3. Housing

3.1.

Introduction

Housing is an ingredient of fundamental importance in adopting a holistic approach to sustainable regeneration. This Chapter sets out the District Council's proposed approach in accommodating housing needs and requirements in the local plan period. A key objective will be to ensure sufficient quality housing of appropriate range and affordability can be provided to meet the aspirations of high-profile investors, management and key employees together with essential workers such as nurses and teachers necessary to sustainable economic regeneration. Thanet has a significant advantage in that flood risk does not present a constraint in identifying sufficient housing site opportunities.

3.2.

Sustainable development is promoted by optimising use of previously developed (“brownfield”) sites and locating housing where best use can be made of public transport, walking and cycling. The Chapter addresses housing requirements in support of economic regeneration, and deals with housing land supply, constraints and opportunities in new housing provision, safeguarding the existing stock and multiple occupation. It also addresses special housing needs including those of small households, low-income groups, and people in need of care.

3.3.

The Council’s vision is that by 2011 Thanet will have a wider range of housing opportunities than exists today and will be able to provide housing to meet the needs of both local people and those attracted to the area by the growing number of quality jobs that have been provided on our Business Parks and at Kent International Airport.

3.4.

As the image of our towns improves so those currently vacant brownfield sites in and on the edge of the town centres will be developed with quality accommodation to meet the needs of people who want to live near to these hubs of activity.

3.5.

A new community with a thousand new homes, a school and other facilities will be established and be well advanced towards completion at Westwood close to the new town centre shopping area. Here there is a mix of houses to suit all pockets and within walking or cycling distance of jobs, shops, schools and leisure activities.

Objectives

  1. TO IDENTIFY A SUFFICIENT LAND SUPPLY AND PROVIDE A CHOICE IN TYPE AND LOCATION OF HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET BOTH COMMUNITY NEEDS AND SUPPORT THE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC REGENERATION OF THE AREA 
  2. TO LOCATE NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT ON SITES WITH GOOD ACCESS TO JOBS AND SERVICES BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT, WALKING AND CYCLING
  3. TO OPTIMISE USE OF PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED SITES FOR NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
  4. TO PROMOTE EFFICIENT USE OF LAND AND QUALITY LIVING ENVIRONMENTS
  5. TO WIDEN ACCESS TO ACCOMMODATION SUITED TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THANET’S COMMUNITY INCLUDING LOW INCOME GROUPS, KEY WORKERS, SMALL HOUSEHOLDS AND MORE SPACIOUS ACCOMMODATION IN SUPPORT OF ECONOMICREGENERATION
3.6.

Policy Background

National And Strategic Policy Background

Policy guidance on housing (PPG3) states that the planning system should provide a choice of sites suitable and available for house building. The aim is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity of a decent home and to maintain the momentum of economic growth. The Guidance promotes greater choice of housing and recognition of community housing needs including affordable and special housing. It stresses that economic growth should not be frustrated by a lack of homes for those looking to take up new employment opportunities. It also promotes sustainable patterns of development and making better use of previously developed land, (sometimes called “brownfield land”), re use and conversion of existing buildings, and locating housing where occupiers will be less dependent on cars to reach jobs, shops and services. A national target is that by 2008, 60% of additional housing should be on previously developed land.

3.7.

Regional Planning Guidance

The general thrust of Regional Planning Guidance is towards a concentrated pattern of development making maximum use of opportunities for new dwelling provision in the urban areas in ways which enhance the quality of urban living. Housing distribution in the Guidance implies an average annual rate of provision for Kent of 5,700 units in the period up to 2006, with subsequent provisions for the region to be reviewed. It notes that a substantial element of affordable housing is required in the region, and that local plans should make provision to meet locally assessed needs.

3.8.

The Guidance acknowledges the significant disparities in prosperity and areas of deprivation across the Region, and identifies Thanet as part of an East Kent Priority Area for Economic Regeneration (PAER). The Guidance recognises the existence of an adequate supply of employment land in East Kent PAER and that the development of infrastructure and port diversification are the springboard for its economic regeneration. It states: “It is clear therefore that generally the provision of new employment land in the coastal area is less important than other factors in attracting investment. The quality of infrastructure and the availability of trained labour are two important factors, but of equal importance are those aspects which contribute to the quality of life; attributes such as the quality and type of available housing, the quality of the environment, range and quality of shopping and leisure facilities in towns, and the quality of schools in the area.” This Chapter of the Local Plan aims to provide for an appropriate quantity and mix of housing as key infrastructure supporting Thanet’s regeneration agenda. The emerging Regional Spatial Strategy (“the South-East Plan”) will update and roll forward existing Regional Guidance.

3.9.

Structure Plan Policy

The level of housing provision, and its distribution between the Kent districts, is set by the Structure Plan. Kent and Medway Structure Plan is at an advanced stage of preparation and when adopted will supersede the 1996 Structure Plan. This Local Plan considers the housing requirements in both Structure Plans. In due course the emerging South-East Plan will set housing provisions over the longer term, and these will supersede the Structure Plan provisions. The exact nature and location of Thanet's provisions is a matter for this Local Plan.

3.10.

In-migration has been a significant driver of housing requirements in Thanet District. Growth in one-person households is likely to form a significant element of projected household growth in Thanet and Kent as a whole. Although there was a substantial increase in Thanet’s housing stock in the 1990’s, and reductions in unemployment, this growth was accompanied by poor economic and employment performance.

3.11.

Subject to safeguarding policies to avoid "town cramming", Structure Plan policy gives priority to maximising the use of the building stock and land within existing urban areas.

3.12.

Local Plan

It remains a fundamental aim of the Local Plan to safeguard and enhance the character and amenity of the district. This includes protection of the limited separation between the urban areas, and of the separate character of the Thanet towns, provided by the designated Green Wedges. The Local Plan contains specific policies to safeguard areas of environmental character and quality, areas of open space providing important physical separation, passive or other recreational value, sites of nature conservation value, and areas and buildings of historic significance. All housing proposals will be judged in relation to these policies, and where there is overriding conflict with these policies then such proposals will be resisted.

3.13.

The Plan encourages full use of opportunities arising from conversion, improvement and redevelopment of redundant land and buildings. Development of this kind can make useful additions to the dwelling stock and assist in urban regeneration. In aiming to maximise the use of the existing builtup areas to meet housing requirements there is, however, an important balance to be drawn with the need to protect the amenity and functioning of the District as a place to live, work and visit. The Local Plan addresses the need to safeguard against "town cramming", and contains policies to safeguard urban environmental quality and valuable open spaces. Individual proposals for development or redevelopment including housing will be judged in relation to these policies.

3.14.

This Local Plan considers housing needs throughout the plan period and the period beyond it to 2016. The Plan promotes a mix of types of housing within quality residential environments. The aim is to provide for a variety of local needs ranging from single person/small household homes to selected opportunities for more spacious dwellings attractive to higher income family occupation and as a means of attracting quality investment in support of Thanet’s economic regeneration. Key principles in identifying housing land are optimising use of previously developed urban sites and maximising housing quantities in locations where services and jobs can be conveniently accessed by public transport, on foot and by cycle. As stressed in the Design chapter, quality design is fundamental to achieve successful schemes, and will be a requirement in promoting optimum site development potential. Assessment of the capacity of previously developed urban land in Thanet has shown that greenfield land release is required in order to maintain an adequate supply of house building land.

3.15.

Providing A Sufficient And Suitable Housing Land Supply

Housing is an essential ingredient in securing sustainable economic and social regeneration in the District. The housing requirements expected to be generated by prospective economic development potential identified and promoted in this Local Plan are fundamental in establishing the level of housing provision to be made in the Local Plan period. Four main sources of employment growth are identified below.

  1. Expansion of activity at Kent International Airport with potential capacity for handling 1 million passengers and 250,000 tonnes of freight per annum within the plan period, together with warehousing, aircraft maintenance/repair and other airport operational activities 
  2. Economic development at allocated Business Parks (Manston Park, EuroKent and Thanet Reach)
  3. Economic development at employment land located adjacent to the District within the Sandwich Corridor, which is expected to become available as serviced employment land within the Local Plan period
  4. Expansion proposals at Pfizer Ltd., located in the Sandwich Corridor, which are expected to generate demand for additional homes in the local plan period
3.16.

These employment sources may impact on Thanet’s prospects for achieving sustainable economic regeneration by attracting employees (including middle-income groups) to live in the District. The Council is therefore concerned to provide a sufficient quantity and range of homes as a means of accelerating sustainable economic regeneration. In addition to quantity limitations, the current land supply consists predominantly of small sites in an urban setting, and in some instances in locations where current market value makes site development economically unviable and unattractive to providing a range of homes.

3.17.

Development of the above employment sites will be dependent on provision of utilities and market take-up. Strategies to gear utilities infrastructure provision with development of employment land suggest that approximately 75% of Thanet’s allocated Business Parks and an element of employment land in the Sandwich Corridor could be taken up by the end of the Local Plan period. Application of jobs to floorspace ratios suggests that sources 2 & 3 could generate some 6000 new jobs by 2011. The airport may be expected to generate a further 3,660 additional new jobs by 2011. Resultant need for new homes has been assessed on the basis that a proportion of these jobs will be taken by unemployed people, employees currently commuting outside the District for work, and by people choosing to live outside Thanet. In addition the Council believes that it should provide additional housing opportunities to attract 50% of employees associated with planned expansion at Pfizer Ltd. In total these prospective jobs are expected to generate a housing requirement of some 4,200 homes in the period to 2011.

3.18.

Reflecting government guidance, this Local Plan adopts a managed approach to housing land provision. With potential reduction in projected average household size, the total level of provision may be conservative.

3.19.

Housing Land Requirements in 1996 Structure Plan

The (1996) Kent Structure Plan sets the following provisions for housing (all forms of housing units) in the Thanet District. Provisions beyond 2011 and the effect of the emerging Structure Plan are referred to later in this chapter.

Table 1 - 1996 Structure Plan Provisions
MID 1991 - 2001MID 2001 - 2006MID 2006 - 2011
3,500
1,700
1,300
3.20.

Housing Land Availability Study

Land availability has been monitored regularly, often in conjunction with the House Builders' Federation. At the time of drafting this Local Plan, the 2001 Housing Land Study provided the latest information on housing land supply compared to requirement as illustrated in Table 2 below.

Table 2
PeriodOutstanding Structure Plan Requirement *
Estimated Supply
Supply Shortfall
% Shortfall
2001 - 2006
1,689
1,612
77
5%
2001 - 2011
2,989
2,240
749
25%

* Outstanding units reflects units constructed since the start of the Structure Plan period.

Table 2 shows that over the local plan period to 2011 there was a shortfall of some 750 units in relation to the 2006 Structure Plan requirement. There was also a shortfall of 77 units to 2006. The following text explains how this Local Plan addresses that shortfall. Updated information on housing land supply is featured in Table 6 below.

3.21.

