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Newark & Sherwood Plan Review - Publication Amended Core Strategy

Affordable Housing

5.3       Affordable Housing is defined in Planning Policy Statement 3 the NPPF as housing “Affordable Housing includes social rented and intermediate housing “provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.” Social and Affordable rented housing in the district is normally provided by rented from Newark and Sherwood Homes (who manage the District Council’s housing stock) or from a Register Provider (Housing Association). or, in our District, from Newark and Sherwood Homes (who manage the District Council’s housing stock for us). Intermediate Housing refers to housing which is available to buy or to part buy/part rent at below the market price. There are a number of ways this can be achieved.

5.4       The District Council secures Most of the affordable housing that is built in the District is secured through schemes pursued by Registered Providers and the Council’s own house building programme, however a significant element comes from requiring developers to provide affordable dwellings as part of new development. The Core Strategy sets out the parameters for securing Affordable Housing from new development which will be supported by an updated Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

5.5       The need for Affordable Housing has been identified within the Regional Plan and by a the Nottingham Outer Housing Market Strategic Housing Market Assessment for the Nottingham Outer Housing Market Area in 2015 2007. (This area is made up of Mansfield, Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood). It provides a broad overview of housing need and it concludes that:  

  • There is clear justification for seeking affordable housing in new residential development
  • There is a need for the majority of dwellings to be 2 and 3 bedroom properties
  • An increase in the number of people over 65 will see a need for more additional levels of care and support along with the provision of specialist accommodation.

It identified that 40% Affordable Housing should be delivered across the District with 25% social rented and 15% intermediate housing. Since then housing markets have changed significantly because of the recession and the Council commissioned two further studies, one to look at housing needs, market and affordability and a second to look at the viability of providing affordable housing on new development sites.

5.6       Alongside these strategic conclusions the District Council has also commissioned a detailed Housing Needs, Market and Affordability Study (2014) which identifies: recommends:

  • to continue with the existing overall target of 30% housing, subject to viability and a mix of 60% Social Rent and 40% Intermediate Housing, and that;
  • The future type of housing should aim to meet the following bedroom numbers across the district:

Table 1

Tenure

Bedroom number in %

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

4 bedroom

Social Rent

40

30

20

10

Intermediate

10

75

15

0

Market

50

50

 

  • The demand for supported housing is reflected in both market and the affordable sector:

Table 2

Supported Housing number required

Market

Affordable

Total

430

1,002

1,432

 

  • High need for affordable housing in the District – of the 740 dwellings to be delivered a year under the Regional Plan, 558 (79%) would need to be affordable.
  • Changing economic and demographic factors which include:
  • a growth of older persons households with those of 65 years and over and particularly those of 85 years and over resulting in a greater need for supported living and adaptation of dwellings;
  • a growth in the number of individuals in the 30 – 44 age range (the main household forming and moving age group) which will impact on the demand for market housing;
  • incomes in the 30-44 age range are lower and therefore have more limited housing choice with, 58.9% of total new households not being able to enter the market increasing the need for shared ownership and other forms of intermediate housing;
  • entry to the District’s housing market is also dependent on availability, a factor critical for low income households who can only enter the market in any numbers where there is an adequate supply of affordable dwellings.

5.7       It is difficult even in a time without severe economic constraints to envisage the market being able to deliver such a high level of Affordable Housing. The NPPF requires that requirements made of developers through Development Plans are tested for viability and therefore the Council commissioned a Whole Plan & CIL Viability Assessment Study which has investigated the potential for new residential development to deliver affordable housing. The Assessment concluded in broad terms that delivering 30% of affordable housing across the District is viable with recognition that delivery will be tailored to reflect local market circumstances and individual site circumstances.

5.8       However delivering Affordable Housing will depend on the mix of tenure i.e. social rented or intermediate housing, which in turn depends set against the local needs for Affordable Housing. Types of affordable housing tenure have expanded over the past few years and a greater diversity now exists. To reflect this, the Council has adopted the definitions of affordable housing in the Housing White Paper (2017):

  • Social rented / affordable rented housing – eligibility determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Provided by local authorities and registered providers (e.g. Housing Associations). The houses should remain affordable or if not the subsidy should be recycled to provide further affordable housing. It is normally anticipated that affordable rented products will be secured as part of new development.
  • Affordable home ownership products – these products allow for the partial or total purchase at an affordable rate. These include Starter Homes (with a one off discount for the under 40s), discount market for sale (at least a 20% discount in perpetuity), intermediate housing including shared ownership and rent to buy (further details in the glossary).

5.9       Within differing local needs, it is anticipated that of the overall 30% provision total:

  • 60% should be social rented / affordable rented; and
  • 40% should be affordable home ownership products.

