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Section 6: Development Management Policies – Housing


This response report contains comments received on Section Section 6: Development Management Policies - Housing.

Contents

General comments

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Section or paragraph number(s)

Response

DLP_1800

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Housing Policies Paragraphs 6.296-6.417

In paragraphs 6.297-6.299 we strongly support the reduced timescales for implementation of planning permissions.

In paragraph 6.319, we strongly support the provision that affordable housing should be provided at social rent on the majority of development sites.

In paragraph 6.324, we strongly support the requirement on applicants for planning permission under paragraph 6.324 to have taken account, and factored into the land price, all the obligations in the Plan policies (for infrastructure, affordable housing, preserving and enhancing the environment etc.) and believe this should be imported into the Policy. Unless based on statutory  and legal precedent constraints, the exceptional circumstances showing lack of viability still seem too wide and liable to lead to an under provision of the required affordable housing to meet actual and projected need.

In paragraph 6.382 we support the general approach but suggest the proposals  for extensions should be considered in terms of their “compatibility with” rather than “their impact on” the character and appearance of the main dwelling, and the wider street scene and surrounding area; and the amenities of neighbouring properties. In paragraph 6.385 we support the references to scale, proportion and height but there are only parts of the borough- conservation areas and the setting of listed buildings and non-designated heritage assets- where the roof form is critically important and should be specially considered. We therefore suggest substituting “form” instead of “roof form” and adding “roof form should be considered in conservation areas and where the setting is influenced by a listed building or non-designated heritage asset”. In paragraph 6.388 materials should match “or complement” those of the main dwelling and “might replicate” rather than “replicate” distinctive features including any detailing. In paragraph 6.391 the 21metre requirement will be too restrictive for mews type developments which are desirable to achieve the greater urban densities needed in the new Plan period. We suggest that a more appropriate wording to meet other Plan requirements would therefore be “An avoidance of opposing windows to habitable rooms and related loss of privacy must be carefully considered with adequate solutions demonstrated and enforced”.

DLP_2957

Garry Pethurst

 

Par. 6.300 - Amend the final sentence to: "The Council will work with developers and parish councils to decide where this would be appropriate".

Par 6.305 - Clarification needs to be provided as to how residences above shops will be encouraged, particularly in rural areas, which are not receiving any support for economic development.

Par. 6.318 - Social rent should be between 50% and 60% of open market value in rural areas to reflect lower average wages.

DLP_6061

Mr C Mackonochie

Policy Number: H1 to H17

Support

Policy Number: H1 to H17

DLP_6205

Marion Cranmer

 

Housing

TWBC should have much higher standards for its housing stock. It should aim to be an authority admired by others for its ethical standards. This includes a much better ‘policing’ of developers who flout the rules.

It is vital that any housing should be well above the minimum standards of construction required, in the best combination of designs, sizes and types of tenure to meet local needs, and in the places that have the least amount of negative impact on the parish and its wider environment.

Affordable housing should be affordable both to buy/rent, and to maintain. The aspiration of TWBC should be Passivhaus standard.

Much greater provision is needed of housing for those with special needs of all types.

Truly wheelchair accessible parking spaces, paths, inside spaces and facilities are woefully lacking in most modern housing developments.

The provision of truly whole life designs for housing needs to be much higher.

The reluctance to build bungalows, based on the need for higher density building is largely unfounded. Recent conversations and experience in public events has shown that many, generally older, people would like to downsize, but are unwilling to move into flats.

Provision of bungalows/single storey dwellings with a small gardens/outside areas, and parking would allow for more down-sizing. This in turn would free up larger housing for those who need it, and so lessening the need to build more large houses. (Why does the cynic in me feel that it is the developers who are pulling the strings on this?)

DLP_6292

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Section 6: Housing - Creating homes for life

New homes should be fit for the future and meet the needs of all residents for their whole lives. In an age where residents are living longer homes need to be adaptable so that residents who get mobility limiting disabilities can continue to live there. Ensuring a new home can be fully adaptable only costs around an additional £1500 and we believe that all new homes should meet these minimum standards as it saves money in the long term.

Policy H 1: Implementation of planning permission for new residential dwellings

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1861

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  H1 Implementation for Residential Dwellings 

We strongly support this policy to require planning permissions on major developments to be implemented within 2 years to avoid the delays which have sometimes occurred in the past.

DLP_2953

Garry

Pethurst

Support with conditions

Policy H1

Item 2 - Groundworks etc. should be completed for at least 20% of the number of dwellings approved.

DLP_4183

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports these policies

DLP_4702

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara recognises the importance of delivering approved housing schemes but suggest a period of 3 years from the date of decision is more appropriate and reasonable to allow sufficient time to implement the permission.

Draft Policy H1 as worded is contradictory to paragraph 76 of the NPPF as it does not allow sufficient flexibility and would threaten scheme deliverability and viability:

“To help ensure that proposals for housing development are implemented in a timely manner, local planning authorities should consider imposing a planning condition providing that development must begin within a timescale shorter than the relevant default period, where this would expedite the development without threatening its deliverability or viability. For major development involving the provision of housing, local planning authorities should also assess why any earlier grant of planning permission for a similar development on the same site did not start. 

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Suggested policy rewording:

“Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

  1. That the permission be implemented within twothree years from the date of decision; or
  2. That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission”.

DLP_4782

DHA Planning Ltd for Caenwood Estates and Dandara

 

Comments on Policy H1

3.4.8 Turning to housing policies, we have significant concerns about the drafting of several policies, that show a degree of misunderstanding of the development industry. For example, policy H1 states:

Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

  1. That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or
  2. That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission.

3.4.9 Whilst the majority of developers would aspire to be ‘on site’ and under construction within 2 years, the reality is that there are often processes that need to be adhered to that are outside of the applicant’s control, including the need to formally conclude land purchases, to discharge conditions and to deliver off site mitigation. The Council will also be aware that commencement of development is often prohibited by seasonal restrictions in respect of ecology and wider constraints. With the above in mind, we consider the Council’s policy should be deleted or modified to the extent that it will endeavour to agree a two year start date based on site circumstances. However, the usual 3 year commencement date should normally be maintained within planning conditions.

3.4.10 If there are delays beyond a developer’s control which, despite best endeavours, delay implementation of a planning application, a requirement for permissions to be implemented within two years would actually have the effect of further slowing delivery. This is because the applicant would have no option other than to have to reapply for permission. Not only would this be costly and time-consuming to the applicant, but it would also exacerbate existing resourcing issues for the Council as planning officers would have to spend time processing an otherwise unnecessary major planning application. In our view, any decrease from the current three year commencement period may actually cause more problems than it solves, and begs the question whether this policy actually demonstrates a concern that the proposed housing trajectory may not be deliverable. If that is the case, it further demonstrates the need for an increased buffer, as previously discussed in paragraph 3.3.5.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_5326

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

Object

We note that policy H1 ‘Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings’ requires that

Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

  1. That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or
  2. That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission’

In our opinion policy H1 requires some clarity. The term implemented is not defined in the policy, reasoned justification or glossary. Does it mean completed or merely started. Is the definition of started the carrying out of a material operation as defined in section 56(4) of the 1990 Act or something more advanced? What is an ‘exceptional circumstances’? Why can’t the policy be ‘unless otherwise agreed’? Whilst we fully support the desire to see planning consents implemented promptly, we do not believe that para 76 of the NPPF looks to see this enshrined in planning policy

  • rather this is a matter for LPA’s to look to address through the imposition of suitable worded conditions. We would thus question whether policy H1 complies with national policy

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6334

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of land west of Freight Lane, Cranbrook, hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H1 – Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings

We note that Policy H1 requires that:  ‘Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

* That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or

* That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission’

In our opinion policy H1 requires some clarity. The term implemented is not defined in the policy, reasoned justification or glossary. Does it mean completed or merely started. Is the definition of started the carrying out of a material operation as defined in section 56(4) of the 1990 Act or something more advanced? What is an ‘exceptional circumstances’? Why can’t the policy be ‘unless otherwise agreed’? Whilst we fully support the desire to see planning consents implemented promptly, we do not believe that para 76 of the NPPF looks to see this enshrined in planning policy – rather this is a matter for LPA’s to look to address through the imposition of suitable worded conditions. We would thus question whether policy H1 complies with national policy.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6468

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Policy H1

3.5.8 Turning to housing policies, we have significant concerns about the drafting of several policies, that show a degree of misunderstanding of the development industry. For example, policy H1 states:

Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

1. That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or

2. That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission.

3.5.9 Whilst the majority of developers would aspire to be ‘on site’ and under construction within 2 years, the reality is that there are often processes that need to be adhered to that are outside of the applicant’s control, including the need to formally conclude land purchases, to discharge conditions and to deliver off site mitigation. Other delays outside the control of the developer, for example through judicial review proceedings, can also delay the ability to proceed with reserved matters applications or start on site. The Council will also be aware that commencement of development is often prohibited by seasonal restrictions in respect of ecology and wider constraints.

3.5.10 In this case, the Hawkhurst Golf Club site is in a single ownership and the owner is keen to progress as quickly as possible with the development. Whilst we would expect to be able to make a quick start to development, we have concerns over limiting the commencement period to three years for the reasons set out above, and therefore consider that the Council’s policy should be deleted.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6686

Gladman

 

6.11 Policy H1: Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings

6.11.1 Securing the delivery of new housing is a key policy aim of the Government. This is translated into the 2019 NPPF which sets out that authorities can include measures to fasten the pace of housing delivery. Policy H1 is the Council’s response to this national policy approach and is supported by Gladman.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6892

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H1 – Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings

We note that Policy H1 requires that:  ‘Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

* That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or

* That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission’

In our opinion policy H1 requires some clarity. The term implemented is not defined in the policy, reasoned justification or glossary. Does it mean completed or merely started. Is the definition of started the carrying out of a material operation as defined in section 56(4) of the 1990 Act or something more advanced? What is an ‘exceptional circumstances’? Why can’t the policy be ‘unless otherwise agreed’? Whilst we fully support the desire to see planning consents implemented promptly, we do not believe that para 76 of the NPPF looks to see this enshrined in planning policy – rather this is a matter for LPA’s to look to address through the imposition of suitable worded conditions. We would thus question whether policy H1 complies with national policy.

TWBC: see full representation attached.

DLP_6925

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.22 Policy H1 seeks to impose a mandatory commencement of development time limit of two years across all planning permissions for major residential development. Whilst the NPPF (para 76) encourages Local Authorities to consider granting shorter timescales, it is clear that this should only be done where it would not threaten the deliverability and viability of a development which can only be considered on a case by case basis. The application of a blanket shorter time limit which can only be departed on in ‘exceptional circumstances’ is therefore not proportionate or effective, not consistent with National policy nor statute which do not use any exceptional circumstances measure and encourages this to be looked at in relation to individual planning applications. We suggest this part of Policy H1 be deleted.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7007

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Object

[TWBC: this comment relates to representations on AL/CA 1: Tudeley Village].

Policy H1 - Delivery of Housing

Although we understand the objectives of the Policy, we consider this policy to be too inflexible for inclusion in a Local Plan. These matters are best left to Development Management functions. Indeed, a complex development such as Tudeley will require a long-range timing and implementation condition. At face value, this policy should not present any difficulties for its implementation, but we do not consider the policy necessary and sufficiently positive for inclusion in the Draft Plan.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6996, 7003-7009, 7013-7017 and SA_128]

DLP_7083

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy H 1 - Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings

Comments; Object

1.95 Our Client supports the need to ensure the delivery of development, however, often unworkable or complicated sites require a long period of time to implement planning consents, particularly factoring in legal agreements.

1.96 Our Client is concerned that this policy would stifle development and moreover could lead to further pressure on the Development Control Team. With the current significant deficiencies in the provision of housing in the Borough it is essential that the Local Plan provides the necessary support to ensure that development is secured.

UNSOUND: This policy is not positively prepared and should be reworded.

Recommendations:

* Remove reference to “That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision”

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7111

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

 

Policy H1 – Implementation of Planning Permission for New Residential Dwellings

The policy proposes to impose a condition on permissions for new major residential development requiring them to be implemented within 2 years of the grant of planning permission or that groundworks and construction of the ground floor base of at least 2 buildings be completed within 3 years of the grant of permission. Only in exceptional circumstances, which would need to be identified by the developer in their application, would the Council consider not imposing the condition.

We recognise that para 76 of the NPPF states that in order to ensure development takes place in a timely manner, local planning authorities should consider imposing a condition providing that development commences within a shorter timescale than the relevant default period subject to where it would expedite the development without threatening deliverability or viability. However, the “exceptional circumstances” provision in the emerging policy potentially sets an unreasonable and onerous test and such circumstances are not defined. Imposition should be considered carefully on a case by case basis.

There is also a significant difference on the nature of development proposals which constitute “major” development. The Council has adopted the national definition (ie development of more than 10 dwellings or 1,000sqm non-residential floorspace). There is a significant difference in the extent of pre-commencement work required for a development of 10 dwellings to that of a strategic allocation. The policy as worded does not make any such distinction.

Whilst recognising the Council desire to ensure the timely delivery of housing, we would suggest that consideration be given to changing the wording by replacing “Unless there are exceptional circumstances…” with “Unless agreed otherwise through the consideration of a planning application or where it can be demonstrated that…”

However, implementation is strongly dependent upon the timely discharge of condition, control of which is not within the gift of the applicant/developer and therefore the policy has potential to actually undermine the delivery of much needed dwellings.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_8352

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.7 Turning to housing policies, we have significant concerns about the drafting of several policies, that show a degree of misunderstanding of the development industry. For example, policy H1 states:

‘Unless there are exceptional circumstances due to specific site or development constraints, a condition will be attached to any grant of planning permission for new major residential development (including change of use) requiring one or the other of the following conditions:

1. That the permission be implemented within two years from the date of decision; or 

2. That groundworks and the construction of the ground floor base of at least two buildings be completed within three years of the permission’.

3.1.8 Whilst the majority of developers would aspire to be ‘on site’ and under construction within 2 years, the reality is that there are often processes that need to be adhered to that are outside of the applicant’s control, including the need to formally conclude land purchases, to discharge conditions and to deliver off site mitigation. There are also ‘non-planning’ consents that need to be achieved for example Section 278 Highway works, infrastructure agreements (S38 of the Water Industry Act), ecology licensing etc

3.1.9 The Council will also be aware that commencement of development is often prohibited by seasonal restrictions in respect of ecology and wider constraints.

3.1.10 The second requirement for two buildings to be commenced is arbitrary, for example what is the test for single unit schemes or conversion works? The correct test should be as set out in statute i.e. ‘a material start’.

3.1.11 With the above in mind, we consider the Council’s policy should be deleted or modified to the extent that it will endeavour to agree a two year start date based on site circumstances.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

DLP_8389

Ms Nicola Gooch

 

Policy H1

Whilst I applaud the Council’s ambition to increase the level of housing delivery within the borough, requiring the implementation of consents within two years could be problematic – particularly for outline consents, which will require the submission of reserved matters within that time frame.

There are likely to be issues on sites which require complex site assembly, such as the proposed urban extension at paddock wood, or the use of compulsory purchase orders to ensure delivery. On these types of scheme, there is a real risk that the planning permission will lapse before the site assembly issues have been fully resolved.

The policy is also vulnerable to changes in market conditions – particularly given the current uncertainties surrounding Brexit and its impact on a) house prices and b) the ability of developers to source contractors and materials.

Given that is no longer legally possible to extend the lifespan of a planning permission, unless the procedures for dealing with post-grant applications are streamlined significantly, there is a real risk that this attempt to increase the rate of housing delivery may instead increase the number of resubmissions that the Council receives.

If the two year implementation period is to be achievable, then the Council will have to be extremely disciplined about the number and scope of the pre-commencement conditions that it imposes on consents. It will also need to ensure that the planning department is sufficiently well resourced to be able to process applications for the discharge of conditions or the approval of reserved matters within a timely fashion. There will be a similar need to ensure that any statutory consultees who will be involved in the approval or discharge of pre-commencement issues are equally able to respond in a truncated time-frame.

Given the current market uncertainties it may be sensible to build greater flexibility into the policy. Instead of only deviating from the two year time period in ‘exceptional circumstances’ it may be preferable to treat the two year period as a ‘default’ which can varied in the event that a longer implementation period is more appropriate. This would enable the Council to respond more rapidly to changes in the market or to site specific requirements without the need to revisit the local plan policy.

As an aside, whilst the use of appropriate template or standardised s.106 agreements is to be encouraged. This will not assist developers or the Council with speeding up the implementation of planning consents – s.106 Agreements cause delay prior to the grant of permission (as the consent is not granted until the agreement has been signed); rather than prior to implementation. The types of legal agreement that are required post consent – such as s.278 Agreements or Drainage Agreements, are not within the gift of the Council. These standard agreements are negotiated with the Highways Authorities and statutory undertakers, over whom the Council has limited control.

Policy H 2: Multi-developer delivery and piecemeal development of larger sites

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1862

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  H2 Multi-developer Delivery

We support this policy to prevent otherwise legal abuses arising from sub-dividing sites to evade Plan policies.

DLP_3968

IDE Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Support

SUPPORT

DLP_4184

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports these policies

DLP_4493

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Support

Support

DLP_4703

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara understands the promotion of multi-developer delivery on larger major and strategic sites and the need to protect such sites from ‘piecemeal’ development. Dandara is committed to working with adjoining landowners and the Council to ensue comprehensive development on larger major and strategic multi-developer sites. Whilst the policy does allow for development to in some circumstances, greater flexibility should be incorporated into it to ensure that development is not unduly delayed. As suggested in the amends to the PW/CA policies – Frameworks should be used to set principles to enable individual developments to come forward without being dependant on others.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Policy to be revised to include more flexibility.

DLP_4783

DHA Planning Ltd for Caenwood Estates and Dandara

 

Comments on Policy H2

3.4.11 In respect of policy H2, and the preference for multi-developer schemes and comprehensive masterplanning, we understand the aspiration. However, in reality such stringent requests often result in conflict and further delay. With this in mind, it is our view that the Council should shift focus away from how it wishes to change development industry practices and instead concentrate on what it can influence, namely the provision of development frameworks setting out principles and infrastructure requirements for the proposed site allocations, rather than detailed masterplans.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6469

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Policy H2

3.5.11 In respect of policy H2, and the preference for multi-developer schemes and comprehensive masterplanning, we understand the aspiration. However, in reality such stringent requests often result in conflict and further delay. With this in mind, it is our view that the Council should shift focus away from how it wishes to change development industry practices and instead concentrate on what it can influence, namely the provision of detailed guidance for the proposed site allocations (including potential phasing plans and areas zoned for different forms of development).

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6687

Gladman

 

6.12 Policy H2: Multi-developer Delivery and Piecemeal Development of Larger Sites

6.12.1 The policy sets out the Council’s support for the multi-developer delivery at larger sites allocated within the plan. This will allow larger sites to come forward at a faster pace preventing delay due to the need for a single planning application and is likely to reduce the likelihood for delay as a result of legal or landownership issues. The policy clarifies the Council’s position in relation to the piecemeal delivery of large sites, establishing the necessary safeguards to ensure policy compliance and full infrastructure provision, as well as securing a comprehensive development. The policy is supported by Gladman.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6926

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.23 We note that policy H2 welcomes multi-developer delivery on major and strategic sites. The policy allows for piecemeal development providing it does not jeopardise the delivery of policy requirements expected of the wider site.

7.24 For major and strategic sites, each phase should be expected to meet its own policy requirements unless agreed as part of the overarching the masterplan or development framework. As highlighted in our response to policy STR/PW/1 & CA1 and AL/PW1 & AL/CA3 for the delivery of the strategic sites at Paddock Wood, we are advocating an approach whereby development briefs are prepared on a three tier basis, with a Town-wide Framework Plan informing three separate masterplans, with individual planning applications coming forward thereafter. This will allow sites to come forward in a way that can deliver the required obligations.

7.25 This policy should be worded to support development progressing in accordance with the Town-wide Framework Plan which would not require additional legal agreements.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7112

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

 

Policy H2– Multi-developer Delivery and Piecemeal Development of Larger Sites

Please see comment under Policy AL/TRW 4 above. However, if an application comes forward in advance of a masterplan and can be demonstrated to comply with Policy H2, any requirement for a masterplan should then fall away.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_8086

Department for Education

 

20. Draft Policy H2 concerns multi-developer delivery on large sites. DfE is supportive of TWBC seeking to ensure that the full requirements of site allocation policies are secured, to ensure that development is not permitted which does not secure sufficient mitigation for infrastructure such as schools, including through developer contributions.

DLP_8353

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.12 In respect of policy H2, and the preference for Multi-developer schemes and comprehensive masterplanning, we understand the aspiration. However, in reality such stringent requests often result in conflict and further delay and the Council should be careful not to try and impose itself on wider commercial arrangements that may prohibit rather than assist delivery. With this in mind, it is our view that the Council should shift focus away from how it wishes to change development industry practices and instead concentrate on what it can influence, namely the provision of detailed guidance for the proposed site allocations (including potential phasing plans and areas zoned for different forms of development). The Council could also consider imposing an illustrative delivery trajectory as part of the validation process.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy H 3: Housing Mix

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1705

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

iv. H3-4 (Housing Mix; Housing Density). We are in broad agreement with these policies. However, with regard to density, we are very surprised that the potential for “building upwards” in Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough does not appear to have being explored. Given the constraints to outward expansion attending both settlements, there must surely be some merit in having a policy that encourages more multi-storey developments in the urban areas.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1760

Horsmonden Parish Council

 

Policy H3-Housing Mix: We welcome the specific reference to neighbourhood plans having the ability to indicate the appropriate size and mix of housing on development sites, but would welcome a better link through policy STR/HO1 (see above comments).