Housing Land Provisions In Local Plan

The 1996 Structure Plan did not anticipate the level of new job creation associated with the impact of Kent International Airport on committed employment land, nor that relating to land at the Sandwich Corridor and Pfizer’s planned expansion, now envisaged in the Local Plan.

3.22.

In order that current opportunities for sustainable economic development are not frustrated by lack of housing opportunities, this Local Plan identifies sufficient land to accommodate 4,200 homes in the period to 2011. Housing land provisions and take-up will be reviewed in the Plan period. Housing land release will be managed by placing allocated sites into two phasing periods (2001-2006 and 2006-2011) which dovetail with the phasing periods applied in the structure plan.

3.23.

Reflecting the fact that a significant part of the housing provisions in the Plan consist of brownfield sites with existing planning commitments, it is considered reasonable to adopt a split of approximately 60%: 40% between the two phasing periods. Policy H2 apportions appropriate quantities to the two periods.

3.24.

Approach To Identification of Housing Land Supply

The location of new housing presents a major opportunity for promoting a sustainable development pattern. Site identification has followed a sequential search process, considering first previously developed land and buildings in urban areas, urban extensions and finally new development around nodes in good public transport corridors.

3.25.

The Council has aimed to optimise the use of previously developed land and sites particularly where jobs, shops and services will be accessible without car reliance. Thanet is a relatively compact District and few locations in its urban belt are “remote” in these terms. Existing commitments provide a significant contribution to previously developed land opportunities.

3.26.

In 2001 an Urban Housing Capacity Study was undertaken to assess the potential contribution that can be expected from these commitments and other opportunity sites, including an allowance for bonus “windfall” sites coming forward, on previously developed land. Many of the identified opportunities are from small sites, including residential conversions. However, cumulatively these contribute quite significantly to total housing provision.

3.27.

The Council’s Urban Housing Capacity Study has assessed the potential capacity of the urban area and anticipates that this could, theoretically, yield some 3,000 homes in the period to 2011. This includes allowance for unidentified “windfall” sites that may come forward in the period. Table 3 summarises the Study’s conclusions on potential capacity in the plan period and for the two phasing periods to be applied in managing land release. The individual sites are listed at Appendix A1.The total capacity indicated in the Urban Capacity Study includes a small quantity of urban land that was not previously developed (57 units). On this basis the Study suggests a capacity of 2,943 units from previously developed land. This represents 70% of total provision in the Plan period. On this basis the Council has adopted a target of achieving 70% of housing provision on previously developed land in the Plan period.

Table 3
PeriodIdentified Sites CapacityWindfall Capacity
Total Capacity
Total Local Plan Provision
Balance Needed
2001 - 20111,916
1,084
3,000
4,200
1,200
2001 - 2006
1,397
625
2,022
2,500
478
2006 - 2011
579
459
978
1,700
722
3.28.

Table 3 indicates the balance of greenfield land needed to meet the total provisions. This Local Plan identifies sufficient greenfield land to accommodate this balance. (See heading Greenfield Land Allocations below). Sites contributing to total provision in the Plan are those identified in the Urban Capacity Study together with these additional greenfield allocations. These (excluding windfall sites) are listed Appendix A1.

3.29.

The following table features the sources contributing to the total estimated dwelling capacity found in the Urban Housing Capacity Study. It also shows the possible contribution from each source within the total capacity estimate.

SourceIdentified SitesWindfall SitesTotal% of TotalUrban Capacity Study Category References
Subdivision of existing housing
43
155
198
7
3.2 & 4.5
Flats over shops
0
102102
3
4.7
Empty homes
0
102
102
3
4.8
Previously developed vacant & derelict land and buildings (non-housing)
1,383
98
1,481
49
1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 1.7 & 4.3
Intensification of existing areas
96
132
228
8
2.1 & 4.4
Redevelopment of existing housing
110
4
114
4
1.2 & 4.2
Redevelopment of car parks
53
0
53
2
1.5
Conversion of commercial buildings
183
438
621
21
3.1 & 4.6
Vacant land not previously developed
48
54
102
3
1.1 & 4.1
Total Dwelling Units
1,916
1,084
3,000
100
 

The above sources include review of non-housing allocations and review of capacity of existing housing allocations.

3.30.

Regulating Release of New Housing Land

PPG3 has introduced a Plan Monitor Manage approach to new housing development. An essential feature of this is managed release of housing sites. The objectives of the Council’s phasing policy are to regulate and gear the rate of housing provision in line with anticipated employment growth through the Plan period, to control the rate at which the greenfield site component comes forward, and to meet the Council’s land recycling target.

3.31.

Suitability and phasing of identified housing sites were tested using a sequential approach reflecting PPG3 and based on the criteria set out in Policy H4 below. Release of identified sites will be regulated through Policy H3, after making allowance for windfall sites coming forward over the Plan period.

3.32.

Applications for windfall sites will be assessed against Policy H4 (the same criteria applied to identified sites). In order to support the Plan’s housing strategy, the Council will aim to ensure that a rolling three-year supply of house building land exists across the plan period. This will be used as a general benchmark when periodically monitoring the take-up of allocated sites and incidences of windfalls against total housing provisions.

3.33.

Committed and new housing sites making up total provision in this Local Plan are allocated for such purposes on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix A1. (See note 2 to Policy H1).

3.34.

Greenfield Land Allocations

Strategic Housing Site

Housing sites within the District are generally of limited size and scattered throughout the Urban Belt. This Plan identifies and allocates a greenfield site of 28.5 hectares at Westwood for housing development (Policy H6). This site provides the opportunity to create an integrated community with a mixture of dwelling types, sizes and affordability, including housing to meet the expectations of investors and employees needed to secure sustainable regeneration in the District. In its central and mixed-use location, Westwood is also considered highly sustainable. This site is recognised as a Strategic Site, essential to the strategic objective of sustainable regeneration, and one which should be developed alongside, rather than after, previously developed land. Its release is phased to reflect lead-in times for delivery of supporting infrastructure and construction.

3.35.

Greenfield allocations

In allocating land to meet provisions to 2011, this plan identifies, on the Proposals Map, greenfield housing land to meet the balance identified in Table 3. Identification of greenfield housing provisions has been guided by the need to identify sustainable locations, where infrastructure provision isadequate/economically feasible, where sites are of sufficient size to accommodate a mix of housing sizes and types to support balanced communities, to provide locational choice in support of economic regeneration, and avoid any conflict with operational considerations relating to KentInternational Airport. Land at Westwood is allocated as a sustainable greenfield site of sufficient size to accommodate 1,000 dwellings. Smaller greenfield sites, providing additional potential capacity of 200 dwellings, are identified at Minster to provide a degree of locational choice together with land on the east side of Manston Road, Ramsgate. A small number of sites which are not previously developed was identified in the Urban Housing Capacity Study. Some of these sites already have consent and some were already under construction at the Study base date. These sites are expected to accommodate some 57 dwelling units in total. Being located within the urban area they are considered sufficiently sustainable and are allocated as greenfield housing sites. All greenfield sites are listed at Appendix A2. This  appendix also lists previously developed housing sites where allocation is through a different Policy to H1. A summary of total housing provisions from all sources is provided in Appendix A3.

3.36.

Housing provision in the Period 2011-2016

This Plan makes provision for housing land over the period 2001 to 2011. However, a Ministerial statement issued after the Plan reached its Revised Deposit Stage has indicated that housing-land provisions should be made for a 10 year period beyond the anticipated date of the Plan's adoption. This would imply that the Plan should make provision up to 2016 and phased as shown below.

3.37.

Proposed modifications to the emerging Kent & Medway Structure Plan suggest that total provision for Thanet in the period 2001 - 2016 should be 6,000 new dwellings at the rates implied within the 5-year periods shown below.

Table 5
2001 - 20062006 - 20112011 - 20162001 - 2016
1,700
2,100
2,2006,000
3.38.

The emerging regional Spatial Strategy (“The South-East Plan”) will set housing requirements for each District over a longer-term period and will, when adopted, supersede the Structure Plan. In the interim, the Council believes the emerging structure plan provides the appropriate basis for housing land requirements to 2016.

3.39.

Accordingly, this Plan anticipates the need to provide for a total of 6,000 new dwellings over the period 2001 – 2016. The 2004/5 housing land study suggests that this quantity can be met from existing and predicted (previously developed windfall) sites. In these circumstances there is no need to consider additional greenfield land release in the Plan period. The following table sets out the conclusions from the 2005 Housing Land Study against the 1996 Structure Plan requirement for the period to 2011, and against the emerging Kent & Medway Structure Plan for the period to 2016. This Study takes account of potential contributions from sites allocated in this Local Plan, together with windfall sites where planning consent has since been granted. Some of the sites included in the 2005 Study’s total supply figure were only identified (through granting of planning permission) after the Urban Capacity Study exercise was completed. Such sites are not specifically allocated in this Plan and are not featured in the Appendices.

 Period 2005-2011
(Based on 1996 Kent Structure Plan requirement)
Period 2005-2016
(based on requirement of Kent & Medway Structure Plan as proposed to be modified)
Requirement of Structure Plan
6,500 (1991-2011)
6,000 (2001-2016)
Dwelling completions from start of structure plan period to 2004/5
5,069 (1991-2004/5)
1,558 (2001-2004/5)
Residual Requirement
1,431 (2005/2011)
4,442 (2005-2016)
Estimated Supply
3,912 (2005/2011)
4,634 (2005-2016)
Surplus
+2,481 (2005/2011)
+192 (2005-2016)
3.40.

Although planning positively for an increase in the rate of dwelling completion alongside economic regeneration in the period to 2011 and beyond, the Council believes that it is important to review actual completion rates and economic growth well before that date over what will be a critical period. In the event that supply is not taken up as rapidly as anticipated then such provisions may be rolled forward to contribute to requirements post 2011.

3.41.

In circumstances where longer term housing provisions have yet to be fully established, where potential capacity beyond 2011 has not yet been assessed through an appropriate study and where an anticipated increase in the local rate of dwelling completions remain to be proven the Council believes it is inappropriate to consider the need for further specific provision by way of site allocations in this Local Plan. The emerging Local Development Framework (LDF) will provide the appropriate opportunity to review housing land provisions in the longer term, taking account of housing requirements once resolved through the Structure Plan and Regional Spatial Strategy. A Housing Development Plan Document will be one of the first LDF documents to be prepared. It is expected that this will be adopted in 2008 and supersede the housing chapter of this Local Plan. The new document will look ahead to 2021 and make appropriate housing land provision.

3.42.

Efficient Use of Land

The Council wishes to see efficient use of housing land. It envisages that densities of 50 or more dwellings per hectare net may be achieved through quality residential and mixed-use developments especially in accessible locations such as the town centres and adjoining quality transport corridors. Developments of less than 30 dwellings per hectare net on any site will usually require special justification. No specific densities are prescribed in this Plan as compatibility with the character of the locality, securing a mix of housing types to meet local demand, achieving attractive living environments through quality design and optimising use of land will influence design and layout. However, this plan places emphasis on making best use of land, and optimum densities will be expected on all sites through good design.

