authorities in the Housing Market Area. The study also shows that entry-level private rents were highest for all sizes of homes and that the income required to purchase or privately rent an entry-level home, without subsidy, was also the highest of all local authorities in the Housing Market Area. The study estimated that 46.1% of households in the District were unable to afford market housing without subsidy in 2013.

4.13 The Council pro-actively explores different ways of addressing the need for affordable housing through innovative arrangements with partner organisations both to optimise the use of the existing stock and to maximise opportunities for new building. Furthermore, following recent housing finance reforms the Council, in its capacity as a major landlord, has a healthy business plan and is capable of building/acquiring new affordable housing. Nevertheless, the need for 268 affordable homes per annum is a challenging figure to meet and a large proportion will need to be provided on private development sites under this policy. This arrangement will also contribute towards the creation of sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities and a wide choice of housing on new development sites.

4.14 The objective of this policy is therefore to provide a deliverable framework within which affordable housing can be secured from new development in the District in accordance with national planning policy and responding to local identified needs. It will help the District bridge the gap between the supply of affordable housing and the identified housing need. The policy is applied to all developments of self-contained units of accommodation.

4.15 The target percentage provision of 40% and the site size thresholds are based on evidence of viability from the Affordable Housing Viability Assessment (2011) and the follow-up Addendum (2012)..

4.16 For the operation of this policy, a number of matters need to be defined and these are set out below.

Urban and rural areas

4.17 For the purposes of this policy, urban and rural areas are identified on the Policies Map

Thresholds

4.18 The Council will have regard to the whole development site in applying the site size threshold, regardless of whether applicants seek to subdivide, fragment or phase proposals.

Defining affordable housing

4.19 The definition of affordable housing which is applied in this policy will be the definition as set out in national planning policy.

4.20 This housing must also, by definition, be affordable and available to those in housing need. The rents of social rented homes are determined by the Target Rent Formula. The Council will make recommendations, for each individual scheme, on the rent levels of affordable rented homes and on the costs of shared equity homes based on levels which are affordable to those on average household incomes without the need to rely on Housing Benefits. Housing will be allocated to households in housing need from the Council’s “Home Choice” Choice Based Lettings System (or any successor system) for the first, and any subsequent, lets.

4.21 Where practicable, the Council will ensure that the homes remain affordable in perpetuity. This will not be possible for shared ownership homes or for some homes which are grant funded by the Homes and Communities Agency.

4.22 The Council will support the provision of Supported Housing in lieu of general affordable housing as part of, or all, the affordable housing provision provided that there is evidence of need and that satisfactory funding and management arrangements are in place.

4.23 The Council wishes to ensure that new affordable homes are well integrated into development sites, rather than concentrated into one part of the site. This will encourage inclusive and mixed communities. Further, the Council will seek to ensure that the homes are of equivalent standards to the market homes in terms of design quality; that they include systems for the provision of affordable and energy efficient heating, lighting and water and that the homes include sufficient space standards for the numbers of occupiers.

Delivering affordable homes

4.24 The Council currently recognises a number of Registered Providers as Preferred Partners for the delivery of affordable housing in the District. These Registered Providers have a good track record of providing, and managing, affordable homes in the District to a high standard. The Preferred Partner approach allows for an appropriate degree of competitiveness for available sites whilst ensuring that any new affordable housing in the District is able to meet the Council’s requirements in terms of addressing strategic needs, maintaining sustainable long-term management arrangements for the properties and providing high standards of customer service for residents.

4.25 The exact nature of these arrangements is reviewed from time to time and the list of Preferred Partners is also subject to change. However, an up-to-date list is always available from the Council’s Housing Strategy or Planning Policy Teams.

Commuted sums for affordable housing and off-site provision

4.26 In the majority of cases, the Council will require that affordable housing is provided on-site as an integral part of the development. This is because of the difficulty in identifying and acquiring sites for affordable housing and also because the integration of affordable and market homes leads to more mixed and balanced communities.

4.27 There may, however, be instances where the location, setting or characteristics of the development are not compatible with delivering the type of affordable housing required. In such cases the Council and the developer may jointly agree either, or a combination, of the following:

  1. an alternative site, to be provided by the developer, for the provision of affordable housing; and/or

  2. a financial contribution which is of broadly equivalent value to the cost to the developer of providing the affordable homes on-site.

Further guidance

4.28 The Council takes very seriously the need to deliver more affordable housing across the District. It will closely monitor the delivery of affordable housing and will consider whether further refinements to this policy need to be considered to deliver affordable housing to meet local needs. It will be working closely with house builders, partner Registered Providers and the Homes and Communities Agency as it does so, and will review the adopted Supplementary Planning Document where this would help clarify policy and deliver affordable housing.

