Appendix 3: Guidance note to support Policy HSG4: Single Plot Rural Exception Sites for Custom and Self-Build Housing

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm
  1. This note provides detail to support the implementation of Policy HSG4. The purpose of the policy is to allow local people to build their own affordable home in suitable locations on the edge of settlements as an exception to normal countryside policy. By their nature, these single dwellings will be custom or self-build. Dwellings commissioned under this policy will be cheaper for applicants due to the avoidance of speculative land values and developer profit.
  2. This tenure may provide a solution for those in rural communities whose needs aren’t met by the general housing market. However, as these homes are permitted on an exceptional basis, it is necessary to restrict and control certain parameters.

Eligibility

  1. The planning application must be made by the prospective occupier. It will be necessary for the applicant to provide details about their eligibility to demonstrate that they comply with the requirements of the policy. The council will use a Section 106 legal agreement to restrict the occupation and future resale of the affordable house.
  2. Housing need is demonstrated where the household is unable to afford to purchase a suitable property on the open market in the village or within 5km of the proposed site (excluding within any settlements in categories 1-3) and:
    • Has no independent home of their own; or
    • Is renting and would like to become an owner-occupier; or

Occupies accommodation agreed to be unsuitable for either their current or reasonably foreseeable future needs.

Local connection

What does a strong local connection mean?

  1. The applicant must have a strong local connection to the area through working locally, residing locally or having family members who need support in the local area. Local area will usually be defined as within the parish boundary.
  2. This can be demonstrated if at least one adult member of the applicant’s household meets a minimum of two of the following criteria to the satisfaction of the Council:
  • Their parents were permanently resident in the local area at the time of the applicant’s birth;
  • They were in permanent residence in the local area for any period of five years as a child attending a local school;
  • They are currently resident in the local area and have lived there for at least the previous 5 years;
  • They don’t currently live in the local area but have previously lived there at some point for 15 continuous years;
  • They are currently employed or routinely carry out self-employed work within either the local area or 5km of the site;
  • They have a confirmed written offer of permanent work within either the local area or 5km of the site;
  • Their parents currently live in the local area; or another close family member who provides or requires a substantial degree of support currently lives in the local area;
  • If over 55, they have a close family member currently living in the local area.

Location

  1. Sites must be part of or adjacent to a rural settlement. Settlements within Categories 1-3 are not considered to be rural settlements, as due to their size, they already provide a range of opportunities for local people to meet their housing needs.
  2. Rural settlements are not limited to settlements with settlement policy boundaries, and whether a location is a settlement or not will be a matter of fact and planning judgement. Isolated or sporadic development in the countryside will not be acceptable.

Size

  1. In order to ensure the dwellings are affordable, the size is limited at 105sqm, which is slightly larger than the internal floor area required by the Nationally Described Space Standard for a 3-bedroom, 6 person two storey dwelling. A detached single garage may also be permitted.
  2. Permitted development rights to allow properties to be extended in the future will be removed by planning condition, to ensure that the council retains control over the future affordability of the property.

Affordable housing in perpetuity

  1. To ensure community benefit going forward, the dwelling must remain affordable in perpetuity, discounted to no more than 70% of its open market value. This means that the value of the property will rise (or fall) directly in proportion with the local housing market.
  2. There is therefore an expectation that building plots will be sold at a discount to enable the home to be affordable, and all future sales of the unit must be sold according to the eligibility criteria mentioned in paragraphs 3-4.
  3. Upon resale the owner must obtain a valuation from a RICS registered surveyor, to demonstrate the prevailing open market value at the time of the sale, which is valid for 6 months. The discount would then be applied to the valuation and this will demonstrate the maximum value the unit can be sold for.
  4. The S106 agreement will include a cascade mechanism to ensure the property is able to meet local affordable need in perpetuity. Upon re-sale, persons with a strong local connection are prioritised. If the property is marketed in an appropriate manner and no suitable households come forward, the geographical area is progressively widened over time, usually firstly to adjacent parishes and following this the wider Basingstoke and Deane borough.
  5. In the unlikely event of the property failing to sell after six months’ marketing, the owner may apply to the Council for the affordable price to be removed. If the council agrees to sale on the open market, the difference between the affordable and market prices will be recycled into the provision of affordable dwellings elsewhere in the borough.
  6. Prior to planning permission being issued, the applicant will need to demonstrate that they are the freehold owner of the site (or they have a long lease).

Design

  1. Proposals will need to comply with all other policies in the Local Plan. As these sites could be outside areas normally considered suitable for residential development, it is especially appropriate to deliver high quality and highly sustainable buildings that are in keeping with the character, form and appearance of the immediate vicinity and surrounding area.

Representations

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