3.43.

The level of car parking provided in new residential developments can have a major impact on the quantity of dwellings which can be provided on any site. The Council intends to impose less demanding residential parking requirements based on maximum standards, and to encourage nil provision in specific locations where a range of services are accessible on foot, by bicycle or public transport. Policy TR16 refers. Planning consent will not be renewed for previous schemes where the number of units to be provided is considered to be wasteful of land.

3.44.

Policy H1 reflects the District Council's intention to resist housing proposals where there are planning objections or constraints to development, and protects the identified housing land supply for such use.

POLICY H1 - RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT SITES

PERMISSION FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE GRANTED ONLY ON SITES ALLOCATED FOR SUCH PURPOSES ON THE PROPOSALS MAP OR ON OTHER SITES WHERE THERE IS NO CONFLICT WITH STRUCTURE PLAN OR OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES.

RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON NON-ALLOCATED SITES WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY ON PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED LAND WITHIN EXISTING BUILT-UP CONFINES, (AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP – POLICIES CC1 & R1), UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PERMITTED BY OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES. ALL PROPOSALS FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO MEET THE CRITERIA IN POLICIES H2 – H5.

ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT ON SITES ALLOCATED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES WILL NOT BE PERMITTED UNLESS THERE IS AN OVERRIDING LOCAL NEED WHICH CANNOT BE MET ON AN ALTERNATIVE SITE.

THE COUNCIL WILL SEEK TO MAKE EFFICIENT USE OF HOUSING LAND. DEVELOPMENTS OF LESS THAN 30 DWELLINGS PER HECTARE NET ON ANY SITE WILL REQUIRE SPECIAL JUSTIFICATION. IN TOWN AND DISTRICT CENTRES AND OTHER LOCATIONS WITH GOOD PUBLIC TRANSPORT ACCESSIBILITY, SPECIAL JUSTIFICATION WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR DENSITIES OF LESS THAN 50 UNITS NET PER HECTARE.

PERMISSION FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE GRANTED OR RENEWED ONLY WHERE:

  • IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT ADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ACCESS WILL BE IN PLACE TO SERVE EACH UNIT READY FOR OCCUPATION, AND
  • SATISFACTORY DETAILS ARE PROVIDED SHOWING HOW ANY PHYSICAL CONDITIONS AFFECTING THE SITE, INCLUDING LAND INSTABILITY AND CONTAMINATION, WILL BE OVERCOME

Notes to Policy H1 

  1. Accessible locations referred to in the 4th paragraph of Policy H1 are defined as: 
    1. Within 800 metres convenient walking distance of the town centres or local centres providing a range of shops and services, and/or
    2. Within both:
      • 800 metres convenient walking distance of a railway station and
      • 400 metres convenient walking distance of bus routes with frequent services or public transport interchanges.
  2. H1 Sites are featured on the Proposals Map and in schedules in the Appendices (See note to Policies H2 & H3). These include only large sites (5+ units net), most of which were identified within the Urban Housing Capacity Study (which has a base date of 31 March 2001). It is only practical to feature such new build sites on the Proposals Map, and for conversions the Appendices should be consulted. In order to facilitate the bringing forward of committed housing land for development, the District Council maintains a separate register, which is reviewed annually, and updated quarterly to include any newly identified sites. This is available for public inspection. As it is impractical to feature small sites of less than five units net on the Proposals Map and in the appendices, the register of housing land is the appropriate source of reference.
  3. In expressing density in dwellings per hectare, the term ‘net’ refers to inclusion within the site area of access roads, private garden space, car parking areas, incidental open space and landscaping, and children’s play areas.
  4. Applications to renew consent for lapsed permissions need to be assessed afresh against sustainability issues and potential densities explored in the Urban Capacity Study, and will specifically be considered in relation to Policy H1.

POLICY H2 - DWELLING SUPPLY

PROVISION IS MADE FOR A TOTAL OF 4,200 ADDITIONAL DWELLINGS WITHIN THE LOCAL PLAN PERIOD. TOTAL PROVISION WOULD BE ACCOMMODATED AS BELOW:

  • 69% FROM IDENTIFIED NEW-BUILD SITES ALLOCATED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP AND LISTED IN APPENDIX A1 
  • 5% FROM IDENTIFIED SITES INVOLVING CONVERSION OF EXISTING BUILDINGS, LISTED IN APPENDIX A1
  • 26% FROM WINDFALL (PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED) SITES COMING FORWARD IN THE PLAN PERIOD

WITHIN THE PLAN PERIOD, PROVISION IS MADE FOR 2472 UNITS IN THE PERIOD TO 2006, WITH THE BALANCE (1728 UNITS) IN THE PERIOD 2006 – 2011. RELEASE OF SITES IDENTIFIED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, AND IN THE APPENDIX, WILL BE REGULATED THROUGH POLICY H3. 

POLICY H3 - PHASING

TO MEET AND MANAGE THE HOUSING PROVISIONS SET OUT IN POLICY H2, THE COUNCIL WILL SEEK TO REGULATE THE RELEASE OF IDENTIFIED HOUSING SITES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXPECTED ORDER OF DEVELOPMENT INDICATED BELOW.

SITES TO BE RELEASED FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN THE PERIOD 2001 – 2006
(Sites in List 1 of Appendix A1)

SITES TO BE RELEASED FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN THE PERIOD 2006 – 2011
(Sites in list 2 of Appendix A1)

RELEASE OF SITES EARLIER THAN INDICATED ABOVE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED WHERE THIS WOULD UNDERMINE THE OBJECTIVES OF THE COUNCIL’S PHASING POLICY.

Note to Policies H2 & H3. The sites referred to in Policy H3 maki ng up the housing land provision (Policy H2) were identified and allocated in draft versions of the Plan and reflect the Urban Housing Capacity Study snapshot at 31 March 2001. Housing development has since been started and even completed on some such sites, and those completions correspondingly reduce the outstanding housing requirement to meet total provision in Policy H2.

For simplicity of reference all allocated sites and their notional dwelling capacity (even where completed in whole or part since 31 March 2001) have been retained in appendices A1 & A2 and on the Proposals Map. The opportunity has been taken, in updating the Plan to update the anticipated phasing of the allocated housing land at Westwood (Policy H6 & TC4).

This is reflected in Appendix A1. One or two sites allocated in previous drafts of the Plan have since been deleted during the process of adopting it. Such deleted sites are no longer featured on the Proposal Map or in these appendices, and this has a minor impact on the total allocated housing units featured in Policy H2 and in Appendix A3. Nonetheless, as indicated in paragraphs 3.36-3.41 inclusive, the 2005 Housing Land Study shows that, including allocated sites remaining, the land supply is sufficient to meet requirements to 2016.

POLICY H4 - WINDFALL SITES

PROPOSALS FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT AT WINDFALL SITES COMING FORWARD WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST POLICY H1 AND THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  • LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY IN RELATION TO JOBS, SHOPS AND SERVICES BY MODES OTHER THAN CAR, AND POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVING SUCH ACCESSIBILITY 
  • CAPACITY OF EXISTING AND POTENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE, INCLUDING TRANSPORT, UTILITIES AND SOCIAL FACILITIES
  • ABILITY TO BUILD NEW COMMUNITIES TO SUPPORT NEW PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND WITH SUFFICIENT DEMAND TO SUSTAIN APPROPRIATE LOCAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES
  • PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS ON DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING CONTAMINATION AND FLOOD RISK
3.45.

Monitoring Of Supply

The District Council will continue to monitor the adequacy of the available supply of land for house building. The results of the annual monitoring process will be published, and the Council will consult on the results in assessing whether sites are coming forward in the appropriate order and rate implied in policy. The District as a whole is the appropriate policy planning area for the purposes of assessing the adequacy of supply. Maintaining a supply throughout the Plan period will be a matter to be addressed having regard to expected contributions from previously developed windfall sites.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) H5 - MONITORING

THE RATE AT WHICH IDENTIFIED SITES ARE GRANTED CONSENT AND WINDFALL SITES COME FORWARD WILL BE MONITORED ANNUALLY. WHERE NECESSARY SITES MAY, FOLLOWING APPROPRIATE PUBLIC CONSULTATION, BE REASSIGNED TO THE SECOND OR FIRST PHASE WITHIN POLICY H3, EITHER TO PREVENT ANY EXCESSIVE BUILD-UP OF COMMITMENTS IN THE EARLY PART OF THE PLAN PERIOD OR TO ENSURE AVAILABILITY OF A THREE-YEAR SUPPLY OF HOUSE BUILDING LAND THROUGHOUT THE PLAN PERIOD.

3.46.

Development of Greenfield Housing Land

Westwood

This Plan identifies Westwood as a Town Centre, and promotes its development as such, with associated reinforcement of its accessibility by public transport as a central District location. This role, the development of the EuroKent Business Park, establishment of Christ Church College University campus, together with existing business and industry will mean that a substantial range of employment, retail, education and leisure opportunities will be accessible at Westwood. Identification of housing land at Westwood optimises potential for concentrating new dwelling provision at a single sustainable central location. It also provides the opportunity to create an integrated community, with a mixture of dwelling types, sizes, and affordability including housing to meet the expectations of prospective employees at Kent International Airport, the Sandwich Corridor, and Pfizer. Westwood was thus identified as having a distinctive and definitive advantage in sustainability terms over other urban extension site alternatives. The secondary town centre area (Policy TC4) is expected to provide for up to 200 new homes. In addition, the adjacent greenfield site of 28.5 hectares is identified for a further 800 dwelling units and associated community facilities over the Local Plan period to 2011 in Policy H6. It is anticipated that the development programme for these 1,000 new homes (on the sites allocated under this  olicy and TC4) would see the first units being completed in 2008, with 470 units completed by  011 and total completion in 2016. However, Policy H3 does allow for up to 1,000 new homes in the period to 2011, in order not to act as a brake on development of this strategic site.

3.47.

Residential development at Westwood will generate the need to provide appropriate transport infrastructure. A major Traffic Assessment will be required in order to inform how a sustainable transport network and infrastructure can be provided as part of a Westwood Master Plan covering the sites subject of policies H6 and TC4. This Assessment and Master Plan will need to address safe and convenient movement for pedestrians between the residential and town centre areas, and how traffic using the A256 can be diverted around the town centre in favour of pedestrian movement, and reflecting long-term capacity at Westwood Roundabout. It is intended that a Development Brief reflecting the Master Plan will elaborate on the implications of this requirement as set out in Policy H6 below. As indicated in the Transportation Chapter, phases of residential development will be required to make provision pro-rata to provide for appropriate highway improvements both before and after completion of the 300th dwelling on sites H6/TC4. Appropriate highway improvements are expected to incorporate an A256 relief road and improvements to Star Lane. As indicated in the following policy, such works are clearly a pre requisite for development, and must be delivered before the 300th housing unit is completed. Accordingly, construction of such works would be expected to commence at the same time as, if not ahead of, the development of the first housing unit. Essential tasks of the Westwood Master Plan will be to demonstrate how residential development at sites subject of Policies TC4 and H6 will be co-ordinated alongside the Westwood Town Centre Area (Policy TC2). Specifically the Master Plan shall provide details of:

  • Layout and logical phasing programme for development on sites TC4 and H6 (including all uses included in those policies respectively)
  • Pedestrian and cycle links with the primary town centre, and public transport links and facilities
  • Associated highway improvements including any realignment of the A256

3.48.

