Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

5 Meeting Specific Housing Needs

Affordable Housing

Type of New Homes

5.1 New homes to meet the needs of smaller households, including an increasing number of older residents, are already adding more variety to the housing stock which traditionally has been dominated by larger detached and semi-detached family houses. New homes will include a layout that can easily be adapted to meet the needs of future occupants. The principles of Lifetime Homes are incorporated within the Codes for Sustainable Homes (see Policy CS21).

5.2 A wider choice of accommodation for older people is required with emphasis on provision of Extra Care housing together with improvement or redevelopment of some existing nursing homes. A challenging West Oxfordshire target of 940 Extra Care homes for the years up to 2031 has been set by the Oxfordshire County Council strategy to comprise a mixture of affordable and market sale units. There is a current need for around 500 units.

Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is defined as being: affordable to those who cannot afford market priced housing locally to either rent or purchase. It is housing provided with either public or private subsidy for people who are unable to resolve their housing requirements in the local housing market because of the relationship between housing cost and local incomes. Such housing should remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if these restrictions are lifted, the subsidy should be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

5.3 The provision of a significant increase in number, type and distribution of affordable housing for both rent and subsidised sale is a key priority for West Oxfordshire. Included in this is the achievement of further small scale affordable housing schemes in villages where there is housing need which is best met locally. A target of about 1,500 additional affordable homes has been set for the 15 year period up to 2026.

5.4 The overall affordable housing need, high house prices and high land values (particularly in the rural areas), together with future constraints on availableto be delivered from undeveloped land, particularly agricultural land and paddocks, where existing use value is low.

5.5 Although our priority is to generally seek new affordable homes as part of a mixed tenure scheme together with market housing, provision through a separate site may be acceptable where there is evidence that this would more satisfactorily meet local housing need. An equivalent financial contribution will be acceptable for small housing schemes of one or two dwellings (net).

5.6 New affordable homes contributing towards the District target will include those provided as an element of new residential development, additional homes proposed and built by housing associations on land in their ownership and homes delivered through the rural exception policy.

5.7 As a guide, the Council is seeking an overall mix of affordable housing in the following proportions:

  • about 45% aimed at single people or couples (without children);
  • 40% family homes primarily of two and three bedroom houses with a small number of four bed homes;
  • about 15% specialist housing for older people, including extra care accommodation.

5.8 The actual type of units, size and tenure on any individual scheme will be informed by current housing strategy and by the housing need to be met in the particular locality taking into account site constraints. There is a significantly greater need for rented accommodation compared to the various forms of intermediate housing - a ratio of 2:1 in favour of rented homes is generally sought.

5.9 The Affordable Housing SPD adopted in 2007 contains guidance on the Council's approach to affordable housing delivery. The need to review this guidance will be assessed in response to new development plan policy.

5.10 Rural Exception Sites - A policy promoting affordable housing on exception sites has been in operation throughout West Oxfordshire (outside Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton) for over 20 years. The current approach will continue whereby affordable housing is provided to meet specific local needs on land which otherwise would not be released for residential development. Practical guidance has been published on scheme delivery in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Rural Housing Partnership (Affordable Housing on Rural Exception Sites).

Policy CS9: Type of New Homes

A range of housing will provide choice in both type and location, with at least 50% of all new homes to be targeted at older people and newly forming households, primarily through the provision of two and three bedroom accommodation. New homes should be designed so they can be readily adapted to meet changing needs.

Provision will be made for at least 650 homes providing Extra Care. New Extra Care housing will be sought as an integral part of strategic development areas. Elsewhere opportunities for Extra Care will be sought in locations considered appropriate for such housing.

More information available online:

Affordable Housing SPD www.westoxon.gov.uk/LDF

Policy CS10 – Affordable Housing

Taking into account the housing needs of the area and subject to the economic viability of the specific development proposals, a contribution to affordable housing provision will be sought where a net gain of one or more dwellings is proposed.

Assessments of economic viability should assume nil housing grant. In circumstances where financial analysis of proposed developments clearly demonstrates that the level of affordable housing being sought would make a scheme unviable, a revised mix and type of housing will be considered. Where external funding is available it may be applied to schemes to increase the number or to change tenure or type of homes to meet priority needs.

On undeveloped sites at least 50% of the proposed dwellings should be affordable homes.

On other types of land:

  • in Witney and Carterton at least 35% of proposed dwellings should be affordable homes
  • elsewhere at least 40% of proposed dwellings should be affordable homes.

Affordable housing mix and tenure on each site will be responsive to identified local needs and site specific opportunities. Provision of new affordable housing will be expected to be made on site as an integral part of the overall development. However an equivalent financial contribution for the provision of affordable housing on other sites in West Oxfordshire in lieu of on-site provision may be appropriate if it can be demonstrated this would address local housing needs more effectively.

Policy CS11 – Rural Exception Sites
West Oxfordshire District Council and its partners will work with Parish Councils, Registered Providers of affordable housing and local housing trusts to identify suitable sites for small scale affordable housing schemes to meet specific local housing needs which cannot be met in any other way. These sites will be well-related to the existing built-up areas of towns and villages. Where family homes are proposed priority will be given to locations within a reasonable walking distance of a primary school. All new homes will remain affordable in perpetuity to people in housing need who have a local connection with the parish or appropriate adjoining parishes.