West of England Joint Spatial Plan

West of England Joint Spatial Plan: Publication - November 2017

POLICY 3: THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TARGET

1. The Affordable Housing Target for the West of England for 2016-2036 is 24,500 net new affordable dwellings. Delivery of Affordable Housing, in a range of tenure and unit types, is a significant priority in all residential development.

2. Affordable Housing is defined as social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing provided to households whose needs are not met by the market with regard to local incomes, house prices and rents.

3. On residential developments delivering 5 or more dwellings or sites larger than 0.2ha, whichever is the lower, a minimum target of 35% Affordable Housing to be delivered on site is required. This applies to both C3 and self-contained C2 residential developments, including older persons and student accommodation.

4. Every opportunity will be taken to maximise the delivery of affordable housing for Bristol. The provision of Affordable Housing on the SDLs, and other strategic locations within or well related to the Bristol urban area, must contribute to the Affordable Housing need of Bristol through on site provision, with the option for off-site contributions in locations less well related to Bristol. Offsite contributions will be retained for the delivery of Affordable Housing for Bristol for a maximum of ten years or to the end of the JSP period whichever is the later.

5. Where it is demonstrated that viability prevents the delivery of Affordable Housing policy requirement without public subsidy, the agreed quantum of Affordable Homes to be delivered without subsidy will be stipulated in the planning agreement. In these circumstances any reduced provision of Affordable Housing must still contribute to the affordable housing need of Bristol as set out in paragraph 4. Further mechanisms will be used to require the applicant to engage actively with the local authority to identify alternative forms of investment or public subsidy to deliver Affordable Homes above this base provision up to policy compliant, target levels.

6. All Affordable Housing tenures should include provision to remain at an affordable price in perpetuity for future eligible households (based on local incomes and house prices) or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable provision.

 

Reasoned Justification for Policy 3

17. The Wider Bristol and Bath SHMAs identified an Affordable Housing need of 32,200 net new dwellings. Based on the Affordable Housing supply, available funding and other interventions an additional 24,500 (76%) Affordable Homes is set as the strategic target of this plan.

18. Affordable Housing is given a significant priority in the plan because of the scale of the need and historic low delivery rates. The target reflects the commitment by the Unitary Authorities to maximise Affordable Housing delivery across the West of England.

19. It will achieve this by:

    • Requiring a minimum of 35% Affordable Housing on all sites delivering 5 or more dwellings or sites larger than 0.2ha, whichever is the lower. This is justified by the high level of need and the shortfall in past delivery, and the consequent need to maximise delivery from all possible routes.
    • Maximising delivery via planning policy on site at nil public subsidy.
    • Maximising delivery via planning policy at nil public subsidy on the Strategic Development Locations (see Policy 7) as a specific priority.
    • Requiring policy compliance with the expectation that where it is unviable to provide the full policy requirement at nil public subsidy, public subsidy or other forms of investment will be sought and secured to make up the shortfall in order to demonstrate that every effort has been made to deliver full policy compliance.
    • Maximising use of HCA funding, other public subsidy and other forms of investment.
    • Requiring Affordable Housing to be provided that meets the needs as evidenced by the Wider Bristol and B&NES Strategic Housing Market Assessments 2016 update or further updated evidence, in the full range of AH tenure types and unit mixes.
    • Maximising delivery through higher densities in urban locations.
    • Maximising delivery by reviewing and where appropriate, bringing forward sites for affordable housing that are currently allocated for other uses.
    • Requiring Affordable Housing to be provided on self-contained C2 residential accommodation, including older persons housing and student accommodation, justified by the high level of need and the shortfall in past delivery, and the consequent need to maximise delivery from all possible routes.
    • Requiring on-site delivery of Affordable Housing. In exceptional circumstances, where it can be robustly justified, off-site provision or an equivalent financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision may be acceptable, for the provision of affordable housing.

20. In light of the particularly substantial need for Affordable Housing in Bristol, the provision of Affordable Housing on the SDLs and other strategic locations within or well-related to the Bristol urban area must contribute to the affordable housing needs of Bristol via on-site provision with the option of off-site contributions in locations less-well related to Bristol. Delivery mechanisms will be determined through a Joint Supplementary Planning Document. Options to be explored will include:

    • nomination rights.
    • financial contribution to be held in a West of England Housing central fund and which can be retained for a maximum of ten years or to the end of the JSP period, whichever is the later, in order to maximise the opportunity to spend.

21. The four UAs have sought to maximise the provision of Affordable Housing as far as possible, making it a priority in the formulation of the spatial strategy and increasing the overall supply of housing in order to increase Affordable Housing supply. Whilst the identified needs for Affordable Housing will not be fully met, this strategy will entail a substantial boost in the supply of Affordable Housing for the sub-region and will result in a step change in provision.