(5) H3 Affordable Housing on Rural Exception Sites

The development of affordable housing to meet the local needs of a village or parish may be permitted in locations which would not normally be released for housing, provided that:

  1. the proposal will meet a particular local housing need, as identified in detailed and up to date evidence from a parish or village housing needs assessment, and it can be demonstrated that the need cannot be met in any other way;

  2. the proposed development will be small in scale, of appropriate design and located within, or adjoining, an existing settlement; and

  3. the following principles are established:

    1. all of the housing provided will, where possible, be for exclusive occupation by people with a demonstrable need to be housed in the locality;

    2. the type of accommodation, in terms of size, type and tenure, to be provided will reflect the needs identified in the housing needs assessment; and

    3. such housing will be available, both initially and for subsequent occupancy, only to those with a demonstrable need and, first and foremost, to those with a need to be housed in the locality.

Outline planning applications will not be encouraged for such proposals. Detailed permission will be valid for two years from the date of the decision and will expire if development has not commenced within this period.

In locations outside of the Green Belt, the Council will consider the cross-subsidisation of the affordable homes with some market homes provided that::

  1. the number of market homes is the minimum necessary to deliver the affordable housing and, in all cases, is no more than 40% of the total number of homes;

  2. the size and type of the market homes meet a local need as evidenced in a parish or village housing needs assessment; and

  3. a development appraisal is provided to the Council as supporting evidence.

Explanation

4.29 It is widely recognised that there is a need within rural areas to provide affordable housing to meet local needs. This is important to sustain rural economies and allow those working in rural areas, or those with strong family links to rural communities, to live there.

4.30 National planning policy recognises this need and the difficulty in providing adequate and affordable land to meet this need. It allows local authorities, within certain guidelines, to permit housing in rural areas in locations that would not normally be released for housing. Such sites are released as an exception to normal planning policy, and as such are known as ‘rural exception’ sites.

4.31 The objective of this policy is to set out the circumstances under which the Council would permit the development of affordable housing to meet local needs in rural areas. In view of the objectives within this Plan to protect and enhance the natural environment, meet the housing needs of the whole community and support the diversification of the rural economy, it is important that an appropriate framework is in place to guide any decisions on ‘rural exception’ sites.

4.32 An essential element of any justification for allowing housing under this policy is a clear demonstration of housing need. A proposal will be expected to be accompanied by an up-to-date local housing needs survey which identifies:

  • the types, sizes and tenures of homes which are needed;

  • that the prospective occupiers identified in the housing needs assessment can demonstrate a strong local connection as evidenced by birth, long term residence, employment or family connection (in cases where there is a need to live close to family for support); and

  • the community whose needs the housing will meet - this should normally be the parish or village within which the proposal is to be located, but may also include neighbouring parishes where relevant.

4.33 The shelf life of a local housing needs assessment is normally 5 years. However, if there have been any changes within the parish, such as new housing developments, there may be a need to carry out a new survey. If a survey is nearing the end of its shelf life, the Council may recommend that a new one is carried out to evidence a rural exception housing scheme.

4.34 For the purposes of this policy, a suitable location for rural affordable housing is defined as a settlement having at least one basic service such as a shop, school, place of worship, public house or community facility. Where a proposal is made under this policy in a location which does not have any of these basic facilities, a very strong justification will be required as to why affordable housing is appropriate.

4.35 Since rural exception housing is provided in locations which would not normally be released for development, it is important that the design of the scheme will relate well to the settlement which it is within, or adjoins. A proposal will be defined as adjoining a settlement if it abuts one of the buildings which form part of the main settlement. This building should itself abut another building, or buildings, which form part of the settlement. Where a village has a defined village envelope, as identified on the Policies Map, the proposal should be either within, or abut, the village envelope. Proposals in the open countryside will not be acceptable.

4.36 This policy covers all rural areas of the District. These include areas outside of the urban areas, the Growth Villages and the Limited Infill Villages. Where a proposal is located within the Green Belt, however, particular controls need to apply. Whilst national planning policy recognises that rural housing granted under this policy may be appropriate in Green Belt locations, it is important that the proposal is consistent with the function of the Green Belt by not significantly undermining one of the objectives of Green Belt land as set out in national planning policy.

4.37 The Council will seek to enter into a Section 106 planning agreement with the applicant to establish the principles of occupancy, tenure, housing type, availability in perpetuity and the involvement of a Registered Provider (of social housing) or a registered Charitable Trust.

4.38 A key purpose of the rural exception policy is to provide affordable housing in rural areas specifically to meet a need which is identified at a particular point in time. Clearly these needs, and opportunities to meet them, will change over time. For this reason, where proposals are approved under this policy, the Council will grant permission for two years only. If development has not commenced within the two year period, the approval will lapse and a fresh application will be required if the applicant wishes to develop the site.