[TWBC: for comments on Policy STR/HO 1 see comment number DLP_1733].

DLP_1863

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  H3 Housing Mix

Support + General Observation

We strongly support this policy and in particular the requirement in the second paragraph for affordable housing on a site to meet the size requirements established by the local Housing Needs Register. However, the intention in the first paragraph to achieve balance of housing types relative to an existing residential area is not very clearly set out and the wording needs to be improved/clarified.

DLP_1964

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support with conditions

Policy H 3

Horsmonden is working on a Neighbourhood Plan which should be taken into account in the housing mix for the parish.

DLP_1982

Mr Jeremy Waters

Support

With regards to housing types, surveys which have been conducted by the Village Vision and the Neighbourhood Plan in recent years have highlighted the need for genuinely affordable small/medium-sized housing for young families and also for older people to move into sheltered housing. Referece to Neighbourhood Plans is welcomed.

DLP_2472

G Baker

Support with conditions

There should be a lot more affordable housing developed in Sissinghurst and Cranbrook, not just by housing associations, but private houses that can be purchased or rented cheaply by people who do not meet housing association criteria.

DLP_3650

Lynne Bancroft

Support with conditions

I agree with these policies but development in sites in Sissinghurst will impact on dark skies not only in Sissinghurst, and the adjacent AONB, but also in settlements further away such as Benenden.

I agree with this policy but TWBC needs to ensure it takes account of the housing mix that has been determined by a Neighbourhood Development Plan whether draft or final

DLP_4011

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H3 – Housing Mix

Support reference to Neighbourhood Plans having the ability to influence the size & mix of housing in developments

DLP_4185

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

The effect of the first paragraph of this policy is unclear.  What is meant by “balanced development”?  Does it mean that in the area where the site is located, more of the same should be provided?  Or does it mean that if an area mainly has large houses, the majority of new dwellings should be small and vice versa?  Is this a good way of planning housing mix?  What about analysis of the need to accommodate demographic change and size of  household formation?

An encouragement to provide some live/work units to enable people to work from home and hence minimise the need to travel should also form part of this policy, or it could perhaps form a separate policy.

DLP_4505

Town & Country Housing Group

Support with conditions

6.306 – Policy H3 Housing Mix:  We agree that the number of bedrooms proposed in the affordable housing element, for RENTED housing only, should reflect the requirements of the Housing Needs register.  However this should not be to the detriment of a balanced mix on any particular site.  We propose that housing mix for shared ownership should be a balance of first time buyer homes, comprising a mix of 1, 2 and 3bedroom flats and houses.  The Housing Needs Register doesn't provide an evidence base for intermediate and shared ownership housing.

DLP_4704

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support

Dandara Comment 

Dandara supports the requirement for a range of house sizes and types.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed

DLP_4784

DHA Planning Ltd for Caenwood Estates and Dandara

 

Comments on Policies H3 and H4

3.4.12 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. Unless aspirational mixes and densities are to be inserted in the policies, these generic requirements would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_4885

Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd

Support

Policy H3 – Housing Mix.

8.1 Policy states that proposals for residential development should include a mix that would enable the balanced development of the area, unless alternative mix and size requirements are set out in a Local Plan site allocation or in a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan. The mix should be informed by analysis of the area within which the site is located. We welcome this flexible approach to housing mix and would encourage the Council to allocate sites that can deliver a variety of homes to meet the needs of different parts of the community for which Tutty’s Farm can. We can also deliver affordable housing in line with the requirements of policy H5, which would be well integrated into the development and achieve high quality design. Furthermore, we support the general approach to determining housing density, which states that development should make efficient use of land whilst having regard to its surrounding context. No alterations to this policy are proposed however the Council are encouraged to re-examine Tutty’s Farm due to its ability to deliver a variety of homes in a sustainable location.

DLP_6159

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

The last paragraph is insufficiently flexible to be effective over the borough as a whole and over the plan period. There may be instances for example where additional local needs evidence or site specific circumstances dictate a need for an alternative mix to be considered, one that is more suited to the site and the surrounding character than may otherwise be dictated by a centrally administered housing needs register. Suggest that this is instead a material consideration, with applicants required to have regard to this and submit robust evidence justifying the need for any departure from this as necessary.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6283

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Support

Tunbridge Wells Labour welcomes the commitments in the Local Plan to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the Borough to 40% in all developments of 10 Units or more. However, we are concerned that the definition of affordable continues to include the discredited notion that 80% of market rent is affordable. We also recognise that other intermediate forms of affordable housing such as shared ownership are an important part of the mix which meet the needs of some residents who whilst on good incomes cannot afford to buy their own home at current market rates.

Unaffordability undermines the fabric of rural communities as people are no longer be able to afford to live in the community that they have grown up in. Lack of affordable housing in rural areas is particularly acute and providing new genuinely affordable options outside of as well as in the urban Tunbridge Wells should be a key focus of the local plan.

Providing a new generation of genuinely affordable housing at social rent levels for low to average income, younger and older residents is critical to ensuring that Tunbridge Wells remains a mixed and diverse socio-economic area which enables generations of local families to remain in the area which they were born and grew up in. We welcome that the new Local Plan provides greater mechanisms for the Local Authority to ensure that developers provide a greater proportion of genuinely affordable housing than is currently the case. We also hope that this helps to close loopholes on viability which have seen some developers shirk their responsibilities to provide mixed tenure developments on prestigious sites such as Union House on the Pantiles and the old cinema site.

We encourage the Council to have no limit on their ambition to secure benefits of new genuinely affordable housing for residents. For a generation of private renters it is critical that we address the undersupply of housing in the South East and ensure that existing as well as future needs are met including more affordable housing for older people rather than luxury retirement apartments which meet the needs of a minority of wealthy residents and those moving into the Borough.

DLP_6311

Susan Heather McAuley

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  H3 Housing Mix

The number of bedrooms proposed should reflect the requirements of the Housing Needs Register not just for affordable housing.  People who would prefer to buy their home, or will have to because they do not qualify for social housing, also need to be presented with a range of house sizes for purchase in their home village.  All new estates should have homes starting at one bedroom.  The majority of houses being built now seem to be 4 and 5 bedroomed.  This does not address the current housing ‘crisis’.

DLP_6470

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Policies H3 and H4

3.5.12 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. Unless aspirational mixes and densities are to be inserted in the policies, these generic requirements would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6624

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

Support with conditions

Housing

Policies H3 and H4 – Housing Mix and Density

Policies H3 and H4 sets out that proposals for residential development should include a mix that would enable the balanced development of the area, unless alternative mix and size requirements are set out in a Local Plan site allocation or in a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan. It goes on to state that the mix should be informed by analysis of the area within which the site is located, which should be provided in the design and access statement.

Our Client fully supports this requirement to balance the housing market and work towards a mix of housing in order to deliver a range of housing types and sizes that reflect the identified housing needs and demands within the Borough.

Whilst our Client ultimately supports this policy, they have concerns with the wording of the policy and object on the basis that the policy is unjustified, ineffective, not positively planned and inconsistent with national policy and therefore unsound.

Our Client is concerned that the policy fails to include for viability of development. Each application for development should be considered on its merits and the provision of housing types should be informed by market requirements and the availability of development funding. Unrealistic requirements can be an obstacle to house building and in order to promote development and increase the supply of housing, the Council should include flexibility and the consideration of viability in the policy wording.

The policy also needs to ensure that it is sufficiently adaptable over the plan period and can reflect changing requirements that may emerge up to 2036.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6688

Gladman

 

6.13 Policy H3: Housing Mix

6.13.1 To determine housing mix of a proposal the Council reference the 2018 Housing Needs Study (and its successor) with the aim to balance the housing mix where evidenced this is necessary. Gladman consider that this document should form one source of evidence which is referenced in determining housing mix for a site. Market signals and demand information can provide an important source of information as to what is necessary to satisfy the market and help reduce local house prices. A further influence is site character and its relationship to wider surroundings which might be a specific type of housing would be unsuitable.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6800

G M Whitehead

Object

Proposals for residential development should include a mix that would enable the balanced development of the area.

If only I believed that this would happen and that the developers would not get their way and turn out the usual bland ‘executive’ houses in inappropriate cul-de-sacs, instead of a mix providing plenty of truly affordable terraces and low-rise flats, possibly for rent, which would better serve the needs of the community. There is very good information on this point in the HWAONB Building Design Guidance.

DLP_6928

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

General Observation

7.26 Policy H3 requires that new developments provide a mix of housing types. The policy as currently written lacks clarity. On the one hand suggesting it should be informed by an analysis of the area in which the site is located, on the other suggesting it should comply with an alternative mix and size requirement set out in a local plan site allocation or in a made neighbourhood plan. We would suggest that the policy is flexibly drafted such that it supports a development mix being progressed in accordance with an up to date analysis of the area in which the site is located.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7165

Kay Margaret Goodsell

Support with conditions

We need smaller to buy as well as a mix of social and low-cost housing.  Too many five-bedroom and four-bedroom houses here already.

DLP_7656

Mr J Boxall

Support with conditions

I agree with these policies but development in sites in Sissinghurst will impact on dark skies not only in Sissinghurst, and the adjacent AONB, but also in settlements further away such as Benenden.

I agree with this policy but TWBC needs to ensure it takes account of the housing mix that has been determined by a Neighbourhood Development Plan whether draft or final

DLP_8041

Rose May McAuley

Support with conditions

We need small houses to buy as not all of us can get on the list for social housing.  We need one bedroomed houses or flats.  These do not have to be big blocks but can be two-storey as we have at Broad View Sissinghurst and Dungeys on the Street.  There is nowhere here for village children to live!  Only one local couple have found somewhere in the social housing on Bramling Gardens, Sissinghurst, everyone else put there has come from away.  Where are we supposed to live?

DLP_8354

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.13 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. On the basis that mixes must reflect market requirements, we consider any aspirational densities would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

DLP_8400

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

POLICY H3. Housing Mix. OBJECT.

Within the housing mix there is no detail concerning the actual percentages of the mix proposed in PW. There should be an high percentage of Social Housing and Affordable housing to ensure low income families can afford and live and work in PW.

DLP_8415

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

POLICY H3. Housing Mix. OBJECT.

Within the housing mix there is no detail concerning the actual percentages of the mix proposed in PW. There should be an high percentage of Social Housing and Affordable housing to ensure low income families can afford and live and work in PW.

Policy H 4: Housing Density

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1709

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

iv. H3-4 (Housing Mix; Housing Density). We are in broad agreement with these policies. However, with regard to density, we are very surprised that the potential for “building upwards” in Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough does not appear to have being explored. Given the constraints to outward expansion attending both settlements, there must surely be some merit in having a policy that encourages more multi-storey developments in the urban areas.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1864

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support with conditions

Policy Number:  H4 Housing Density 

We strongly support this policy. It is essential that land should be used in an efficient manner in order to minimise the need for use of Greenfield sites, particularly in the Green Belt and AONB. This should apply both to any redevelopment of existing urban areas and to any Greenfield land which is allocated for residential development.

We would wish to see some minimum densities per Hectare specifically set out in the policy to apply in all but defined circumstances. This would avoid the kind of situation which has regrettably occurred on site AL/RTW 255 at Hawkenbury where the effective density is a paltry 17 housing units per Hectare on a site which is subject to very little land take for landscape mitigation. Not only is this well under half of the level of density which would be appropriate within the urban fabric, but it has also resulted in the development of a substantial element of large private houses on a site which does not appear to meet the local Housing Need identified for the town in evidence base documents. It is all the more regrettable that some of the land was formerly in TWBC ownership.

In order to avoid excessive land-take, we would like to see a future design emphasis on terraced, semi-detached and small apartment blocks in major developments and reduced numbers of the 4 and 5 bedroom detached properties which are land-hungry and do not meet the housing needs profiles for the Borough.

DLP_1963

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support

Policy H 4

I support this policy.

DLP_2473

G Baker

Support with conditions

There should be a lot more affordable housing developed in Sissinghurst and Cranbrook, not just by housing associations, but private houses that can be purchased or rented cheaply by people who do not meet housing association criteria.

DLP_3825

Government Team
Natural England

 

Whilst it can be appreciated that this policy could provide useful guidance to inform development proposals from the outset, and, regarding Natural England’s interests, the benefits this would have in terms of reducing landscape impacts, it is unclear how the policy might be applied and measured. It might be beneficial to explain how development may be limited and/or what would be considered or included in an assessment of ‘appropriate density’.

DLP_4186

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

In this borough, where so much of the land is AONB, green belt, ancient woodland or flood plain, ensuring that new development is built at high density is essential if loss of countryside in the AONB and Green Belt is to be minimised.  It is also more sustainable in terms of transport.  CPRE objects to the first sentence of this policy as far too weak and failing to reflect the guidance in paragraph 123 of the NPPF. We recommend that the Council should set minimum density standards as required by the NPPF and the words from “to an appropriately high density” onwards should be replaced by “to the highest possible density unless there are strong reasons why this would be inappropriate”.

CPRE strongly supports the second sentence of this policy.

DLP_4506

Town & Country Housing Group

Support

6.308 – Policy H4:  We fully support the robust implementation of minimal densities  in order to make efficient use of land and to maximise affordable housing supply.

DLP_4705

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the principle of developments being proposed to an appropriate density for the site’s surrounding but suggest it should place greater emphasis on existing sustainable locations that benefit from existing infrastructure.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Suggested policy rewording: “Development shall be delivered to an appropriately high density having regard to its context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form, site accessibility and existing transport infrastructure and any other relevant factors.

Planning applications will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land”.

DLP_4786

DHA Planning Ltd for Caenwood Estates and Dandara

 

Comments on Policies H3 and H4

3.4.12 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. Unless aspirational mixes and densities are to be inserted in the policies, these generic requirements would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_4818

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences

Support

We support Policy H4 which seeks the delivery of development at appropriately high densities, whilst having regard to local context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form, and any other relevant factors.

Additionally, we support guidance paragraph 6.308 which seeks to locate higher density development in more sustainable areas (such as town centre locations), which provide, or will provide good infrastructure and transport links.

Policy H4 accords with paragraph 123 of the NPPF which outlines the requirements of Local Planning Authorities in relation to determining appropriate densities of development, and making the most efficient use of land to ‘make optimal use of the potential of each site’. This is especially important within Local Authorities like Tunbridge Wells, where there is a high demonstrable need for housing, including housing for older people.

As such, it is considered that Policy H4 is sound, as it accords strongly with NPPF policy and guidance, and seeks to optimise the development potential of each individual site. We also support the inclusion of the final sentence within Policy H4, which states ‘Planning applications will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land’, as it aligns with paragraph123 part C of the NPPF, which states ‘local planning authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make efficient use of land’.

If the borough of Tunbridge Wells is to meet its targeted housing need of 13,560 units over the plan period, it is of key importance that all development sites are used optimally in conjunction with other considerations, to ensure that delivery of housing meets the need.

DLP_6160

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

The wording proposed is unclear and potentially incompatible with policies EN1 and EN2. The objective we assume is to seek to make efficient use of land at densities appropriate to the sites location and context. Suggest this policy is rewording to make this clearer, such as:

‘Developments shall make efficient use of land at densities appropriate to their location and context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form and any other relevant factors’

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6312

Susan Heather McAuley

Object

Policy Number:  H4 Housing Density

The wording of this Policy suggests it favours high density but high density is not always appropriate.  Some areas are appropriate for lower density building.  Self-build projects are to be encouraged and will often favour lower density building.

DLP_6335

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of land west of Freight Lane, Cranbrook, hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H4 – Housing Density

The proposed policy is inconsistent with the wording of national policy which seeks to ensure appropriate densities rather than providing an appropriately high-density development. The final sentence is redundant as it is self-evident that a planning application that does not meet a policy requirement will be refused permission. We would suggest the following amendment:

“Development shall be delivered should ensure appropriate densities that make the most effective use of land to an appropriately high density with regard to its context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form and any other relevant factors

Planning application will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6471

DHA Planning for Cedardrive Ltd

 

Comments on Policies H3 and H4

3.5.12 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. Unless aspirational mixes and densities are to be inserted in the policies, these generic requirements would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6461-6472].

DLP_6625

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

 

Housing

Policies H3 and H4 – Housing Mix and Density

Policies H3 and H4 sets out that proposals for residential development should include a mix that would enable the balanced development of the area, unless alternative mix and size requirements are set out in a Local Plan site allocation or in a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan. It goes on to state that the mix should be informed by analysis of the area within which the site is located, which should be provided in the design and access statement.

Our Client fully supports this requirement to balance the housing market and work towards a mix of housing in order to deliver a range of housing types and sizes that reflect the identified housing needs and demands within the Borough.

Whilst our Client ultimately supports this policy, they have concerns with the wording of the policy and object on the basis that the policy is unjustified, ineffective, not positively planned and inconsistent with national policy and therefore unsound.

Our Client is concerned that the policy fails to include for viability of development. Each application for development should be considered on its merits and the provision of housing types should be informed by market requirements and the availability of development funding. Unrealistic requirements can be an obstacle to house building and in order to promote development and increase the supply of housing, the Council should include flexibility and the consideration of viability in the policy wording.

The policy also needs to ensure that it is sufficiently adaptable over the plan period and can reflect changing requirements that may emerge up to 2036.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6689

Gladman

 

6.14 Policy H4: Density

6.14.1 Policy H4 promotes housing delivery at a high density where appropriate in accordance to site and wider context. This is broadly reflective of the NPPF however ignores the role played by access to public transport and the benefits this can have in supporting a higher density development.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6894

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H4 – Housing Density

7.15 The proposed policy is inconsistent with the wording of national policy which seeks to ensure appropriate densities rather than providing an appropriately high-density development. The final sentence is redundant as it is self-evident that a planning application that does not meet a policy requirement will be refused permission. We would suggest the following amendment:

“Development shall be delivered should ensure appropriate densities that make the most effective use of land to an appropriately high density with regard to its context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form and any other relevant factors 

Planning application will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land”

[TWBC: see full representation

DLP_6929

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Support

7.27 The NPPF (para 122) requires that development makes efficient use of land. Policy H4 responds to this by requiring that new development is delivered ‘to an appropriately high density’. Whilst this policy is not specific, it does allow for consideration to be given on a site by site basis and this flexibility is welcomed. We consider that this policy accords with the NPPF and meets the test of soundness.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7084

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support

Policy Number: Policy H 4 - Housing Density

Comments; Support

1.97 Our Client supports making sure that development makes efficient use of land.

1.98 In this regard, our Client would like it to be made clear the allocation for Mt Ephraim is seen as a minimum to ensure that the site is developed to its maximum capacity to enable a greater contribution to the Council’s housing need.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7113

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

Support

Policy H4 – Housing Density

We support the general provisions of the policy.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

DLP_8220

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

H4 – Housing Density

The proposed policy is inconsistent with the wording of national policy which seeks to ensure appropriate densities rather than providing an appropriately high-density development. The final sentence is redundant as it is self-evident that a planning application that does not meet a policy requirement will be refused permission. We would suggest the following amendment:

“Development shall be delivered should ensure appropriate densities that make the most effective use of land to an appropriately high density with regard to its context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form and any other relevant factors

Planning application will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land

DLP_8355

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.13 We note that policies H3 and H4 have regard to housing mix and density yet provide little or no detailed requirement. On the basis that mixes must reflect market requirements, we consider any aspirational densities would be better placed being inserted into the wider reaching policy EN1.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy H 5: Affordable Housing

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_360

David Marriott

Support with conditions

  1. I applaud the 40% affordable housing requirement
  2. Brownfield land put up for development means to me a loss of employment land of which there is an immense shortage of supply. I suggest the policy retains 40% in the case of employment land but 30% in respect of other uses. There should not be an incentive to lose employment land.
  3. The remainder of affordable housing needs to be built before 75% of a development is occupied and transferred to a provider before 95% occupied.
  4. We need affordable housing and such a payment for off site development MUST be a last resort. The Council must ring fence any sums received to only be spent on providing new affordable units.

Exceptional circumstances.

This policy needs tightening up as developers always wriggle. The base value in the test should be a maximum of existing use value

DLP_450

Tetlow King Planning for Rentplus UK Ltd

Object

Please see our submitted letter for further details (ref. M15/0715-293) [TWBC: copied below].The Tunbridge Wells Draft Local Plan should take account of the NPPFs requirement to provide 10% of affordable homes as ‘other affordable routes to home ownership’ with specific reference to Rent To Buy. [TWBC: see extract of Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government letter dated 18 June 2019].

We represent Rentplus UK Ltd, an innovative company providing affordable rent to buy housing for hard-working people aspiring to home ownership. Rentplus provides an accessible route to achieve their dream through the rent - save - own model, renting at an affordable rent and a gifted 10% deposit upon purchase. Rentplus have been recognised by the National Housing Awards as the most innovative Home Ownership Scheme for 2019.

We previously responded to the Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation in June 2017. The Rentplus model of affordable rent to buy, aims to help those hard-working families unable to access ownership either through shared ownership, starter homes or homes on the open market to overcome the mortgage ‘gap’. This is achieved through a defined period of affordable rent, during which all Rentplus residents are able to save. Since our last comments, the National Planning Policy Framework has been revised as expected to incorporate a wider definition of affordable housing, now providing four categories; rent to buy is included within category d) Other affordable routes to home ownership.

Each scheme delivered by Rentplus offers a unique, affordable route to home ownership through affordable rented housing, set at the lower of 80% market rate (affordable rent) or LHA, including any service charge, with a planned route to ownership at years 5, 10, 15 or 20 after first occupation. The most important difference to other affordable tenures is that families are able to save for a mortgage deposit while renting the same home at an affordable - intermediate rent, with a 10% gifted deposit to assist with the purchase.

