Draft Local Plan October 2012

Type and Mix of New Homes

5.13 Having considered the amount and distribution of housing, we need to identify what types of new homes are needed. West Oxfordshire's housing stock has traditionally been dominated by larger detached and semi-detached family houses. Whilst recent developments at Witney (Madley Park) and Carterton (Shilton Park) have helped to increase the stock of smaller properties available, the overall imbalance of larger properties remains. Our housing needs evidence (2011) for example identifies that over 80% of the owner occupied stock in West Oxfordshire is 3+ bedroom houses with 35% four and five bedrooms or more, with less than 20% of the stock comprising one and two bedroom properties.

5.14 Importantly, household sizes are falling as more and more people live on their own. This is a national trend that is being mirrored within the District. The latest demographic projections suggest that the average household size in West Oxfordshire will decrease from 2.37 in 2011 to 2.26 in 2029. This is a key consideration for the type of new homes that should be built in the future.

5.15 At the same time as household sizes are falling, the population of West Oxfordshire is ageing and we need to consider the implications in terms of the type of housing available. Older people may need smaller properties that are easier to manage than their original home, with people often looking to 'downsize' to a smaller property. Existing properties can sometimes be adapted to meet the occupant's changing needs and new properties can be built with flexibility in mind.

5.16 A wider choice of types of accommodation for older people is required in both the market and affordable housing sectors. For some older people, some form of 'supported accommodation' may be needed, with particular emphasis currently being placed on 'extra care' housing together with the improvement or redevelopment of some existing nursing homes. With extra care housing, people are able to live independently but enjoy access to communal facilities and care provision if needed. A challenging target for West Oxfordshire of 940 extra care homes within an 'extra care' scheme for the years up to 2031 has been set by Oxfordshire County Council through its Extra Care Strategy, to comprise a mixture of affordable and market sale units. At least 500 units of this target are required to meet current needs.

5.17 We also need to take into account the accommodation needs of those with other specific needs. PANSI (Projecting Adults Needs & Service Information System) data estimates there will be 40,537 people with a serious and moderate physical disability aged between 18-64 in Oxfordshire by 2015. In West Oxfordshire, there will be 6,698 residents (17%) with a serious and moderate physical disability. The countywide Housing and Physical Disability Strategy 2011 identifies a need for more general needs wheelchair accessible units as well as for supported housing provision. Around 281 additional wheelchair accessible properties across all client groups are required in the county by 2015. The County Council has also identified a need for supported housing provision to move people out of, or prevent moving into residential settings where appropriate and to meet specific client group needs such as Acquired Brain Injury and Learning Disabilities. Local authorities are encouraged to include wheelchair accessible housing in all new developments that are suitably located and provide reasonable access to local amenities.

5.18 Given these different trends, there is a general need to shift the nature of West Oxfordshire's housing stock away from larger properties and towards smaller properties that better meet the needs of smaller households and older people. This must however be balanced with the needs of others including families with children.

5.19 Our housing needs evidence (2011) suggests in relation to market housing, that to create a more balanced housing stock, future development should be based on a split of 60% 1 and 2-bed properties and 40% 3-bed and 4+ bed properties. We will consider this evidence as a starting point in relation to negotiations over housing mix taking into account the need to provide an appropriate balance of dwelling types and for development to be of a character that is appropriate for its location, in the interests of creating sustainable communities.

CORE POLICY 7 - Type and Mix of New Homes

A wide choice and mix of housing will be provided with a particular emphasis on meeting the needs of older people, newly forming households and families, including those wishing to self-build.

Developers will be required to demonstrate how their proposal would help to meet the needs of these particular groups through an appropriate mix of dwelling types having regard to specific local needs and the need to create a more balanced housing stock within the District.

Particular support will be given to proposals for 'extra-care' housing to meet the needs of older people. Provision will be made for at least one extra care housing scheme at Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton.

Where viable, new extra-care housing will be sought as an integral part of all Strategic Development Areas at Witney and Carterton. Elsewhere, opportunities for extra care will be sought in service centres and other locations with good access to services and facilities for older people.

New homes should be designed so they can be readily adapted to meet changing needs including the needs of people with disabilities.