The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 14 December, 2015
Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration
New Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance - Affordable Housing and Planning Obligations
Purpose of the Report
- The purpose of this report is to seek Cabinet approval for the new Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) which is attached at Appendix 1 and new Draft Planning Obligations SPG which is attached as Appendix 2, to be submitted as evidence to the Planning Inspectorate as an examination document to the Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP).
- A further report will be brought to Cabinet on the status of the SPGs following the receipt of the Inspector's Report.
- That Cabinet approve the Draft Affordable Housing SPG and the Draft Planning Obligations SPG for submission as evidence to the examination in public of the Council's Local Development Plan (LDP).
- That Cabinet note and endorse the changes to the S106 consultation procedure attached at Appendix 3 to the Draft Planning Obligations SPG.
- That a further report on any proposed changes to these SPG is prepared after the Council has received the LDP Inspector's Report.
- That Cabinet approve the SPG's to be used as material considerations in relevant Development Management decisions with immediate effect.
- That the report be referred to Planning Committee for information.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To enable the Council to provide the appointed Planning Inspector additional evidence on how the Council proposes to implement the Affordable Housing and Planning Obligations Policies set out in the Deposit Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan.
- To reflect the recent changes in organisational structure following the creation of the Regeneration and Planning Services within the Resources Directorate.
- To allow Cabinet to amend the SPGs to reflect any changes to the relevant LDP policies following the Inspector's Report in due course.
- To enable the Draft SPGs to be used for Development Management purposes in the current context where the UDP is time-expired.
- To inform Planning Committee of the proposals.
- Cabinet will recall that on July 24th 2015, the Council formally submitted its LDP and associated supporting documents to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination in Public (E.I.P). This coincided with a 6 week public consultation on proposed Focused Changes arising from the previous Deposit LDP consultation.
- In the interim period since submission of the LDP, the Council has produced a new Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA 2015) which provides an updated picture with respect to housing across the Vale of Glamorgan. In light of the new evidence of affordable housing need, the Council has also updated the LDP affordable housing viability evidence to take account of the findings of the LHMA in respect of affordable housing tenures.
- Cabinet will be aware that the Council has the power to enter into legal agreements with developers under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to seek facilities, services or contributions from developers to mitigate negative development impacts and facilitate development which might otherwise not occur. These agreements are often referred to as Section 106 agreements contain clauses known as planning obligations. The most common planning obligations in the Vale of Glamorgan have related to public open space, public art, affordable housing, education and transport.
- The Council currently benefits from an adopted SPG on Planning Obligations which assists officers when negotiating the terms of legal agreements on these topics and in particular, the likely contributions required for new major development proposals. Since the last update in July 2012 (Cabinet meeting 23/07/12 Minute No. C1785 refers), there have been substantial changes in legislation, the Deposit Local Development Plan has been submitted to the Welsh Government and construction costs have increased. The revised Draft SPG takes account of these changes and the most up to date evidence that has been used to inform both the LDP and the Draft SPG.
Relevant Issues and Options
Affordable Housing SPG
- Policy MG4 of the LDP 'Affordable Housing', as amended by Focused Change (16), proposes a three tier affordable housing requirement of 30% in Barry and 35% in Llantwit Major, Rhoose and St. Athan on sites of 5 or more dwellings. Outside these areas the Council propose a 40% requirement on sites resulting in a net gain of 1 dwelling, or a net gain of 2 dwellings where the proposal involves the conversion of an existing dwelling but excludes barn conversions.
- In response to the Focused Changes Consultation, the Welsh Government has submitted representations in respect of the Council's proposed changes to the LDP, including Policy MG4. Within the representations the Welsh Government have requested further clarification on the status of the Council's Draft Affordable Housing SPG, which the Council has referred to in the written justification of the Deposit LDP.
- In order to address the Welsh Government's representation, officers wish to submit as evidence in support of the LDP the draft affordable housing SPG (attached at Appendix 1) which clarifies how the Council propose to implement the affordable housing policies set out in the LDP.
- In this respect the SPG provides further detail on matters relating to:
- The level of affordable housing required
- The Council's preferred affordable housing mix and tenure
- The Council's approach to on site and off site provision affordable housing contributions
- The Council's approach to commuted sums in lieu of affordable housing and how commuted sums will be spent
- Development viability and viability appraisals
- The Council's policy on rural exceptions affordable housing, and local lettings and sales policy.
- In preparing the Draft SPG, officers have also taken into account the Council's latest affordable housing need evidence, alongside updated viability evidence undertaken to reflect the change in affordable housing tenure that the Council will now wish to secure.
Planning Obligations SPG
- The Draft Planning Obligations SPG is attached at Appendix 2. The SPG is largely based on the existing SPG which provides a sound basis for seeking planning obligations and is equally applicable to the proposed LDP policies. Therefore the main changes to the Planning Obligations SPG are set out below.
