Waverley Borough Council Home Page Waverley Borough Council Home Page

Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 18/04/2006
Table 1: Housing Needs - Issues and Options


1. The provision of subsidised affordable and social housinga) Maintain current policy on site/size thresholds and the percentage of affordable housing required on qualifying sitesTried and tested approach – has delivered affordable housing;Many housing developments are below the thresholds;
Could be regarded as placing an unfair burden on developers of larger schemes;
Unlikely to deliver the overall target for affordable housing;
Evidence that developers design schemes to keep below thresholds;
b) Lower the site/size thresholds and/or increase the percentage of affordable housing required on qualifying sitesLikely to result in an increase in overall supply of affordable housing;
Would be a fairer approach;
Council better able to respond to identified needs;
Tighter control on the delivery of affordable housing.
Could have a negative affect if thresholds or required percentage of affordable housing were to adversely affect delivery of sites.Scope to reduce thresholds will not be fully known until PPS3 is published.

Could consider variable thresholds based on location, size and local circumstances.

Should affordable housing be required in connection with “enabling development”?

Lower thresholds likely to result in more cases where commuted sums are provided instead of on-site provision. This raises resource issues and the issue of the availability of alternative sites. It is also a move away from the concept of “mixed communities”.
c) Specify the mix of subsidised affordable housing in terms of rented and “Intermediate Housing” (non-rented accommodation).Clearer policy – more certainty for prospective developers;
More responsive to identified needs.
Could be regarded as being too inflexible – may not respond to local needs, availability of funding or site specific circumstances.In the current Local Plan there is an exemption whereby developments that meet a recognised need for specialised sheltered housing, on sites of less than 0.4 hectares, are not required to make provision for affordable housing. In considering options regarding the thresholds for affordable housing, the Council will also need to consider whether there is any justification for this exemption to continue.

Need to determine the approach to when it is acceptable to receive commuted sums towards provision of affordable housing and to formalise a policy on using commuted sums.

Option c) could be used in conjunction with either a) or b)

Important to have clear definitions – for example “Key Worker” or “Essential Worker” and “Intermediate Housing”.
2. Subsidised affordable housing and exception sitesa) Maintain existing policy on exception sitesPolicy has been successful in delivering rural affordable housing;Reactive process
b) Maintain existing policy and, in addition, identify or allocated potential rural exception sitesMore pro-active;Could lead to landowners not releasing sites in the hope that the site could be developable for market housing.
c) Consider further exception sites around the main settlements (like the Wyphurst Road scheme in Cranleigh)May deliver more affordable housing around main settlements.Could result in urban sprawl;
These sites are by their nature exceptional – do they need to be allocated?
This approach would be additional to options a) or b).

Consideration of this option dependent on the Government policy that is contained in the forthcoming PPS3.
3. Planning and Market housing
    a) Maintain current policy of requiring a proportion of new private housing to have a maximum of 2 or 3 bedrooms (Local Plan Policy H4)
Contribute to addressing the imbalance in the mix of current housing stock;
Requiring a mix contributes to national objective of delivering mixed communities;
May indirectly deliver more “affordable” market housing.
Inflexible approach – does not consider local or site circumstances;
Other ways of controlling mix – why not consider size rather than number of bedrooms;
Requiring “small” units does not necessarily ensure that they will be “affordable”.
New Government policy in the forthcoming PPS3 may affect whether or not the current policy can continue.

Can/should the Council prevent extensions in order to retain the stock of smaller dwellings? – Insufficient knowledge or understanding of the market (possibly something for later Housing Market Assessment work).
    b) Do not specify the mix – leave it to the market
Much less prescriptive – developer may be better able to respond to site circumstances;High demand generally may mean that market may not deliver the mix of housing to meet the wide range of housing needs;
4. Other housing needs
4a) Housing for the elderly and other special needs groupsThe current Local Plan includes a policy that encourages the provision of supported housing for those with special needs (Policy H7). Should this be retained or developed further?Housing needs and the supply of housing for people with support needs may require further investigation – perhaps through future Housing Market Assessment work, potentially on a sub-regional basis.
4b) The accommodation needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeopleSafeguard sites for travelling showpeople in the same way as sites for gypsies.Clear policy position giving certainty to Showpeople.Could lead to local opposition.Need clear criteria re: occupancy.
Identification of new sites to provide for future accommodation needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople?Pro-active – greater certainty.Little if any publicly owned land either available or suitable. Privately promoted sites tend to be very controversial.Broader picture not available until wider sub-regional/regional work completed by SEERA. At present needs of local gypsy and showman families are accommodated by making more intensive use of existing sites, leading to greater concentrations of gypsies and travelling showpeople in certain parts of the Borough. Indications are that, for the foreseeable future, needs of existing occupiers can be met within existing sites. Two unauthorised sites are subject to current appeals.