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    Home » Living In » Planning » Affordable Housing » Affordable Housing FAQ

    Affordable Housing Frequently Asked Quesitons

    EFFECTIVE FROM THE 5TH NOVEMBER 2014

    Ten Frequently Asked Questions - Affordable Housing

     

    1. What is Affordable Housing?

    There are three types of affordable housing:


    • Social Rent based on guidelines for costs of construction by housing associations. These are built by or transferred to a housing association.  The current offer is 55% of Acceptable Cost Guidelines (cost of construction from housing associations) to developers.
    • Intermediate Housing to buy - often takes the form of Low Cost Home Ownership (normally 70% of market value).
    • Intermediate Housing to rent –which is a rent usually 20 to 30% lower than open market rent but below the local value of the local housing allowance.

     

    It’s more complicated than this, but these points will give you a rough idea.

     

    1. What is affordable housing need?

    Need is assessed by the County Council and set out in the Local Housing Market Assessment.

     

    1. Are the thresholds for providing affordable housing the same everywhere in the National Park?

    Yes - An affordable housing contribution is required on single dwellings. The threshold for negotiating affordable housing on site in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is 2 or more dwellings.

     

    1. What is a Section 106 agreement?

    This is an agreement with the local planning authority in which you agree to pay money or provide affordable housing in order to get planning permission.  Sometimes what is called a unilateral agreement is used. Unilateral Agreements are almost identical to Section 106 Agreements.  They are sometimes referred to as unilateral undertakings.



     

    1. What is viability testing?

    Economic viability is of the utmost importance in the delivery of housing and affordable housing in the National Park.  If the scheme is not financially viable, development will not be realised, which will have a considerable impact on the delivery of affordable housing.

    The Authority recognises that the targets in the Local Development Plan (Policy 45) are challenging to achieve and has commissioned additional work to help advise applicants on what level of affordable housing is considered deliverable in the current economic climate. See the answer to question 7 below for further advice.

    The Authority uses the Development Appraisal Toolkit by Andrew Golland Associates to appraise proposals and can provide a free copy for applicants and agents to complete.  The Authority also provides an Economic Viability Assessment that potential applicants must submit with any pre-application proposals.

     

     

    1. When should I obtain an Economic Viability Assessment?

    The earlier the better. Front loading of information provision allows for a smoother determination of a planning application.  All planning policies requiring affordable housing are subject to viability, so it’s best to bring up viability at pre-application discussions, and include an Economic Viability Assessment with your pre- application proposals.

     

     

    1. Why has the National Park Authority not changed its Local Development Plan policy?

    The Authority is due to carry out a full review of its Local Development Plan at the end of the financial year 2014 to 2015.  Even if this review is brought forward this cannot be relied upon to address the National Park’s affordable housing issues in a timely manner.

    To address issues now the Authority has replaced its supplementary planning guidance and made it effective from the 5th of November 2014.

    This guidance and supporting project report provides a clear indication of what percentage requirement of affordable housing will be acceptable to the Authority in any Economic Viability Assessment submitted on:

    1. Sites named in the Plan in Policy 42 and 45 – see Appendix 5 of the guidance.  Affordable housing provision is expected to be 50% or less depending on the site.
    2. Sites not named in the Plan (known as windfall sites) for 2 or more dwellings – see Sub Market Areas Map and paragraph 7 of the Project Report.  Affordable housing provision is expected to be 50% or less depending on the location of the site.

    • Newport & Tenby – 50%
    • St Davids and North Coast, South East Coast & St Brides Bay – 30%
    • Estuary Hinterland, South West coast and North East National Park – 20%

    1. Sites not named in the Plan for single dwellings – see Sub Market areas map.  The contribution of £250 per square metre has been reduced in some sub market areas:

    • Newport & Tenby - £250 per square metre
    • St Davids and North Coast, Sout East Coast & St Brides Bay - £150 per square metre
    • Estuary Hinterland, South West coast and North East National Park - £100 per square metre.

     

    1. Will the National Park Authority be flexible in negotiations?

    Yes - the Authority can be flexible because:


    • The Authority’s local development policies allow for negotiation.
    • The Authority’s guidance allows for lower requirements for affordable housing in the current economic climate.
    • It is prepared to be flexible on tenure mix (i.e. the proportion of rented to low cost home ownership) while reflecting local need.
    • Design considerations will be taken into account and factored into viability considerations.

     

    1. Can you help with the Community Infrastructure Levy?

    Community Infrastructure Levy has not been introduced in Pembrokeshire but there are planning obligations for education, recreation etc. that need to be considered where 3 or more dwellings are proposed.  Viability testing for affordable housing should take into account planning obligations for community facilities.

     

    1. What if the Authority doesn’t agree with the Economic Viability Assessment?

    There is always the opportunity to negotiate where viability issues arise.  The Authority is particularly interested in seeing how a scheme can be changed to improve viability by considering for example, different densities or size of dwellings or type of tenure and mix.

    Please see page 10 of the Authority’s guidance on ‘Economic Viability’.

    Should both parties continue to be in disagreement, the viability assessment can be referred to an independent assessor familiar with the Wales Development Appraisal Toolkit and its principles at the applicant’s cost.