4.39 Affordable housing development in rural areas may incur additional development costs such as the cost of linking up with essential services, the need for high quality materials to blend in with the setting, protecting farm access points, the provision of stock-proof fencing and providing ecological and archaeological surveys. For this reason, it can be difficult to ensure the viability of a proposal.

4.40 National planning policy encourages local planning authorities to consider whether allowing some market housing would facilitate the provision of significant additional affordable housing to meet local needs. The Council considers that the provision of market housing in rural exception schemes in the Green Belt would be inappropriate development. However, it may be appropriate development outside of the Green Belt provided that the number of market homes is restricted to that which is genuinely required to render the development viable. The Council will wish to ensure that the uplift in the value of the land and the increase in developer profit are no more than is appropriate and necessary to enable the development to proceed.

(7) H4 Securing a Mix of Housing

1. The Council will require proposals for residential development to include a mix of market housing which contributes towards a balance of house types and sizes across the District, in accordance with the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

In assessing the housing mix in residential schemes the Council may take into account the following circumstances where it may not be appropriate to provide the full range of housing types and sizes in accordance with the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment:

  1. physical constraints, such as those associated with small sites of less than 5 houses and conversion schemes, where opportunities for a range of different house types are limited (unless criterion e) applies;

  2. locational issues, such as highly accessible sites within or close to the town centre where larger homes and low/ medium densities may not be appropriate;

  3. sites with severe development constraints where housing mix may impact on viability;

  4. sites where particular house types and/ or building forms may be required in order to sustain or enhance the setting of a heritage asset; and

  5. developments in rural areas, where there is an up-to-date village or parish housing needs assessment which is a more appropriate indication of housing need.

2. In the strategic sites, listed in Policy DS15, developers will be required to provide at least 10% of homes as age friendly and/or adaptable homes, the details of which should be included in the submitted proposals.

Explanation

4.41 National planning policy requires local planning authorities to plan for a mix of housing, based on current and demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Local planning authorities should identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in different locations.

4.42 The latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment is the document which provides a clear understanding of the housing needs of an area including the need for all types of housing and the needs of different groups in the community.

4.43 This policy is concerned with the mix of general market housing only. Policy H2 refers to the mix of housing in respect of the affordable homes element of housing developments. Policy H5 deals with specialist housing for older people. This policy will aim to ensure that housing development sites deliver a range of (general) housing sizes and types which reflects the needs of the District over the plan period taking into account the current housing stock and the following projected demographic changes:

  • higher proportions of flats/maisonettes and of detached houses than the Coventry and Warwickshire Housing Market Area, England and the West Midlands; and

  • higher proportions of 1-bed, 2-bed and 4+homes than the Housing Market Area

  • a significantly higher proportion of privately rented homes than the Housing Market Area, England and the West Midlands

  • a projected increase in the number of people with mobility problems of about 2,900 persons over the plan period.

4.44 The Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 (Joint SHMA 2013) modelled demographic and household changes and the existing housing stock in order to gain an understanding of the future need for different house types up until 2031. In Warwick District, the house sizes for which there was considered to be the greatest need was 3-bed homes (40-45% of total new homes) followed by 2-bed homes (30-35% of total new homes). In general the assessment concluded that providing smaller and medium-sized properties will help to meet local needs.

4.45 The Council considers that it is particularly important that the strategic sites provide the full range of housing to meet the assessed need. This will provide greater opportunities for the whole community to live near their place of work in modern, energy efficient homes and to reduce out-commuting. Furthermore, modern, new-build homes on sites with a range of community facilities are popular for first-time buyers and it is the aim of national planning policy to increase the opportunities for home ownership.

4.46 In negotiating with developers for a mix of housing which reflects the latest assessment, the Council accepts that not all sites will be able to accommodate the full range of housing types. The Council will, therefore, take into account the nature and location of the scheme and, in particular, whether there are any genuine reasons why a mix of types cannot be delivered in practice, or would be harmful to the setting of a heritage asset. The Council does not support the need to replicate the size of homes in the vicinity of the site or the need for large homes to be provided on sites on the edge of the built up area in order to better blend into the countryside. These issues can be dealt with by good design and layout.

4.47 The housing market in this District is traditionally buoyant in all sectors. Where developers are reluctant to include certain proportions of house types in residential schemes on the basis that market conditions indicate a lack of marketability, they will be required to provide robust evidence that the homes are not marketable.

4.48 In rural areas, developments will be expected to provide a mix of housing in accordance with a local village or parish housing needs assessment, where an up-to-date survey exists. If no such survey exists, the housing mix should reflect the District-wide assessment of need. If the scheme is able to meet all the needs identified in the village or parish assessment, the balance of homes should reflect the District-wide assessment of need.