Development will be expected to accommodate and provide for a new twoform entry primary school of two hectares, within the site allocated under Policy H6 in accordance with terms to be agreed within the planning brief referred to in paragraph 3.47. Individual phases of residential development will also be expected to make cumulative proportionate contributions, pro rata, towards the cost of providing such a school, in order to enable construction to one-form entry capacity at such time as 350 dwellings have been completed, (either on the site subject of Policy H6 or TC4 or both) and two-form entry on completion of 600 dwellings. Development will be expected to incorporate usable amenity space together with local play area provision, and provide a community assembly facility and land for a medical care centre. The Master Plan will also assess the capability of existing/programmed sports facilities to accommodate the additional demand generated by the housing development. Where appropriate, additional provision shall be incorporated in the Development Brief, and the Council will seek developer contributions under the terms of policy CF2 as appropriate.

3.49.

The Environmental Protection Chapter indicates the Council’s intention to monitor air quality in line with the requirements of the Environment Act 1995. Development of the new housing at Westwood will introduce a significant new exposure group, and therefore the development will be expected to include and provide for the appropriate air-quality monitoring equipment.

POLICY H6 - RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT SITE AT WESTWOOD

LAND IS IDENTIFIED FOR NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AT WESTWOOD. THE PROVISIONS OF POLICY H1 SHALL APPLY EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFICALLY MODIFIED IN THE FOLLOWING POLICY.

THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN AGREED MASTER PLAN AND DEVELOPMENT BRIEF COVERING THE SITES SUBJECT OF THIS POLICY AND TC4.

SUBJECT TO POLICY H3 DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED WHICH PROVIDES FOR UP TO 800 NEW HOMES AT A MINIMUM AVERAGE NET DENSITY OF 40 DWELLINGS PER HECTARE WITH CAR PARKING PROVISION AT A TOTAL SITE AVERAGE NOT EXCEEDING 1.5 SPACES PER DWELLING.

SUBMITTED SCHEMES WILL BE REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT A MIX OF HOUSE TYPES, SIZES, STYLES AND AFFORDABILITY WILL BE INTEGRATED WITHIN SPECIFIC PHASES INCLUDING 34% - 50% OF TOTAL DWELLINGS BEING A MIXTURE OF THREE- AND FOURBEDROOM HOMES INCORPORATING GENEROUS ROOM SIZES AND OFF STREET PARKING SPACE. AFFORDABLE HOUSING WILL BE REQUIRED AS PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF POLICY H14.

SUCCESSIVE PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO MAKE PROVISION, PRO RATA, ENABLING CONSTRUCTION, IN TWO PHASES, OF A NEW TWO-FORM ENTRY PRIMARY SCHOOL ON SITE. PROVISIONS SHOULD ENABLE CONSTRUCTION TO SINGLE-FORM ENTRY CAPACITY ON COMPLETION OF 350 DWELLINGS AT WESTWOOD, AND SUBSEQUENTLY TWO-FORM ENTRY CAPACITY ON COMPLETION OF 600 DWELLINGS. A FULLY SERVICED AREA OF TWO HECTARES SHOULD BE PROVIDED FOR THE NEW TWO-FORM ENTRY SCHOOL AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT AT THE COST OF THE DEVELOPER.

DEVELOPMENT WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED TO:

PROVIDE FOR ANY HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS IDENTIFIED AS NECESSARY IN A TRAFFIC ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT MASTER PLAN. INDIVIDUAL PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO MAKE PROVISION PRO RATA TOWARDS SUCH IMPROVEMENTS. THE A256 RELIEF ROAD AND ITS KEY ROUNDABOUT JUNCTIONS SHALL BE DELIVERED AS A MATTER OF URGENCY, PHASED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MASTER PLAN, AND COMPLETED BEFORE THE 300TH DWELLING IS BUILT.

INCORPORATE AND PROVIDE FOR CONNECTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS TO FOOTPATH AND CYCLE NETWORKS FACILITATING WALKING, CYCLING AND USE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT (POLICIES TR11 - TR14) TO, FROM AND WITHIN THE SITE, INCLUDING A MOTORISEDVEHICLE FREE CONNECTION TO WESTWOOD TOWN CENTRE, AND PROVIDE OR CONTRIBUTE TO IMPROVEMENTS TO PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES.

RESERVE A MINIMUM OF TWO HECTARES TO ENABLE PROVISION OF A MEDICAL CARE CENTRE AND PROVIDE A COMMUNITY ASSEMBLY FACILITY.

PROVIDE AND MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT FOR CONTINUOUS AUTOMATED MONITORING OF LOCAL AIR QUALITY TO INFORM THE COUNCIL’S ONGOING AIR-QUALITY REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAMME.

INCORPORATE LANDSCAPED BUFFER ZONES ADJACENT TO ANY NEW ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE AND ALONG THE BOUNDARIES ADJACENT TO OPEN FARM LAND.

AND

RESERVE AND PROVIDE A MINIMUM OF 1.75 HECTARES AS LOCAL PLAY SPACE, (INCLUDING AN EQUIPPED PLAY AREA AND CASUAL/INFORMAL PLAYSPACE) AS REQUIRED IN POLICY SR5 TOGETHER WITH AN AREA OF USABLE AMENITY SPACE (POLICY SR6) AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE DESIGN OF THE DEVELOPMENT. 

Note to Policy H6.

Policy H6 indicates that individual phases of development will be required to make provision pro rata towards appropriate highway improvements and that the relief road and its key junctions are to be delivered as a matter of urgency, phased in accordance with the Master Plan and completed before the 300th dwelling is built. For the avoidance of doubt, this requirement applies to dwellings provided both on land allocated under this policy and under policy TC4, and the 300th dwelling threshold will be based upon combined (cumulative total) dwelling completions from both sites.

3.50.

Minster

Policy R1 indicates that new residential development at rural settlements will be restricted to minor development unless specifically permitted by policies in this Local Plan. Growing emphasis on sustainable development and the need to promote a choice in housing location, has caused the Council to reassess Thanet’s rural settlements in terms of this Policy. Minster Village, which has a population of over 3,000, a railway station, and a good range of local shops is identified as a rural settlement where more than minor residential development can be provided.

3.51.

A further greenfield housing site of some 2.4 hectares is identified and allocated near Monkton Road, Minster in order to provide additional choice in location. In order to make efficient use of the site, average density shall be at a minimum of 40 dwellings per hectare net. This Plan provides for up to 50 units at the site in the period to 2006, with release of the remainder in the period 2006-2011. This quantity of housing and phased release is considered consistent with the scale of the settlement and its ability to absorb a growing community. Landscaping will specifically be required along the southern and western site boundaries in order to soften the impact of built development upon the adjacent open countryside and protect the setting of the Wantsum Channel and adjacent marshes. A financial contribution, (Policy CF2 refers) is likely to be needed to provide additional primary school places arising as a direct result of the housing development.

3.52.

Principal vehicle access to the housing site would need to be provided from Monkton Road. Arrangements for adoptable access, junction layout and sight lines would be a matter for detailed consideration following a traffic assessment. However, in order to achieve arrangements acceptable in planning and highway terms sight lines of 4.5m x 70m may be required.

3.53.

In December 2001 a Housing Needs Survey for the Parish of Minster was undertaken by Kent Rural Community Council with the support of Minster Parish Council and Thanet District Council. This concluded that there is a need for up to 18-26 affordable homes, to meet current and expected local needs arising within the Parish. The Survey indicates that this should comprise a mix of two- and three-bedroom houses and a lesser number of bungalows, with a higher proportion of properties for rent than shared ownership. Based on this evidence of such need, the following policy requires that an appropriate element of affordable housing be included as part of the development of the allocated site. Such affordable housing will be expected to meet local needs specific to Minster Parish as identified in the Housing Need Survey for the Parish as priority. Occupation to meet local needs originating within the wider District will be considered after such priority has been afforded to needs associated with the Parish. The affordable housing is expected to remain available for occupation on such basis by subsequent as well as initial occupiers.

3.54.

Flooding has been reported at southern Minster, apparently resulting from storm-water capacity limitations in sewerage. Any development at the site would be dependent on investigation of drainage capacity and any identified deficiencies being effectively remedied. In addition, the site lies in proximity to an area at risk of flooding, and development would only be permitted at such time as it is demonstrated that any flood risk issues can be dealt with.

3.55.

Development of the site will result in additional demands upon recreational and amenity space in the village. The site’s location offers the opportunity to rationalise open space provision, which is currently shared with the primary school. Proposals for residential development under this policy will be expected to include provision of additional recreational and amenity space, including grassing, landscaping, provision of fixed play equipment, and maintenance and management as set out in Policies SR5 & SR6.

3.56.

There is anecdotal evidence of need in Minster for a nursing home and sheltered housing principally for Minster residents. In the event that such a need can be substantiated and cannot be addressed through existing housing allocations, then provision through means of Policy H15 may be appropriate subject to the criteria set out in that policy. The capability of existing/programmed sports facilities to accommodate the additional demand generated by the housing development will be assessed. Where appropriate, developer contributions will be sought to secure such provision under the terms of Policy CF2.

POLICY H7 - RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT/AMENITY SITE AT MINSTER

LAND IS IDENTIFIED FOR NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AT MINSTER AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP. THE PROVISIONS OF POLICY H1 SHALL APPLY EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFICALLY MODIFIED IN THE FOLLOWING POLICY. HOUSING DEVELOPMENT SHALL BE CONFINED TO THE NORTHERN PART OF THE SITE (APPROXIMATELY 2.4 HECTARES) NORTH OF THE EXISTING FOOTPATH TRAVERSING THE SITE.

HOUSING DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED WHICH PROVIDES FOR UP TO 50 DWELLINGS IN THE PERIOD TO 2006 (WITH DEVELOPMENT OF THE REMAINDER OF THE RESIDENTIAL SITE IN THE PERIOD 2006-2011) IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN APPROVED SCHEME INDICATING PHASED DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENTIRE SITE. NET RESIDENTIAL DENSITY SHALL BE NOT LESS THAN 40 UNITS PER HECTARE. CAR PARKING PROVISION SHALL NOT EXCEED AN AVERAGE OF 1.5 SPACES PER DWELLING.

