Surrey Heath Draft Local Plan Issues Options/Preferred Options, 2018

Affordable Housing

3.47 National Planning policy in the NPPF requires Local Plans to set policies for meeting affordable housing needs. Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) sets out that contributions for affordable housing should not be set from small scale and self-build development. This means sites of 10 units or less and which have a maximum combined floorspace of no more than 1000sq m (gross internal area). In respect of starter homes the Housing and Planning Act 2016 seeks provision of starter homes on sites of more than 10 units or sites over 0.5ha.

3.48 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment recommends an overall affordable housing quota of 35%-40% over the Housing Market Area. Any target set out in a Local Plan policy will need to be subject to viability testing. Viability testing will be undertaken in developing the pre-submission version of the new Local Plan.

3.49 To date the Council, due to viability arguments and the introduction of permitted development rights to convert offices into homes, without the need to provide affordable housing, has not been able to meet the need for affordable housing set out in the current Core Strategy. The Council will seek to address this in the new Local Plan by requiring all sites over ten units, or 1000sq m gross internal floor area, to provide a range of affordable housing. The tenure size and type will be negotiated on a site by site basis, having regard to housing needs and government initiatives such as starter homes. The affordable housing should be provided on-site and distributed in clusters across the development. Current Government advice is that affordable housing is not required on sites of 10 or less dwellings.

3.50 An Affordable Housing Viability Assessment has been undertaken on behalf of the Borough Council which sets out that options should be consulted for on-site affordable housing delivery at 30%, 35% or 40%. The preferred policy approach is for 35% which reflects the current approach in the Core Strategy.

View the Affordable Housing Viability Assessment, located in the Council's website.


Policy Approaches to Affordable Housing

3.51 The preferred policy approach and alternative approaches to affordable housing are set out below.

Preferred Policy Approach to Affordable Housing

The aim of this preferred policy approach is to provide a mix of affordable housing to meet the needs of current and future households by having a policy that:

  • Seeks a requirement of at least 35% affordable housing units on sites of 11 or more dwellings or combined gross internal floor area of over 1000sq m, subject to viability.
  • Seeks a range of affordable housing* to be provided
  • Requires the negotiation of tenure size and type on a site by site basis to meet identified housing needs, including a percentage of units which are accessible and adaptable as set out in M4(2) **of the Building Regulations or any future Building Regulation requirements
  • Seeks on site provision in the first instance unless there are exceptional circumstances in which case a commuted sum will be required
  • Seeks the integration of affordable housing throughout the site
  • Has regard to the sites size and site specific viability.

Alternative Approaches to Housing Mix and Type

To have a policy which seeks at least 30% of affordable housing on sites of 11 or more dwellings or with a combined gross internal floor area of over 1000sq m

To have a policy which seeks at least 40% of affordable housing on sites of 11 or more dwellings or with a combined gross internal floor area of over 1000sq m.

*Affordable housing is defined as The NPPF (2012) (Annex 2) defines affordable housing as,

"Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Intermediate housing is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing."

** Requirement M4(2) is where a new dwelling makes reasonable provision for most people to access the dwelling and incorporates features that make it potentially suitable for a wide range of occupants, including older people, those with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users.