4.49 The Council will produce guidance for applicants on housing need in terms of house types and sizes in the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment .

4.50 The population aged over 65 in the District is expected to increase by 10,912 between 2011 and 2029. This age group is expected to comprise 51% of the total population increase in the period. A model developed by the Institute of Public Care predicts that 15% of people aged 65+ will choose to move in later life. Since 72.5% of older person households in the District are owner occupiers, many of these households will be looking for suitable homes to purchase.

4.51 Older people are more likely to have a longer term health or mobility problem or disability. The Coventry and Warwickshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 projected an increase of 66.3% in the number of people with mobility problems. In 2011, the national Census indicated that 22% of households in the District contained someone with a long term health problem of disability. Well-designed housing options promote improved health by reducing falls and fractures which will, in turn, lessen the demand for care services. Therefore, in order to help meet the general (market) housing needs of this sector of the population, the Council will require at least 10% of homes on the strategic urban extension sites to be built as age friendly and/ or adaptable homes such as bungalows, homes built to Lifetime Homes Standards or other adaptable homes. This will provide homes for older people who wish to move in later life and provide them with greater opportunities for remaining healthy and independent for longer.

(6) H5 Specialist Housing for Older People

Planning permission for specialist housing for older people will be granted where:

  1. the site is in close proximity to shops, amenities and public transport; and

  2. it can be demonstrated that satisfactory Primary Health Care services to serve the residents of the development will be available within reasonable proximity; and

  3. the development makes a positive contribution towards meeting the identified need for specialist housing for older people as identified in the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment and as agreed by Warwickshire County Council (as the provider of Adult Social Care).

Explanation

4.52 National planning policy requires local planning authorities to plan for a mix of housing, based on current and demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community, including older people and people with disabilities. Local planning authorities should identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in different locations.

4.53 The population aged over 75 is projected to increase from 11,228 persons in 2011 to 18,554 persons in 2029, an increase of 65% over the plan period. In 2011, a total of 6,103 persons were aged 75+, living alone and with a life-limiting long term illness. This group provides a core of particularly vulnerable people for whom specialist housing with care may be appropriate.

4.54 The Council recognises the fact that there is likely to be an increase in demand for housing with care for this age group over the plan period. Traditionally, specialist accommodation for older people has consisted of sheltered accommodation, residential homes and nursing homes. A new model of specialist housing, Extra Care Housing, provides for a more flexible form of care which allows for a greater degree of independence and a lower likelihood for the need for more intensive forms of support. The Coventry & Warwickshire Joint Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 (Joint SHMA 2013) and Warwickshire County Council’s Adult Social Care Services estimate that the future need for specialist housing for older people can be met largely by Extra Care Housing schemes.

4.55 Estimates of the need for Extra Care Housing are likely to change over the plan period. The Joint SHMA 2013 includes data which suggests a need for 2,319 units (gross) over the plan period of which 25% would need to be provided as an affordable tenure. This level of need is estimated on the basis that no Extra Care Housing existed at 2011. The net need, taking into account committed and completed Extra Care Housing schemes between 2011 and 2014, was 1,800 units.

4.56 Extra Care Housing provides for people with varying levels of care needs. Some occupiers will require help with housekeeping only, whilst others will require a more personal level of care. These schemes, therefore, will need to be located in areas with good access to local services and public transport to suit those with more independent lifestyles. The Council will encourage the provision of Extra Care Housing schemes on the strategic sites, particularly where they are located close to community facilities.

4.57 In determining planning applications for all types of specialist housing for older people, the Council will give particular consideration to the provision for Primary Health Care facilities and will consult with the appropriate health service provider. This is because older people account for a large proportion of GP appointments. There is, therefore, a clear need for adequate, accessible GP services in the locality.

4.58 The Council will consider how a proposed scheme contributes towards the identified need for accommodation for older people in the District. This will include consideration of the type and tenure of the accommodation in relation to past provision and future needs. The Council will monitor the provision of accommodation for older people and may refuse permission if the scheme does not meet projected needs. Warwick District Council is a popular location for different models of specialist housing for older people and whilst there is a clearly identified need for this type of housing, the supply of housing land is limited and care is required to ensure that a significant over-provision is not made at the expense of general housing.

4.59 In accordance with national planning guidance, housing provided for older people, including, including residential institutions in Use Class C2, are counted towards the housing requirement. The Council’s approach follows that agreed by the local planning authorities in the Housing Market Area.