The new Housing Minister, Esther McVey highlighted the importance of Rent to Buy in her first speech to the RESI Convention (12th September 2019) 1. The speech is accessible via https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/resi-convention-2019

2 The report is accessible via www.affordablehousingcommission.org.

In talking about the Government’s drive to increase home ownership she stated that it includes “Rent to Buy, so people can rent knowing that they are going to buy, knowing that they’ve got a bit of breathing space, maybe it’s in 5 years, maybe it’s in 10 years, but they will get to own that property - so they can plan, knowing they have the certainty of getting a deposit and getting that house.” These supportive comments concisely summarise the Rentplus model described above which currently provides a home for 650 households across the UK.  Her comments not only reinforce the NPPF provision for additional affordable housing routes to home ownership, but also endorses directly the work of Rentplus.

A further recent development - The Affordable Housing Commission, chaired by one of the pre-eminent voices on affordable housing, Lord Best, published its interim report Defining and Measuring housing affordability – an alternative approach in June 20192. This was produced in response to the difficulties that the standard measure of affordability, comparing house prices to incomes, poses in recognising housing stress and affordability across the housing spectrum. The report proposes recalling the approach of measuring affordability by reference to rents or purchase costs exceeding one third of household income (for those in work) in order to better pose a pro-active and interventionist response to housing difficulties. This follows recent work which suggests that the probability of housing stress increases with housing costs exceeding a quarter of gross income on rent.

The Commission also highlights the findings of numerous surveys which state that the majority of tenants and adults living with parents aspire to own their own home; of the 5.5m ‘frustrated first time buyers’, 1.6m are in the private rented sector. This group is one of four the report identifies as having particular needs and housing stresses, and who can’t buy “mainly because of the time needed to save for large deposits”. These numbers represent an increase of 0.6 million renters since 2010, many of whom are paying over 40% of household income on rent. The report recognises the well-known problem that many households in the private rented sector are likely to have multiple affordability issues, exacerbated by insecurity of tenure and poor-quality living standards.

The report states that “good quality homes of the right size for the household is seen as a basic minimum”; while this is a generally accepted principle in the delivery of housing, and in particular of affordable housing across England, this can be difficult to achieve through the planning system which does not adequately reflect the variations in household needs. The decrease in the numbers of households able to access home ownership is in large part due to the time taken to save for a mortgage deposit without the help of the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

The Affordable Housing Commission notes that “those just able to buy are likely to have to save for an unrealistic period or unlikely ever to be able to raise an adequate deposit” – for the purposes of assessing the numbers of would-be purchasers, the Commission ‘cuts off’ the savings period at ‘just’ five years. The difficulty in saving for a deposit is one of the most critical barriers to home ownership, and the focal point for Rentplus – providing a clear route and time period for working households, including those with children, to save. Using the Commission’s proposed measure of affordability would better capture the needs of struggling first-time buyers, many of whom are otherwise likely to remain trapped in insecure private rented sector accommodation.

Policy H5 – Affordable Housing

Policy H5 relates to affordable housing. The supporting text reflects the affordable housing definition from the NPPF which includes Rent To Buy, this is welcomed. However, the draft Local Plan does not reference the NPPF requirement to provide at least 10% of affordable homes as ‘other affordable routes to home ownership’.

Policy H5 outlines the Council’s preferred tenure mix for affordable housing, with 60% provided as social rent and 40% as intermediate tenures. We would like to see Rent to Buy identified within the ‘other affordable routes to home ownership’ as identified in the definition of affordable housing in Annexe 2 of the NPPF. Despite the period of affordable rent, Rent to Buy is not an intermediate tenure and the term intermediate is no longer referenced in the NPPF. We recommend that the tenure mix breaks these percentages down further, with specific reference to a percentage allocated for ‘other affordable routed to home ownership, including Rent To Buy.

We recognise that the SHMA which forms part of the evidence base for this Local Plan was published prior to the adoption of the NPPF revision in 2018 when the affordable housing definition was widened. As such, we recommend that a SHMA update should be carried out, encompassing all tenures of affordable housing in accordance with the NPPF definition which would enable the Council to outline an appropriate affordable housing tenure mix including Rent to Buy. The SHMA update should follow the Lichfields Model (attached for information). The policy and supporting paragraphs should then be updated further.   [TWBC: note: not attached]

We acknowledge that the draft Local Plan is also supported by a Housing Needs Study. The study outlines the Borough’s existing housing stock and identifies 63 Rent To Buy Properties. Despite this, the identified affordable housing need is still only split in terms of tenure into Social/Affordable rented and Intermediate. As with the above SHMA, this study should be updated to fully reflect the NPPF definition of affordable housing which includes Rent To Buy.

The Rentplus model offers the opportunity for the Council and RPs to diversify the local housing offer without further recourse to public subsidy. The affordable rented period provides local families with security of tenure, with certainty of management and maintenance by a local partner RP, and critically the opportunity to save towards purchase. As affordable rent to buy meets needs for affordable rent (the only difference being marked by the expectation by all parties of purchase), it comes with a significant benefit of freeing up existing affordable rented homes for others in priority need, as demonstrated by Rentplus schemes across England.

Rentplus undertakes rigorous affordability testing of potential purchasers to ensure that this is a realistic expectation and can be achieved within the set timeframes of five to 20 years. This means that substantial discounts at the point of purchase are not required, as it is the inability to save for a mortgage deposit or other financial issues that prevents a significant number of households from accessing ownership, and not the ability to service a mortgage over the long term.

Working with local authorities to meet local priorities is critical to the success of the Rentplus model of affordable rent to buy, as helping hard-working local families access ownership reduces the pressure on the housing waiting list, freeing up local authority and housing association time to focus on meeting priority needs for social and affordable rented homes.

Rentplus can assist in meeting local need, allocating all of its residents through the Housing Allocation Scheme; by enabling real savings to be built while renting at an affordable rent the Council can help meet the needs of low and middle income households, providing greater choice and flexibility in the planning system. The Council’s work to understand the potential delivery of affordable housing is supported.

Should officers wish to discuss how best to facilitate the Rentplus model, please do get in touch.

DLP_839

Supervene Architects

Support with conditions

Policy H5 is not currently in line with Paragraph 64 of the NPPF. It clearly states that exemptions to 10% (being the minimum) requirement on affordable housing where a development is ‘c) is proposed to be developed by people who wish to build or commission their own homes;’

This would be for major developments 1000m2 or 10 or more dwellings.

Reference to this exemption to affordable housing requirements for self-build and custom build plots should be made within the policy. It should give exemption to developments where all plots are wholly for self-build/custom build use. Both for minor and major developments that meet this criteria. For minor developments para 63 of the NPPF is supportive of this position.

DLP_955

Mrs Karen Stevenson

Object

The draft local plan identifies an affordability issue in the borough., stating that, “Evidence from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and the Office for National Statistics indicates notable affordability pressures for market house purchases, with entry level house prices approximately 13 times earnings of households in the borough. This compares to a ratio of 6.5 nationally, and an average of 10 within Kent as a whole.” Analysis of this data suggests the high cost of housing is leading to a fall in home ownership and an increase in households renting privately. But I can find no evidence in the supporting documents to justify the assumption that an increase in supply of housing will cause a fall in general market house prices. Therefore, building more homes that are unaffordable for the people who need them is not the solution, as I have already alluded to in my opening “overview” on the whole national strategy. The significantly increased supply of new homes in Matfield will not address local need.

DLP_1377

Mr and Mrs Leach

Support with conditions

Re: Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18 Consultation) - Adjoining Resident Comment

It was good to meet you at the SaveCapel Public Meeting, on 18th September 2019.

We wish to comment on the Draft Local Plan (LP), in relation to certain policies outlined under the headings stated below. We are specifically concerned about the negative impacts of the proposed garden villages will have to our town, especially without adequate public transport provisions, and with such a large loss of the countryside and Green Belt.

4. Policy H 5 - Affordable Housing

Although, we are not residents within this Borough, it is good to see positive polices like this included. We support the general principles of this policy, with some specific comments below:

4.1 We agree with the notion of a lower proportion of affordable units on brownfield land, as this recognises the potential remediation costs and may help to promote land re-use.

4.2 We would advocate that a third category is introduced, to cover former Green Belt land. The greenfield site proportion of 40% should be increased to 50%, where Green Belt land has to be released (as a last resort). This should increase the viability of developing brownfield land, particularly where derelict sites are not being put-forward. It would more effectively meet the greatest housing need, for the same number of units.

In conclusion, we do not consider that the Draft Local Plan is sound, in relation to the proposed large garden settlements, with inadequate infrastructure connecting nearby towns. The current proposal for such a substantial loss of the Green Belt and countryside, as part the massive village expansions, is not sustainable development and nor is it consistent with National planning policy. This will cause immense environmental harm, including a heavy reliance on car use with poor public transport links. The justification for building on the Green Belt is unsound, as there are alternative brownfield and non-Green belt sites available.

We are also concerned about the deliverability of the Draft Local Plan, with the local market saturation of nearly 6,000 new houses allocated for two nearby villages within one local area. In light of these concerns and the potentially flawed approach in favouring Green Belt development, over other suitable sites and as no exceptional circumstances exist, alternative sites should be considered. A more sustainable development approach might be to spread the allocation across the Borough, reducing the concentrated development pressures and local market saturation, whilst helping to unlock the greatest amount of brownfield re-development.

DLP_1710

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

v. H5 (Affordable Housing). The bold step of requiring a 40% contribution from relevant development is to be commended. In the rural areas we wish to see a high proportion of such housing being safeguarded to people with a strong local connection, and active consideration should be given to exploring an enhanced role for arish and town councils in the nomination and allocation process.

d. In terms of prioritising the allocation of affordable housing, the Council is concerned about the exceptionally strict criteria that are being proposed, whereby only those people who are living in the parish, in unsuitable housing and who meet one or more of the other criteria, would qualify. A resident has pointed out that such an approach would exclude anyone with a long connection to the parish, who had moved away (such as students, or people forced to rent in Paddock Wood due to the absence of affordable units in the parish), would be excluded. The policy should be amended to make it clear that people who have moved away, and those forced to leave would qualify under the scheme – otherwise almost no-one would meet the local criteria, and thus undermine the intention of the policy.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1761

Horsmonden Parish Council

 

Policy H5-Affordable Housing: We strongly welcome this policy with its intention to deliver a significant measure of affordable housing on larger housing developments and the prominence given to local connections in allocating housing provided in this way. However, we would be very concerned if developer viability assessments led to affordable housing being squeezed out by the cost of providing physical infrastructure.

DLP_1865

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  H5 Affordable Housing 

We strongly support this general policy which seeks to address the most pressing housing need in the Borough and reflects policies which the Town Forum has been advocating for several years. There is a clearly established housing need for the 40% requirement for affordable housing on development sites of which 60% would be at social rent. We should have liked to see a 50% requirement in accordance with predicted need, but understand this would not be reasonably practicable on commercial developments.

The requirement on applicants for planning permission under paragraph 6.324 to have taken account, and factored into the land price, all the obligations in the Plan policies (for infrastructure, affordable housing, preserving and enhancing the environment etc.) is very welcome and  should be imported into the Policy.

We also strongly support the mechanisms introduced into the policy to ensure that it will be properly enforced in practice, including Paragraphs 1-5 of the Overall Approach provisions (particularly the off-site requirement from sites of 1-9 units) and the paragraphs on Design and Layout and Building Standards.

DLP_1965

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support with conditions

Policy H 5

Any developer should ensure the provision of affordable housing in a development is not reduced because they are required to provide physical infrastructure.

DLP_2123

Robert Tillotson

Object

H5 Affordable Housing.

Taking your proposals, the results are that over 50% of the proposed housing would be “unaffordable” versus “affordable” .Its worth thinking about this for a while. Why are we proposing to rip up green belt to build unaffordable housing? It’s clearly not because that’s what people want or need. Is it because that’s what the building industry wants and needs to generate the excess progitabilit6 it enjoys? I think so. So,instead of predicating this plan on a  build target  number that does not relate to real need,then I suggest mapping out real housing need and starting again. With the number of unaffordable homes on the market locally,it arguable that we need much fewer of these. But we certainly need affordable housing,so let’s get the target right and start again. Unless this project is driven by the needs of house builders,in which case it’s doing a perfect job.

DLP_2417

TWBC Property and Estates

TWBC

Support

Policy H5

Exceptional Circumstances - Bullet 7

This is useful insofar as it recognises that registered social landlords are now extremely reluctant to take on sites with a small number of affordable units.  By agreeing to alternative or donor sites as options, would result in a greater likelihood of delivery for the Council.

DLP_3970

IDE Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Support with conditions

SUPPORT subject to specifying some of the affordable housing should be social rented stock rather than just affordable which is not the same thing in practice.

DLP_4012

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H5 – Affordable housing

Strongly support the intention to deliver affordable housing in large developments and the reference given to local connections in the allocation of this housing.

DLP_4187

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE generally supports this policy.  However, we have concerns about point 4 of the Overall Approach insofar as it concerns the rural area of the borough.  We appreciate that in order to fund the building of affordable homes there will need to be some pooling of contributions, but people building one or two houses in a village will feel that it is unjust if their financial contribution to affordable housing goes to a scheme in a distant part of the borough which will be of no help in meeting the needs of the people in their village who are in need of affordable housing.  There needs to be some means of ensuring that there is a reasonably local benefit.

Under Exceptional Circumstances, point 1b, we question whether the Council requiring affordable housing to be accessed through a second entrance (even if this is what registered providers want for the sake of convenience) would comply with equality principles, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49053920 .

DLP_4285

RTW Civic Society

 

Would the council consider doing what Norwich did by setting up its own housebuilding company and adopting the Pasivhaus concept?

We think “Exceptional Circumstances” really must be exceptional and would much prefer to see them not allowed at all.  If the site is large enough to mean affordable housing is required then it really should be provided within the site.  Further, the siting of the affordable housing within the site must be such as to not constitute a “ghetto” so that the occupants of the cheaper houses are not physically segregated from the other houses.

If, despite our plea, you are going to allow a developer to plead poverty and request to make a s106 payment in lieu of affordable housing, how will the council decide to spend this money? Is all such money ring-fenced so it can only be used for affordable housing?  On which site(s) will it be used?

Para 6.324-5  The requirement for applicants for planning permission to have taken account of, and factored into the land price, all the obligations of the Plan (for infrastructure, affordable housing, preserving and enhancing the environment etc) is very welcome, and deserves to be treated as a policy.  We trust that, in combination with the requirement for viability tests to be published, this will give the authority a better basis for ensuring the obligations of the Plan are met by developers.

DLP_4494

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Support

Support

DLP_4508

Town & Country Housing Group

 

6.319 – We concur that Social rent should be provided and suggest that the terminology be changed from ‘majority’ to 'all' sites.

6.320 – We do not agree that there are 'some circumstances where a particular client group would benefit from affordable rent' over social rent in Tunbridge Wells BC.  Given the market rents in the borough, social rent for all unit types would be more affordable to residents.  We do not concur that 1 bed flats are suitable for affordable rent.  Specifically, 1 bed flats should be for social rent as it is with 1 bed flats that the affordability problem is most acute.  Single occupancy of a 1 bed flat is unaffordable for tenants and this is exacerbated should they be aged below 25 where benefits are reduced.  We do not support affordable rents over social rent for any property types, in particular 1 bed units.

6.322 – We would support TWBC’s definition of intermediate housing as either shared ownership and intermediate rent.  We would not support, nor be interested in the acquisition of homes with ‘relevant equity loans’, other low cost homes for discounted sale.

6.323 – We agree that Starter Homes should not be supported as affordable housing.

Policy H5 – Affordable Housing 

  • Local connection.  For the large sites of Tudeley and Paddock Wood, we object to the use of the cascade for the local connection given that this would unfairly prioritise residents local residents to which their need would be vastly exceeded and the cascade would be utilised immediately.  In addition, we do not support the cascade for intermediate housing and would suggest this could easily be spread to the whole of TWBC.
  • We fully support 40% affordable housing with 60% as social rent and 40% as intermediate.  We do not concur that brownfield sites should automatically have a reduced level of affordable housing, rather this should be fully tested by viability.
  • We do not agree that exceptionally high values are an issue in TWBC.  It is an arbitrary judgement as to what would be exceptionally high. We suggest that the exceptional circumstances of lack of RP interest  and/or standard viability test should be used to justify a reduction in On-site affordable housing.
  • We fully support the proposal that the design and layout of the affordable housing should be tenure blind, however the homes proposed for rent and intermediate must be economic to maintain and repair.  We also want the affordable housing to be economic to service and maintain with low estate and block charges.

DLP_4706

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the principle of developments being proposed to an appropriate density for the site’s surrounding but suggest it should place greater emphasis on existing sustainable locations that benefit from existing infrastructure.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Suggested policy rewording: “Development shall be delivered to an appropriately high density having regard to its context, including landscape, topography, surrounding built form, site accessibility and existing transport infrastructure and any other relevant factors.

Planning applications will be refused where development is found not to make efficient use of land”.

DLP_4822

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

General Observation

Whilst we recognise the importance of the provision of affordable housing within the borough of Tunbridge Wells, the targeted quantums of 30% provision on brownfield sites, and 40% provision on greenfield sites initially appears ambitious. However, we support the variations in targeted quantums relating to both greenfield sites, and brownfield sites, as paragraph 63 of the NPPF dictates that to support the re-use of brownfield land, the affordable housing contribution should be reduced by a proportionate amount. As such, it is considered this aspect of Policy H5 accords with the NPPF and is sound. Additionally, due to the higher construction costs associated with developing on brownfield land as opposed to greenfield land, it is considered that these variations in targeted quantums are an important inclusion.

Of key importance to Policy H5 is the incorporation of the ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ section, which under parts 5 and 6, state that subject to a viability assessment, the targeted quantums will be relaxed where their delivery would render a development unviable. This is especially important within the context of C3 elderly care developments, as there are substantially higher construction costs associated with this form of housing than with traditional C3 forms of housing. For example, these costs include additional amenities’ and communal areas like on-site gyms, activities rooms, and catering facilities, which incur high costs and low net to gross values. As such, we recommend that these additional costs are considered when viability assessments are submitted and are undergoing review by the Council’s independent assessors as outlined within part 6 of the ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ section of Policy H5. We are concerned that these additional development costs, combined with a requirement to deliver a proportion of affordable housing, could render C3 elderly person’s developments unviable, and restrict the delivery of this much needed form of housing within the borough.

DLP_4890

Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd

 

Policy H5 – Affordable Housing

11.1. Requires all affordable homes to be built to Building Regulation Standard M4 (2). It is not practical to impose Part M4 (2) standards to all affordable homes, as this requires level access. Achieving level access would not be practical on all sites or all forms of housing. A M4 (2) standard would be difficult to achieve on steeply sloping sites and would not be practical for small apartment buildings. A commitment to such a standard would commit the developer to implement lift shafts and a registered provider to maintain the lift shafts at great cost. This reference should be removed from the Policy wording. Assessments should be done on a site by site basis.

DLP_5072

Tally Wade

 

Paragraph 6.323 (page 438)

This recognises that intermediate housing may include: “discounted market sale” but goes on to state that discounted market sales are not considered appropriate given the affordability pressures the borough faces. I object to the second part of this statement that discounted market sales are inappropriate. There is evidence to the contrary in both the housing needs assessment carried out by TWBC and that carried out in the Parish of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst through the emerging NDP process in both our AECOM housing needs assessment and our business and employment questionnaire. This evidence shows that intermediary housing is in short supply and housing discounted in perpetuity – as can be offered by Land Trusts – is a much needed addition to the provision of affordable housing options.

DLP_5218

Culverden Residents Association

Support

We strongly support this policy because it aims to deal with the most pressing housing need in the Borough and in our town which is for affordable housing and not any more executive type estates of large houses for upsizing Londoners. Too many younger people in particular are still being forced to move out to places as far away as Hastings to find affordable accommodation, while working in Tunbridge Wells. They add to the rush hour traffic problems of the town and a rebalancing of the type of housing built in the town is long overdue.

DLP_5327

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

Whilst we note that policy H5 Affordable Housing requires 40% affordable on greenfield site and 30% affordable on brownfield sites, with 60% social rent: 40% intermediate, and a requirement to provide 50% upon completion of 50% of private units; we also note that the proportion of affordable to be provided at Paddock Wood has still to be determined as part of the Stage 2 VA. As such we reserve our position on the merits of policy 5 at present.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_5934

S J Ireland

Object

My personal interest is as a local resident of Cranbrook with professional experience as past Director of Open Spaces for City of London (recently retired), a career in Landscape Management and a Fellow of the Landscape Institute.

  1. Having reviewed the retail study and your proposals for Tunbridge Wells, I object to the number of houses you have allocated to the main urban area. Your report accepts that the retail sector is changing significantly and yet your proposal to locate on average 1271 houses (whilst for example, requiring Cranbrook to take 761) is proportionately wrong. This is the ideal location for apartments- particularly one and two bed accommodation aimed specifically at younger and older elements of the population; where all the services are located close by and limited transport requirements. needed. By increasing the housing in the main urban area, your sustainability requirements will be easily achieved.
  2. Cranbrook has substantial AONB landscapes. I found no explanation , within the plan, as to why you are ignoring government policy which allows the Council to reduce the housing pressure by 50% in such cases. You have a duty to protect theses landscapes.
  3. The use of the term " affordable housing" is unhelpful because such units are not affordable by local people. I would encourage you to review your policy and instead focus on 1 & 2 bed properties, which can better suit need.

