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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting 1st July 2013

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

Proposed Review and Consultation on Supplementary Planning Guidance- Affordable Housing

Purpose of the Report

1. The purpose of this report is to seek Cabinet approval of the Council's Revised Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) which is attached at Appendix 1. The report seeks Cabinet approval for the revised SPG to be subject to a public consultation exercise.

Recommendations

Subject to consultation with Planning Committee and Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee:

1. That Cabinet approve the Revised Affordable Housing SPG for public consultation purposes.

2. That a further report is presented to Cabinet in due course setting out the findings of the public consultation exercise.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To carry out public consultation on the Revised SPG in accordance with the Council's adopted protocol for the production of SPG so as to afford the SPG additional weight as a material consideration in determining planning applications and appeals.

2. To advise members of the responses to the public consultation.

Background

1. Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) is produced by the Council to give guidance to the public, applicants and developers on specific planning related topics. The aim of the guidance is to provide further clarification on how to satisfy the Council’s requirements of certain development plan policies or site specific matters. SPGs are one of the “material considerations” which the Council takes into account when determining planning applications. The Welsh Government (WG) advises that SPG may be taken into account as a material consideration where it has been prepared in consultation with the general public and interested parties and it has been the subject of a Council resolution.

2. Planning Policy Wales (paragraph 9.14) places a requirement on Local Planning Authorities to have a clear understanding of the extent of affordable housing need through the undertaking of a Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA).

3. Accordingly the Council commissioned Fordham’s Research to undertake a Local Housing Market Assessment in 2008 (LHMA). In 2010 a revised Local Housing Market Assessment (2010)  was published which indicated that the demand for affordable housing  increased steadily between 2008 and 2010, identifying a need for the provision of some 915 affordable dwellings  per annum over a five year period  to address both existing and projected need (up from the 2008 figure of 652 dwellings).

4. Owing to the levels of affordable housing need identified within the Vale, the Council's LHMA indicates that the Council could justifiably set a requirement of 45% affordable housing provision on development sites. However, the study advised that the eventual target would need to be determined on the basis of a viability analysis consistent with National Planning Policy Technical Advice Note 2 Planning and Affordable Housing (paragraph 10.4 refers).

5. Accordingly, in 2010 the Council commissioned Three Dragons to undertake an Affordable Housing Viability Assessment (AHVA 2010) to examine the economically viable levels of affordable housing that could be sought through the planning system within the Vale of Glamorgan.

6. Utilising HM Land Registry data, the AHVA identifies six housing markets areas in the Vale of Glamorgan which reflect the range of housing market values across the authority; namely  Barry East, Barry West, East Vale, Penarth, Rural Vale, Rural South and Coast. Save for the Barry sub markets which are divided into Barry East and Barry West the submarkets closely align with those identified in the Council’s LHMA.

 The AHVA identifies a marked viability divide between the Rural South and Coast and Barry (West and East); and on the other hand the sub markets of Penarth, Rural and East Vale where site viability provide greater opportunities for the delivery of affordable housing.

Relevant Issues and Options

8. As a result of the high shortages of affordable housing and the prospect of future affordable housing shortages within the Vale, the Council is of the view that there is a pressing need for the introduction of new interim planning policy measures to assist in meeting the needs identified within the LHMA, until such a time as the Council's Local Development Plan is adopted.

9. UDP Policy HOUS 12- Affordable Housing requires affordable housing to be provided on substantial development sites where there is a demonstrable need for such housing. For the UDP, “substantial sites” is defined in the supporting justification (paragraph 4.4.82) as being housing developments capable of accommodating 50 units or more. The actual proportion of affordable housing to be determined on a site by site case based on the evidence of affordable housing need.

10. In 2009, the Council adopted its Affordable Housing Delivery Statement which also contained a revised Affordable Housing SPG that reinterpreted  the definition of "substantial sites" to sites capable of accommodating 10 or more units (or 0.3 Ha) and a requirement for the provision of the 30% affordable housing.

11. The AVHA however indicates that, theoretically, higher levels of affordable housing of between 30% and 40% could be secured on smaller developments sites within the most viable housing sub market areas where a nil threshold could be considered.