(4) H6 Houses in Multiple Occupation and Student Accommodation

Planning permission will only be granted for Houses in Multiple Occupation, including student accommodation, where:

  1. the proportion of dwelling units in multiple occupation (including the proposal) within a 100 metre radius of the application site does not exceed 10% of total dwelling units;

  2. the application site is within 400 metres walking distance of a bus stop;

  3. the proposal does not result in a non-HMO dwelling being sandwiched between 2 HMO’s;

  4. the proposal does not lead to a continuous frontage of 3 or more HMOs; and

  5. adequate provision is made for the storage of refuse containers whereby -

    • the containers are not visible from an area accessible by the general public, and

    • the containers can be moved to the collection point along an external route only

Exceptions to a) may be made where the application site is located:

  1. on the campus of the University of Warwick or Warwickshire College or;

  2. on a main thorough fare in a mixed use area where the proposal would not lead to an increase in activity along nearby residential streets (for example, by way of pedestrian movements between the application site and the town centre or car parking)

Exceptions to e) may be made if alternative arrangements for the storage and movement of containers are agreed in writing by the Council’s Contract Services section.

Explanation

4.60 National planning policy includes the aim to “always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings”. Further, planning should “enhance and improve the places in which people live their lives”. National planning policy also supports the need to make places better for people. This includes “safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion”.

4.61 The recent increase in the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) in Royal Leamington Spa has led to a fall in the standards of amenity experienced by residents in parts of the town where HMO’s have concentrated. This is largely a result of:

  • a relatively large proportion of young, single people with student lifestyles which conflict with the lifestyles of more settled residents; and

  • a relatively large proportion of privately rented accommodation, with short term tenancies, which often leads to a lower standard of upkeep of property and the loss of a sense of belonging within the community.

4.62 About 81% of HMOs in the District comprise of accommodation for students, most of whom attend the University of Warwick in Coventry. The areas around central and south Royal Leamington Spa have the greatest concentrations of HMOs. These areas are popular with students and young people because the town centre provides a good range of facilities for young people and a thriving evening economy. In addition, the housing stock lends itself well to the provision of shared houses and flats. However, one of the main problems for more settled residents living in these areas is the anti-social behaviour in the streets in the early hours of the morning as young people return from the pubs and clubs, often on mid-week mornings. Other issues include noise from neighbouring properties, poor attendance to waste storage, increased burglaries, increased street parking, and poor property maintenance. The University and the Council work together to resolve these issues, but the Council is firmly of the view that restricting further concentrations of HMOs will help prevent a worsening of the situation.

4.63 In response to concerns by residents the Council agreed an Article 4 Direction in April 2012 the purpose of which was to remove permitted development rights, in Royal Leamington Spa only, for a change of use from a single dwelling to a small HMO (uses class C4). The need for planning permission would enable the Council to control further concentrations of small HMOs since nearly 81% of HMOs in the District comprised shared houses (use class C4).

4.64 The purpose of this policy is to control the location of new HMOs in order to prevent these uses from either exacerbating existing concentrations or leading to new concentrations. Additional HMOs can impact on local amenity where they lead to concentrations at either the neighbourhood level or in very localised situations. The policy aims to prevent concentrations at both levels by ensuring that within a 100 metre radius of the proposal not more than 10% of dwellings are HMOs and also, at a more localised level, by preventing the “sandwiching” of a non-HMO between 2 HMOs or a continuous frontage of 3 or more HMOs. It is not the intention of the policy to restrict further growth in HMOs. The Council recognises the importance of HMOs and the private rented sector generally in the housing stock but seeks to ensure that the amenity of more settled residents is not compromised. The policy also aims to ensure that there is satisfactory provision for the storage of waste, since a house occupied as an HMO generates more waste than a family or couple. In addition, the policy also aims to ensure that new HMOs are within reasonable walking distance of a bus stop because access to public transport is essential for most University of Warwick students due to the restrictive parking arrangements on campus.

4.65 The policy makes exceptions to the application of the 100 metre radius test to allow for HMOs or student accommodation in areas which would not impact on existing residential areas. Since one of the main problems is anti-social behaviour and noise on routes home from the town centre, these criteria are intended to allow HMOs in locations where residential areas would not be affected. Main thorough fares will normally be defined as A and B roads and mixed use areas are defined as areas with a predominance of non-residential uses.

4.66 The Council supports the provision of student accommodation on the University campus which falls within Warwick District. The number of full-time University students increased by 29% in the five years up to 2011/12. A large proportion of this increase has been in international students who are more likely to prefer purpose-built accommodation. Approximately 225 flats for students, along with some flats for staff and visitors, received planning permission in 2009 as part of the University’s Master Plan. Of these, 59 have been completed and the remainder are expected to be built in the first phase of the plan period. An additional 4,440 sq. m. of existing student accommodation is the subject of an application for redevelopment & replacement. The Local Plan allows for further expansion of the University within Warwick District and this is likely to include further accommodation for students.