However, not all sites where new houses are built will provide Affordable Housing. This is because government policy (PPS3) suggests requires that a qualifying threshold of 15 11 dwellings or more, or a combined gross floorspace of more than 1,000 square metres (gross internal area) should normally be set for requiring contributions towards Affordable Housing. PPS3 allows Local Planning Authorities to secure contributions below this threshold if Councils have evidence to support this approach. In Newark Urban Area, we have been requiring affordable housing on sites of 10 or more dwellings (or sites of 0.4ha or above). In the rest of the District, the qualifying threshold has been set at 5 or more dwellings (or sites of 0.2ha or above). The Housing Needs, Market and Affordability Study identifies that given the large need for affordable housing, the justification for lower qualifying thresholds is appropriate. The Affordable Housing Viability Assessment Study also identifies that the current thresholds are viable.

Core Policy 1

Affordable Housing Provision

For all qualifying new housing development proposals and allocated housing sites, the District Council will require the provision of Affordable Housing, as defined in national planning policy, which is provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.  accessible and affordable to those unable to compete in the general housing market. The District Council will seek to secure 30% of new housing development on qualifying sites as Affordable Housing, but in doing so will consider the nature of the housing need in the local housing market; the cost of developing the site; and the impact of this on the viability of any proposed scheme. In circumstances where the viability of the scheme is in question, the developer will be required to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the District Council, that this is the case. Viability will be assessed in accordance with Policy DM3 – Developer Contributions and Planning Obligations.

The qualifying thresholds for Affordable Housing provision will be:

All housing proposals of 11 units or more or those that have a combined gross floor space of more than 1000sqm.

Newark Urban Area - all housing proposals of 10 or more dwellings or sites of 0.4 ha or above (irrespective of dwelling numbers);

The rest of Newark and Sherwood - all housing proposals of 5 or more dwellings or sites of 0.2 ha or above (irrespective of dwelling numbers).

The District Council does not normally encourage off site contributions - if such contributions are deemed appropriate, because of the characteristics of the scheme proposed, The District Council’s preferred approach is to seek such provision on site. However it is recognised that in some circumstances off site provision or contributions may be more appropriate, because of the characteristics of the scheme proposed or because it may help to deliver affordable housing provision more efficiently elsewhere in the locality. The District Council will require a financial contribution of equivalent value to that which would have been secured by on site contribution.

The District Council will seek to secure a tenure mix of Affordable Housing to reflect local housing need and viability on individual sites. Overall the tenure mix in the District should reflect the following mix:

  • 60% Social Rented housing social rented/affordable rented;
  • 40% Intermediate housing affordable home ownership products

5.10     The District Council believes that setting a 30% target for new housing development to be Affordable will help secure the highest level of such housing that is viable. In order to ensure that local market and individual site circumstances are taken into account, the Council will carefully consider local housing need on each site requiring affordable housing and its viability.Mix of tenure will need to be reviewed on an area and site basis, based on the table below and in on further details will be set out in the updated SPD and to allow the District Council and developers to best meet local need.

Table 1 3

 

1

 Bedroom

2

Bedroom

3

Bedroom

4

Bedroom

5 or more bedrooms

Newark Area

29%

54%

17%

0

0

Sherwood Area

27.5%

58%

6.5%

8%

0

Mansfield Fringe Area

25%

75%

0

0

0

Southwell Area

57%

43%

0

0

0

Nottingham Fringe Area

39.5%

20%

40.5%

0

0

 

5.11     As well as the delivery of Affordable Housing through requiring developers to contribute to its provision, the District Council in appropriate circumstances, will allow Affordable Housing schemes on the edge of existing built up areas of settlements. These schemes are the exception to normal planning policy and normally only Affordable Housing units will be allowed on these sites. This will help to facilitate the provision of local Affordable Housing in rural communities where the level of market housing is restricted to such a level that Affordable Housing cannot be achieved by any other means. In some circumstances the Council may consider allowing a cross subsidy scheme on an exception site whereby a small number of market houses may be allowed that will contribute towards funding the affordable housing, but only where other funding mechanisms will not support the total development costs.

5.12     The identification of Affordable Housing need on exception sites must be quantified by a Housing Needs Survey which meets the requirements of the District Council. Further details will be are provided in the Affordable Housing SPD.

Core Policy 2

 Rural Affordable Housing

The District Council will pro-actively seek to secure the provision of affordable housing, in defined rural parts of the District(2), on rural affordable housing `exceptions sites.’ Such sites should be in, or adjacent to, the main built-up area of villages and meet the requirements set out in Spatial Policy 3 Rural Areas relating to Scale, Need, Impact and Character of Development. Within the Green Belt Settlements development must be in line with Spatial Policy 4 Green Belt.

The need for such housing must be demonstrated by an appropriately constituted Housing Needs Survey.