THE DEVELOPMENT WILL BE EXPECTED TO PROVIDE FOR ADDITIONAL OPEN AMENITY SPACE, INCLUDING LANDSCAPING AND AN EQUIPPED CHILDREN’S PLAY AREA, ON THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE SITE. THIS AREA SHALL BE PROVIDED, GRASSED AND EQUIPPED ON OR BEFORE COMPLETION OF THE 25TH DWELLING.

ANY DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY AT SUCH TIME AS IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT ADEQUATE DRAINAGE CAPACITY WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ACCOMMODATE IT, AND THAT ANY FLOOD RISK ISSUES CAN BE DEALT WITH SATISFACTORILY.

DEVELOPMENT OF EACH PHASE WILL INCORPORATE A RANGE OF HOUSING TYPES INCLUDING 34% - 50% OF DWELLINGS BEING A MIXTURE OF THREE- AND FOUR-BEDROOM HOMES INCORPORATING GENEROUS ROOM SIZES AND OFF-STREET PARKING.

A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION WILL BE REQUIRED TOWARDS THE COST OF PROVIDING ANY ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES ARISING AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE DEVELOPMENT.

DEVELOPMENT OF EACH PHASE WILL INCORPORATE AN ELEMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AMOUNTING TO 30% OF TOTAL UNITS TO MEET NEEDS LOCAL TO MINSTER PARISH AS PRIORITY. ENJOYMENT OF THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AS SUCH SHOULD BE GUARANTEED FOR SUCCESSIVE AS WELL AS INITIAL OCCUPIERS FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE AND THE COUNCIL MAY SEEK TO SECURE THIS BY MEANS OF A LEGAL AGREEMENT.

3.57.

Manston Road, Ramsgate

As a result of underuse, the Council has resolved to rationalize its allotment holdings. This includes disposal of part of the Manston Road allotments. Such disposal will provide specific funding for much needed improvements to security and other enhancements to encourage full use of remaining allotment holdings. The 2.8 hectare site at Manston Road is allocated for residential purposes (H1) in this Local Plan, is located adjoining an existing roundabout and with a supermarket opposite. The District Council has decided that 25% of the site will be developed with affordable housing.

3.58.

Size and Type of Housing

In line with Government Policy Guidance, the Council wishes to meet the housing requirements of the whole community. A Housing Needs Study of Thanet, carried out in 1997, indicated that the existing stock by type and size is over represented by smaller units, but that this may be beneficial in meeting future needs and the scale of small households in the current population. There was also under representation in three-bedroom accommodation. Compared with national levels, Thanet had a higher proportion of households with no children. Conclusions from a 2002 Housing Needs Survey indicate a shortfall against expected demand for one- and two-bedroom homes in the owner-occupied sector.

3.59.

Government projections suggest that much of the projected national household growth results from changes in composition of households, in particular growth in the number of one-person households. The 1991 census indicates that Thanet had the highest percentage (30.5%) of single person households in the County. Average household size in Thanet is projected to decline (from 2.3 in 1991) to 2.14 in 2011. While consumer choice may not result in close correspondence between family size and consumption of household space, there are nonetheless planning benefits in increasing the proportion of smaller units in the housing stock to provide for choice and special needs, and to extend accessibility by expanding the stock of lower cost housing.

3.60.

By contrast, perceptions of local property agents suggests that in relation to demand there are supply shortfalls in two-, three- & four-bedroom houses, with particular demand for new build three- and four-bedroom houses with garden and parking space. There is also evidence that a shortfall in spacious property of modern construction is restricting Thanet’s ability to attract higher paid employees and investment by quality employers. This argues that the Plan should provide for a mixture of housing sizes and types including specifically housing suited to the needs of small households and an element of spacious property capable of underpinning sustainable regeneration, and freeing up movement through the housing stock. The Council will aim to secure a mix of housing sizes, types and affordability on individual sites, compatible with the character of the locality, in order to promote establishment of mixed and balanced communities. Policy H8 amplifies Structure Plan Policy in this context, and policies H6 & H7 provide specific guidance in relation to housing land at Westwood and Minster. Opportunities for mixed housing may be limited on smaller sites, and the provision of small dwelling units will continue to be encouraged through conversion, change of use and redevelopment in line with policy H9. Policies H14 & H15 relate to provision of affordable housing.

3.61.

New homes that are designed to standards to meet, or to be readily adaptable to meet, the needs of people with disabilities or mobility impairments can often provide a home for many residents throughout their lives. The percentage of Lifetime Homes and Wheelchair Housing set out in the Policy reflect the broad proportion of people with disabilities in the population who would benefit from these forms of housing. They are intended as targets, to be sought by negotiation with developers. The precise level of provision appropriate on any particular site will depend on a number of factors including the size of the site and its suitability for specialised housing; the nature of the proposed development; access and proximity of services and facilities; the level of provision of similar housing in the surrounding area; and the likely viability of the proposed development taking into account any exceptional development costs. The Council will consider the desirability of preparing guidance on appropriate standards for Lifetime Homes and Wheelchair Housing in the form of a supplementary planning document, subject to priorities for preparation of the LDF.

POLICY H8 - SIZE AND TYPE OF HOUSING

ON SITES WHERE 10 OR MORE RESIDENTIAL UNITS ARE PROPOSED, THE COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE A MIX OF DWELLING SIZES AND TYPES TO MEET A RANGE OF COMMUNITY NEEDS, COMPATIBLE, THROUGH QUALITY DESIGN, WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE SITE’S LOCALITY. 15% OF UNITS WILL BE EXPECTED TO BE DESIGNED AS LIFETIME HOMES AND WHEELCHAIR HOUSING.

3.62.

Promoting Better Use of Land by Design

In aiming to optimise the use of previously developed land within built-up areas, the objective will be to create compact and high-quality neighbourhoods, mixed communities and to reinvigorate Thanet’s urban centres as attractive areas to live and vibrant places of mixed activity. Accordingly, the Plan contains specific policies requiring quality designs to provide attractive living environments and safeguarding valuable open space. Subject to compliance with these policies, the District Council intends to encourage optimum use/rehabilitation and conversion of the existing building stock, use of suitable vacant or under-used accommodation, and maximisation of the housing contribution that can satisfactorily be made on previously developed sites, through Policy H9. Vacant sites and premises formerly in employment use may provide additional brownfield housing site opportunities, where such sites are not specifically earmarked for retention in employment related use (policy EC12). 

3.63.

Better use of existing stock

Because of the era and nature of its development, Thanet contains many residential buildings of substantial proportions. Conversion of such large buildings no longer suited to modern living styles or to their original purpose will continue to be regarded as a wholly appropriate way of meeting dwelling requirements. There is a need for a range of dwelling sizes to suit all pockets in the District. In encouraging such conversion through Policy H9(i) the Council will seek to secure a range of sizes of accommodation to complement Policy H8, and to help meet local needs for affordable housing. In general, proposals under H9(i) will be expected to reflect their locational context and occupier preferences so that, for example, smaller units will be provided in and around town centre core areas, and modern, family-sized units with gardens, accommodated in the wider urban areas.

3.64.

Housing in town centres

The District Council wishes generally to encourage provision of new housing close to the employment, amenity, shopping and transport facilities of the town centres and commercial local centres.

3.65.

Thanet's traditional shopping areas have experienced varying degrees of decline and contraction. This decline has tended to manifest itself in notable and sometimes long-standing vacancies in shop premises in secondary locations, e.g. King Street, Ramsgate. The District Council will give favourable consideration to applications for residential use in secondary commercial locations, except where there is conflict with other Local Plan policies (see note 1 to Policy H9). An appropriately designed house front or adaptation of the shopfront will usually be required in order to present a satisfactory appearance in the street scene (see reference to supplementary planning guidance in note 2 to Policy H9). 

3.66.

A considerable amount of accommodation attached to shops and other commercial premises in the Thanet towns is underused or vacant. The District Council wishes to encourage bringing accommodation above shops and other commercial premises into residential use. Where proposed residential accommodation is unrelated to the shop use, it is considered essential that there should be separate self-contained access.

3.67.

Accommodation in commercial areas, including above shops, can provide useful additions to the housing stock, including smaller and low-cost accommodation. It can also provide a source of ready trade for local shops and services, and easy access to them for the residential occupiers who may typically have a low level of car ownership. Potential additional benefits include income and security for owners and the area generally, life outside normal business hours and stimulation of further investment in the building stock.

3.68.

Supplementary guidance on conversion to flats (Conversion to Flats Guidelines) has been adopted by the District Council. These Guidelines set out comprehensive standards relating to design and layout of accommodation, amenities, and parking requirements, which the District Council would expect to be achieved. It is important to note that buildings which have an overall floor area of less than 110 square metres (1184 square feet) are considered unsuitable for conversion to smaller units. The standards and criteria set out in the Guidelines are taken into account when determining applications for conversion of buildings to flats. Where it is not possible to meet in full the standards relating to room sizes, exceptional consideration may be given to proposals to provide residential accommodation in long-standing vacant commercial premises or as over the shop accommodation. Such exceptions may be made where a small shortfall is considered to be offset by the benefits of bringing the accommodation into residential use, and provided that all other criteria in the Guidelines can be met.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) H9 - BETTER USE OF LAND FOR HOUSING

PROPOSALS TO PROVIDE RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION THROUGH:

  • CONVERSION OR ADAPTATION OF NON-RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS OR LARGER RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES TO PROVIDE SMALLER RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION
  • USE OF EXISTING ACCOMMODATION ABOVE SHOPS
  • CONVERSIONS AND AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEW SHOPPING AND OFFICE DEVELOPMENTS IN THANET’S COMMERCIAL CENTRES
  • CHANGE OF USE/CONVERSION OF SHOP PREMISES IN AREAS NOT CONSIDERED OF IMPORTANCE TO THE COMMERCIAL VIABILITY, FUNCTIONING AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE ADJOINING SHOPPING AREA.