(7) H7 Meeting the Accommodation Needs of Gypsies and Travellers

The Council will produce a Development Plan Document (DPD) which will allocate sufficient land on sustainable sites to meet the permanent accommodation needs of its Gypsy and Traveller community satisfying an identified need for 31 pitches over a period of 15 years (25 of which should be within the first 5 years). Monitoring of such sites will inform future requirements.

The Council will support Warwickshire County Council in its proposal to provide one stopping place in the north of the County and one in the south, to meet the transit needs of the whole of Warwickshire

Monitoring may show that there are insufficient pitches available to meet need during the plan period. Planning applications will therefore be assessed against the criteria in Policy H8

Explanation

4.67 The Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), (November 2013) defined this Council’s permanent need as 31 pitches over a 15 year period. Because the Council has no current provision and therefore a historic under-provision, 25 of those pitches must be found within the first five years, with the remainder being found over the following ten year period.

4.68 In addition, the GTAA found a need for 12 transit pitches over the same time period. The Council has been closely involved with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) with regard to the provision of such pitches and the County Council has committed to the provision of emergency stopping places (to serve the transit need) for the whole of Warwickshire. To do this, the County Council is looking for a site in the north of the county and one in the south which will satisfy the requirements for all local authorities in the county. To this end, WCC has already identified and gained permission to use a site in Stratford District as the site in the south. This site will satisfy Warwick District’s need for a transit site. This Council is therefore only looking to provide permanent sites i.e. 31 pitches over a 15 year period; 25 in the first 5 years. These pitches will be accommodated on a number of sites, each having a relatively small number of pitches.

4.69 Government advice suggests that a site size of between 5 and 15 pitches is the most appropriate in order to ensure the successful management of the site. The Council prefers sites of a maximum of 10 pitches. In view of this, the Council intends to meet its need on a greater number of smaller sites.

4.70 The Council has already made considerable progress towards the production of the Development Plan Document and this will be submitted to the Secretary of State soon after the Examination into this Plan.

(12) H8 New Gypsy and Traveller Sites

Applications for new Gypsy and Traveller sites will be approved provided that:

  1. the site is within reasonable distance of schools, GP surgeries, dentists, hospitals, shops and community facilities;

  2. the site has good access to the major road network;

  3. the site is of a suitable size to accommodate between 5 and 10 pitches for permanent sites or 12 pitches for temporary sites;

  4. it can be demonstrated that infrastructure requirements can be adequately met; and

  5. there is potential for the site to be adequately screened.

Explanation

4.71 The criteria in Policy H8 will be used together with the other relevant policies of this plan to assess suitability and deliverability when planning applications are decided. It is recognised however that there are unlikely to be sites which would meet every one of these criteria. A ‘best fit’ approach will therefore be adopted

(4) H9 Compulsory Purchase of Land for Gypsy and Traveller Sites

The Council will consider using Compulsory Purchase powers to acquire sites for Gypsies and Travellers if an insufficient number of sites come forward with the support of the landowners.

This will only be considered as a last resort if all efforts have failed to deliver the planned requirement

Explanation

4.72 The Council originally examined its own landholdings to identify any potentially acceptable sites which would provide the opportunity to deliver a number of pitches quickly and overcome the historic backlog. This search proved fruitless since the Council is not a major landowner and the majority of land remaining within the ownership of the Council comprises small pockets of protected urban green spaces and parks fully utilised by local communities.

4.73 Working in collaboration, Warwickshire County Council has also searched its land holdings for any land which it holds in Warwick District and which could be suitable

4.74 There is considerable reticence on the part of private landowners to release land for gypsy and traveller sites. The Council takes its responsibilities toward all its communities seriously and it is therefore the intention of the Council to consider using Compulsory Purchase powers to acquire sites if suitable sites are identified but the landowners will not agree to release the land.

Rural Housing

(22) H10 Bringing forward Allocated Sites in the Growth Villages

Housing development on sites allocated in the Growth Villages as set out in Policy DS11 will be permitted where the proposals are in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. the design, layout and scale of development is established through a collaborative approach to design and development, involving District and Parish Councils, Neighbourhood Plan Teams, local residents and other stakeholders;

  2. the housing mix of schemes reflects any up to date evidence of local housing need through a parish or village Housing Needs Assessment, including those of neighbouring parishes. Beyond meeting this need, or in the absence of a local Housing Needs Assessment, the scheme reflects the needs of the District as set out in the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment; and

  3. on sites allocated for 50 or more dwellings, the proposals include a phasing strategy whereby the homes are delivered across the plan period in phases of no more than 50 dwellings at a time over a period of 5 years, starting from the date the development commences on site.