DLP_5979

Steve Rix

Object

Paragraph 6.323 (page 438)

This recognises that intermediate housing may include: “discounted market sale” but goes on to state that discounted market sales are not considered appropriate given the affordability pressures the borough faces. I object to the second part of this statement that discounted market sales are inappropriate. There is evidence to the contrary in both the housing needs assessment carried out by TWBC and that carried out in the Parish of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst through the emerging NDP process in both our AECOM housing needs assessment and our business and employment questionnaire. This evidence shows that intermediary housing is in short supply and housing discounted in perpetuity – as can be offered by Land Trusts – is a much needed addition to the provision of affordable housing options.

DLP_6285

Tunbridge Wells Constituency Labour Party

Support

Tunbridge Wells Labour welcomes the commitments in the Local Plan to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the Borough to 40% in all developments of 10 Units or more. However, we are concerned that the definition of affordable continues to include the discredited notion that 80% of market rent is affordable. We also recognise that other intermediate forms of affordable housing such as shared ownership are an important part of the mix which meet the needs of some residents who whilst on good incomes cannot afford to buy their own home at current market rates.

Unaffordability undermines the fabric of rural communities as people are no longer be able to afford to live in the community that they have grown up in. Lack of affordable housing in rural areas is particularly acute and providing new genuinely affordable options outside of as well as in the urban Tunbridge Wells should be a key focus of the local plan.

Providing a new generation of genuinely affordable housing at social rent levels for low to average income, younger and older residents is critical to ensuring that Tunbridge Wells remains a mixed and diverse socio-economic area which enables generations of local families to remain in the area which they were born and grew up in. We welcome that the new Local Plan provides greater mechanisms for the Local Authority to ensure that developers provide a greater proportion of genuinely affordable housing than is currently the case. We also hope that this helps to close loopholes on viability which have seen some developers shirk their responsibilities to provide mixed tenure developments on prestigious sites such as Union House on the Pantiles and the old cinema site.

We encourage the Council to have no limit on their ambition to secure benefits of new genuinely affordable housing for residents. For a generation of private renters it is critical that we address the undersupply of housing in the South East and ensure that existing as well as future needs are met including more affordable housing for older people rather than luxury retirement apartments which meet the needs of a minority of wealthy residents and those moving into the Borough.

DLP_6337

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of land west of Freight Lane, Cranbrook, hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H5 – Affordable housing

Viability assessment

The latest Framework places far more emphasis on the local plan with regard to viability and ensuring that development will be deliverable against the policy requirements being set by the Local Planning Authority. It is therefore essential that the approach taken by Councils is consistent with both policy and guidance and that the Council does not seek to secure contributions at a level that could make development viability marginal and which will, inevitably, lead to site by site negotiations with regard to affordable housing and other contributions. To assist Council’s in the consideration of viability issues within their local plans the HBF has worked with its membership to prepare a short note on how viability is considered by the housebuilding industry, attached to this response, and how they consider build costs, fees, profit etc. Using this guide, we have also reviewed the Viability Assessment and have the following recommendations with regard to the approach and the costs it applies:

  • Fees. We would recommend using the highest figure in the ranges suggested on page 43. It is important that a cautious approach is taken with regard to fees. In particular professional fees on larger and more complex sites can be up to 20% of build costs.
  • Developer profit. The Council proposes 15 to 20% on GDV for market housing and 6% on affordable. However, PPG advices that profit should be 15% to 20% on total GDV for a development. A 15% margin on market housing and 6% margin on affordable housing will result in a profit margin on development GDV of less than 15%.
  • Abnormals. Whilst the assessment suggests that any abnormal costs will be removed from the land value there is the risk that if these are significantly higher than the land value will not be sufficient to incentivise the sale of that land. As we set out in our viability guide there are a huge range of abnormal costs to be accounted for and the Council should engage with housebuilders in Tunbridge Wells to consider the amount of abnormal costs, they have faced in bringing sites forward. Evidence submitted by the HBF to the County Durham Local Plan showed that evidence form 14 sites the average level of abnormal costs for a Greenfield site was £495,000 per hectare and £711,000 per hectare for brownfield sites. Whilst we appreciate that these costs will vary between areas it provides an indication that these costs can be substantial and should be considered in more detail.
  • Other policy costs. The Assessment appears to have considered the impact of its policies for affordable housing and accessibility standards. However, we could not find any consideration of the higher energy standards in EN4 and the requirement to achieve a net gain in biodiversity as set out in EN11. In particular achieving biodiversity net gain could have a significant impact on development. The Government’s Impact Assessment on its proposals for biodiversity net gain published alongside its response to the consultation  indicates that it will cost and average of around £20,000 per hectare to achieve a 10% net gain in biodiversity through a 75:25 split between onsite mitigation and offsite contributions. However, the study also recognises that should higher levels of off-site contribution be required the costs will increase substantially.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6413

Hawkhurst Parish Council

Support with conditions

Hawkhurst Parish Council welcomes and supports this policy. However, we are concerned that developers may simply argue that it is unviable for them to comply with it.

DLP_6626

AAH Planning for Future Habitat Ltd

Support with conditions

Policy H 5 – Affordable Housing

Policy H 5 sets out that sites comprising predominantly greenfield land (i.e. non previously developed land) delivering a net increase of more than nine dwellings will be expected to include a minimum of 40% of the gross number of residential units as on-site affordable housing provision. Where this percentage is not a whole number, it will be rounded up to the next whole number. The policy also states that for sites delivering a net increase of one to nine dwellings will be expected to provide a financial contribution towards the provision of off-site affordable housing (land and build costs) based on 20% of the gross number of residential units to be provided and highlights that further work will take place on the scale of financial contributions, which will inform the next, pre-submission version of the Local Plan.

With regard to tenure, the policy states that the general approach to tenure provision of on-site affordable housing should be that 60% is provided as social rent and 40% as intermediate tenures. The policy also includes the provision of viability and highlights that developments will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Our Client agrees that a degree of affordable housing should be provided to accommodate the needs of the Borough and welcomes the provision of viability. However, the requirements must be based on up to date evidence and the full viability of schemes to ensure that the provision of affordable housing on site is achievable.

In order to meet the identified housing need, it is important that the aspirations of the policy are not unrealistic as this could jeopardise future housing delivery.

[TWBC: see full representation and site plan].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6606-6620, 6622-6627].

DLP_6643

Mr Steve Gasson

Object

Paragraph 6.323 recognizes that intermediate housing may include … ‘discounted market sale’ but goes on to state that discounted market sales are not considered appropriate given the affordability pressures the borough faces.

This qualification regarding the appropriateness of discounted market sales should be removed as the attractiveness of such sales for those who cannot afford open market prices depends on the discount offered.

DLP_6690

Gladman

 

6.15 Policy H5: Affordable Housing

6.15.1 Policy H5 makes clear that there is an expectation for developments which provide for 1 net dwelling to 9 net dwellings to provide a financial contribution on 20% of the gross units to be provided at the site to fund off-site affordable housing provision. Gladman object to this requirement and considers this to be contrary to national planning policy.

6.15.2 Paragraph 63 of the NPPF clearly sets out that provision of affordable housing should not be sought for residential development that are not major developments, other than in designated rural areas (where policies may set out a lower threshold of 5 units or fewer). No parishes within Tunbridge Wells have been designated a rural area and as such the requirement for minor development to contribute towards affordable housing is not sound.

6.15.3 The Council will have to consider whether alternative means should be made available through the Local Plan to increase the amount of affordable housing expected to be provided with this source of supply removed. Existing supply is already some 100 dwellings below the identified need, despite being identified as a key objective for the Local Plan to address.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6823

Persimmon Homes South East

Object

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

2.4 The housing needs survey 2018 identifies a net affordable housing need of 443dpa. As policy H5 looks to deliver 40% affordable provision on all greenfield sites of 9 (+) dwellings, and acknowledging that not all sites provide affordable housing, in order to meet 100% of the affordable requirement one would conservatively need to deliver circa 1,107 dpa over the plan period. This is clearly significantly greater than the figure generated by the standard method, (678/682dpa) and whilst the standard method takes into account affordability issues, this does beg the question as to whether TWBC need to consider whether it might be appropriate to plan for a higher housing need figure than the standard method indicates. If nothing else the SA should in our opinion assess this point.

2.5 In the context of the above we also note that the figure of 678/682dpa is the minimum local housing need figure. It is capped at 40%. The uncapped figure is in fact 762dpa . This figure would better be described as the actual housing need, with 678/682dpa simply being the minimum Local Housing Need figure defined by the standard method. Again, given the scale of the affordable housing need the HTP and the SA should 634/B1/CC/TA 4 November 2019 in our opinion consider the issue of the plan providing for more than the minimum local housing need figure.

DLP_6895

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H5 – Affordable housing

Viability assessment

7.16 The latest Framework places far more emphasis on the local plan with regard to viability and ensuring that development will be deliverable against the policy requirements being set by the Local Planning Authority. It is therefore essential that the approach taken by Councils is consistent with both policy and guidance and that the Council does not seek to secure contributions at a level that could make development viability marginal and which will, inevitably, lead to site by site negotiations with regard to affordable housing and other contributions. To assist Council’s in the consideration of viability issues within their local plans the HBF has worked with its membership to prepare a short note on how viability is considered by the housebuilding industry, attached to this response, and how they consider build costs, fees, profit etc. Using this guide, we have also reviewed the Viability Assessment and have the following recommendations with regard to the approach and the costs it applies:

  • We would recommend using the highest figure in the ranges suggested on page 43. It is important that a cautious approach is taken with regard to fees. In particular professional fees on larger and more complex sites can be up to 20% of build costs.
  • Developer profit. The Council proposes 15 to 20% on GDV for market housing and 6% on affordable. However, PPG advices that profit should be 15% to 20% on total GDV for a development. A 15% margin on market housing and 6% margin on affordable housing will result in a profit margin on development GDV of less than 15%.
  • Whilst the assessment suggests that any abnormal costs will be removed from the land value there is the risk that if these are significantly higher than the land value will not be sufficient to incentivise the sale of that land. As we set out in our viability guide there are a huge range of abnormal costs to be accounted for and the Council should engage with housebuilders in Tunbridge Wells to consider the amount of abnormal costs, they have faced in bringing sites forward. Evidence submitted by the HBF to the County Durham Local Plan showed that evidence form 14 sites the average level of abnormal costs for a Greenfield site was £495,000 per hectare and £711,000 per hectare for brownfield sites. Whilst we appreciate that these costs will vary between areas it provides an indication that these costs can be substantial and should be considered in more detail.
  • Other policy costs. The Assessment appears to have considered the impact of its policies for affordable housing and accessibility standards. However, we could not find any consideration of the higher energy standards in EN4 and the requirement to achieve a net gain in biodiversity as set out in EN11. In particular achieving biodiversity net gain could have a significant impact on development. The Government’s Impact Assessment on its proposals for biodiversity net gain published alongside its response to the consultation indicates that it will cost and average of around £20,000 per hectare to achieve a 10% net gain in biodiversity through a 75:25 split between onsite mitigation and offsite contributions. However, the study also recognises that should higher levels of off-site contribution be required the costs will increase substantially.

DLP_6931

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Object

7.28 Policy H5 addresses affordable housing provision and requires as standard 30% new housing on Brownfield Land and 40% on Greenfield Land to comprise affordable housing. We broadly support this policy, however Criterion 5 should be amended to require that 50% of affordable housing is to be delivered on site will be expected to be completed and exchanged, rather than completed and transferred.

7.29 Criterion 5 requires payment for offsite provision prior to commencement of development. Such provision is impractical and not justified and undermines the ability of sites to come forward on a multi-developer basis, which runs counter to policies elsewhere in the plan, specifically policy H2.

7.30 Criterion 6 states where it has been demonstrated that the full provision cannot be met, the time limits on permissions will be limited to two years. As with Policy H1, such requirements should be applied on a case by case basis and only where it can be justified, and should not be applied across the board regardless of circumstances. Criterion 6 should therefore be deleted.

7.31 On the basis of the above, the policy is currently without amendment not justified, and therefore does not meet the NPPF test of soundness.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_6951

The Planning Bureau for The Retirement Housing Consortium (Renaissance Retirement, Pegasus Life, McCarthy and Stone, Churchill Retirement Living)

Object

Please find attached a joint representation made on behalf of Renaissance Retirement, Pegasus Life, McCarthy and Stone and Churchill Retirement Living (referred to in the representations as “The Retirement Housing Consortium”).

We are a group of independent and competing housebuilders specialising in sheltered housing for the elderly. Together as a group, we are responsible for delivering circa 90% of England’s specialist owner occupied retirement housing. In light of this, we considered it would be appropriate and beneficial to provide the Council with a single response representing our combined views on the documents released for public consultation on the Draft Local Plan (Reg 18) consultation.

Policy H 5 Affordable Housing

Sites comprising predominantly greenfield land (i.e. non previously developed land) delivering a net increase of more than nine dwellings will be expected to include a minimum of 40% of the gross number of residential units as on-site affordable housing provision. Where this percentage is not a whole number, it will be rounded up to the next whole number;

Sites comprising predominantly brownfield land (i.e. previously developed land) delivering a net increase of more than nine dwellings will be expected to include a minimum of 30% of the gross number of residential units as on-site affordable housing provision. Where this percentage is not a whole number, it will be rounded up to the next whole number;

This section of the policy should be clear that existing residential sites (with larger amenity areas in built up areas are treated as brownfield land.

Where a financial contribution for off-site provision of affordable housing is payable, this shall be payable upon commencement of the development.

Such a requirement will have an impact on development cash flow and the LPA should be mindful that in many cases, requiring up-front payment may reduce the overall sum payable. The LPA should also be mindful that smaller providers may struggle in cashflow terms to meet this requirement as it may often necessitate borrowing due to sales not being secured until 12-18 months later.

Tenure

The general approach to tenure provision of on-site affordable housing should be that 60% is provided as social rent and 40% as intermediate tenures.

In line with the NPPG and housing needs evidence base, it may be appropriate to set out specific tenure requirements for specialist housing for older people as this is clearly a different typology.

Principle of off-site Contributions

There may be exceptional circumstances where the provision of on-site affordable housing is not viable. The Council considers that the following may represent exceptional circumstances, but in each case these circumstances would need to be fully demonstrated to warrant a departure from compliance with this policy:

1. The developer has provided written evidence that no Registered Provider will take the units. This may be because:

a. there are too few units for a registered provider to take; and/or

b. the affordable units are located within a single block where it is difficult for a registered provider to manage the homes. In this instance, the developer must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that there are no means for provision of another block on the site, or provide a second entrance for the affordable housing;

As a matter of principle it is widely agreed by Local Planning Authorities that on site affordable housing delivery is incompatible with achieving sustainable and successful retirement living communities. This is due to the level of service charge required to be split between occupiers evenly and the nature of an age restricted development which can’t easily be mixed with general needs affordable housing. Applying a generic affordable housing policy to age restricted housing is simply incompatible.

It is therefore recommended that the policy be amended to ensure that thought is applied as to how the policy may be applied appropriately to age restricted housing proposals as a typology by itself.

Viability

The Draft Local Plan Infrastructure and Affordable Housing policy is supported by the 2019 plan wide viability study undertaken by DSP.

DSP undertake specific testing in relation to specialist housing proposals for older people which is welcome. However, we are of the view that there is a significant error in the Argus appraisal model included within the appendices. While the explanatory text for the methodology states that the gross to net saleable floor area assumed in respect of specialist housing for older people is greater (typically 65-75% depending on type), the actual appraisal model at Appendix 2A sets out a model with a gross to net ration of 91.3%. This severely underestimates the costs involved in development such a proposal.

For example, a gross to net of 75% (as typical) would result in additional costs of around £900,000 (additional GIA of 449m2 and including additional professional fees and external allowances as a result of the underestimate of GIA). Such a change clearly results in a very different viability position.

It is therefore critical that the testing is updated for the typology in order to present an accurate viability position.

DLP_7008

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Object

[TWBC: this comment relates to representations on AL/CA 1: Tudeley Village].

5.4.4. Policy H5 - Affordable Housing

We do not consider this Policy to be justified or effective as it is overly prescriptive in terms of the phasing of affordable housing and the type of tenures anticipated. Further viability evidence will be required to justify the approach taken. Moreover, the use of the higher accessibility standard on all affordable dwellings is not proportionate and will mean those dwellings will have to be designed differently to their market housing neighbours which cuts across the aspiration for being tenure blind in the preceding part of the Policy.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6996, 7003-7009, 7013-7017 and SA_128]

DLP_7039

Philippa Gill

 

Paragraph 6.323 recognizes that intermediate housing may include … ‘discounted market sale’ but goes on to state that discounted market sales are not considered appropriate given the affordability pressures the borough faces.

This qualification regarding the appropriateness of discounted market sales should be removed as the attractiveness of such sales for those who cannot afford open market prices depends on the discount offered. This model of ownership is supported by other local authorities and housing associations.

DLP_7056

Sigma Planning Services for Rydon Homes Ltd

Object

31. The general expectation of 40% of the gross number of residential units as on-site affordable housing is noted and is potentially achievable on those sites with which Rydon hold an interest subject to more detailed costings and calculations of the total final contributions required from each site and the consequent impact upon viability. The details of circumstances where this expectation may not be achievable and the alternative approach that could be followe4d in such circumstances are helpful but do not reasonably cover all situations and the wording in the pre-amble to the Exceptional Circumstances section of the policy should amended to read:-

"... the following may represent some of the exceptional circumstances"

32. Rydon do have concerns about the practicality of Paragraph 3 of the Overall Approach which seeks to restrict the delivery of open market units to a similar rate achieved in relation to the affordable housing element of any scheme. This is an unnecessary and unhelpful interference which increases development risk, potentially restricts the delivery of open market housing and serves no clear planning purpose.

33. A S106 Planning Obligation is sufficient to secure that the requisite amount of affordable housing is provided. The "pepper potting" of social housing across the development ensures that piecemeal completions are avoided. However, a housebuilder has little control over the rate of delivery of market housing. They must build to meet strong housing demand and slow down if the market shows fragility of demand. They cannot afford to build houses that stand empty and equally should not be expected to halt deliver and potentially lay off works and contractors to comply with artificially imposed restrictions such as this. Affordable Housing is conventionally provided by Registered Providers who will seek to achieve a delivery rat in accordance with conditions that apply to Affordable Housing provision at any particular time in relation to each particular site. Relevant considerations may be matters such as the availability of funding, the nature of local needs, management requirements and so on. The factors that affect the rate of delivery of affordance housing unties are therefore very different from those that affect the rate of delivery of open market housing. Any attempt to attach an arbitrary connection between rates of delivery of affordable and open market housing is therefore totally inappropriate, ineffective and only serves to create uncertainty and increased development risk. There is no material advantage to either housebuilders or Registered Providers in seeking to develop affordable housing at a slower rate than local site conditions allow and therefore the restriction does does not achieve ant clear planing purposes. In fact it runs contrary to Government guidance set out in the NPPF which aims to boost significantly the delivery of all forms of new housing. This policy will only restrict achievable rates of housing delivery and this paragraph should therefore be removed from Policy H5.

34. Similarly, the "Local Connection" section of the policy goes beyond what can reasonably be expected of a housebuilder. The identification of the appropriate occupier for affordable homes is a matter that comes within the province of the local housing authority and the Registered Provider. There are not planning decisions and are not matters over which the housebuilder can exercise any control. It is therefore inappropriate to seek to attach such detailed conditions to a development management policy. They add to the complexity and uncertainty of planning considerations and frustrate the basic objectives of keeping the planning process simple, speedy and effective. This element should also be removed from the proposed Policy H5.

35. The requirement in the policy that all affordable housing should meet, as a minimum, the Building Regulation Standard Part M4(2) is superfluous because this matter is covered by other legislation and there is no need to duplicate it. Similar considerations apply to Building Regulation requirements for homes that are designed to meet the needs of households with a disability. Again this is an unnecessary and inappropriate application of planning policy controls into areas that are already addressed by other powers and legislation. This defeats the objective of keeping planning policy simple and indeed causes confusion because references to Building Regulation Standards may become out  of date as the standards are changed. This can lead to a conflicting and confusing situation where different standards are being imposed by different elements of the building consent process. The Plan policy should be simpler and restrict itself to planning considerations.

[TWBC: See for full response]

DLP_7085

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Support with conditions

Policy Number: Policy H 5 - Affordable Housing

Comments; Support with conditions

Local Connection; Support with conditions

1.99 The policy states that affordable housing will be provided on the basis of a 'local connection cascade'. Our Client is concerned that this is likely to be too complicated and will interfere with the effective delivery of affordable housing.

Support subject to the following amendments:

* Reference to 'local connection cascade' should be simplified.

* Affordable housing should be delivered by a RSL and they should allocate the housing how they see fit.

Tenure; Support with conditions

1.100 Our Client also considers that providing 60% of on-site affordable housing as social rent will not be workable on all sites. Our Client is concerned with how this figure has been determined considering that a tenure split of 52.2% social/affordable rented and 47.8% intermediate tenure were identified across the Tunbridge Wells Borough [11 Appendix C, Borough of Tunbridge Wells Housing Needs Study, July 2018: Households were asked to state tenure aspirations. Table C8 summarises the aspirations of both existing households in need and newly forming households by tenure. Overall, this gives a tenure split of around 52% social/affordable rented and 48% intermediate tenure across the Tunbridge Wells Borough.].

1.101 This shows a discrepancy of at least 10%, although some areas across the borough identified a lower need for social rent – as low as 32.5% in all rural parishes [12 Table C8, Appendix C, Borough of Tunbridge Wells Housing Needs Study, July 2018.].

