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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 12/07/2005
Housing Land Availability Statement and the Use of Policy H2 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to inform Members of the current position in respect to the rate of house building in the Borough relative to the housing allocations in the 2004 Surrey Structure Plan and emerging South East Plan. In particular, it is to advise Members that the estimated land supply is such that the Council should now apply Policy H2 of the 2002 Waverley Borough Local Plan. This is a phasing policy that enables the Council to withhold planning permission for housing on certain types of site.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
N/A
N/A
N/A


APPENDIX T
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 12TH JULY 2005

Title:
HOUSING LAND AVAILABILITY STATEMENT 2005 AND THE USE OF
POLICY H2 OF THE WAVERLEY BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN 2002
[Wards Affected: N/A]

Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to inform Members of the current position in respect to the rate of house building in the Borough relative to the housing allocations in the 2004 Surrey Structure Plan and emerging South East Plan. In particular, it is to advise Members that the estimated land supply is such that the Council should now apply Policy H2 of the 2002 Waverley Borough Local Plan. This is a phasing policy that enables the Council to withhold planning permission for housing on certain types of site.

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

As the report will explain, current house building rates exceed those needed to meet the Structure Plan allocation. Policy H2 allows the phasing of supply by resisting the development of large sites of a predominantly open nature (such as large areas of garden land or surplus playing fields). Slowing down the rate of building and, in particular, the development of sites of this type, could have some environmental benefits simply by phasing the supply of new housing, so that the affected sites either deliver additional environmental or community benefits, or are only released for development when needed to meet housing allocations. It is difficult to estimate how many sites would be affected by the application of Policy H2. However, the use of the policy would not compromise the delivery of the overall housing numbers required by the Structure Plan. Therefore, it is not considered that the use of the policy would adversely affect the local economy.

E-Government implications:

There are no direct e-Government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

If Policy H2 is to be applied, then potentially there could be more planning applications for housing development that are refused and that are taken to appeal. Clearly, the potential additional workload in dealing with such appeals has some resource implications.

Introduction and Background

1. Until the South East Plan housing allocations are confirmed, the requirement for Waverley is set out in the Surrey Structure Plan. Policy LO6 of the Surrey Structure Plan 2004 (SSP 2004), sets out the housing allocations for each district. In Waverley’s case, the requirement is for 2,810 net new dwellings to be provided between April 2001 and March 2016.

2. Policy H2 of the Local Plan states that the supply of housing land will be monitored to ensure the availability of a five-year supply relative to the Structure Plan allocation. The policy also states that in order to safeguard the supply of land in the longer term, the development of large “windfall” sites of a predominantly open nature may be refused on the grounds of prematurity where the five year supply of housing land is exceeded by more than 20%. The sites that could be affected by this policy are those that are 0.4 ha. or larger and which involve the provision of 10 or more net new dwellings.

3. This policy had its origins in Policy DP5 of the 1994 Structure Plan, which was the adopted Structure Plan at the time when the Local Plan was adopted. As stated above, Policy LO6 of the SSP 2004 is now the relevant strategic policy setting out the housing allocations across the County. This policy indicates that local planning authorities will adopt a Plan, Monitor, Manage approach to housing provision. It states that where there is a significant shortfall or surplus in the supply of housing relative to allocations, the local planning authorities will review the proposed phasing either through the preparation of supplementary planning documents or through a formal review of the Local Development Framework (LDF).

4. The whole issue of housing supply, phasing etc. will be addressed in the proposed Housing Development Plan Document (DPD), which will form part of the Council’s LDF. However, in the meantime, the Local Plan 2002 remains the adopted plan for the Borough and includes Policy H2, which is designed to phase the release of land for housing, should this be necessary.

Monitoring Housing Supply

5. Officers regularly monitor the delivery of new housing. In particular, an annual report, the Housing Land Availability Statement (HLAS), is published. Officers have recently produced the latest HLAS, which sets out the position in relation to housing supply, as at April 2005. A copy of the new HLAS is attached as an Annexe to this report. The HLAS assesses Waverley’s land supply relative to its Structure Plan allocation. In particular, it shows the current land supply, the intention being to ensure that there is at least five years supply available, as required by Policy H2.