Explanation

4.75 This Plan’s focus for housing growth in the rural area is within the District’s most sustainable villages, or Growth Villages. These Growth Villages are identified in the Council’s Settlement Hierarchy Report (2014) as those settlements with the highest overall settlement scores, taking into consideration the availability of local services and facilities as well as accessibility to larger locations.

4.76 New housing development in the Growth Villages provides greater opportunities for younger households to settle in villages and existing households to move as their circumstances change. There will also be the opportunity to provide additional affordable housing and support existing shops and services.

It is recognised that the District’s villages are highly sought after locations for housing and that many sites are likely to come forward in the early stages of the Local Plan. In order to avoid the village growth allocations being exhausted within the first few years of the Local Plan, and to support the social cohesion of these smaller settlements, the Council will require larger sites to be delivered in phases of not more than 50 dwellings. Thus, where sites are allocated for 50 or more dwellings, applications for planning permission will be required to include a phasing schedule setting out the phased timescale for delivery over the plan period. Each phase will include a timescale of not more than 5 years, starting at the commencement date of the development. This will allow development to come forward throughout the plan period in a balanced manner to meet often changing local housing needs. It will also help focus development attention on the regeneration of brownfield sites and the strategic growth allocations in the Local Plan.

(11) H11 Limited Village Infill Housing Development in the Green Belt

Limited village infill housing development in the Green Belt will be permitted where the site is located within a Limited Infill Village and the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. the development is for no more than 2 dwellings;

  2. the development comprises the infilling of a small gap fronting the public highway between an otherwise largely uninterrupted built up frontage, which is visible as part of the street scene; and

  3. the site does not form an important part of the integrity of the village, the loss of which would have a harmful impact upon the local character and distinctiveness of the area.

Explanation

4.77 National planning policy recognises limited infilling in villages as appropriate development in the Green Belt. The purpose of this policy is to clarify what the Council considers to be “limited infilling” in the context of the District’s Green Belt.

4.78 A number of smaller villages in Warwick District are “washed over” by Green Belt. These villages are, in many cases, quite open in character with limited facilities such as a church and a public house. They play an important part in the overall structure and purpose of the Green Belt, particularly with regard to openness.

4.79 The Council’s approach to limited infilling is to allow very small developments within settlement boundaries where sites are appropriately located along street frontages and where the development does not have a harmful impact on the integrity and character of the village.

(1) H12 Housing for Rural Workers

Permanent housing for rural workers in the open countryside will be permitted where applicants can demonstrate that there is an essential need to live permanently at or near their place of work. In assessing this need, the Council will take into account whether:

  1. there is a clear functional need for the person to be readily available on the site at most times;

  2. the worker is fully or primarily employed on the site to which the proposal relates;

  3. the business is financially sound and has a clear prospect of remaining so;

  4. the dwelling sought is of an appropriate size commensurate with the established functional requirement; and

  5. the need cannot be met by an existing dwelling on the unit, or by other existing accommodation in the area.

Where there is insufficient evidence of the financial soundness of a business, for example in the case of a new rural enterprise, temporary permission may be granted for a period of 3 years provided that criteria a), b), d) and e) in this policy are met.

Explanation

4.80 The purpose of this policy is to set out the circumstances whereby a new home can be built in the open countryside to meet the essential need for a rural worker to live on, or close to, the business unit where they are employed. The open countryside is defined as areas other than the Urban Areas, the Growth Villages and the Limited Infill Villages.

4.81 Providing suitable homes for rural workers is one of the few circumstances where isolated housing in the countryside may be acceptable. In view of the exceptional circumstances whereby housing is permitted, it is important that proper controls are placed upon, firstly, the essential need for the dwelling, and secondly, the financial viability of the enterprise. The objective of this policy is to provide the framework within which such proposals will be considered.

4.82 For the purposes of this policy, rural workers are defined as workers engaged full-time in farming, forestry or any other rural-based enterprise. The essential need for the dwelling can be determined if it is essential for the proper running of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times, both during the day and at night. The financial viability can be established if the unit has been established for at least three years, has been profitable for at least one of them, is currently financially sound and has a clear prospect of remaining so. The Council may wish to see financial information to support any such claim as part of an application.

4.83 Dwellings proposed under this policy will be expected to be of a size commensurate with the function of the enterprise. It is the requirement of the enterprise rather than the owner that is relevant to determining whether the size of a proposed dwelling is appropriate. The gross maximum permitted size for such a dwelling, including garaging, will normally be 140 sq. m (1,500 sq. ft) in area.

4.84 Where a dwelling is granted under this policy, an appropriate condition (or legal agreement) restricting occupancy will be required to ensure that the dwelling remains for the purpose for which it was built and that a functional relationship exists between the unit and the enterprise with which it is associated. The granting of any workers dwelling primarily on the grounds of providing security will not be permitted.

