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HS6  Principles for Affordable Housing  Policy

The Local Planning Authority will seek to negotiate the provision of an element of affordable housing on suitable sites of over 1.0 hectare:

(i) for the purpose of Policy HS6, affordable housing is defined as being that available to those whose incomes are insufficient for them to enter the local housing market;

(ii) the affordable dwellings so developed shall be provided through partnership arrangements between the developer and a Housing Association or other suitable housing trust, or by the construction of low-cost units for sale or part-sale, part-rent;

(iii) depending on the suitability of the site and the local need, dwellings should be provided for one or more of the following groups:

- young single people;
- the elderly;
- young couples and newly forming households;
- those with special needs, including disability, mental illness and mental handicap.

The dwellings so provided shall be retained for the benefit of the original client group by a secure agreement.

Reasoned justification :

6.41 Whilst a full housing needs assessment would provide greater detail on the need for affordable housing, the Council now has in place a unified housing waiting list, compiled jointly with local Housing Associations. At May 1997, the number of applicants on the list was 7,880, 56% comprising single people and couples of all ages and 44% families with children. The Council currently makes circa 2,750 new allocations per year, of which 1,600 (58%) are for single people and childless couples of all ages and 1,150 (42%) for families with children. The Housing Strategy identifies the types of households in most need of affordable housing and through its support of various housing initiatives prioritises the means to partly satisfy these needs.

6.42 These initiatives have included the support of Housing Association new-build and refurbishment, such as living over the shop, foyer and shared ownership, which have delivered new dwellings. Existing Local Authority difficult-to-let dwellings have been rehabilitated through Estate Action schemes, with a contribution of new-build dwellings from Housing Associations. Private developers have also entered into partnerships to provide shared ownership dwellings. UDP policies on the conversion of existing buildings into dwellings, including the ground and first floors of some retail premises, intensification of existing dwellings and Houses in Multiple Occupation all support the provision of new dwellings which may satisfy some affordable housing needs in locations which maximise access to services and the recycling of urban land and buildings.

6.43 Before planning permission is granted for the development of a site which will include a proportion of affordable housing, the developer should demonstrate the means by which such housing will be provided and how the dwellings so provided will continue to be made available for households in need. This could include arrangements for a partnership agreement with a Housing Association or trust or a shared ownership scheme.