Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Ended on the 2 December 2022
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A. Glossary

Development Plan - This includes adopted Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans, as defined in section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Development Plan is the starting point for decision making.

Financial Contribution - The sum of money that a landowner or developer is required to pay to the Council to ensure the delivery of services and infrastructure, including affordable housing, needed as a result of planning permission being granted.

Homes England - An executive non-departmental public body to accelerate housing.

Housing Association - Independent societies, bodies of trustees or companies established for the purpose of providing low-cost social housing for people in housing need. See Registered Provider.

Nomination Agreement -An agreement negotiated between the Council and a Registered Provider which guarantees the Council's ability to access Registered Providers owned new build accommodation for applicants on the Council's Housing Register.

Preliminary Enquiry -An enquiry submitted to the Council in writing in advance of a planning application being submitted, to obtain an informal officer view on the likelihood of obtaining planning permission and any particular requirements and/or planning obligations that the Council is likely to seek for the proposal.

Registered Provider - A provider of social housing, registered with Tenant Services Authority under powers in the 2008 Housing and Regeneration Act. This term encompasses housing associations, trusts, cooperatives and companies.

Rural Housing Enabler - A Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) employee who works with rural communities providing independent advice and support, acting as a facilitator and helping them through the complicated process of providing affordable housing.

Regulator of Social Housing – regulation of providers of social housing to promote a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs.

Section 106 Agreement - Legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Used as a means of securing the provision of affordable housing and other contributions.

Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) - A Strategic Housing Market Assessment is a comprehensive study of the local housing market, using surveys and involving wide ranging stakeholder participation, to produce an assessment of housing needs and market housing within the local area.

Social Housing - Housing that is cheaper to rent, than privately rented housing and usually provides a longer term tenancy.

Staircasing - The facility that enables a householder to purchase an increased proportion of a shared ownership (intermediate affordable) dwelling.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) -This sets out the standard that the Local Planning Authority intend to achieve in relation to involving the community and all stakeholders in the preparation, alternation and continuing review of all Local Development Plan Documents and in significant planning applications, and also how the local planning authority intends to achieve those standards. The SCI will not be a Development Plan Document but is subject to independent examination.

Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - A document produced by the Local Planning Authority to add further detailed guidance and information on a particular subject such as Sustainable Construction or Housing. An SPD is subject to a formal consultation period and then is used as a material consideration when determining planning applications.

B. Colchester Local Plan Section 2 Policy DM8 – Affordable Housing

The Council is committed to improving housing affordability in Colchester. Accordingly 30% of new dwellings (including conversions) on housing developments of 10 or more dwellings (major developments) in urban areas and above 5 units in designated rural areas (in accordance with Planning Policy Guidance), should be provided as affordable housing (normally on site).

Where it is considered that a site forms part of a larger development area, affordable housing will be apportioned with reference to the site area as a whole.

This level balances the objectively assessed need for affordable housing in the Borough established by the evidence base, against the requirement for flexibility to take account of changing market conditions. At present the overwhelming need in Colchester is for affordable rented properties, which should be reflected in development proposals. For sites where an alternative level of affordable housing is proposed below the target, it will need to be supported by evidence in the form of a viability appraisal.

In exceptional circumstances, where high development costs undermine the viability of housing delivery, developers will be expected to demonstrate an alternative affordable housing provision.

The Local Planning Authority will require developments to integrate affordable housing and market housing, with a consistent standard of quality design and public spaces, to create mixed and sustainable communities. The affordable housing provision should proportionately reflect the mix of market units unless otherwise specified by the Local Planning Authority. In schemes over 15 units the affordable housing should be provided in more than one single parcel. Elsewhere the affordable housing mix on any site should normally be "pepper potted" throughout the scheme in groups, the size and location of which should be discussed and agreed with the Local Planning Authority.

Affordable housing development in villages will be supported on rural exception sites adjacent or continuous to village settlement boundaries or where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities, provided a local need is demonstrated by the Parish Council on behalf of their residents, based on evidence gained from an approved local housing needs survey. A proportion of market housing which facilitates the provision of significant additional affordable housing may be appropriate on rural exception sites. Information to demonstrate that the market housing is essential to cross-subsidise the delivery of the affordable housing and that the development would not be viable without this cross-subsidy will be required. At the scheme level, the number of open market units on the rural exception site will be strictly limited to only the number of units required to facilitate the provision of significant affordable housing units on a rural exception site. The number of affordable units and total floorspace on a site should always be greater than the number of open market units or floorspace. The actual number will be determined on local circumstances, evidence of local need and the overall viability of the scheme.

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