WILL BE PERMITTED SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  1. THE STANDARD OF ACCOMMODATION, RESIDENTIAL ENVIRONMENT AND CAR-PARKING ARRANGEMENTS PROVIDED/AVAILABLE ARE JUDGED TO BE SATISFACTORY (POLICIES D1 & TR16 APPLY)
  2. THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT RESULT IN DEMOLITION OR OTHER ALTERATIONS INAPPROPRIATE TO THE CHARACTER OF A LISTED BUILDING OR ITS SETTING OR A BUILDING SITUATED IN OR ADJOINING A CONSERVATION AREA
  3. THE PROPOSAL WOULD NOT CONFLICT WITH LOCAL PLAN POLICIES FOR RETENTION OF EXISTING PREMISES OR LAND FOR EMPLOYMENT GENERATING USES (POLICY EC12)
  1. EXISTING USES OR USES FOR WHICH CONSENT HAS BEEN GRANTED WITHIN OTHER PARTS OF THE BUILDING OR AT ADJOINING PREMISES ARE CONSIDERED COMPATIBLE WITH RESIDENTIAL USE

AND

  1. THE PRIMARY COMMERCIAL FUNCTION OF THE CENTRE WOULD NOT BE PREJUDICED

PROPOSALS INVOLVING RESIDENTIAL CONVERSION OF GROUND FLOOR PREMISES IN COMMERCIAL USE IN TOWN CENTRE CORE LOCATIONS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED UNLESS THE LOCATION AND/OR SIZE OF PREMISES IS SUCH THAT CHANGE OF USE IS NOT CONSIDERED OF MATERIAL SIGNIFICANCE TO THE COMMERCIAL FUNCTION OF THE CENTRE. (See note 1) 

PROPOSALS INVOLVING CHANGE OF USE/CONVERSION OF SHOP PREMISES AT GROUND FLOOR LEVEL WILL BE EXPECTED TO INCLUDE DETAILS OF A SUITABLY DESIGNED HOUSEFRONT AS PART OF THE APPLICATION. WHERE RETENTION OF AN EXISTING SHOPFRONT IS CONSIDERED APPROPRIATE, MEASURES TO PROVIDE A SATISFACTORY RESIDENTIAL APPEARANCE MUST BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE APPLICATION. (See Note 2)

Notes

  1. Town centre core locations include those areas referred to in Policies TC2 and TC7.
  2. Where granted, consent will normally be subject to a condition that any agreed alterations to present a satisfactory residential appearance shall be fully implemented before residential occupation commences. General guidance on alterations/measures to present a satisfactory residential appearance, to which the Council will have regard in determining planning applications, is contained in supplementary guidance available from the District Council.
3.69.

Areas In Need Of Special Action

This Local Plan identifies (on the Proposals Map) four areas meriting special attention.

  1. Margate Old Town Area
  2. King Street, Ramsgate
  3. Upper High Street, Ramsgate
  4. Cliftonville West

The objective is to achieve their revitalisation in parallel with Thanet's wider regeneration programme. In all four areas, housing and community development have a potentially significant role in overcoming their stagnation, urban decay and stimulating confidence and investment. Cliftonville West was declared a Renewal Area in 2005 in recognition of its combination of social and environmental problems combined with poor housing. Margate Old Town, King Street and upper High Street, Ramsgate are the subject of current action programmes as part of the Council’s Town Centre Regeneration and Empty Property Programme, supported by various sources of funding. Margate Old Town Action Plan encourages mixed uses including a cultural quarter, capitalising on the area’s built heritage and waterfront. Policy EC10 permits certain mixed uses including housing, “living over the shop” and live-work space in support of this.

3.70.

The regeneration programme for King Street, Ramsgate promotes selective redevelopment, investment and refurbishment at the concentrations of rundown and vacant property beyond the commercial core of the town centre. Programme proposals, in partnership with the private and voluntary sector, focus on residential refurbishment including “living over the shop” together with environmental improvements. The programme has been extended to include the upper High Street area.

3.71.

Cliftonville West is characterised by concentrations of former hotel buildings. Decline in the long-stay holiday trade has led to concentrations of accommodation being given over to private renting and multiple occupation. This, in turn, has given rise to a polarised and deprived community and a disincentive to property investment. There is anecdotal evidence that perceptions relating to crime risk and other problems associated with deprived areas are falsely tainting Thanet's overall image as a place to live, visit and invest. The Council continues to apply its enforcement powers to curtail unauthorised uses and bring accommodation up to appropriate standards. However, a specific action programme is warranted to reinstate a balanced and confident community and stimulate property investment.

3.72.

The overriding aim of the declaration of the Cliftonville West Renewal Area is to improve the condition of the area's private housing stock and general amenities. A renewal area strategy and programme is being drawn up in consultation with the community and partner organisations. Guiding objectives include the need to break the deprivation cycle associated with poor quality housing, build a more confident community and bring about a change in perception by investors. Quality housing is expected to play a major role in achieving these objectives. It is expected that the rolling strategy programme will include land purchase where necessary and be funded by a range of sources including the Council, the private sector, a housing association and SEEDA. It is anticipated that this programme will promote diversification of the tenure and ownership types in the area. Further Renewal Areas are expected to be declared in Margate under the Council's Renewal Area Programme.

3.73.

In support of such area-specific programmes the following policy promotes refurbishment for housing and other appropriate uses together with environmental improvements in the areas identified (H10) on the Proposals Map. All or parts of these areas lie within or adjoin Conservation Areas. Selective redevelopment is also encouraged where compatible with conservation policies. Such support for Margate Old Town area is expressed in Policy EC10.

3.74.

Property and land that are under used, semi-derelict, vacant or in poor repair also exist outside the areas specifically identified above as being in need of special action. Such property and land are wasteful of resources and detract from local quality of life. Therefore, in addition to area-specific policies and revitalisation programmes, the Council is also developing proposals for a rolling programme of action to bring land and property back into beneficial use and to secure appropriate repairs and improvement. Action will be tailored to tackle individual circumstances by applying a mix of powers available to the Council. This initiative is expected to make a valuable contribution to the Council’s regeneration objectives by providing additional homes (including an element of affordable housing) on previously developed land, recycling the use of such land and buildings, and improving the image of the District.

POLICY H10 - AREAS IN NEED OF SPECIAL ACTION

IN SUPPORT OF THE REGENERATION OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS (AS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP), THE COUNCIL WILL PERMIT APPROPRIATE REDEVELOPMENT TO ACCOMMODATE RESIDENTIAL AND OTHER APPROPRIATE USES AND SUPPORT REFURBISHMENT OF PROPERTY TOGETHER WITH ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS.

  1. MARGATE OLD TOWN & HARBOUR
  2. KING STREET, RAMSGATE
  3. HIGH STREET, RAMSGATE
  4. CLIFTONVILLE WEST
3.75.

Non-Self Contained Residential Accommodation 

Accommodation within a building can be regarded as non-self contained where unrelated households share one or more facilities, e.g. bathroom, kitchen. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are an example where a high degree of sharing of facilities is typical, and where living arrangements, being more intense than single family occupation, can give rise to noise, nuisance*, more callers, a higher parking requirement and visual deterioration of buildings and gardens. While the District Council does not wish to encourage proliferation of HMOs as a permanent measure, it does recognise that such sharing arrangements can provide a source of cheap rented accommodation, and are typically suited to the needs of small households. Accordingly, it wishes only to resist the establishment or continuation of those which would have an unacceptable impact on their locality. (* See operational note to Policy H11).

3.76.

The extent to which non-self contained accommodation may generate the problems referred to above depends not only on intensity of occupation, sharing of facilities and management of the building, but also the nature of the area in which it is situated, the type of building, and the concentration of similar uses in its vicinity.

3.77.

Control is exercised under both Planning and Environmental Health powers, which involve different considerations. Proposals for premises in use as multiple occupation will not only be required to meet the District Council's adopted standards for HMOs, but will also be subject to the need to obtain planning consent and listed building consent, for instance relating to alterations to the building (e.g. to meet the Fire Prevention Officer's requirements). Where there are no other planning objections (Policy H11), the District Council as planning authority will be as sympathetic as possible to fire-safety requirements, and will endeavour to negotiate an arrangement which minimises impact, in planning terms, to an acceptable level.

3.78.

In exceptional circumstances, e.g. where it is not possible to render accommodation fit for habitation and/or there are planning objections to the use, enforcement action may be taken under planning and/or housing legislation. In such cases, the Council, as planning authority would normally wish to encourage conversion to self-contained flats provided that a satisfactory standard of accommodation could be provided.

3.79.

In considering the level of parking requirement likely to be generated by individual proposals in relation to the standards set out in the County Council's Adopted Vehicle Parking Standards, account will be taken of vehicle parking requirements generated by the authorised use and the intensity and type of non-self contained occupation proposed. Regard will also be had to the visual impact of any on-site parking arrangements. Advice on landscaping of parking areas is contained in the Conversion to Flats Guidelines (referred to in text supporting Policy H9).

3.80.

A dustbin storage area should be accessible to all occupiers, and will be expected to be provided in the rear garden space. Exceptionally, alternative siting, but not in the front garden area, may be acceptable provided it is not in public view. The District Council's expectations in relation to dustbin storage are amplified in Section 6 of the Conversion to Flats Guidelines.

POLICY H11 - NON-SELF CONTAINED RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION

IN CONSIDERING APPLICATIONS TO ESTABLISH OR REGULARISE NONSELF CONTAINED RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION OR BEFORE INSTIGATING ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS UNDER PLANNING POWERS TO REQUIRE CESSATION OF SUCH USE, ACCOUNT WILL BE TAKEN OF:

  1. THE LIKELY OR EXPERIENCED EFFECT OF THE USE ON THE CHARACTER AND AMENITY OF THE LOCALITY RESULTING FROM NOISE*, DISTURBANCE AND VISUAL IMPACT 
  2. WHETHER THE PROPOSED OR UNLAWFUL USE WOULD RESULT OR HAS RESULTED IN AN INTENSIFICATION OR CONCENTRATION OF SUCH USES TO A LEVEL WHICH IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE AMENITY AND CHARACTER OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD INCLUDING IN RELATION TO THE CONSIDERATIONS SET OUT IN (1) ABOVE;
  3. THE ADEQUACY OF PROVISION AND SUITABILITY OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR CAR PARKING ON SITE OR THE LIKELY OR EXPERIENCED IMPACT OF PARKING NEEDS BEING MET ON STREET AND
  4. THE SUITABILITY OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR DUSTBIN STORAGE AND RUBBISH COLLECTION

WHERE IT IS PROPOSED TO GRANT CONSENT/NOT PURSUE ENFORCEMENT ACTION, A LEGAL AGREEMENT MAY BE SOUGHT TO RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF PERSONS ACCOMMODATED WITHIN THE PREMISES AND TO SECURE ARRANGEMENTS FOR MAINTAINING THE BUILDING AND GARDENS TO AN ACCEPTABLE VISUAL CONDITION. 

Operational Note 

* Noise problems generated by particular individuals in non-self contained residential accommodation are essentially a management matter. In considering regularisation of non-self contained accommodation, the District Council will have regard only to the extent that noise is generated as a result of the nature of that use, i.e. resulting from intensity of occupation and living arrangements.

3.81.

Retention of Existing Housing Stock

To avoid unnecessary use of greenfield housing land, in line with national planning guidance it is valid to generally encourage retention of the existing housing stock.