Support subject to the following amendments:

* Reduce the percentage of social rent housing tenure.

Exceptional Circumstances; Support with conditions

1.102 Our Client is concerned that it could be an impossible task to provide conclusive evidence that there are no Registered Provider’s to take the affordable units.

Support subject to the following amendments:

* Put a mechanism in place whereby it can be recognised that there are no Registered Provider’s so that this policy does not stop development coming forward.

Design and layout approach to affordable housing; Support with conditions

1.103 Our Client considers that it is not necessary to evenly spread ‘clusters’ of affordable homes across a development. For management purposes affordable homes should be built together, in one area.

Support subject to the following amendments:

* Remove the need for developments to ‘evenly spread ‘clusters’ of affordable homes’.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_7099

Richard Hopkinson Architects for J Murphy & Sons and SGN

General Observation

Policy Number: Policy H5 Affordable Housing

JMS and SGN support the distinction made between the requirement for affordable housing on sites comprising predominantly greenfield land and those comprising predominantly brownfield land. The recognition that costs associated with developing previously developed land are more onerous is welcomed.

DLP_7312

Mr Richard Gill

 

Paragraph 6.323 recognizes that intermediate housing may include … ‘discounted market sale’ but goes on to state that discounted market sales are not considered appropriate given the affordability pressures the borough faces.

This qualification regarding the appropriateness of discounted market sales should be removed as the attractiveness of such sales for those who cannot afford open market prices depends on the discount offered. This model of ownership is supported by other local authorities and housing associations.

DLP_7956

Wendy Owen

 

We do not believe the proposed development of site 137 will comply with policy H5, specifically:

Overall approach

1. Sites comprising predominantly greenfield land (i.e. non previously developed land) delivering a net increase of more than nine dwellings will be expected to include a minimum of 40% of the gross number of residential units as on-site affordable housing provision.

In conversation with your planning officers at the 26/28 September 2019 Royal Victoria Place exhibition they said the requirement to build 40% affordable housing would be waived if a school was built. One of the Broadwater Ward councillors said he supported development of this site because he believed affordable housing would be included.

DLP_8221

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

H5 – Affordable housing

Viability assessment

The latest Framework places far more emphasis on the local plan with regard to viability and ensuring that development will be deliverable against the policy requirements being set by the Local Planning Authority. It is therefore essential that the approach taken by Councils is consistent with both policy and guidance and that the Council does not seek to secure contributions at a level that could make development viability marginal and which will, inevitably, lead to site by site negotiations with regard to affordable housing and other contributions. To assist Council’s in the consideration of viability issues within their local plans the HBF has worked with its membership on how they consider build costs, fees, profit etc. and have the following recommendations with regard to the approach and the costs it applies:

  • Fees. We would recommend using the highest figure in the ranges suggested on page 43. It is important that a cautious approach is taken with regard to fees. In particular professional fees on larger and more complex sites can be up to 20% of build costs.
  • Developer profit. The Council proposes 15% to 20% on GDV for market housing and 6% on affordable. However, PPG advises that profit should be 15% to 20% on total GDV for a development. A 15% margin on market housing and 6% margin on affordable housing will result in a profit margin on development GDV of less than 15%.
  • Abnormals. Whilst the assessment suggests that any abnormal costs will be removed from the land value there is the risk that if these are significantly higher than the land value will not be sufficient to incentivise the sale of that land. As we set out in our viability guide there are a huge range of abnormal costs to be accounted for and the Council should engage with housebuilders in Tunbridge Wells to consider the amount of abnormal costs, they have faced in bringing sites forward. Evidence submitted by the HBF to the County Durham Local Plan showed that evidence form 14 sites the average level of abnormal costs for a Greenfield site was £495,000 per hectare and £711,000 per hectare for brownfield sites. Whilst we appreciate that these costs will vary between areas it provides an indication that these costs can be substantial and should be considered in more detail.
  • Other policy costs. The Assessment appears to have considered the impact of its policies for affordable housing and accessibility standards. However, we could not find any consideration of the higher design standards in EN3, higher energy standards in EN4 and the requirement to achieve a net gain in biodiversity as set out in EN11. In particular achieving biodiversity net gain could have a significant impact on development. The Government’s Impact Assessment on its proposals for biodiversity net gain published alongside its response to the consultation [2] indicates that it will cost and average of around £20,000 per hectare to achieve a 10% net gain in biodiversity through a 75:25 split between onsite mitigation and offsite contributions. However, the study also recognises that should higher levels of off-site contribution be required the costs will increase substantially.

Small sites contributions

Paragraph 63 of the 2019 NPPF establishes the approach set out in the 2015 Written Ministerial Statement with regard to contributions for affordable housing not considered to be major residential development. The Council have decided to ignore this policy and will require small sites delivering a net increase of between 4 and 9 units to make a financial contribution toward affordable housing provision.

When considering the appropriateness of including such a policy it is worth reiterating why the Government introduced this particular policy. The Ministerial Statement is clear that the reason for introducing this policy was to “ease the disproportionate burden of developer contributions on small scale developers”. This is distinct from whether or not such development is viable in general but whether they are a disproportionate burden on a specific sector that faces differential costs that are not reflected in general viability assessments. These costs have led to a reduction in the number of small and medium (SME) sized house builders. Analysis by the HBF [3] shows that over the last 30 years changes to the planning system and other regulatory requirements, coupled with the lack of attractive terms for project finance, have led to a long-term reduction of total SME house builder numbers by about 70% since 1988. The Government is very anxious to reverse this trend and increase the number of small businesses starting up and sustaining this activity. Improving business conditions for SME home builders is the key to long-term supply responsiveness from this sector.

It is also worth considering the Government’s broader aims for the housing market. This is most clearly set out in the Housing White Paper (HWP). Their aims are not just to support existing SME house builders but to grow this sector again which was hit hard by the recession with the number of registered small builders falling from 44,000 in 2007 to 18,000 in 2015 [4]. To grow the sector one key element has been to simplify the planning system in order to reduce the burden to new entrants into this market. Therefore, the focus of the Council should be on freeing up this sector of the house building industry rather than seeking to place financial burdens that the Government have said should not be implemented.

In conclusion, the Council’s focus on the general viability of affordable housing delivery on small sites is, in part, missing the broad scope of the Government’s policy to support the growth of this particular sector and see it thrive once more. As such we do not consider the Council to have justified a departure from national policy with regard to the small site exemption. The policy will continue to be a burden to SME house builders and in particular to new entrants into the market. In addition, the outcomes of the policy are likely to be ineffective in delivering the scale of affordable housing required to meet needs in Tunbridge Wells. We would therefore recommend that the Council must delete part 4 under the overall approach 

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/biodiversity-net-gain-updating-planning-requirements

3 https://www.hbf.co.uk/?eID=dam_frontend_push&docID=25453&filename=HBF_SME_Report_2017_We%20b.pdf

4 Fixing our Broken Housing Market, Department for Communities and Local Government, February 2017

DLP_8356

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.14 Finally, policy H5 sets out affordable housing requirements. Whilst we support the general thrust of the objectives and the securing of affordable provision, we object to the rounding up of the calculations and contributions being based on a net rather than gross number of units. For small scale proposals this will often see the proposed percentage increase to closer to 45% and 35% respectively. Such thresholds would therefore need to be tested and justified by evidence. A pragmatic approach would be to apply traditional rounding up or down.

3.1.15 The phasing of affordable provision also needs to be sufficiently flexible so as to not prohibit wider delivery. In this regard, we consider that entering into contract with a registered affordable prior ahead of the 50% occupation should provide the certainty of delivery, but without risking a wider delay in market delivery.

3.1.16 We also object to the expectation of sites that provide between one and nine units to pay a contribution towards affordable housing. This conflicts with Paragraph: 023 Reference ID: 23b-023-20190901 of National Planning Practice Guidance, which states planning obligations for affordable housing should only be sought for residential developments that are major developments. Any reduced threshold should be restricted to designated areas only and should be underpinned by detailed evidence.

3.1.17 The Council will be aware of wider country wide discussions regarding the viability of providing social rented accommodation as part of a wider offer. Such provision is becoming increasingly difficult and without robust policy in place that addresses this matter, this matter is likely to significantly slow delivery.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

DLP_8390

Ms Nicola Gooch

 

Policy H5

A target of 60% of a site's affordable housing provision being provided as social rent is likely to be difficult to acheive, as this particular tenure is not popular amoungst registered providers. It can be difficult to find RPs who are willing to take units for social rent - affordable rented tenures are easier to place appropriately.

Policy H5 includes the ability to flex the level of affordable housing provision on site (or its location) on the basis that the developer cannot find a registered provider willing to take the units on site. It would be sensible to include a similar policy in relation to the affordable housing tenure mix. It may well be that there is no demand for units for social rent on a site; but that an RP could be found to run them as affordable rented units or as some form of intermediate product.

At present, the policy makes it easier to reduce the overall level of affordable housing provision on site than it does to adjust the tenure mix. Allowing greater flexibility over tenure mix may well help protect the overall levels of provision and should be explored first - before you turn to reducing the percentage rate or exploring the possibilty of payment in lieu.

DLP_8401

Mr Raymond Moon

Object

POLICY H5. Affordable Housing. OBJECT.

National policy and borough need context

There is no mention in this policy for more Social housing within the 4,000 new houses. TWBC should stipulate is intention to provide adequate Social housing in PW as part of the Draft Local Plan. Data is provided for Affordable housing but none for Social housing.

DLP_8416

Paddock Wood Labour Party

Object

POLICY H5. Affordable Housing. OBJECT.

National policy and borough need context

Affordable & Social Housing

PWLP welcomes the commitments in the Local Plan to increase the proportion of affordable housing in the Borough to 40% in all developments of 10 Units or more. We are concerned though that the definition of affordable continues to include the discredited notion that 80% of market rent is affordable. Also we recognise that other intermediate forms of affordable housing such as shared ownership are an important part of the mix which meet the needs of some residents who whilst on good incomes cannot afford to buy their own home at current market rates. It is also noted that there is no mention of Social housing provision or percentages in the Draft local Plan (DLP). The lack of Social housing in PW should be addressed and included in the DLP.

Unaffordability undermines the fabric of rural communities as people are no longer be able to afford to live in the community that they have grown up in. Lack of affordable housing in rural areas is particularly acute and providing new genuinely affordable options must be a priority.

PWLP welcomes that the new Local Plan provides greater mechanisms for the Local Authority to ensure that developers provide a greater proportion of genuinely Affordable and Social housing than is currently the case. We also hope that this helps to close loopholes on viability which have seen some developers shirk their responsibilities to provide mixed tenure developments on within the present 900 houses already agreed in PW.

There is no mention in this policy for more Social housing within the 4,000 new houses. TWBC should stipulate is intention to provide adequate Social housing in PW as part of the Draft Local Plan. Data is provided for Affordable housing but none for Social housing.

Policy H 6: Estate Regeneration

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1866

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Object

Policy Number:  H6 Estate Regeneration 

We OBJECT to this policy on the grounds that, in the present circumstances in RTW, no loss of existing affordable housing can be justified. We understand the positive motivation for this policy in improving estate accommodation and would support it if, as a minimum, it were to include a provision that any net loss of existing accommodation would be made good by availability of equivalent accommodation in the same quarter of the town for anyone displaced. It should actually be possible to re-provide the same number of units on a site through intelligent planning even if other uses are also introduced.

DLP_4188

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

CPRE objects to this policy.  In view of the identified affordability problem in the Borough, we do not consider that any net loss of affordable dwellings is acceptable.  Moreover, affordable housing is generally built at higher density than market housing, so requiring full reprovision of affordable housing in such schemes will help to prevent the loss of precious countryside.

DLP_4286

RTW Civic Society

 

Is the definition of Estate limited to one owned by a housing association?

Policy H 7: Rural Exception Sites

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1762

Horsmonden Parish Council

Support

Policy H7-Rural Exception Sites: We support this policy as an exceptional means of providing housing specifically to meet local needs in a rural settlement, and the stringent conditions applied to the scrutiny and approval of such cases, where they are on sites beyond the “limits to built development”.

DLP_1966

Ms Jacqueline Stanton

Support

Policy H 7

I support this policy.

DLP_3653

Lynne Bancroft

Support with conditions

I think the wording of this policy should change to:

“The council will permit development for rural exception housing outside to the Limits to Build development as long as the site is immediately adjacent to the Limits to Build development”.

DLP_4013

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H7 Rural Exception Sites:

Strongly support this policy as a means of providing homes that specifically meet the local housing need in rural settlements.

DLP_4189

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

The test in the last paragraph of this policy seems exceptionally restrictive: if only people who are currently resident in the town or parish, but in unsuitable accommodation, are to be allowed to qualify for rural exceptions housing, and must further meet one of the criteria a to e, then this will exclude any people who have had a longstanding connection with the town or parish (perhaps for several generations) or who need to move to the parish to provide an important service, but who are now living outside the parish because of a lack of affordable housing in the parish: “and satisfies” should read “or satisfies”.

DLP_4255

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The very limited and exceptional cases in which rural exception sites for affordable housing will be permitted is in line with this Council’s policies, with developments required to be well related to any settlement in both scale and location.

DLP_7657

Mr J Boxall

 

I think the wording of this policy should change to:

“The council will permit development for rural exception housing outside to the Limits to Build development as long as the site is immediately adjacent to the Limits to Build development”.

Policy H 8: Vacant Building Credit

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_4190

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy.  (There is a typo in point 2, where the first “or” should be deleted)

DLP_6954

The Planning Bureau for The Retirement Housing Consortium (Renaissance Retirement, Pegasus Life, McCarthy and Stone, Churchill Retirement Living)

Object

Alongside the national policy criteria for the application of VBC, the draft policy proposes:

The building(s) will need to have been vacant, continuously, for at least five years prior to the planning application being submitted. In addition, the building shall also have been actively marketed for at least two continuous years out of the previous five years (to submission of the planning application) at realistic prices, both of which shall be evidenced and supported within the planning application.

This requirement is not in accordance with national policy which explicitly states that:

Where a vacant building is brought back into any lawful use, or is demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer should be offered a financial credit equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of relevant vacant buildings when the local planning authority calculates any affordable housing contribution which will be sought. Affordable housing contributions may be required for any increase in floorspace.

National policy does not prescribe a timeframe or minimum period for vacancy or indeed make mention of a requirement for a marketing exercise. By its very wording, should the council introduce a CIL charging schedule, there will be no reduction in this rate and as s such, the incentive intended by VBC will be lost.

The wording of this draft policy should be amended to delete the five year and marketing requirements.

DLP_7086

Brown & Co Planning Ltd for The Hendy Group

Object

Policy Number: Policy H 8 - Vacant Building Credit

Comments; Object

1.104 The statement that ‘Vacant Building Credit will only be applied in exceptional circumstances’ is contrary to national guidance which states that where vacant buildings are being reused or redeveloped, any affordable housing contribution due should be reduced by a proportionate amount to support the re-use of brownfield land (paragraph 63, NPPF).

UNSOUND: The policy should be reworded to be in line with National Policy. 

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents; Park and Ride Feasibility Review and Site Location Plan].

DLP_8222

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

Policy H8 - Vacant Building Credit.

The dis-application of the Vacant Building Credit (VBC) is unsound because it conflicts with the national policy in paragraph 63 of the NPPF, introduced originally via the Ministerial Written statement of 28 November 2014. The aim of this policy, along with the exemption from S106 obligations for affordable housing on small schemes, is to support small scale developers and the reuse of previously developed land and as such should be supported by the Council in order to maximise the delivery of such sites. This policy should therefore be deleted.

DLP_8357

DHA Planning for Mr and Mrs B Gear

 

3 Section 6: Development Management Policies

3.1.18 Finally, we note that the Council is only willing to allow the use of Vacant Building Credits in exceptional circumstances. However, the test proposed appear significantly more onerous than have been considered and applied elsewhere. Based on the tests proposed, we fear that there will be a delay in genuinely vacant buildings, that are entitled to use of VBC, to be delayed in coming forward in order to meet the overly onerous criteria.

3.1.19 In summary, whilst this overview is not exhaustive, we do have concerns about the nature of the proposed policy framework and the degree to which it appears to be trying to limit and frustrate development. Accordingly, in the interests of positive planning, we recommend that the policy framework is simplified and refined and subject to further detailed consultation and focussed on planning matters.

[TWBC: see the following comments on development management policies:

DLP_8348-8349: Policy EN1 and Policy EN4
DLP_8350: Policy EN6
DLP_8351: Policy EN20
DLP_8352: Policy H1
DLP_8353: Policy H2
DLP_8354-8355: Policies H3 and H4
DLP_8356: Policy H5
DLP_8357: Policy H8].

Policy H 9: Housing for Older People

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1867

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

We support this policy and strongly support the intention set out in Paragraph 6.344 to promote housing for older people being linked with general needs housing schemes creating a mixed and balanced community and community cohesion. For most older people, such mixed communities will probably be preferred to isolated retirement villages.

DLP_1983

Mr Jeremy Waters

Support

Support

DLP_3378

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

 

Provision and Delivery of County Council Community Services and Strategic Commissioning 

In respect of older persons care homes, for residential care, it is important to support older persons’ care homes in the areas where there is a need for specific support. High quality dementia care, particularly for people with dementia that presents as challenging is needed in across Kent, including Tunbridge Wells. The second key area is high quality nursing care that is affordable. In Tunbridge Wells at present, the average cost for care home beds is significantly higher than the Kent average.

The Local Plan should also reference Your Life Your Well-Being which is Kent County Council’s strategy for Adult Social Care. Its vision is ‘To help people to improve or maintain their well-being and to live as independently as possible’ and is achieved through three themes.

  1. Promoting well-being
  2. Promoting independence
  3. Supporting independence

The vision is that people should live independently in their own home receiving the right care and support and it sets out the strategic direction for suitable housing and care home provision for all Adult Social Care client groups. The strategy concludes a need for more extra care housing and exploring the opportunities to develop mixed tenure models of extra care housing.

For Extra Care housing

Typically KCC Social Care is increasingly minded to use section 106 contributions for supporting the capital expenditure for the build of Extra Care accommodation, which will also use a combination of funding streams.

Following table shows forecast demand showing places required for Extra Care accommodation to 2031 across all districts with Tunbridge Wells shown (currently a gap of 138 places:

[TWBC: for table, see page 53 of KCC's full representation]

In terms of Social Care, it is therefore imperative that the Borough Council understands and supports new government legislation that all future housing must be built to Building Reg Part M4(2) standard – see following narrative:

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government identified in June 2019 guidance Housing for older and disabled people the need to provide housing for older & disabled people is critical. Accessible and adaptable housing enables people to live more independently and safely. Accessible and adaptable housing provides safe and convenient homes with suitable circulation space and suitable bathroom and kitchens. Kent Social Care request these dwellings are built to Building Reg Part M4(2) standard to ensure they remain accessible throughout the lifetime of the occupants to meet any changes in the occupant’s requirements.

Developer contributions (s.106) for KCC Social Care

In light of the increasing client numbers and desire to promote independence within this group, KCC has reviewed the projects it seeks s.106 contributions for, resulting in five priorities:

  1. Provision of Specialist Housing
  2. Changing Places
  3. Adapting Community Facilities
  4. Digital Technology
  5. Sensory Facilities

It is this change to care provision that has resulted in an increase in the s.106 contributions being requested from Quarter 3 2019. These contributions will be requested for the five priorities above and will be calculated per dwelling.

DLP_3656

Lynne Bancroft

Support

The housing needs policy for older people needs to ensure that they can remain in their own homes for much longer independently so design of houses is paramount and many more bungalows/accessible homes should be developed, especially in rural areas of the Borough near to the centre of villages.

Nursing/care homes are not needed as much if the older person can live within the community amongst others.

DLP_3971

Ide Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council

Support

SUPPORT

The Town Council supports the provision of housing for older people, in principle, as it does for other groups. Mindful of the impending Commercial Road appeal, an issue can arise where such housing competes with other uses, particularly within the town centre. In many respects, a town centre location would be an ideal place for schemes to accommodate older people but this should not be at the expense of what makes the town centre such an attractive location in the first instance i.e. in being close to services and facilities. I believe this is recognised implicitly within the Plan and decisions on individual planning applications will need to be made on the merits of each case. This policy can be supported overall with this support, perhaps, expressed on a ‘without prejudice’ basis given the Commercial Road appeal. See also comment under ED11.

DLP_4191

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Object

CPRE considers that this policy is not robust enough as regards accessibility, especially in a borough with such a high proportion of older people.  It is not sufficient for, as a minimum, only affordable housing to meet the requirements of BR4M(2).  We recommend the policy in the draft London Plan:

To provide suitable housing and genuine choice for London’s diverse population, including disabled people, older people and families with young children, residential development must ensure that:

  1. at least 10 per cent of new build dwellings meet Building Regulation requirement M4(3) ‘wheelchair user dwellings’, i.e. designed to be wheelchair accessible, or easily adaptable for residents who are wheelchair users
  2. all other new build dwellings meet Building Regulation requirement M4(2) ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’.”

(There is a typo in the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph, where “on the Plan” should read “in” or “of” the Plan).

DLP_4287

RTW Civic Society

 

This does seem overly long and difficult to understand.  It appears to indicate the intention of having housing for older people integrated within new developments so that there is a demographic mix of inhabitants.  If this is the case,  will future proposals from companies such as McCarthy and Stone be refused?