- The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations 2010 came into force on 6th April 2010 in England and Wales. The CIL Regulations introduced restrictions on the use of Section 106 planning obligations to prevent pooling of more than 5 contributions entered into since 6th April 2010 (Regulation 123). This restriction came into effect on 6th April 2015. In cases where obligations are pooled, a clear audit trail will be established between the where development contributions are made and the infrastructure provided.
- Planning obligations may only legally constitute a reason for granting planning permission if it is:
(a) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
(b) directly related to the development; and
(c) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development
- The updated Draft Planning Obligations SPG is based on the policies of LDP, in particular Policy MD4 Planning Obligations. There are a number of other policies in the LDP which are referred to which relate to the provision of infrastructure and allocate particular sites for the provision of new facilities (listed at Appendix 1 of the Revised Planning Obligations SPG). These policies along with the Background Papers, form the starting point for negotiations, and should be taken account of at the early stages of development proposals. Such costs will be factored into the viability work that is required.
- Additional information is included in Section 6.1 Site Viability to ensure that developers take account of the necessary planning obligation requirements at an early stage and to confirm these are reflected in the land value assumptions. Developers will be required to provide evidence of the scheme's viability, if the planning obligations required are considered too onerous.
- The table in Section 5 and Appendix 2 of the Draft SPG sets out the reviewed formulas and development thresholds for the types of obligations sought from development namely: affordable housing, sustainable transport, education, training and development, community facilities, pubic open space, public art and biodiversity. Further details on affordable housing are set out in the Affordable Housing SPG and should be used in negotiating planning obligations for this type of obligation.
- The formulas for the planning obligations set out in Section 5 and Appendix 2 of the SPG will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure the inflationary price increases are accounted for.
- Section 6.3 of the Draft SPG Phasing of Planning Obligations justifies the basis for reducing the planning obligations where market circumstances have changed whilst ensuring the developers do not gain from an advantageous planning permission. A series of mechanisms are set out including re-phasing the planning obligations, reducing obligations with a time-limited permission, reviewing obligations through the life of a planning permission and a deferred payment.
- Following the adoption of the LDP, the Draft Affordable Housing SPG and Draft Planning Obligations SPG will be subject to separate consultation in accordance with the Council's agreed protocol for the production of SPG. This will enable officers to consider the SPG in light of the E.I.P and for the general public and interested parties to comment on the SPG in light of the adopted LDP. This is also consistent with Welsh Government (WG) advice that SPG may be taken into account as a material consideration where it has been prepared, subject to consultation and it has been the subject of a Council resolution.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The planning obligations sought through Section 106 Legal Agreements are an important mechanism to mitigate against the impacts of new developments and the financial contributions enable the Council to deliver new infrastructure projects.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- 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)
- The planning obligations system is covered by Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- None applicable to this report although planning obligations can be related to crime and disorder matters given that such matters are material considerations.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- In reviewing the Affordable Housing SPG, the Council will need to adhere to equal opportunities policies. S106 planning obligations can mitigate the impact of new development, and the provision of new facilities and infrastructure can promote equality of opportunity and access to facilities.
- 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 Draft SPG will assist in meeting this objective. The contributions paid by developers under the planning obligations system have a wide impact on many of the Council's functions including education, community facilities, highways and public transport.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- No Ward Member consultation has been undertaken as the report has implications for the Vale as whole rather than specific wards.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Economy and Environment.
Vale of Glamorgan Local Housing Market Assessment (September 2015)
Vale of Glamorgan Affordable Housing Viability Assessment (2015)
Vale of Glamorgan Deposit Local Development Plan (November 2013)
Vale of Glamorgan Deposit Local Development Plan as Amended by the Schedule of Focused and Minor Changes (June 2015)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Planning Act 208 (Part 1)
Community Infrastructure Regulations (2010 as amended)
Welsh Office Circular 13/97 (Planning Obligations)
Planning Policy Wales (July 2014) & Technical Advice Notes
Local Development Plans Wales (2005)
'Section 106: Guidance on the Use of Planning Obligations for Welsh Local Authorities' Planning Officers Society for Wales (2008) sponsored by WAG.
Vale of Glamorgan Planning Obligations SPG
Vale of Glamorgan Draft Infrastructure Plan Background Paper (September 2013)
Vale of Glamorgan Infrastructure and Site Deliverability Statement (2015)
Vale of Glamorgan Open Space Background Paper (September 2013)
Vale of Glamorgan Sustainable Transport Assessment Background Paper (September 2013)
Vale of Glamorgan Community Facilities Assessment (2013)
Vale of Glamorgan Education Facilities Background Paper (2013)
Affordable Housing SPG - Andrew Wallace- Senior Planning Officer (Planning Policy)
Planning Obligations - Hannah Dineen - Senior Planning Officer (Planning Policy)
All Heads of Service
All Section 106 Service Area Contacts (see Appendix 3)
Senior Planner (Section 106), Development Management
Strategy & Supporting People Team Leader, Housing Services
Legal Services - Committee Reports
Head of Finance
Rob Thomas - Managing Director