6. The HLAS assesses a number of sources of housing supply. Firstly, it identifies the number of houses that still need to be provided to meet the Structure Plan allocation, by subtracting the total number of new houses built since 2001 from the overall allocation.

7. In terms of future supply, the HLAS focuses on the anticipated supply over the next five years. Sites are put into three categories, Small, Medium and Large. These are defined in the attached HLAS. The estimate for future supply is based on a combination of:-

trend-based projections of the likely future supply from Small and Medium sites; identified Medium sites with planning permission; identified Large sites with planning permission; sites identified in the Local Plan as having potential for housing; and "Large" sites where a resolution has been passed to grant permission for housing subject to a legal agreement.

The Current Land Supply

8. The "headline" from the 2004/05 HLAS is that the estimated land supply has increased from 5.8 years (as identified in the 2003/04 HLAS) to 8.5 years. Thus, whereas the last HLAS stated that Policy H2 could not be applied because estimated land supply was less than five years + 20%, the circumstances have now changed. The estimated land supply has increased significantly.

9. This increase in the land supply is affected by a number of factors. Firstly, the average annual house building rates in previous years have exceeded the rate required to meet the Structure Plan requirement. The overall allocation of 2,810 over 15 years translates into an average requirement of 187 dwellings per annum. However, between 2001 and 2005 some 838 net new dwellings were constructed at an average of 210 dwellings per year.

10. Secondly, there remains a steady supply of dwellings on small sites. In fact, the trend has been for the annual supply of dwellings on small sites to increase.

11. Thirdly, there are a large number of dwellings that are likely to be built over the next five years on "Large" sites that have planning permission. The table at the end of the HLAS sets out this information. 407 net new dwellings are still to be completed on such sites. These include the 79 dwellings permitted at Wyphurst Road, Cranleigh; the 70 dwellings permitted at the former IOS site in Wormley; the dwellings at the redeveloped Kilnfields in Haslemere; the 50 units approved on the Godalming Key Site and the 49 dwellings approved at Godalming College. Many of the identified developments on these large sites are already underway or partially completed.

12. In addition to large sites with planning permission, there are other large sites where a resolution has been passed to permit housing, subject to a legal agreement, the most notable example being the 134 houses proposed on the surplus land at Farnham Hospital. It is reasonable to assume that these developments will also go ahead in the next five years.

13. Finally, there are sites identified in the Local Plan as having potential for some housing development. These are identified in the HLAS, with the most significant being the East Street site and Milford Hospital. Officers have made an estimate of the housing potential on these sites and the likely timescale for development.

The Application of Policy H2

14. Officers have previously applied Policy H2 when the land supply exceeded the five years + 20% threshold. For example, some Members may be familiar with the history of the site at 7A Wrecclesham Road, Farnham. Development on that site was allowed on appeal and the development is underway. However, one of the earlier proposals (Waverley/2003/0974) coincided with the time when Policy H2 was valid. Members resolved to refuse permission, in that case on environmental and Policy H2 grounds. As it turned out, that scheme was superseded by other proposals and the application was withdrawn before the decision to refuse was issued. By the time subsequent proposals were considered the land supply situation had changed and Policy H2 could no longer be applied.

15. Now that the land supply situation has improved, sites like the one at 7A Wrecclesham Road, which did contain large areas of garden land, are the sort of sites where the Council should be applying Policy H2, so that the sites are only released for development when they are needed or in the exceptional circumstances that the development delivers significant environmental or community benefits. In the Officers' view, the issue is not whether the Council should utilise Policy H2, but when this approach should commence. Subject to the agreement of the Executive, it is considered that Policy H2 should be applied to relevant planning applications that are determined by the Council after 12th July 2005.

Recommendation

That the Executive notes the intention to re-commence the use of Policy H2 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 and agrees that, until further notice, this policy will be applied to any relevant planning applications that are determined by the Council after 12th July 2005.

Background Papers (DoP&D)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Graham Parrott Telephone: 01483 523472

E-mail: gparrott@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2005-06/063