DLP_4495

Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Support

The Neighbourhood Plan supports the provision of housing for older people, in principle, as it does for other groups. Mindful of the impending Commercial Road appeal, an issue can arise where such housing competes with other uses, particularly within the town centre. In many respects, a town centre location would be an ideal place for schemes to accommodate older people but this should not be at the expense of what makes the town centre such an attractive location in the first instance i.e. in being close to services and facilities. We believe this is recognised implicitly within the Plan and decisions on individual planning applications will need to be made on the merits of each case. This policy can be supported overall with this support, perhaps, expressed on a ‘without prejudice’ basis given the Commercial Road appeal.

Every effort must be made to retain the commercial core of the town in view of recent residential development and prospective schemes, so reducing the need for residents to have to travel elsewhere for retail and complementary services and facilities.

DLP_4713

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Suggests that housing suitable for meeting the needs of older people should be integrated into major developments. This however this policy is too vague and needs further clarity on what this means.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed. Further clarification required.

DLP_4817

DP9 Planning Consultants for Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL (Elysian Residences)

Support with conditions

We support the inclusion of policy H9 which responds to the need for specific housing for the elderly. The currently adopted Local Plan has no such policy, hence we consider its inclusion in the draft Local Plan a positive addition in line with the NNPF and PPG, which place emphasis on the importance of the delivery of specific housing to suit the elderly demographic.

The Tunbridge Wells Borough Housing Needs Assessment (August 2019), which forms part of the evidence base for the emerging Local Plan, demonstrates the increase in predicted need for housing specifically for the elderly. Section 66 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Housing Needs Assessment states that the 65+ population in the borough is expected to increase from 22,600 in 2017 to 31,800 in 2033. As such, the delivery of accessible and adaptable housing to meet the specific needs of the elderly within the borough is of key importance.

Draft policy H9 states that housing for older people should be located in close proximity to local services, notably shops for day-to-day purchases, healthcare and social/community facilities, and/or regular bus routes. We support this aspect of policy H9, as it ensures that elderly residents are supported within the community, and are within walking distance to a range of goods and services within town centre locations. Additionally, in turn it has been demonstrated that the location of housing for older people within town centre areas can have a positive impact on the retail economy of the town. Furthermore, it promotes sustainable forms of transport for the residents of such developments, such as walking or the use of public transport, due to their close proximity to amenities.

Class C2

As currently worded Policy H9 implies that Extra Care schemes fall within the C3 use class, as stated in section 6.337 of the supporting text. However, due to the levels of care provisioned within Extra Care developments, such developments should be categorized as C2. This has been demonstrated through significant amounts of case law, and importantly is defined within the Use Classes Order (UCO 1987) which defines ‘Residential Institutions’ as C2 uses.

Class C3

The Affordable Housing section of policy H9 states that all Class C3 older persons’ accommodation will be expected to deliver a quantum of affordable housing, in accordance with the general affordable housing policy. Whilst we recognise the importance of the delivery of affordable housing, it is considered that as worded, the policy is prescriptive, and a greater degree of flexibility should be incorporated to ensure that the provision of affordable housing does not render older persons’ housing developments unviable, ultimately reducing the delivery of this much needed accommodation. Within specialist older persons’ housing developments, there are significant amounts of additional construction costs and provisions incorporated into the development that are often not associated with traditional C3 housing developments. These additional costs include additional amenities’ and communal areas like on-site gyms, activities rooms, and catering facilities.

As such, to factor in allowances for the afforementioned services, the following minor wording changes are proposed to policy H9, to allow for a greater degree of flexibility, and to ensure the delivery of older persons’ accommodation:

‘’All Class C3 older persons’ accommodation, Self-Contained Accommodation (including age restricted), Sheltered Accommodation, Extra Care Accommodation, Assisted Living, Close Care, and Continuing Care should provide affordable housing, in accordance with the general affordable housing policy and subject to a viability assessment. Where a development includes a mixture of Class C2 and C3 units, regard will be given to the development as a whole, and contributions will be sought from the Class C3 provision where applicable.’’

DLP_5328

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

Policy H9 ‘Housing for Older People’ indicates that:

‘Housing suitable for meeting the varying needs of older people should be integrated with all major housing schemes, particularly those that are close to local services, notably shops for day-to-day purchases, healthcare and social/community facilities, and/or regular bus routes. Depending on the scale and location of development, this may be achieved by housing that meets the higher accessibility (M4(2) standard, bungalows and sheltered or other age-specific schemes. In addition, large schemes with good access to services may be required to set land aside for residential/nursing care (C2) purposes.’

Policy H9 is not in our opinion very clear – it seems to infer that not only will the proposed strategic sites need to provide housing for older people but that some land may also need to be set aside for C2 accommodation.

For those trying to plan the strategic sites this is not helpful and does in addition have financial implications that need to be understood within the phase 2 VA.

To this end Policy H9 needs to be clear about the level of accommodation for the elderly it is looking to developers to provide. In terms of C3 accommodation for those of 65 (+) is it 10% of all units to be developed on a given site? Is it inclusive or exclusive of the affordable provision? Or is it a matter of a dwelling’s adaptability for the elderly i.e. ability to address mobility issues and include adaptations to bathrooms, internal handrails, external handrails, and stair lifts, all of which is really a matter for part M of the Building Regs. Turning to C2 accommodation how much is required and is this inclusive or exclusive of the affordable provision. The HNS appeared to indicate an annual average requirement for just 37 dwellings/ bed spaces per year so how is a specific requirement per site justified?

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_5993

Pro Vision for Cooper Estates Strategic Land

Object

We object to policy H9- Housing for Older People as it does not adequately address the need for C2 use development in the Borough across the plan period.

The Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2015 indicates a net need for 511 C2 bedspaces for older persons in Sevenoaks and 796 bedspaces in Tunbridge Wells over the 2013-33 period (paragraph 8.51).

The 2017 update to the SHMA sets out the changes to the number of people aged 75 and over who are expected to be living in some form of C2 accommodation which indicates an increase of about 750 people over the 2015-35 period in Tunbridge Wells – equivalent to 37 per annum (paragraph 8.3).

The Borough of Tunbridge Wells Housing Needs Study (HNS) 2018, in paragraph 6.27 states that: ‘A major strategic challenge for the Council is to ensure a range of appropriate housing provision, adaptation and support for the Borough’s older population. The number of people across the Borough of Tunbridge Wells aged 65 or over is projected to increase from 22,600 in 2017 to 31,800 by 2033 (40.7% increase).’

The Household Survey undertaken as part of the HNS sets out that 26% of older people would consider occupation of C2 use accommodation.

Considering our comments on Section 2 and paragraph 4.7, Policy H9 does not reflect this evidence base on the need for C2 use development. The policy sets out the difference between older persons housing in use classes C2 and C3 and the need for both types of housing but does not contain an explicit numerical housing requirement for C2 use development – C2 housing need or requirement is not transparent but opaque within an overall ‘housing’ delivery objective.

It is only the supporting text to policy H9 that contains the Borough’s proposals for securing provision of housing for older people via three methods:

1. Including a development management policy (Policy H9) that seeks to encourage the delivery of housing for older people through planning applications;

Policy H9 further elaborates that ‘Independent nursing and residential care homes will be supported in accessible locations, subject to other policies on the Plan. The extension of existing nursing and care homes in rural areas will be assessed on their own merits, taking account of all relevant Local Plan policies and other material considerations.’

2. Allocating sites where appropriate for housing for older people; and

3. Sites allocated for C3 dwellings could, where appropriate, deliver housing for older people (including as part of a mixed use scheme).

This approach will not address the need for C2 use development in the Borough across the plan period for the following reasons:

1. Including a development management policy (Policy H9) that seeks to encourage the delivery of housing for older people through planning applications;

The problem in market terms is that C2 uses are unlikely to be delivered in the absence of specific allocations for C2. If there is an opportunity, the market is such that conventional C3 forms of housing is more commercially attractive than C2 and there is a pressing need for it (C3) in any event. The need for both market (and affordable housing) in planning and market terms will likely 'trump' C2 use where it’s only an opportunity (rather than a policy requirement/obligation), and as such specific C2 site allocations are required. At present, the Council does not advocate a plan led approach but left to market forces. It is at the very least highly uncertain and cannot reasonably be relied on to provide sufficient opportunity and certainty for C2 use development.

2. Allocating sites where appropriate for housing for older people;

There is only one policy within the draft Plan which allocates C2 use development: Policy AL/RTW 32 (Land at Beechwood Sacred Heart School) providing approximately 69 units. However, this brings forward an existing allocation from the Tunbridge Wells Borough Site Allocations Local Plan 2016, and a development of 69 units has already been granted full planning permission in 2017 (LPA reference: 16/07697/FULL). This allocation clearly does not meet the need for C2 use development across the plan period as set out in the Council’s own evidence base. Even if this permission has been implemented it has not been delivered in over two years.

3. Sites allocated for C3 dwellings could, where appropriate, deliver housing for older people (including as part of a mixed use scheme).

By definition, this will only bring forward housing for older people that falls within use class C3 and not C2.

Policy H9- Housing for Older People is inconsistent with the relevant parts of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2019 and the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) and will not achieve the Government’s objectives:

Paragraph 59 in the NPPF states that:

‘To support the Government’s objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes, it is important that a sufficient amount and variety of land can come forward where it is needed, that the needs of groups with specific housing requirements are addressed and that land with permission is developed without unnecessary delay.’

Policy H9 fails to comply with paragraph 59 of the NPPF as it will not allow a sufficient amount of land to come forward to meet the needs for C2 use development.

A new section in the PPG on ‘Housing for older and disabled people’ was published in June 2019 and states that plan-making authorities should set clear policies to address the housing needs of older people, which could provide indicative figures or a range for the number of units of specialist housing for older people needed across the plan area throughout the plan period (Paragraph: 006 Reference ID: 63-006-20190626). Policy H9 omits this strategy for no good reason and is not a clear policy to address the need for C2 development, including that it does not provide indicative figures or a range for the number of C2 units required throughout the plan period.

The PPG further sets out that ‘it is up to the plan-making body to decide whether to allocate sites for specialist housing for older people. Allocating sites can provide greater certainty for developers and encourage the provision of sites in suitable locations. This may be appropriate where there is an identified unmet need for specialist housing.’ (Paragraph: 013 Reference ID: 63-013-20190626). Given the need for C2 development as acknowledged by the Council in its own evidence base it is clear that it is necessary to allocate sites and no sound reason is given not to do this, or to justify the course of action that is in the draft Local Plan.

In summary policy H9 does not manifest the need for housing for older people as identified in paragraph 2.30 and 2.31 of the draft Local Plan, does not support the evidence base on the need for C2 use development in the Borough across the plan period, and does not comply with policy in the NPPF or guidance in the PPG.

DLP_6338

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of land west of Freight Lane, Cranbrook, hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H9 – Housing for older people

Whilst we welcome the recognition of the need to ensure a supply of accommodation for older people, we consider it necessary to identify within the plan sites that will meet the specialist needs of older people. In particular it will be important to identify C3 retirement accommodation to increase the choice for older people that will potentially free up larger family homes within the Borough.

Contributions from older persons housing

This policy will require affordable housing to be provided on-site and as such provides insufficient flexibility. Such affordable housing provision has proven to be incompatible with managed sheltered housing developments. This matter has been accepted in many areas and tested at length at appeals. RSL’s have also been found to be unwilling to take on any such units. The effect of this Policy would stifle delivery of sheltered housing accommodation. Such an approach conflicts with the positive approach towards housing delivery contained within the NPPF and as such is unsound. We would suggest that accommodation for older people not be required to provide onsite provision for affordable housing and instead be required to provide a commuted sum in lieu of provision.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6691

Gladman

 

6.16 Policy H9: Housing for Older People

6.16.1 Policy H9 sets out that larger developments may be required to set aside land to meet C2 housing need. The aims of the Local Plan and national planning policy to respond to the housing needs of all of the community is recognised and supported by Gladman, however to provide certainty and ensure that proposed allocations are viable and deliverable without delay, the Council should clarify which sites are expected to respond to this requirement.

6.16.2 The policy also confirms that all affordable housing will need to meet Part M4(2) of Building Regulations and at least 5% of dwellings on sites of 20 dwellings or more which need to meet Part M4(3) of Building Regulations. Again, the aims of this policy requirement are supported by Gladman, however to be considered consistent with PPG, the justification for the application of these standards to new dwellings must be supported by proportionate evidence and have been subject to viability testing through the full Local Plan Viability Appraisal [9 See Section 56 of PPG].

6.16.3 Gladman is concerned that the Policy attempts to define C2 uses in an overly simplistic way. Whilst the Council’s approach provides clarity, Gladman consider that some flexibility should be shown within the policy to enable the applicant to justify the use class of their proposal. This reflects the fact that many developments do not reflect a one size fits all approach as applied through Policy H9 and as such the policy will need to be malleable to take into account the full range of C2 products now available.

[TWBC: see full representation].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6816

Turley for Inspired Villages

 

These representations have been prepared by Turley, on behalf of Inspired Villages (hereafter referred to as “IV”), in respect of the current Regulation 18 consultation on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Draft Local Plan (‘Draft Plan’), which runs until 15th November 2019.

By way of introduction, IV are a developer and operator of care villages with 6 operating villages and ambitions to deliver 50 villages in the next 5 years, housing 12,500 residents and employing over 1,000 people. IV are fully funded by Legal & General.

These representations comment on the soundness of the Draft Plan and the tests of soundness (in the context of the NPPF 2019), which specify that for a Plan to be sound it must be;

  • Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which is proactive in planning for the needs of the ageing population;
  • Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;
  • Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and
  • Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.

In making these representations, IV’s intention is to ensure that this Local Plan helps to facilitate the delivery of housing and care accommodation to meet the needs of older people, rather than acting as a barrier to its delivery. As things stand, IV consider that the draft Local Plan is likely to represent an obstacle to delivery, bearing in mind the extent to which the Plan strictly categorises the Use Class of such schemes, without reference to the nature of accommodation now being developed.

The Draft Local Plan is supported by an evidence base, which includes the document ‘Housing Needs Assessment Topic Paper’ (August 2019). This provides background on the extent of the need for the ageing population as follows:

66. The need to provide housing for older people is critical as the proportion of older people in the population is increasing. Drawing on ONS data, the SHMA noted that the population of the borough of Tunbridge Wells aged 65+ years is expected to increase by 40.7% from 22,600 in 2017 to 31,800 in 2033.

67. The latest ONS (2016 based) demographic projections forecast a total population increase of some 7,500 people (6.4%) over the plan period (2016 2036). However, this screens substantial increases in the number of people aged over 65 years and especially those over 85 years.

The SHMA Update presented an indication of the number of people aged 75 and over who are expected to be living in some form of institutional housing (within Class C2):

Potential Need for Residential Care Housing - 2014-based SNPP (+MYE)Institutional population aged 75+ (2015) 897

Institutional population aged 75+ (2035)       1,646

Change in institutional population aged 75+      750

Per annum 'need' (2015-35) 37


Overall, the proportion of the borough’s population that is aged 65+ is likely to increase from 19.3 to over a quarter, 25.5%, of all people.

General Policy Comments

The Draft Plan includes a chapter ‘Housing for Older People’ at page 441. As a general point, IV is encouraged by the fact that the Local Plan does incorporate such a chapter, clearly in recognition of a need to provide such accommodation.

Table 6 on page 442 expressly splits housing for older people into two categories based on Use Classes as set out below. We consider this approach to be highly prescriptive and that it fails to properly account for the various forms of development which are provided. The Council’s interpretation appears to be based on an out-dated assumption that C2 uses must take the form listed in Table 6. The Council do not appear to be taking into account the PPG’s definitions for specialist housing. This definition defines different types of specialist housing, including a) age-restricted general market housing, b) retirement living or sheltered housing, c) extra care housing or housing-with-care and d) residential care homes and nursing homes. It also states that any single development may contain a range of different types of specialist housing (PPG Paragraph: 010 Reference ID: 63-010-20190626). These nuances are not referenced in the Council’s Table 6 Types of accommodation, and this is a failing of the Plan as currently worded.

Table 6 Types of accommodation

Class C2

Residential Nursing Care, End of Life, Hospice Care, and Dementia Care Home Accommodation

Class C3

Self Contained Accommodation (including age restricted), Sheltered Accommodation, and Extra Care Accommodation, Assisted Living, Close Care,

Continuing Care

Therefore unless a proposal falls within the categories of Residential Nursing Care, End of Life, Hospice Care, or Dementia Care Home Accommodation, the Council deems it to be C3.

This approach does not correlate with the evolving model of housing with care for older persons, and we would encourage consultation with the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), which are the main body representing the Retirement Community sector in the UK (https://www.arcouk.org/about-us).

For example, ARCO define a retirement community as following:

*Primarily for older people.

*Offer self-contained accommodation that can be occupied with security of tenure.

*Enable residents to take advantage of personal care that is delivered flexibly, usually by staff based on the premises.

*Have staff available at the Retirement Community 24-hours a day.

*Make domestic services available for residents.

*Make meals available in restaurants or dining areas.

*Offer communal facilities and encourage an active social programme in the community.

*Aim to offer people a home for life and to enable them to ‘age in place’.

As demonstrated in Appendix 1 IV’s care village model is based on the concept of encouraging and facilitating “wellness” in older people, by providing a suitable, safe and secure environment where care and assistance, tailored to suit individual’s needs, can be provided within peoples’ homes, on a flexible individual basis which can be increased over time. The entire principle is that the whole development is designed such that the delivery of assistance, care and promotion/encouragement of wellbeing is integrally facilitated by the site as a whole and its operational management. This concept means that when a person starts to plan for later life, to acknowledge the need for assistance with everyday tasks, or a requirement for care, they can move to a new home in an environment that can facilitate the delivery of this on their terms.

A care village offers the choice for older people, to put themselves in a place specifically designed to maximise their wellbeing, whilst maintaining the dignity and privacy of their own front door. Where one individual within a couple has greater care needs than the other, this can be provided for in a way that allows for them both to continue living comfortably on their home.

This evolving model of housing with care for older persons is not reflected in the Draft Plan as currently worded.

Further supporting text is then provided at paragraphs 6.339 and 6.340 on page 442:

67.339 Extra care accommodation is normally self contained, with associated facilities, providing 24 hour access to emergency support, as well as on-site facilities, such as a residents’ lounge, laundry room, and meal provision facilities. Care may also be provided, to varying degrees. Extra care accommodation can also be known as assisted living, close care, or continuing care housing.

67.340 Accommodation where there are facilities available for residents to eat meals together on site (different to a dining room where communal meals are provided at set times) would normally be classed as C3 accommodation. There are some development schemes where applicants seek to argue that the provision of a nominal amount of care in such buildings comprises 'extra care' accommodation. The normal level of affordable housing would be expected to be provided as part of any scheme of the types listed under C3 above (see Policy H 5: Affordable Housing for more information).

We comment as follows:

Extra care accommodation is normally self contained, with associated facilities, providing 24 hour access to emergency support, as well as on-site facilities, such as a residents’ lounge, laundry room, and meal provision facilities

An IV retirement village comprises of significantly more facilities that referenced in the Draft Plan supporting text. The IV care village model typically incorporates onsite facilities including a Wellness Centre (pool, gym, fitness studio and treatment rooms); a restaurant, café, small shop, hairdressers, cinema, library and craft room, ensuring that a large part of residents’ everyday needs would be catered for onsite. The supporting text as currently worded therefore represents an outdated view.

Care may also be provided, to varying degrees

Care is provided in an IV retirement village, the degree to which it is provided will vary according to needs. We would refer you to Rupert Warren QC’s advice, in particular the definition of care, enclosed within Appendix 2.

Accommodation where there are facilities available for residents to eat meals together on site (different to a dining room where communal meals are provided at set times) would normally be classed as C3 accommodation.

As discussed above, an IV retirement village comprises of more facilities that referenced here, and the policy text as worded therefore represents an outdated view.

Some development schemes where applicants seek to argue that the provision of a nominal amount of care in such buildings comprises 'extra care' accommodation

It would be useful if the Council could be specific when they reference ‘some development schemes’ and to further understand their experience of a retirement village. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to introduce the IV product in further detail and provide case studies of IV schemes.

The normal level of affordable housing would be expected to be provided as part of any scheme of the types listed under C3 above

The Council have not justified this approach based on the PPG. This states that Plans can set out different policy requirements for different types of development and that these policy requirements should be informed by evidence of infrastructure and affordable housing need, and a proportionate assessment of viability that takes into account all relevant policies and local and national standards (PPG Paragraph: 015 Reference ID: 63-015-20190626).

As a general point, we consider that the LPA should not be seeking to establish Use Classes through their Local Plan, and that this should be based on a fact and degree analysis of each individual case bearing in mind the nature of the proposed development and having regard to the relevant legislative framework.

The Draft Plan Policy for ‘Housing for Older People’ (Policy H9) is then provided on page 444. Draft Policy H9 covers the following topics:

* Location of provision for housing for older people;

* Accessibility and design;

* Amenity space and parking provision;

* Affordable housing.

Regarding the later of these, we note that Draft Policy H9 states:

* All Class C3 older persons’ accommodation, Self Contained Accommodation (including age restricted), Sheltered Accommodation, Extra Care Accommodation, Assisted Living, Close Care, and Continuing Care should provide affordable housing, in accordance with the general affordable housing policy.

* For C2 housing schemes, due to the level of care being provided to the residents, then, as a minimum, daily assistance should consist of help with personal care, such as washing, self care, and preparing food, and evidence provided within the planning application submission.

We consider that Draft Policy H9 has no consideration for the changing retirement living market, and represents an old fashioned approach. It does not reflect the IV model of enabling residents to make the choice to move to accommodation designed to meet their changing needs as they grow older. It does not reflect the retirement village / retirement community at all – in fact, it is wholly silent. On a fact and degree analysis of each proposal, those referred to by the Council in the C3 use may in fact be C2.

