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Supplementary planning guidance

Supplementary Planning Document

The Affordable Housing and Extra Care Housing Supplementary Planning Document was published in May 2014 and provides additional guidance to the affordable housing, rural exception site and Extra Care housing policies (CS18, CS19 and CS20) of the South Gloucestershire Core Strategy (adopted December 2013)

It is a material consideration when the council assesses and makes decisions on planning
applications for new housing development.

Please note it is our intention to consult on a proposed amendment to the Affordable Housing and Extra Care SPD that we will release financial information provided by way of viability appraisals (Section 7 of the SPD) and will make that information publically available in the same manner as other planning documents. Recent legal decisions from the information commissioners have ruled that such information is in the public interest and should be disclosed. Therefore such requests from the public will be considered individually ahead of the proposed consultation. It is proposed, subject to consultation, to replace the Affordable Housing and Extra Care SPD with a revised Affordable Housing SPD as part of a new Local Plan in 2018/19.

Affordable housing threshold

National guidance regarding planning obligations was amended in June 2016 by the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG): Planning Obligations. Paragraph 031 of that guidance relates to the threshold below which affordable housing contributions should not be required. The main amendments to national policy are:

  • Developments of 10 units or fewer and with a combined gross floorspace of no more than 1000m² will not be required to make S106 contributions.
  • In designated rural areas (see rural areas section below for definition) a lower threshold of 5 units or less applies, where no affordable housing or tariff style contributions can be sought.
  • In designated rural areas, for developments of 6 – 10 units, only a cash payment is payable upon completion of units i.e. in circumstances where affordable housing is not to be delivered on site.

The only designated rural areas in South Gloucestershire are those that lie within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where a lower threshold of five or below will apply.

The national guidance supersedes the current Core Strategy Policy CS18, except in relation to applications in rural parishes where there is recent evidence of a local need for affordable housing, in which case Policy CS18 will be applied. See the affordable housing planning policy informative December 2017 for further guidance.

Vacant Building Credit

The NPPG: Planning Obligations also introduced the Vacant Building Credit in paragraphs 020-022.

The purpose of the credit is to encourage brownfield development where a vacant building is
brought back into lawful use or is demolished to be replaced by a new building. It allows a reduction in any affordable housing contribution, equivalent to the floorspace of the existing vacant building.

We will apply the Vacant Building Credit as appropriate, according the guidance contained in
the vacant building credit informative Jan 2019, which also contains the method for calculating the credit.

Affordable Housing Space and Access Standards

The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) also contains guidance on Housing: optional technical standards regarding space and access standards and provides links to the relevant documents. These were introduced in 2015 as optional Building Regulations which could be adopted by local authorities in their local development plans where they could be supported by evidence of need and viability. These standards replace the Code for Sustainable Homes, which has been withdrawn.

South Gloucestershire adopted the Policies, Sites and Policies Development Plan Document (PSP DPD) on the 8 November 2017. Policy PSP 37 – Internal Space and Accessibility Standards for Affordable Dwellings sets out our approach to these standards, requiring consistency with the Nationally Described Space Standard, accessibility standard M4(2) and the provision of 8% affordable dwellings to meet the wheelchair standard M4(3).

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