POLICY H12 - RETENTION OF EXISTING HOUSING STOCK

PROPOSALS WHICH WOULD LEAD TO THE LOSS OF EXISTING RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY WHERE IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT:

  1. THE CONTINUATION OF RESIDENTIAL USE OF THE PREMISES IS UNDESIRABLE FOR REASONS OF INCOMPATIBILITY WITH ADJACENT USES, STRUCTURAL INCONVENIENCE, OBSOLESCENCE OR LAYOUT 
  2. A CHANGE OF USE WOULD PROVIDE THE BEST REASONABLE MEANS OF PRESERVING A BUILDING OF ARCHITECTURAL OR HISTORIC IMPORTANCE (POLICY HE2 REFERS)
  3. IT RELATES TO THE PROVISION OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES WHICH NEED TO BE SO LOCATED TO BENEFIT THE CLIENT COMMUNITY AND ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE RESIDENTIAL AMENITY OF THE LOCALITY

OR

  1. IT RELATES TO A PROPOSAL IN THIS LOCAL PLAN

(POLICY NOT SAVED) H13 - RESIDENTIAL AMENITIES

IN PREDOMINANTLY RESIDENTIAL AREAS, THE MAINTENANCE OF RESIDENTIAL AMENITIES WILL TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER OTHER PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SPECIFIC PROPOSALS IN THIS PLAN, NON-RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WITH POTENTIAL TO ADVERSELY AFFECT LOCAL AMENITIES WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE MEASURES TO MITIGATE ANY DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ARE CAPABLE OF EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION.

Explanation: This policy is intended to safeguard the stock of residential accommodation in such use, and complements the objectives of Policy H12.

3.82.

Local Needs For Affordable Housing

Thanet has suffered persistently high levels of unemployment, which impacts on ability to access decent housing. A 1997 Housing Needs and Empty Property survey of Thanet found that there is a clear affordability problem in the District for low-income households. In 2002 Consultants were commissioned to undertake an updated Local Housing Needs Survey for Thanet. In quantifying need, a household was considered unable to afford private sector housing (and therefore in need of affordable housing) if its gross income is less than 1/3rd of its mortgage requirement and renting privately would take up more than 30% of its net household income. Conclusions from this study show a very substantial level of unmet affordable housing need. The Study indicates that if all housing needs for affordable dwellings are to be met in the next 5 years then an additional 4,510 dwellings would be needed over that period. The Study notes that negotiating elements of affordable housing through planning powers is a significant source in addressing such need. It indicates that given the substantial level of need found in Thanet any target for negotiating elements of affordable housing would be perfectly justified. In the circumstances it recommends that negotiations should be triggered on the basis of a site threshold of 15+ dwellings/0.5 Hectares. 

3.83.

Within the scope of Policy H1 the District Council will encourage proposals consisting of or including new, converted or rehabilitated housing that would demonstrably meet some local needs for affordable housing, for example through involvement of registered social landlords. The District Council also intends, through Policies H14 and H15, to enable provision of a wider range and improved standards of affordable accommodation to meet the needs of lower income groups. The term affordable housing embraces both low-cost market housing and subsidised housing. However, low-cost market housing is unlikely to be genuinely affordable to those in housing need, as identified in the Housing Needs Survey 2002, unless it is subsidised in some way such as through provision of land at no cost, grant or discounted price, to ensure a price below that of dwellings on the open market. Whilst shared ownership might be able to help a small fraction of households in need (around 9%), for the remainder only social rented affordable housing will be of any use. Thus the vast majority of need to be met is for social rented affordable housing. In addition to Policy H14, Policy H15 also applies to the rural settlements.

3.84.

In respect of Policy H14, the District Council will normally seek to ensure that where affordable housing is provided it is made and kept available for those in need (normally households eligible for inclusion on the Council's housing needs register). Involvement of registered social landlords or other bona fide charitable bodies, whose continuing interest will secure this objective, will therefore be encouraged. While tenure will be a matter for negotiation, overriding local need is currently for rented housing, at affordable (non-market) rents (that is housing accessible to households whose income is insufficient to enable them to afford adequate housing locally on the open market). Arrangements to meet these needs will be particularly encouraged.

3.85.

The Housing Needs Survey indicates that there is an estimated annual shortfall of 902 affordable dwellings to address the full need for affordable housing over the next 5 years. This exceeds the total amount of housing of all types planned to be built over that period and so it would clearly be impractical to seek to meet it in full. Taking into account the size and nature of housing sites likely to come forward and the need to build balanced communities, as well as experience in other districts, Policy H14 establishes 30% as a starting point for negotiation of an element of affordable housing on eligible housing sites. What is appropriate and reasonable for any particular site will be negotiated on an individual basis. (A specific exception is land allocated under Policy H1 at Manston Road allotments, Ramsgate, where 25% of the allocated site will be reserved for social housing.) However, in assessing local need for additional affordable housing, the District Council will have regard to the current Housing Strategy and Investment Programme, the size and nature of the current housing needs register, and the number and proportion of affordable housing units available to accommodate local needs. Attention will be given to local market house prices and rents, local incomes, existing affordable housing supply, size and type of local households and the type of housing best suited to meet local needs.

3.86.

Bearing in mind the 30% target for the District as a whole, the precise level of provision appropriate on any particular site will depend on a number of factors including the suitability of the site for affordable housing; the nature of the proposed development; access and proximity of services and facilities; the level of provision of similar housing in the surrounding area; and the likely viability of the proposed development, taking into account any exceptional development costs. The Council will periodically review the 30% element referred to in Policy H14 at such time as new housing survey data is available to inform whether this percentage remains appropriate. 

3.87.

Policies in this Plan relating to design quality and achieving attractive residential environments apply equally to affordable and market housing.

3.88.

Regeneration of the town centres of Margate and Ramsgate is being promoted through a Town Centre and Empty Property Programme. This programme, supported by Single Regeneration Budget and European (ERDF) funding, English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, Kent County Council and Thanet District Council and in co-ordination and partnership with a wide variety of investors, is delivering regeneration solutions. It aims to eradicate the urban decay impeding investment and regeneration in these centres. Quality affordable housing is a major driver of the programme, and land is being brought back into beneficial use for housing through close working with registered social landlords and private landlords. Quality affordable housing is also expected to be integrated within the proposed neighbourhood renewal programme for western Cliftonville (see paragraphs 3.69-3.74 above).

3.89.

The 1997 Housing Needs and Empty Property Survey identified strong demand for town centre housing. Within identified priority areas there is major scope for the provision of affordable housing as part of the overall regeneration strategy. This includes conversion of buildings back to their original use in a secondary commercial/mixed use area. Such locations are generally accessible on foot to a range of services. The programme forms an integral part of the Council’s Housing Strategy. The Council will, through its planning powers, encourage integration of affordable housing in all new housing developments. However, it may also consider commuted payments in lieu of on-site provision, where this will facilitate provision of affordable housing contributing to the Town Centre & Empty Property Programme regeneration strategy or to other objectives of the Housing Strategy.

POLICY H14 - AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEGOTIATIONS ON HOUSING SITES

  1. WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS PROPOSED WHICH, IN ITS COMPLETED FORM, WOULD AMOUNT TO FIFTEEN OR MORE RESIDENTIAL UNITS, OR WILL/MIGHT REASONABLY FORM PART OF AN ONGOING/FUTURE DEVELOPMENT, CUMULATIVELY TOTALLING FIFTEEN OR MORE SUCH UNITS, THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL NEGOTIATE WITH THE DEVELOPER FOR THE INCLUSION OF AN ELEMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING. SUCH NEGOTIATIONS WILL ALSO BE APPLIED TO ANY SITE OF 0.5 HECTARE OR MORE IRRESPECTIVE OF THE NUMBER OF DWELLINGS PROPOSED. 
  2. THE WILLINGNESS OF THE DEVELOPER TO PROVIDE AN ELEMENT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING WILL BE A MATERIAL CONSIDERATION IN CONSIDERING THE APPLICATION.
  3. THE SCALE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING WHICH IS REASONABLE AND APPROPRIATE ON ANY PARTICULAR SITE WILL BE A MATTER FOR NEGOTIATION BETWEEN THE DEVELOPER AND THE DISTRICT COUNCIL. HOWEVER, AN ELEMENT OF 30% WILL REPRESENT THE STARTING POINT AND NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE BASED ON THE INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE, THE CHARACTER OF THE AREA AND LOCAL NEEDS, AND BE SUBJECT TO A LEGAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES.
  4. BEFORE GRANTING CONSENT, THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE THE DEVELOPER TO DEMONSTRATE HOW ANY AFFORDABLE HOUSING WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO HOUSEHOLDS UNABLE TO OBTAIN ADEQUATE HOUSING THROUGH THE PRIVATE MARKET, AND THE COUNCIL MAY SEEK TO SECURE THIS BY ENTERING INTO A PLANNING AGREEMENT AND WILL REQUIRE THE DEVELOPER TO DEMONSTRATE THAT ENJOYMENT OF THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AS SUCH CAN BE GUARANTEED FOR SUCCESSIVE AS WELL AS INITIAL OCCUPIERS FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
  5. IN THE EVENT THAT THE DEVELOPER WISHES TO LOCATE THE AFFORDABLE ELEMENT ON AN ALTERNATIVE SITE WITHIN HIS OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL, THIS WILL BE ACCEPTED PROVIDED THAT SUCH DEVELOPMENT OF THE ALTERNATIVE SITE IS JUDGED ACCEPTABLE IN RELATION TO POLICY H1, AND SUBJECT TO A LEGAL AGREEMENT. ALTERNATIVELY, WHERE AN ALTERNATIVE SITE IS NOT AVAILABLE, THE COUNCIL MAY EXCEPTIONALLY CONSIDER A COMMUTED SUM IN LIEU OF DIRECT PROVISION WHERE THIS WILL FACILITATE PROVISION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONTRIBUTING TO THE OBJECTIVES OF THE HOUSING STRATEGY.

Operational Notes H14

  1. For the purposes of Policy H14, the definition of affordable housing is that contained in Circular 6/98 and includes both low-cost market and subsidised housing.
  2. The size of site (15 units +) at which the District Council may negotiate for affordable housing, reflects the magnitude of local need in comparison to the total housing provisions in this Local Plan.
  3. An alternative site or commuted sum, as referred to in clause 5 of Policy H14, will not be an acceptable alternative in relation to the site allocated in Policy H6, in order to provide for a mixed community at Westwood.
3.90.

Elements of affordable housing negotiated under the above Policy or otherwise provided will make a valuable contribution to meeting outstanding needs. However, in view of the substantial amount of unmet need, this impact will be limited, and the Council wishes to pursue all reasonable courses of action to offset it.

3.91.

Rural Local Needs Housing

The Village Appraisals carried out by the Parish Councils have shown that there is a modest shortage of affordable and suitable housing in the rural settlements to meet locally generated needs. This shortfall is most notable in respect of first-time buyers, young families and elderly residents within those settlements. A specific Housing Needs Survey for Minster Parish has provided evidence of existing need within that Parish, and this is addressed within Policy H7.

3.92.

The problem is not simply one of housing. The lack of housing to meet locally generated needs can have an adverse effect on the character, amenity and functioning of rural settlements. This tends to be most graphically illustrated when first-time buyers are effectively forced out of the villages because of the relatively high prices created within a restricted housing market.

3.93.

This has far wider economic and social consequences than might initially be realised. Such outward movement often deprives villages of young families with children, putting village schools (an important point of social contact) at risk. In the long term, this has further implications for the provision of village services, and public transport and employment opportunities.