The policy specifies precise, detailed and what we consider to be excessive care requirements and other expectations for developments to be considered by the Council as a C2 use. This is based upon precedent which has been established at appeal, covered later on in these representations.

Viability Assessment

The Dixon Searle Partnership ‘Tunbridge Wells BC – Local Plan & CIL Viability Assessment Stage 1 Report Final v4’ includes text which considers an extra-care scheme and states that:

With further increased communal areas and other appraisal adjustments made over and above those for the retirement/sheltered tests, as may be expected (and beginning to be seen through some experience we have of site-specifics on these too), these results show viability levels beneath those schemes (i.e. compared with Table 1i).”

“Assuming a likelihood of C2 use rather than C3 being applicable in at least some, if not most, of these scenarios (with a minimum care package and other characteristics of C2 often involved for example) then we understand these would not be required to support the AH policy in the way that has been tested. They have been appraised with AH included at this stage, however, as such schemes may fall either side of the C2/C3 boundary subject to their specific nature and offer.

On this basis, it appears as though the Viability Assessment which supports this Local Plan considers a scenario where ‘extra-care’ schemes could be C2 and the authors of that document explain their understanding that such schemes would “not be required to support the AH policy in the way that has

been tested”. Therefore the Draft Plan is inconsistent with national policy, and inconsistent with its own evidence base. The Plan as currently written is therefore unsound.

Legislative and Policy Background

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) places land and buildings into various categories. Use Class C2 covers Residential Institutions, and is defined as:

Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than a use within class C3 (dwelling houses)). Use as a hospital or nursing home. Use as a residential school, college or training centre.”

The classifications of C2 and C3 developments were devised in 1987, at a time when the provision of specialist housing, extra care and continuing care retirement communities were not available options for older people. Further background on the nature of a continuing care retirement community is provided in at Appendix 1.

This matter has been the subject of increasing exposure in recent times, including through the House of Lords Select Committee Report on ‘Tackling Intergenerational Unfairness’ (April 2019). This Report recommended that “The Government should issue guidance clarifying that extra care retirement communities fall within the C2 use class as they are capable of delivering high levels of care to older people and so should be treated as the same planning use class as care homes.”

On 26 June 2019 the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) was updated with several key amendments relating to the ageing population and providing housing for older and disabled people. The updates to the PPG explain that when considering which Use Class a scheme falls in to, consideration “could, for example, be given to the level of care and scale of communal facilities provided.” When discussing the matter of Use Classes, the PPG refers to care and communal facilities, but not to the matter of whether accommodation is ‘self-contained’.

The Government has now acknowledged that the need to provide housing for older people is “critical”. The PPG acknowledges that people are now living longer lives, with the growth in the older population increasing. The PPG records that in mid-2016 there were 1.6 million people aged 85 and over; by mid- 2041 this is projected to double to 3.2 million.

The PPG identifies that providing suitable accommodation to meet peoples’ changing needs can deliver a range benefits including: helping them live independently for longer; feel more connected to their communities; and help reduce costs to the social care and health systems.

The PPG requires that local planning authorities take a positive approach to schemes which would help address an identified unmet need for specialist housing.

This changing shift in the PPG reflects the changing market and the growth of extra care, retirement village and continuing care retirement communities. However, this is not reflected in the prescriptive nature of policies and supporting text for ‘Housing for Older People’ contained within the Draft Plan.

We contend that an IV care village provides a level of care and scale of communal facilities which places the scheme within a C2 Use Class.

To further expand, the IV care village model provides accommodation designed specifically to meet the needs of older people, subject to the specific condition that they are in receipt of the Minimum Care Package. Consequently, the proposed development provides care to those who are in need of care.

Those who do not meet the requirements of the Minimum Care Package would not be able to occupy the development. These Representations at Appendix 2 include a document produced by Inspired Villages entitled ‘Standard Description and Draft Heads of Terms for Planning Purposes’. This provides information regarding the nature of the minimum care package which requires that Qualifying Persons be in receipt of a minimum of 1.5 hours of personal care per week (with personal care falling with defined categories). Bear in mind this is a minimum provision, some residents will require more care and this can be provided on-site.

The care village model typically incorporates onsite facilities including a Wellness Centre (pool, gym, fitness studio and treatment rooms); a restaurant, café, small shop, hairdressers, cinema, library and craft room, ensuring that a large part of residents’ everyday needs would be catered for onsite.

Legal Opinion

Enclosed within these Representations at Appendix 2 is a Legal Opinion provided by Rupert Warren of Queens Counsel on behalf of Inspired Villages which explains how their product falls within Use Class C2.

In Rupert Warren QC’s view, the Care Village Model as set out above falls squarely within Use Class C2, for the following reasons:

(1) It constitutes residential accommodation for those with a need for care. There is no doubt of the residential aspect. The requirement for a care need is satisfied by the mandatory Qualifying Person Assessment on entry.

(2) That is because the Minimum Care Package defines the minimum degree of care received in ways which meet the definition in the UCO. Both the actual amount (1.5 hours minimum per week) and the types of care, comply with the definition in the UCO and the Care Act 2008, and with the examples I have given from the planning appeal field.

(3) I do not think it makes any material difference that the Minimum Care Package in the IVG Care Village Model is 1.5 hours a week, as opposed to 2 hours. They represent the same basic level of care provision, and are of course minima – there will be many cases no doubt where residents are in receipt of substantially more care than 1.5 hours a week. Nonetheless, I am content that the level of care provision substantially defines the type of residential occupier and the nature of the use.

(4) I am particularly persuaded by the way the draft definition of Minimum Care Package comprises a requirement for the actual services to be received by the resident, rather (as in some cases I have seen) where they are merely “offered” by the provider or developer. This also makes monitoring and enforcement of the covenants a great deal easier.

(5) The units would be self-contained in the sense that they would have their own front doors, bathrooms and kitchens, but would be used in the context of substantial communal facilities. There is no need for the majority of the residents to use them the majority of the time, in my view. That is not a test which has been applied by Inspectors in any of the appeal decisions to which I refer above.”

In Rupert Warren QC’s view, the IV Care Village Model falls squarely within Use Class C2.

Appeal Precedents

There is a large evidence base by way of applications and appeals which support our contention that the proposed development falls within a C2 Use Class based on a 1.5 hour minimum care package as proposed by the IV CCRC model. We highlight a few key examples below.

Shiplake, South Oxfordshire (2019)

This application related to a scheme for an extra care development of up to 65 dwellings at Shiplake in South Oxfordshire District (P18/S3210/O).

Paragraph 43 of the Inspector’s decision sets out his consideration of whether the scheme was a C2 or C3 use:

The proposed development is agreed to be C2. That is a residential institution in the context of the Use Classes Order. The policy as read states that the required level of affordable housing will be sought on sites where there is a net gain of three or more dwellings. The issue revolves around, in part, whether the accommodation provided would result in the provision of dwellings. As individual elements it is not unreasonable to consider each of the separate units of accommodation as dwellings. They have the form, function and facilities one would associate with a dwelling. However the development proposed is more than the provision of individual units it is the collection of a number of units the occupation of which is restricted and which the occupants have access to communal facilities and which require occupants to have a level of care need; hence the C2 classification. It would be inappropriate to dissect the development into its constituent parts and conclude that one element triggered the affordable housing threshold. The policy refers to the site. The site in this case incorporates the whole development. The development consists of an extra care development of up to 65 units comprising of apartments and cottages (Use Class C2) and associated communal facilities. Parts of the development could not be implemented independently, the communal facilities and extra care is an integral component of the development. In this regard I am of the view that the development does not result in a net gain of three or more dwellings but results in the provision of an extra care development of up to 65 units comprising of apartments and cottages (Use Class C2) and associated communal facilities, as the description of development confirms.”

The planning obligations in relation to this proposal included various matters regarding the use of the site. The Inspector found that these included “restrictions on age, requirement for care, necessity for health assessment and provision of personal care. The provisions also include the requirement to secure the services of a care agency, require a basic care package, the provision of communal facilities, details of the operation of the management company and the provision of a mini bus. These matters are required to ensure the development provides extra care accommodation in line with the description of development and on the basis of the level of care and facilities that have supported the assessment of the impact of the development.

Crowborough, Wealden (2018)

The application related to a proposed extra care development at Harecombe Manor Nursing Home in Wealden District (application WD/2018/1585/MAJ).

Whilst the application was ultimately refused for a design, scale and appearance reasons, the LPA accepted that the proposed development fell into a C2 use. This was based on applicant’s commitment to a s106 obligation to include the requirement for qualifying persons to subscribe to at least the Basic Care Package (including an initial care assessment and subsequent reviews, 24- hour emergency cover, and at least 1.5 hours’ personal care per week).

The Officers Report concluded that ‘The units would be occupied by persons aged over 65 years old who will have been assessed as needing minimum provision of care per week’ and that ‘there would be very little prospect of presiding an Inspector that the proposal was not a C2 development’.

Tiddington Fields, Tiddington (2007)

The Inspector, in allowing the appeal (APP/J3720/A/07/2037666), found that taking account of the accommodation proposed, the age and health of the intended residents and the level of care (min 1.5 hours per week) to be provided, the proposed development constituted a C2 care use. The Inspector said:

‘I consider that this represents a level of care provision significantly above that in normal sheltered housing accommodation and sufficient to establish the proposed development as a Class C2 use’.

Stratford-upon-Avon (2012)

The Inspector concluded that a 60-unit Extra Care scheme fell within Class C2 in this appeal (APP/J3720/A/11/2153222) the Inspector stated:

‘Reinforcement of the premises-specific culture of care and support would be effected by the terms of occupation based on minimum age and minimum take-up of care services (albeit limited in terms of hours) and the substantial service charges well beyond those that might reasonably be expected in non- institutional accommodation.’

The appeal was accompanied by a Unilateral Planning Obligation committing the appellant to provide 1.5 hours personal care per week.

Leeds, Maidstone (2014)

Application reference 12/2046 (for a proposed continuing care retirement community at Ledian Farm) in Maidstone was approved, with the LPA accepted that the proposed development fell into a C2 use. This was based on applicant’s s106 obligation, which secured as following:

(i) : To ensure Care Units are only occupied by Qualifying Persons or their surviving spouses or dependents.

Qualifying Person” means a person who is either aged 65 years or more or is under 65 years and registered for Disability Living Allowance or in receipt of a General Practitioner certificate stating a disability or is registered with the Council as visually impaired and in each case is the subject of a Care Plan and has contracted through the obligations in the estate and services charge to receive Personal Care for a minimum of 1.5 hours per week.

Therefore all of the above examples support the view that the proposed development falls within a C2 Use Class based on a 1.5 hour minimum care package.

The above examples also demonstrate that the distinction between C2 and C3 comes to level of care provided and other nuances of the development proposed, rather than a strict categorisation of the types of development, as advocated by the Draft Plan in Table 6.

Conclusion

The Draft Local Plan, as currently written, in respect of the NPPF Paragraph 35 is unsound in a number of key respects:

Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence. The Council have failed to robustly justify why they have expressly split housing for older people into Use Class C2 and C3. The Local Plan supporting evidence base only informs the need/quantum as opposed to the Council’s approach regarding Use Classes, which appears to contradict the legal opinion by Rupert Warren QC and recent appeal decisions referred to in these Representations.

Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and we have reservations over the evidence base which underpins the Local Plan, as discussed above.

Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework. The prescriptive nature of policies and supporting text for ‘Housing for Older People’ contained within the Plan does not align with the PPG’s acknowledgement that the need to provide housing for older people is “critical” and the Local Plans own evidence base which identifies the extent of the need. The Draft Plan does not identify the housing need for older persons, and this approach is not compliant with the PPG. This is a deficiency of the Draft Plan as currently drafted.

Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which is proactive in planning for the needs of the ageing population. The changing shift in the PPG reflects the changing market and the growth of extra care, retirement village and continuing care retirement communities. However we consider that Draft Policy H9 has no consideration for the changing retirement living market, and represents an out dated approach which will constrain delivery. In this way, the Draft Local Plan has not been positively prepared, in respect of addressing the identified unmet need for specialist housing.

In making these representations, IV’s intention is to ensure that this Local Plan helps to facilitate the delivery of housing and care accommodation to meet the needs of older people, rather than acting as a barrier to its delivery. As things stand, IV consider that the draft Local Plan is likely to represent an obstacle to delivery, bearing in mind the extent to which the Plan strictly categorises the Use Class of such schemes, without reference to the nature of accommodation now being developed.

As currently drafted, the Draft Plan fails to properly recognise and address the needs of older people and the fact that the Council have an ageing population. In addition, the Draft Plan disregards the many benefits of housing with care including NHS and social care savings, employment and other economic benefits, with reference to “Healthier and Happier: An analysis of the fiscal and wellbeing benefits of building more homes for later living” A Report by WPI Strategy and Homes for Later Living (September 2019) (Appendix 3). We would encourage consultation with the Council’s Social Care Member and ARCO, if this has not already taken place.

We would suggest you give serious consideration to these concerns and make appropriate adjustments before progressing to the next stage of preparation of the emerging Local Plan. If you have any questions about these representations or wish to discuss them further please do not hesitate to contact me. In the meantime I would appreciate it if you could please confirm safe receipt of these representations.

[TWBC: see full representation attached for supporting documentation].

DLP_6896

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H9 – Housing for older people

7.17 Whilst we welcome the recognition of the need to ensure a supply of accommodation for older people, we consider it necessary to identify within the plan sites that will meet the specialist needs of older people. In particular it will be important to identify C3 retirement accommodation to increase the choice for older people that will potentially free up larger family homes within the Borough.

Contributions from older persons housing

7.18 This policy will require affordable housing to be provided on-site and as such provides insufficient flexibility. Such affordable housing provision has proven to be incompatible with managed sheltered housing developments. This matter has been accepted in many areas and tested at length at appeals. RSL’s have also been found to be unwilling to take on any such units. The effect of this Policy would stifle delivery of sheltered housing accommodation. Such an approach conflicts with the positive approach towards housing delivery contained within the NPPF and as such is unsound. We would suggest that accommodation for older people not be required to provide onsite provision for affordable housing and instead be required to provide a commuted sum in lieu of provision.

DLP_6958

The Planning Bureau for The Retirement Housing Consortium (Renaissance Retirement, Pegasus Life, McCarthy and Stone, Churchill Retirement Living)

Object

The inclusion of a policy specifically promoting the provision of housing for older people is supported. The policy requires that:

All Class C3 older persons’ accommodation, Self Contained Accommodation (including age restricted), Sheltered Accommodation, Extra Care Accommodation, Assisted Living, Close Care, and Continuing Care should provide affordable housing, in accordance with the general affordable housing policy. Where a development includes a mixture of Class C2 and C3 units, regard will be given to the development as a whole, and contributions will be sought from the Class C3 provision where applicable.

For C2 housing schemes to be exempt from an affordable housing requirement, due to the level of care being provided to the residents, then, as a minimum, daily assistance should consist of help with personal care, such as washing, self care, and preparing food, and evidence provided within the planning application submission.

The first requirement should be founded upon a solid examination of development viability, which as already set out is not the case. Further analysis of the appraisals undertaken for this typology will be required.

The requirement relating to C2 housing is not reflective of recent appeal decisions relating to this matter. The decision as to whether an application for older persons housing is C2 or C3 is a matter to be decided based on the specifics of each scheme and on a case by case basis. The level of care required to warrant a C2 or C3 designation and therefore a requirement for affordable housing provision is likely to be different for all residents. The Pegasus appeal decision at the Knowle, Station Road, Sidmouth, Devon (Appeal Ref: APP/U1105/W/17/3177340) concluded that not all people will require the same level of care at the same point in their life, but what is important is that care is available to meet their individual needs as and when the time comes. This appeal decision concluded that a minimum level of care of 2 hours personal care per week per resident was sufficient in the recognition that there would be a wide range of care needs amongst residents.

The draft policy should be amended to remove the requirement to provide affordable housing on C2 proposals provided that a range of services will be offered to residents.

[TWBC: see appeal decision].

DLP_7658

Mr J Boxall

Support

The housing needs policy for older people needs to ensure that they can remain in their own homes for much longer independently so design of houses is paramount and many more bungalows/accessible homes should be developed, especially in rural areas of the Borough near to the centre of villages.

Nursing/care homes are not needed as much if the older person can live within the community amongst others.

DLP_8223

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

H9 – Housing for older people

Whilst we welcome the recognition of the need to ensure a supply of accommodation for older people, we consider it necessary to identify within the plan sites that will meet the specialist needs of older people. In particular it will be important to identify C3 retirement accommodation to increase the choice for older people that will potentially free up larger family homes within the Borough.

Contributions from older persons housing

This policy will require affordable housing to be provided on-site and as such provides insufficient flexibility. Such affordable housing provision has proven to be incompatible with managed sheltered housing developments. This matter has been accepted in many areas and tested at length at appeals. RSL’s have also been found to be unwilling to take on any such units. The effect of this Policy would stifle delivery of sheltered housing accommodation. Such an approach conflicts with the positive approach towards housing delivery contained within the NPPF and as such is unsound. We would suggest that accommodation for older people not be required to provide onsite provision for affordable housing and instead be required to provide a commuted sum in lieu of provision.

DLP_8391

Ms Nicola Gooch

 

Policy H9

I think you may need to revisit the list of retirement living developments which have been classified as C3 within the text of the policy – as a number of them – in particular Sheltered Accommodation, Extra Care Accommodation, Assisted Living, Close Care, and Continuing Care – may well in fact be in C2 use.

The definition of Class C2 accommodation appears in the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). As

“Use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care (other than use within Class C3 (dwelling houses)). Use as a hospital or nursing home. Use as a residential school, college or training centre”.

‘Care’ is defined in the Use Classes Order as follows: ‘Personal care for people in need of such care by reason of old age, disablement, past or
present dependence on alcohol or drugs or past or present mental disorder … and treatment’.

The distinction between C2 and C3 actually comes down to the level of care provided to those living in the developments, rather than the development typologies involved.

As such – the policy as drafted runs the risk of categorising forms of development without properly analysing the actual circumstances of the proposed scheme.

It would work a lot better if the relevant text simply read “All Class C3 older persons’ accommodation should provide affordable housing, in accordance with the general affordable housing policy.

Where a development includes a mixture of Class C2 and C3 units, regard will be given to the development as a whole, and contributions will be sought from the Class C3 provision where applicable”

Policy H 10: Rural Workers' Dwellings

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_841

Supervene Architects

General Observation

I welcome specific policy on self and custom build in line with the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and Self Build and Custom Build Housing Act 2015. Here are following comments on the local plan and corresponding policy.

6.358 – paragraph makes comment that there is little information due to the short period and it is difficult to predict future needs. However it then states it is evident that people want single plots, I would suggest that until information is known on how plots are being taken up by people on the register then this statement should be omitted.

There is no recognition of small self/custom build developments coming forward that sit between single and large housing projects. Scheme between 2 and 20 people where co housing or community led housing schemes may come forward.

6.359 – local connection requirement is fine but I would suggest being within borough does not actually meet the idea of local connection. It should be based on the borough plus a geographical distance from the borough boundary. For example someone living in Tonbridge is still local to the area and may well work in Tunbridge Wells. They should be able to be on the register.

6.360 – again there should be recognition that smaller developments may come forward to meet this demand. Rather than the onus on single and large housing schemes.

6.363 – sites that are marketed should also be distributed to the register as part of that commitment.

DLP_4014

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H10 – Rural workers dwellings

Fully supported

DLP_4192

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy.

DLP_4256

Rother District Council

Support

Support

The approach taken to rural workers’ dwellings is in line with this Council’s policy on this issue and only supports the creation of new dwellings in extremely limited circumstances to support farming and land- based industries.

Policy H 11: Self Build and Custom Housebuilding

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_245

Mr Eamonn Harper

Support with conditions

Agree with the 5% of developments but there are very few developments of 100 plus units, so it should be applied on developments of 20 of more (but the number of units required required to be set aside rounded down rather than up until the size of development is 100 or more units)

DLP_840

Supervene Architects

Support with conditions

H 11: Supportive on the policy as a whole better definition of how larger developments need to contact the self build register after marketing. Stipulate that the sites must be marketed through relevant trade organisations, local papers and the self-build register for at least a year.

DLP_4193

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy.

DLP_4714

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Policy should be amended so as to allow for developments to meet identified Self Build Register requirements (capped at 5%) rather than require a blanket 5% on all developments over 100 units. The requirement to subsequently offer the plot to the Council/RP should be removed as this is not effectively self build.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

Suggested policy rewording:

“Where a need has been identified for self-build and custom housebuilding plots in the parish or settlement by the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register, plots for such development will need to be provided:

1. On sites proposing to deliver (or capable of delivering) 100 or more residential units, self-build or custom housebuilding plots will be required, comprising of at least 5% of the total number of units being proposed. The resulting number of self build units required to be provided will be required to be rounded up to the nearest whole number. This is in addition to the level of affordable housing required by Policy H 5: Affordable Housing. Up to a maximum 5% self build units. The resulting number of self build units required to be provided will be required to be rounded up to the nearest whole number. This is in addition to the level of affordable housing required by Policy H 5: Affordable Housing.

Once planning permission has been granted, the self-build and custom housebuilding plots will need to be marketed through relevant trade organisations for at least a year. Evidence of this marketing must be submitted. If a plot/s has been marketed for a year, and a buyer has not been found, the plot should be offered to the Council/Registered Provider, to increase the chance of plots being developed. If at the end of this process, there has not been any interest in the plot/s, then the owner of the plot can build for sale on the open market.