4.85 The above principles will be applied particularly carefully in relation to small, intensive enterprises, such as horticultural or equestrian activities, since these can change relatively easily to other uses which may not require a worker’s dwelling on site.

H13 Replacement Dwellings in the Open Countryside

Proposals to replace existing dwellings in the open countryside will not be permitted unless the existing dwelling is:

  1. structurally unsafe and beyond reasonable repair; or

  2. of poor architectural design and does not add to the rural character of the area.

Any replacement dwelling must not be materially larger than the existing dwelling and have no greater impact on the character and openness of the rural area. The Council will consider whether it is necessary to remove permitted development rights by condition when determining these applications.

Explanation

4.86 For the purposes of this policy, the open countryside is defined as areas other than the Urban Areas, the Growth Villages and the Limited Infill Villages.

4.87 The purpose of this policy is to ensure that replacement dwellings do not have an adverse impact on the surrounding open countryside and are of an appropriate design and scale for their location. The policy applies with equal measure within and outside of land designated as Green Belt.

4.88 Where a replacement dwelling is sought, the applicant will be required to demonstrate the reason for replacement with qualified evidence as necessary. Where the principle of replacing the existing dwelling is accepted, proposals will be assessed against the criteria listed within this policy, together with those in Policies BE1 (Layout & Design) and BE3 (Amenity). Particular regard will be had to retaining and enhancing the appearance and character of the rural area. In terms of scale, architectural form and materials, any replacement dwelling must not be more dominant than the existing dwelling within the landscape.

4.89 It should be noted that in certain circumstances the Council will remove permitted development rights for further ancillary residential accommodation

H14 Extensions to Dwellings in the Open Countryside

Extensions to dwellings in the open countryside will be permitted unless they result in disproportionate additions to the original dwelling (excluding any detached buildings) which:-

  1. do not respect the character of the original dwelling by retaining its visual dominance;

  2. do not retain the openness of the rural area by significantly extending the visual impression of built development; or

  3. substantially alter the scale, design and character of the original dwelling.

Explanation

4.90 For the purposes of this policy, the open countryside is defined as areas other than the Urban Areas, the Growth Villages and the Limited Infill Villages.

4.91 The purpose of this policy is to ensure that extensions to dwellings do not have an adverse impact on the surrounding open countryside and are of an appropriate design and scale for their location. The policy applies with equal measure within and outside of land designated as Green Belt.

4.92 The Council will assess all such proposals against the criteria listed within the policy, with particular regard to respecting the character of the original dwelling and retaining the openness of the rural area. Proposals which substantially alter the original dwelling will not be permitted. The original dwelling is defined as the dwelling granted permission if built since 1948. If the property was built prior to 1948, when modern planning legislation was first introduced, then it will be defined as the building which stood at 1st July 1948.

4.93 It is not possible to define what is considered to be a disproportionate addition as this will be dependent upon various factors including:-

  • the scale, design and character of the dwelling and any extensions,

  • the location of the property and its visual impact on the wider area and

  • the design and character of the extension proposed.

4.94 The Council will consider each case on its merits although as a guide, additions (taking into account any previous extensions permitted) which represent an increase of more than 40% to the gross floor space of the original dwelling (or 30% for dwellings within the Green Belt), excluding any detached buildings, are likely to be considered disproportionate.

4.95 In the case of barn conversions in the open countryside, the Council is extremely unlikely to grant approval for any extensions. Such conversions are only usually permitted where they can be undertaken with minimum disruption to the integrity of the original building. Any extension, however sensitively implemented, would harm this integrity.

References

  • Warwick District Strategic Housing Market Assessment (March 2012)

  • Coventry & Warwickshire Joint Strategic Housing Market Assessment (November 2013)

  • Warwick District Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (May 2012) and Update (April 2014)

  • Affordable Housing Viability Assessment (November 2011)

  • Affordable Housing Viability Assessment : Addendum (May 2012)

  • Warwick District Housing Strategy 2014-2017 (December 2013)

  • Strategic Housing for Older People Resource Pack(2012) Housing LIN, Directors of Adult Social Services & Institute of Public Care

  • Draft Extra Care Housing Position Statement (April 2014) Warwickshire County Council

  • Housing in Later Life – Planning ahead for specialist housing for older people (NHF, Housing LIN, McCarthy & Stone, Contact Consulting & Tetlow King) December 2012

  • HMOs in Warwick District (November 2013). Warwick District Council

  • Background Paper to Article 4 Direction & Interim HMO Policy ( 2013) Warwick District Council

  • Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites, Good Practice Guide (2008)

  • Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) (2012)

  • Report of Public Consultation: Gypsy and Traveller Site Options (2013)

  • Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2012)

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