3.94.

The Department of the Environment has recognised that such needs exist in rural areas in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (Housing), and the Structure Plan contains a policy enabling exceptional release of land for affordable housing at rural settlements where justified by a proven local need.

3.95.

In November 1989, the Kent Planning and Housing Officers Groups issued an Advisory Note on affordable local needs housing in rural areas, for use in the preparation of Local Plan policies. Its purpose was to establish a consistent countywide policy in respect of local needs housing. This Policy is based substantially on the model policy contained in the Advisory Note, with some adaptation to meet local conditions and circumstances.

3.96.

The Policy reflects the District Council's commitment to the provision of local-needs housing, which is also demonstrated by the District Council's continuing involvement in the DoE's Rural Housing Special Programme.

POLICY H15 - RURAL LOCAL- NEEDS HOUSING

EXCEPTIONALLY, PROPOSALS FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENT TO MEET LOCAL NEEDS IN RURAL AREAS ON SITES OUTSIDE THE CONFINES OF THE RURAL SETTLEMENTS WILL BE PERMITTED, PROVIDED THAT ALL THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS CAN BE MET:

  1. A DETAILED PARISH SURVEY, SUBMITTED WITH THE PLANNING APPLICATION, CLEARLY IDENTIFIES SUCH A NEED TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE DISTRICT PLANNING AUTHORITY, WHO WILL, IF NECESSARY, SEEK AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT.
  2. THE LOCATION AND FORM OF DEVELOPMENT IS ACCEPTABLE IN TERMS OF ACCESS, PROXIMITY TO LOCAL SERVICES, ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE RURAL SETTLEMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE PROVISION AND IMPACT ON ITS BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND ON THE ADJOINING COUNTRYSIDE, AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT CONTROL CONSIDERATIONS.
  3. THE SUBMITTED PROPOSALS CONTAIN HOUSING OF A TYPE, MIX AND SCALE WHICH DIRECTLY MEET THE IDENTIFIED NEED.
  4. THE FIRST AND ALL SUBSEQUENT OCCUPIERS ARE RESTRICTED TO THE GROUPS SET OUT IN THE EXPLANATION BELOW.
  5. THE APPROPRIATE FINANCIAL AND TENURE ARRANGEMENTS, DETAILED IN THE PLANNING APPLICATION, HAVE BEEN MADE TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARTS 3 AND 4 OF THIS POLICY, TO BE INCORPORATED IN A LEGAL AGREEMENT WITH THE COUNCIL.
  6. THE DISTRICT COUNCIL IS SATISFIED THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARTS 3, 4, AND 5 ARE BOTH ATTAINABLE, AND ENFORCEABLE IN THE LONG TERM (i.e. FOR BOTH INITIAL AND ALL SUBSEQUENT OCCUPIERS).
  7. THE PROPOSAL HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE RELEVANT PARISH COUNCIL.
  8. THERE IS NO REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF MEETING THE IDENTIFIED NEED.

THE DISTRICT COUNCIL WILL NOT SUPPORT PROPOSALS WHICH INCLUDE: 

  1. MARKET HOUSING AS PART OF A CROSS-SUBSIDY SCHEME OR
  2. LOW-COST HOUSING WHICH ONLY GIVES AN INITIAL ONE-TIME PURCHASE SUBSIDY

Explanation:

3.97.

For the purposes of this policy, local-needs groups for whom such housing is considered appropriate are:

  1. First-time buyers who are already village residents or children of village residents
  2. Village residents living in unsuitable accommodation
  3. Dependants of village residents 
  4. People whose work is based in the village
  5. People, normally the children of a household with local connections, who have been forced to move away from the village due to a lack of affordable or suitable housing
3.98.

For these purposes, a residential qualification is interpreted as 3 years continuous residence in the parish, or alternatively any 5 years out of the last 10. A household with local connections is defined as one having immediate family resident within the parish for a minimum of 10 years.

3.99.

It is important that the client group and their particular design, financial and management requirements are clearly identified, since the District Council will expect the proposals to reflect these requirements.

3.100.

The measures contained in this policy constitute a "control package" designed to ensure local-needs housing is available to meet local needs in the long term. It is therefore essential that all the requirements set out in the Policy are met and detailed in the planning application, and that the applicant is willing to enter into a legal agreement to ensure these controls are established on a permanent basis.

3.101.

New Agricultural Dwellings

Annexe I of PPS7 sets out the criteria by which proposals for new agricultural dwellings should be appraised. All such proposals should be subject to a "functional" test (whether an operational need for the dwelling exists). A "financial" test may also be applied in appropriate situations (whether the farmholding is sustainable in the long term as a productive agricultural unit).

3.102.

Structure Plan Policies aim to minimise the rate of new residential development in the countryside, relating it to locally generated needs, be they agricultural, forestry or social housing needs.

3.103.

Planning permission will therefore normally only be granted for a farm dwelling where an agricultural need has been demonstrated. In this context, need means the need of the particular farm business, rather than the owner or occupier of the farm or holding.

3.104.

The District Council takes the view that, in Thanet, agricultural need is directly related to the security of certain types of livestock, and horticultural produce. Thanet's agricultural land is almost exclusively in arable production which, by its nature, is not as susceptible to damage as other forms of agriculture.

3.105.

The pattern of agricultural holdings in Thanet is well established and stable, and the agricultural area is generally in close proximity to the urban areas. In view of this, the Council believes that there is, generally speaking, little justification for new agricultural dwellings.

POLICY H16 - NEW AGRICULTURAL DWELLINGS

THE PROVISION OF NEW AGRICULTURAL DWELLINGS IN THE DISTRICT WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED WHERE IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT:

  1. THERE IS A GENUINE SECURITY CONCERN WHICH NECESSITATES THAT PROVISION 

OR

  1. A NEW VIABLE AGRICULTURAL UNIT REQUIRES ON-SITE ACCOMMODATION FOR OPERATIONAL PURPOSES 

AND WHERE THE PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTABLE IN TERMS OF ACCESS, DESIGN AND LOCATION. 

WHERE PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A NEW DWELLING IS GRANTED ON THE BASIS OF AGRICULTURAL REQUIREMENTS, A CONDITION OR LEGAL AGREEMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO RESTRICT OCCUPATION OF THE DWELLING TO AGRICULTURAL WORKERS AND THEIR DEPENDANTS, OR PERSONS LAST EMPLOYED IN AGRICULTURE.

3.106.

Residential Care Homes

There is growing recognition that each area should seek to cater for its own elderly and handicapped and that such persons are best accommodated in the community. This is reflected in the Government policy document "Caring For People"(1989).

3.107.

The 1991 Census indicates that at 3%, Thanet had the highest percentage of residents in communal establishments in Kent, the County total being 1.7%.

3.108.

For many years the Council operated a policy of total restriction on new residential care homes which proved unacceptable and unworkable. This was replaced by a long and complicated policy relating largely to concentration, parking and amenity. Market forces and non-land use considerations have lowered demand for new homes and it is considered that given the experience of the past and this current situation there is no necessity to address the situation with a specific policy and each application will be treated on its own merits. This situation will be monitored and kept under review with the intention of seeking a change of policy to prevent specific adverse consequences that would flow from an increase in the number of new residential homes proposed.

3.109.

The social exclusion and deprivation suffered in the District is of significant concern to, and an important element to be tackled as part of, the District’s regeneration efforts. Adding to the problem is the impact of children’s homes in Thanet, attracted by low-cost substantial properties and fuelled by high levels of fees for difficult children. Whilst sympathetic to the needs of such young people, the Council is concerned that large concentrations (almost 39% of East Kent Area’s “looked after children” were located in Thanet in 1999/2000) of such socially excluded young people will simply add to the problems of the area. There is also evidence that once imported into Thanet a large proportion of “looked after children” tend to remain in the District into adulthood, thereby compounding a dependency culture.

3.110.

The Council is currently investigating, in conjunction with Kent Social Services and Kent Police, the significance and level of impact arising from such use. Following such investigations, the District Council will consider whether it is appropriate to formulate a specific policy for regulating the quantity or location of children’s homes within the District through available planning powers.

3.111.

The Council will consider the need to introduce policies regulating children’s homes in the light of available evidence regarding impact on local services, crime and disorder in the District, and the powers and resources of other relevant agencies to regulate and accommodate them.

3.112.

Accommodation for Gypsies and Travelling Showpeople.

There is only occasional camping by gypsies in Thanet District. This can probably be attributed to lack of suitable employment opportunities and the fact that Thanet is not an "en route" stopping place. There is also anecdotal evidence that such visits are for leisure purposes. For these reasons, the District Council does not envisage a need to consider specific provision for accommodation for gypsies in the District. Any such applications in Thanet will be determined on their merits. The District Council is not aware of any local need for "winter quarters" or permanent bases for travelling showpeople.

3.113.

Aircraft Noise

The District Council wishes to ensure that as far as possible, the impact of aircraft noise on noise-sensitive development including housing is limited to an acceptable level. The District Council's policies relating to aircraft noise in relation to all forms of noise sensitive development are contained in the Environmental Protection Chapter, (Policies EP7 and EP8). These Policies will be applicable in respect of applications for new residential development including residential conversion of existing buildings.

3.114.

Extensions to Dwellings

Policy D3 of the Design chapter applies specifically to extensions to dwellings. Supplementary guidance “ A Guide to Extending Your Home” is available separately from the District Council.

LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Location of New Housing Development
Relevant Policies
H1
Indicator
Percentage of new dwellings completed on previously developed land. (including conversion/re-use of existing buildings).
Target
70% of new dwellings should be provided on previously developed land.
Monitoring
Annual housing land study.
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Efficient Use Of Housing Land.
Relevant Policies
H1
Indicator
Net densities achieved on completed housing sites over 10 units.
Target
A minimum average density of 35 dwellings per hectare net in any one year.
Monitoring
Data derived from annual housing land survey.
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Efficient Use of Housing Land
Relevant Policies
H1 and H6
Indicator
Net density achieved on allocated housing site at Westwood (Policy H6).
Target
A minimum net density of 40 dwellings per hectare net.
Monitoring
Number of dwellings completed on allocated sites.
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Affordable Housing
Relevant Policies
H14
Indicator
% New housing sites over 15 units net or 0.5 hectares where provision is made for an element of affordable housing.
Target
To secure provision for an element of affordable housing to meet outstanding local needs from all new housing sites of 15 or more dwellings or 0.5 hectares plus.
Monitoring
Planning consents for new residential development of 15 or more units or on sites of 0.5 hectares plus, which are subject to condition/agreement securing an element of affordable housing.
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Affordable Housing
Relevant Policies
H14 & H15
Indicator
The number of affordable dwellings provided in Plan period.
Target
To report annually on actual number of affordable homes delivered.
Monitoring
Affordable homes completed to standard ready for occupation and meeting local needs identified in Housing Need Study.

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