The marketing of plot/s, including at what point in the site’s development they should begin to be marketed, may be secured through a Section 106 agreement or condition.

Any residential proposals being brought forward will need to conform to other relevant policies in the Local Plan, including Policies EN 1: Design and other development management criteria and EN 2: Sustainable Design and Construction”.

DLP_4889

Berkeley Strategic Land Ltd

 

Policy H11 – Self Build

10.1. Berkeley recognises the introduction of self-build and custom housing to the housing market. However, a blanket 5% requirement for custom build housing on all schemes in excess of 100 dwellings, would not necessarily be suitable or achievable for all development sites, such as those with a single point of access where construction would have to be carefully managed to ensure consistency and quality across the development. It is recommended that this policy wording is altered to state its requirement only on suitable sites and where there is a proven demand.

DLP_5329

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

Policy H11 ‘Self Build and Custom Housebuilding’ requires sites of 100 (+) dwellings to provide at least 5% serviced plots for self and custom housebuilding. Whilst Local Planning Authorities now have a duty to promote self-build housing, we would question whether the requirements of policy H11 are justified. PPG places an onus on LPA’s to investigate how they can provide plots to support self-builders. Only when they have concluded these investigations should they place a requirement for the provision of serviced plots on larger sites. PPG also requires Council’s to review their registers to ensure that there is those who are on the list are still interested and that there is no double counting with other registers. We would suggest that such a review is undertaken before the Reg 19 Plan is published so that the requirements set out in policy H11 can be updated accordingly

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_6161

Turley for Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd

 

The policy aspiration, whilst laudable, does not appear to have been forged from the guidance at paragraph 57-14 of PPG, which requires a more holistic approach be taken to addressing such needs registers through a series of options, rather than just on sites proposing to deliver over 100 homes. We would recommend further assessments are undertaken to determine the strategy and contribution from all sources, not just large development sites.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting document A, supporting document B, supporting document C, and supporting document D]. 

DLP_6339

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of land west of Freight Lane, Cranbrook, hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’.

5. Development Management Policies

The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H11 – Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

Whilst we support the encouragement of self-build housing through the local plan, we do not consider the requirement for sites of over 100 to provide at least 5% service plots for self and custom house building to be justified or consistent with national policy. Whilst we recognise that Local Planning Authorities now have a duty to promote self-build housing, we do not consider the Council to have looked at sufficient options with regard to how it can provide plots to support self-builders. Paragraph 57-024 of the PPG sets out a variety of approaches that need to be considered – including the use of their own land. This is reiterated in para 57-14 of the PPG which sets out the need for Council’s to consider how they can support the delivery of self-build plots through their housing strategy, land disposal and regeneration functions. The Council must investigate other means by which to promote self-build custom house-building opportunities, including the use of its own land, it has not been able to bring this forward in the Local Plan. We would suggest that it should conclude these investigations before requiring the provision of service plots on larger sties.

Finally, the Council will also need to carefully consider their evidence to ensure that it is sufficiently robust to support the proposed requirement. Paragraph 67-003 of PPG requires Council’s to review their registers to ensure that there is those who are on the list are still interested and that there is no double counting with other registers. Where lists have been reviewed elsewhere the number of self-build plots to be planned for have dropped significantly. In Runnymede for example more stringent registration requirements were applied in line with national policy and saw the numbers of interested parties on the register fall from 155 to just 3.

[TWBC: see full representation. Also see Comment Nos. DLP_6319, 6323-6326, 6328, 6830-6835, 6837-6839].

DLP_6692

Gladman

 

6.17 Policy H11: Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

6.17.1 The policy sets out the Council’s approach to self-build and custom build housing. The policy confirms that the provision of this type of dwelling is to be achieved principally through on-site provision as a proportion of strategic scale developments (sites of 100 dwellings per more). A plot- based requirement of 5% of total provision at these sites is identified, with affordable housing requirements also applicable.

6.17.2 Although supportive of the aims to increase opportunities for self-build and custom build homes, Gladman do not consider that the policy approach as drafted provides for an effective mechanism in meeting this type of housing need.

6.17.3 At present there is evidenced to be 163 entrants on the Council’s self-build register. This reduces to 103 entrants when people whom are not local to the Borough are excluded. Also, there is the possibility that entrants included on the list also feature on the self-build register of neighbouring authorities, and their housing need might be addressed or change over the plan period.

6.17.4 Under the proportionate approach of Policy H11 a total of 422 self-build/custom built dwellings could be built if applied across the Borough universally. This is significantly more than the identified need. As a result, Gladman do not consider that the policy requirement is justified.

6.17.5 A further problem with the drafted approach is its effectiveness is responding to the needs and requirements of those included within the list. As acknowledged by the Council in Paragraph 6.358 of the Local Plan, evidence collated by the Council confirms that most people want single plots, rather than plots on large housing schemes for self-build. As a result, whilst the policy might provide plots in response to an identified need for self-build, there is no guarantee that these plots will be occupied by the people identified as having this need owing to a potential lack of demand for the location and type of development within which the plot is available. A different approach is therefore required.

6.17.6 The final problem with the drafted approach is how such plots are to be delivered as part of a larger scheme. The requirement for self-build within a development creates difficulties with how that larger sites is developed, such as infrastructure provision and phasing. There are also security and health and safety issues of enabling third party access to an active construction site.

6.17.7 Based on the above, Gladman consider that a much more effective way of responding to self-build and custom build housing is to set out a positive policy framework which promotes self-build through windfall development. Gladman consider that such delivery could be achieved through suggested wording for development beyond but adjacent to settlement boundaries as submitted in response to Policy STR10 (see Section 5 of this representation).

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_6656-6695]

DLP_6898

Persimmon Homes South East

 

These representations have been prepared in respect of Land to the East of Horsmonden (hereafter referred to as ‘the Site’) which has received a draft allocation, under Policy Reference AL/HO3.

7.0 DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES 

7.1 The draft Plan includes a full suite of draft Development Management policies. Whilst many of these policies seem reasonable in their approach and requirement, we have some detailed concerns in respect of several of these policies.

H11 – Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

7.19 Whilst we support the encouragement of self-build housing through the local plan, we do not consider the requirement for sites of over 100 to provide at least 5% service plots for self and custom house building to be justified or consistent with national policy. Whilst we recognise that Local Planning Authorities now have a duty to promote self-build housing, we do not consider the Council to have looked at sufficient options with regard to how it can provide plots to support self-builders. Paragraph 57-024 of the PPG sets out a variety of approaches that need to be considered – including the use of their own land. This is reiterated in para 57-14 of the PPG which sets out the need for Council’s to consider how they can support the delivery of self-build plots through their housing strategy, land disposal and regeneration functions. The Council must investigate other means by which to promote self-build custom house-building opportunities, including the use of its own land, it has not been able to bring this forward in the Local Plan. We would suggest that it should conclude these investigations before requiring the provision of service plots on larger sties.

7.20 Finally, the Council will also need to carefully consider their evidence to ensure that it is sufficiently robust to support the proposed requirement. Paragraph 67-003 of PPG requires Council’s to review their registers to ensure that there is those who are on the list are still interested and that there is no double counting with other registers. Where lists have been reviewed elsewhere the number of self-build plots to be planned for have dropped significantly. In Runnymede for example more stringent registration requirements were applied in line with national policy and saw the numbers of interested parties on the register fall from 155 to just 3.

DLP_6933

Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson

Object

7.32 Policy H11 requires all sites proposing to deliver over 100 dwellings are to deliver at least 5% of the total number as serviced self-build plots.

7.33 The housing trajectory, set out in the supporting Housing Supply and Trajectory Topic Paper (September 2019), indicates that a total of 8,330 dwellings will be delivered on sites greater than 100 residential units. This uses TWBC’s average expected yield for each site. Working on a 5% delivery rate for self-build, this would see the delivery of 417 serviced self-build plots over the plan period.

7.34 Planning Practice Guidance advises that financial solvency tests can be applied alongside local connection tests but that there must be a strong justification for these. TWBC acknowledge that only 63% live in the borough and need had been reduced to take account of this. However, they do not at present apply a financial solvency test, and as such the need for self-build plots in Tunbridge Wells may be over-inflated.

7.35 Criterion 1 should be amended to include provision for a lower Self Build plot delivery rate where it has been established that there is a lower need or demand.

[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].

DLP_7009

Turnberry for Hadlow Estate

Object

[TWBC: this comment relates to representations on AL/CA 1: Tudeley Village].

Policy H11 - Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

We object to this policy on the grounds that it is not effective or deliverable to have a situation where between 125-140 dwellings sit outside the control and oversight of a coordinated design and infrastructure plan. This is particularly the case in a community where there is strong central oversight, one of the key features we have identified in garden villages within the historic tradition (see para 2.22 above). If a need has been identified, this would be best directed towards standalone developments specifically allocated for that purpose.

[TWBC: see full representation attached].

[TWBC: see also Comment Numbers DLP_6996, 7003-7009, 7013-7017 and SA_128]

DLP_7059

Sigma Planning Services for Rydon Homes Ltd

Object

This is an arbitrary policy which is likely to prove ineffective in meeting Government objectives to meet the needs of different groups in the community. Instead it represents an ineffective interference that will only serve to complicate and frustrate the delivery of new housing. The reason for this is that those wishing to build their own homes are seeking an individuality of design, location and surroundings that are simply not compatible in overall design terms or context with a large scale development scheme. Masterplanning and the holistic and comprehensive design approach required of housebuilders by the Council's urban design team are completely at odds with the individual aspirations and objectives of someone wishing to build their own home. The provision of sites for self-build houses should be focussed on individual plots, mainly windfalls, local exceptions, redevelopment and subdivision pf existing residential plots and the like. Some small and medium sized sites that are designed to accommodate and indeed promote the diversity and individuality of self-build housing can be supported to provide serviced plots with a low key approach to design parameters that allows individuality to be expressed within a context of only limited and essential design control.

37. The approach in Policy H11 runs entirely contrary to this approach and seeks to burden the housebuilding industry with yet another series of requirements that complicate the planing process and do not reflect the chosen business plan upon which their company wishes to operate. The policy is a token gesture to Government attempts to broaden the range of new housing and thereby increase the delivery of housing numbers. The Council are seeking to pass this duty onto the shoulders of developers of larger housing sites that are fundamentally unsuited to making such provision. This is presumably to pass the blame for any failure to deliver on the Government objectives onto the housebuilder. The policy is based upon anticipated lack of demand and is not positively prepared in that it mainly addressed the sequence of procedures that a developer has to carry out including offering the site to be purchased by the Council or a Registered Provider without any reference to the realism of any land values involved.

38. The policy is misdirected and is not positively prepared. It should be replaced by a positive, pro-active and focussed policy that recognises the needs of those interested in building thier own homes and promotes the provision of suitable opportunities where individuality and diversity of design are welcomed and the surrounding environment is not hostile to the aspirations of individual and self-build groups who do not wish to be subjected to the rigours and limitations of an holistic development design approach. Equally, the concept of reserving parts, probably peripheral parts of larger sites to accommodate self-build is likely to be of no interest to the mian housebuilder because i does not form part of their business plan and will not be attractive to self-build individuals or groups because of of the local context. There is therefore the risk of creating under-used possibly partly constructed sites that are environmentally and visually unattractive. The policy should not seek to engineer a market for self-build housing but should recognise its characteristics and positively seek to meet the demand at whatever level it demonstrates itself by providing or permitting suitable one-off opportunities to build individual and distinctive dwellings.

[TWBC: See attachment for full response]

DLP_7348

W Richard

 

Draft Local Plan

Self build can be defined as a form of building where a member of the public buys a plot, either through the Council’s Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register, or otherwise,

Feedback

I wonder whether a focus can be made on the Council’s register as the key place versus other options. I being new to the interest of new build have only found or come across 2 plots on rightmove which were advised at over £200k. I think it would be good to have most of the marketing focused on the Council’s register instead of other avenues so you can have those already registered hearing opportunities first.

Draft Local Plan

Self Build and Custom Housebuilding

Feedback

It would be good to know details about which of the two options the council favours if at all.

After I applied I think the number is now 166 instead of 163 which is not a huge number but there would been those keen within the number so I do feel it is still good to ensure adequate opportunity exists.

Draft Local Plan

In addition, it is evident that most people want single plots, rather than plots on larger housing schemes.

Feedback

I would be interested in both. From the initial comments it seems the option available is where a developer potentially has a plan for over 100 dwellings. Is there a potential to have a lot of land focused on self builders only instead of being linked to a developer already building?

There should be an option to review the register and ask people every 1-2 years to revalidate their interest.

Whilst I do not yet live in Tunbridge Wells I am very much interested in moving and more importantly buying my own land. I am careful in trying to select a home as I have been looking on the market for some time but do not just want to buy anything. My main desire is to self build.

In terms of single plots and larger housing schemes it would be good to have more details on the advantages and disadvantages of the two.

What other trade organisations would the self and custom build opportunities be marketed through? It would be good to get more clarity on this. I would want to ensure that as I am on the register I have an earlier opportunity than people looking everywhere across the country for a plot of land. Whilst I have come across plots in other areas I am committed to Tunbridge Wells.

It would be good to see more self and custom build opportunities in Bidborough and Speldhurst I do appreciate the green belt % in both places is considerably high.

Interested in ensuring the below has opportunity for self and custom build:

  • ALRTW 3
  • ALRTW 7
  • ALRTW 8
  • ALRTW 11
  • ALRTW 18
  • ALRTW 20 – 22
  • ALRTW 24-25
  • ALRTW 27
  • ALRTW 29
  • ALRTW 31
  • ALSO 2-3
  • AL/SP1 – I would be very interested although it is only 20 dwellings and not 100 or more

Is there any opportunity to get keen self and custom build individuals interested in the process and having a closer say in opportunities? If there is any opportunity as such I would be interested. Thanks.

DLP_8224

Home Builders Federation

 

Thank you for consulting the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on the draft Local Plan. The HBF is the principal representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of discussions with our membership of national and multinational corporations through to regional developers and small local housebuilders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year. Outlined below are our comments on the approach taken by the Council to increasing the supply of land for residential development and the policies being proposed with regard to the management of new development in future.

H11 – Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding

Whilst we support the encouragement of self-build housing through the local plan, we do not consider the requirement for sites of over 100 to provide at least 5% service plots for self and custom house building to be justified or consistent with national policy. Whilst we recognise that Local Planning Authorities now have a duty to promote self build housing, we do not consider the Council to have looked at sufficient options with regard to how it can provide plots to support self-builders. Paragraph 57-024 of the PPG sets out a variety of approaches that need to be considered – including the use of their own land. This is reiterated in para 57-14 of the PPG which sets out the need for Council’s to consider how they can support the delivery of self-build plots through their housing strategy, land disposal and regeneration functions. The Council must investigate other means by which to promote self-build custom house-building opportunities, including the use of its own land, it has not been able to bring this forward in the Local Plan. We would suggest that it should conclude these investigations before requiring the provision of service plots on larger sties.

Finally, the Council will also need to carefully consider their evidence to ensure that it is sufficiently robust to support the proposed requirement. Paragraph 67-003 of PPG requires Council’s to review their registers to ensure that those individuals or groups who are on the list are still interested and that there is no double counting with other registers. Where lists have been reviewed elsewhere the number of self-build plots to be planned for have dropped significantly. In Runnymede for example more stringent registration requirements were applied in line with national policy and saw the numbers of interested parties on the register fall from 155 to just 3.

Policy H 12: Build to Rent

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1868

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  H12 Build to Rent 

We support the safeguards to prospective tenants introduced into this policy.

DLP_4194

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy.

DLP_4288

RTW Civic Society

Support

We support the ideas within this policy.

DLP_4510

Town & Country Housing Group

Object

Policy H12 – Build to rent – We don't agree with the lowering of the affordable housing threshold to 20% on build to rent projects.   This should be at 40%, split as 60% social rent and 40% intermediate rent housing.

DLP_4718

CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd

Support with conditions

Dandara Comment 

Dandara support the policy but believe that the affordable rented definition should be linked to the policy to reflect the wording set out within the PPG – affordable private rent rather than affordable rent and noted within the policy.

Suggested Policy Amendment(s) 

No revised wording proposed. Further clarification required.

DLP_7114

Williams Gallagher for Canada Life Ltd

Support

Policy H12 – Build To Rent 

The provisions of the policy are supported especially the confirmation that the affordable housing element reflects the national provision of 20% affordable as affordable rent.

We trust that you find these comments constructive and look forward to on-going dialogue with the Council. Please keep us informed of progress with the local plan preparation.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

[TWBC: see also Comment Nos. DLP_7102-7117].

Policy H 13: Gypsies and Travellers

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_4195

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE generally supports this policy, though the word “visual” should be removed from point 3, since harm to a landscape is not necessarily only visual.  We recommend that, in view of the need to protect the special national landscape of the AONB, the policy should direct this development to sites outside the AONB, except where there is a proven local connection, as with rural exceptions housing sites.

DLP_5330

Judith Ashton Associates for Redrow Homes Ltd and Persimmon Homes South East

General Observation

Whilst there is nothing in the policy to require provision at Paddock Wood, para 6.5.18 of the HTP suggests that there is a requirement for 3 additional pitches in the borough during the plan period, and that these could be met at Paddock Wood. As set out above, in order to avoid any confusion either the HTP needs amending when issued at Reg 19 or policy H13 needs to be explicit and the implications on the proposed allocations taken into account in the Viability Appraisal.

[TWBC: see full representation].

DLP_7353

Wealden District Council

Support with conditions

The Tunbridge Wells Borough Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) (January 2018) confirms that there is an overall need in the Borough of some 32 residential pitches for the plan period (2016-2036)1 and that the majority of existing Gypsy and Traveller sites (nearly 80% of sites) have only one or two pitches, the largest site containing seven separate pitches. The GTAA recommended that based on their understanding of existing sites and the nature of demand that the most appropriate way of meeting the identified need should largely be through the intensification and/or expansion of existing sites.

Policy H13 (Gypsies and Travellers) of the draft Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan outlines a criteria based policy for the establishment of gypsy and traveller sites, with eight criteria that need to be satisfied. The criteria largely relates to development management matters, but criteria 1 confirms that the site must form part of, or be located adjacent to, an existing lawful permanent gypsy and traveller site, or is allocated within a policy in the Local Plan, or is provided as part of a wider residential or mixed use scheme. It is noted that an additional 4 (net) pitches are to be provided under Policy AL/PW 1 and Policy AL/CRS 15, which will leave a remaining 24 pitches to be provided under this policy.

It is noted that the TWBC are seeking to meet their own Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs through identified allocations cited above and through the intensification and/or expansion sites. This is supported. However, the policy does not provide a list of such existing sites that are considered suitable for intensification/expansion, and therefore, the deliverability of those additional pitches maybe uncertain or untested. To provide clarity, it would be considered appropriate to identify those existing sites where additional pitches are likely to come forward and would be acceptable, providing the identified criteria is met.

The Submission Wealden Local Plan (January 2019) confirms that Wealden District Council will meet its fully identified Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs for the Plan period through two identified sites within the Plan at Hailsham and Polegate. It is therefore considered that there are no current requirements for Gypsy and Traveller provision from Wealden District at the current time.

Policy H 14: Replacement dwellings outside the Limits to Built Development

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1869

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number:  H 14 Replacement Dwellings outside the LBD 

We support this policy.

DLP_4196

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy

Policy H 15: Residential extensions, alterations, outbuildings, and annexes inside the Limits to Built Development

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1706

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

vi. H15-16 (Residential Extensions, Alterations etc. inside and outside the LBD). The test of these policies will be their stringent application to all and every relevant application. Extensions, alterations, and replacements should, at the very least, demonstrate soundness of proposals, integrity in the use of materials, and well-founded arguments for any proposed departure from commonly-accepted standards of design.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1870

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

 

Policy Number:  H15 Residential Extensions

Support + General Observations   

We support this Policy but wonder how far it will be enforced in practice under present staffing levels. In paragraph 1 we suggest changing “roof form” to “form” which is more all-embracing. The proposed form of a building will always be significant but the roof form may not always be so, except in the case of conservation areas and in the setting of listed buildings and non-designated heritage assets.

DLP_4197

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support with conditions

CPRE supports these policies.  However, paragraph 6.409 concerning the AONB should be included in the policies.

Policy H 16: Residential extensions, alterations, outbuildings, and annexes in the Green Belt and outside the Limits to Built Development

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1707

Brenchley and Matfield Parish Council

 

b. From the large number of policies in the DLP, the Council wishes to comment on the following, the aims of which relate to policies that will be included in the Brenchley and Matfield NDP.

vi. H15-16 (Residential Extensions, Alterations etc. inside and outside the LBD). The test of these policies will be their stringent application to all and every relevant application. Extensions, alterations, and replacements should, at the very least, demonstrate soundness of proposals, integrity in the use of materials, and well-founded arguments for any proposed departure from commonly-accepted standards of design.

[TWBC: part of whole comment number DLP_1683].

DLP_1871

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number: H16 Extensions outside LBD

We support this policy.

DLP_4015

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H16 – Extensions O/S LBD

Fully supported

Policy H 17: Extensions to residential curtilages (domestic gardens) outside the Limits to Built Development

Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Object/support/support with conditions/general observation

Response

DLP_1872

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum

Support

Policy Number: H 17: Extensions to Curtilages outside LBD

We support this policy which should restrict the extension of curtilages into the countryside with its tendency to a suburbanising effect, unless there are the specified reasons in the Policy which justify it.

DLP_4017

Lamberhurst Parish Council

Support

H17 _ Extensions to curtilages O/S LBD

Fully supported

DLP_4198

Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England

Support

CPRE supports this policy