12. Therefore in view of the findings of the AVHA the revised SPG proposes the adoption of a standard site threshold across the Vale of Glamorgan, in combination with a two tier contribution requirement to reflect the levels of viability found within the housing submarket areas. Additionally, the revised SPG (Appendix 1) proposes a flexible approach to meeting affordable housing need by allowing an element of off site affordable housing contributions where appropriate to meet affordable housing within areas where the need is greater. Namely-

  In the housing sub market areas of Barry (East and West)  and Rural South and Coast, the Council shall require development proposals of 5 or more units (or 0.15 hectares) to provide as a minimum 30% on site affordable housing.

 In the Housing sub market areas of the East Vale, Penarth and Rural Vale, the Council shall require development proposals of 5 or more units (or 0.15 hectare) to provide as a minimum 35% affordable housing.

 In the East Vale and Rural Vale Housing Sub Markets an element of off site contribution towards the delivery of affordable housing may be acceptable, where it is demonstrated that appropriate alternative sites are available to deliver affordable housing in a timely manner elsewhere.

13. It is considered that this approach will allow the Council to secure affordable housing more strategically than previously, provide for a clear and consistent policy framework across the authority, whilst setting contributions within the thresholds identified in the AVHA in recognition of the current economic climate.

14. The SPG proposes that the implementation of the affordable housing requirements will be determined against the relevant sub housing market area postcodes taken from the AHVA within which the development is proposed. To assist proposers of new development, the SPG includes a map that identifies the 6 submarket areas and a table containing the relevant postcodes for each submarket. This will also complement the approach currently being developed by the Council in preparing its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

15. In accordance with the Council's procedures for the preparation of SPG's, a 4 week consultation will be undertaken on the proposed changes. This will involve directly inviting relevant interested parties such as Registered Social Landlords (RSL), the Home Builders Federation and agents to comment on the revised SPG. Following consultation, a summary of the comments and any subsequent proposed changes to the draft SPG, including a recommendation to adopt the SPG will be reported to Cabinet.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16. No budget issues arising out of this report. This report and consultation comments will be undertaken within the current budget for the division

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17. The provision of affordable housing and securing of planning obligations will have a significant impact on the sustainability of new development as well as existing communities within the Council's area.  For example, securing of affordable housing will assist in the creation of balanced and inclusive development to meet the needs of residents, whilst planning obligations can assist in the investment of sustainable transport or new community facilities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18. There are no legal implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.  None applicable to this report

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20. In reviewing the Affordable Housing SPG, the Council will need to adhere to equal opportunities policies.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21. One of the service objectives for Planning and Transportation is "to develop a sustainable land use planning and transportation framework for the Vale of Glamorgan."  The review of the SPG will assist in meeting this objective.  The revision of the Affordable Housing SPG will also work towards meeting the UDP objective to “secure a range of housing to be provided by the private sector, and registered social landlords in order to cater for the needs of all residents of the Vale including those not easily able to compete in the existing predominately private market.”

Policy Framework and Budget

22. No budget issues arising out of this report. This report and consultation comments will be undertaken within the current budget for the division.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23. No Ward Member consultation has been undertaken as the report has implications for the Vale as whole rather than specific wards. It is however recommended that consultation takes place with Planning Committee and Scrutiny (Economy and Environment)

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24. Economy and Environment

Background Papers

Vale of Glamorgan Local Housing Market Assessment (September 2008)

Vale of Glamorgan Local Housing Market Assessment Update (September 2010)

Vale of Glamorgan Affordable Housing Viability Assessment (2010)

Vale of Glamorgan Adopted Unitary Development Plan 1996-2011

Vale of Glamorgan Supplementary Planning Guidance: Affordable Housing

Vale of Glamorgan Affordable Housing Delivery Statement (2009)

Planning Policy Wales Edition 5 (2012)

Technical Advice Note 2: Planning and Affordable Housing (June 2006)

Contact Officer

Andrew Wallace- Senior Planning Officer (Planning & Transportation Policy)

Tel:- 01446 70467

Officers Consulted

All Heads of Service

Principal Planning Officer (Section 106), Planning and Transportation Services

Strategy & Supporting People Manager, Housing Services

Legal Services

Financial Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Service