Policy HSG2: Affordable Housing

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy HSG2:  Affordable Housing

The council will require at least 40% affordable housing on:

  1. Sites where 10 or more homes will be provided, or the site has an area of 0.5ha or more; and
  2. All sites delivering net new dwellings in the North Wessex Downs National Landscape.

On-site provision will be required on qualifying developments of five or more net new dwellings. Only in exceptional circumstances will off-site provision or financial contributions of equivalent value be accepted. Qualifying developments of less than five net new dwellings will be required to pay financial contributions of equivalent value towards the provision of affordable housing in the borough.

The tenure split of affordable homes will be 60% social rented and 40% intermediate products, which shall include at least 25% First Homes discounted from average market values by a minimum of 30%, so long as this is required by the government.

On individual sites, the type and size of affordable homes will be appropriate to the character of the area and the overall development and have regard to the type of need shown on the council’s housing registers, as well as the stock and turnover of existing properties.

10.17 The provision of affordable housing to meet needs is a key priority for the council in order to ensure that households in need are able to access housing in the borough, and to help deliver the council’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020-24.
10.18 The council’s housing register and the assessment of housing need undertaken as part of the Housing Market Assessment (HMA) and subsequent work, demonstrates that there is a need to maximise the delivery of affordable housing in the borough. In order to meet this need, the policy requires 40% of the net increase in dwellings to be affordable housing on all qualifying developments. The council will support schemes with a higher proportion of affordable housing, where appropriate. Where the proportion of affordable housing required on-site does not amount to a whole number the council will seek provision to be rounded up to the next whole number.
10.19 In the case of regeneration schemes, any existing affordable housing would need to be replaced, in addition to the requirement for 40% affordable housing on the net increase in dwellings.
10.20 The council recognises the importance of providing a range of housing products to meet needs including a mix of rented accommodation and low cost home ownership products. This includes a requirement for social rented housing, to ensure rented accommodation is and remains affordable to local residents.
10.21 The council will also support the delivery of First Homes, which will be discounted by a rate of at least 30%. The council has put in place a local connection test to ensure they are prioritised to local people and key workers. First Homes will comprise at least 25% of the affordable housing on market-led sites (where not exempted by national policy) and their provision will be balanced against the need for other intermediate products on a site-by-site basis. On strategic scale sites, the council may seek an element of supported housing as part of the affordable housing, subject to needs.
10.22 The council will require affordable housing to be provided on-site, other than when fewer than five net new dwellings are proposed.
10.23

However, in exceptional circumstances and where justified, the council will accept off-site provision or a financial contribution of equivalent value in lieu of on-site provision towards the delivery of affordable housing elsewhere in the local area or borough to meet the wider affordable housing need. The council may consider the following to be acceptable:

  • It would be impracticable for a registered provider to manage on-site affordable housing;
  • Bringing existing housing stock back into use for affordable housing;
  • If the alternative site being proposed for development would be closer to local facilities;
  • Where the off-site provision would lead to a significantly larger number of affordable houses being provided on the alternative site, without compromising the need for mixed and sustainable communities.
10.24 Where a financial contribution is taken and it does not generate a requirement for a whole unit, the fractional contribution will also be paid towards provision off-site.
10.25 The affordable homes provided must be distributed within the development to support the creation of integrated and mixed communities. However, practical implementation and management issues will be considered when taking into account the location of the affordable homes. Affordable homes should be designed to a high quality with the same or a consistent external appearance as for market housing.
10.26 The council’s housing registers show that there is a requirement for a range of affordable dwelling types (houses and flats) and bedroom sizes to meet a variety of needs and enable sustainability and turnover of the affordable housing stock. This need may vary by area and over time. The mix of dwelling types (houses and flats) within each affordable tenure should be similar to that proposed for the market housing, unless there is overriding evidence that this would not meet the needs on the registers.
10.27 In exceptional circumstances, the council may be required to consider viability where schemes may be faced with abnormal costs that could not have been envisaged at a Plan-making stage or where circumstances have changed since the Plan was brought into force. In such cases, robust viability evidence will be required and the council will have this independently reviewed at the applicant’s cost. Where policy requirements cannot be met due to economic viability, the tenure and mix of affordable housing will be examined prior to any variation in the proportion of affordable housing. Review mechanisms will be considered to cover the possibility that viability may improve during the period of development construction to achieve policy compliance.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented through:

  • Decisions on planning applications and planning obligations.
  • Working in partnership with the Housing Department, Housing Associations, Registered Providers, and Homes England (or other relevant bodies) to ensure the delivery of homes to meet needs.

The policy will be monitored against:

  • The number and tenure of affordable homes granted planning permission.
  • The number tenure, size and type of affordable homes delivered (and compared to needs).

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