EFFECTIVE FROM THE 5TH NOVEMBER 2014
Ten Frequently Asked Questions - Affordable Housing
There are three types of affordable housing:
It’s more complicated than this, but these points will give you a rough idea.
Need is assessed by the County Council and set out in the Local Housing Market Assessment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Yes - the Authority can be flexible because:
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.
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.