Draft Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document
Provision of on-site affordable housing
H1. Policy HP05 requires the provision of 35% of the total number of residential units to be provided and maintained as affordable housing within all new residential development sites which comprise of 10 or more residential units. The 35% applies across the whole development; it does not only apply to the part of the development above the threshold.
H2. Schemes that provide 100% affordable housing may not require S106 agreements subject to there being a registered provider; approved nomination agreement; and the units to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative housing provision in the Brentwood Borough.
H3. Where there is a proposal to increase the number of residential units on a site following grant of permission, for example a non-residential ground floor use subsequently secures planning permission for additional residential dwellings, the Council will apply Policy HP05 to the total number of residential dwellings on the site, if the increase in the number of units take the total on site to 10 units or more. In instances where the initial proposal has been built, the additional proposed dwellings would be required to 'offset' the affordable housing requirement across the whole site.
H4. As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement published on 24 May 2021, National policy on the requirement for First Homes does not apply where local plans are adopted under the 'transitional arrangements', as applies to the Brentwood Local Plan 2016-2033. As such the First Homes requirement is not applied when considering planning applications, and will be considered as part of the future Local Plan reviews.
- Planning obligations will be used to secure the following elements related to the provision of affordable housing:
- the number of units;
- the size and type of units;
- tenure of units;
- location of units;
- parking provision; affordable units should be provided with sufficient parking spaces for by the same standards with non-affordable units.
Layout and clustering
H5. The Council recognises that grouping together a number of affordable homes is practical from a construction and management perspective yet it is vital that the goal to achieve mixed, inclusive and sustainable communities is not undermined. As such, affordable housing should:
- be dispersed in more than one single parcel or to a certain extent throughout a development to ensure that new communities are both mixed and sustainable, except in schemes where the overall number of residential dwellings is below 15 units;
- be designed in a way that on sites incorporating 30 or more dwellings, affordable housing are provided in groups of no more than 15% of the total number of dwellings being provided or 12 affordable dwellings, whichever is the lesser. Where separate phases of the development adjoin each other, careful consideration should be given to the location of clusters in adjacent permitted or developed parcels to avoid creating an overall cluster of more than 12 dwellings. For example, two clusters of affordable homes divided simply by an estate road would not be considered acceptable;
- the location of affordable units within a scheme should not be to the detriment of the wider creation of inclusive and mixed communities, for example by locating the affordable units to prevent access to communal amenity space.
H6. Affordable housing units should be designed to the same high quality and sustainability standards as market housing. The Council encourages the early involvement of Registered Providers in site discussions when there is still an opportunity to influence the design of a scheme. On mixed tenure schemes, the affordable housing must be of the same style and materials so as to appear visually consistent and indistinguishable from the market housing.
H7. The delivery of the affordable housing must keep pace with that of market housing. On larger schemes, the Council will ensure that affordable housing is delivered in phases in parallel with the development of market housing, and will control phasing in the S106 agreement. The Council will not support the phasing of a development which sees the affordable housing being delivered in the later stages of the site's development taking into account site specific viability.
Market Housing - Occupied
Affordable Housing - Completed and Transferred to AHP
H8. Detailed plans submitted to the Council for planning consideration should clearly show the phasing, location and layout of all affordable dwellings within the development, including parking spaces and wheelchair adaptable units. The affordable housing provision should not be disproportionately concentrated above non-residential uses.
To address the need for affordable housing in the Borough in accordance to Policy HP05 and evidenced in the Council's SHMA.
To comply with Policy BE15 which requires development to ensure that "buildings and places are designed in a way that everyone regardless of their ability, age, income, ethnicity, gender, faith, sexual orientation can use confidently, independently, with dignity and without engendering a sense of separation or segregation"
Policy HP05: Affordable Housing
Policy BE15: Planning for Inclusive Communities
H9. There will be a strong presumption in favour of the affordable homes being provided on site. There may however be some circumstances in which the Council is willing to accept an off-site delivery by the developer, subject to robust evidence (further guidance on viability evidence is provided in Chapter 5) and subject to the Council’s satisfaction that its objective of creating mixed and balanced communities being met.
H10. This will require the provision of 35% of total dwellings as affordable housing in a location related to the main development site, and within Brentwood Borough’s administrative area.
H11. Appropriate financial contributions may also be sought for off-site provision where necessary to ensure that the dwellings provided can be made available to meet local needs.
The Council’s default position is that affordable housing requirements should be delivered on the site of the planning application that it applies to, in order to create communities that are mixed and balanced. However, the Council acknowledges that there will be circumstances where a developer is unable to meet the full quota of affordable housing without prejudicing the delivery of housing on the site. In accordance with Policy HP05, part 4, the Council will “only accept off-site provision […] where it can be robustly demonstrated that onsite provision is not possible and that, in the individual case and to the satisfaction of the Council, the objective of creating mixed and balanced communities can be effectively and equally met through either off-site provision or an appropriate financial contribution in lieu or a combination of the two.”
Policy HP05 Affordable Housing
Commuted payment in lieu of on-site provision of affordable housing
H12. In very exceptional circumstances where a developer is unable to provide appropriate levels of affordable housing on-site or off-site, a commuted sum may be accepted where it is clearly demonstrated that it is a more appropriate approach and would result in higher overall quantum of affordable housing compared to on-site delivery.
H13. The commuted sum will be calculated as follows: Commuted sum = 55% x Open Market Value.
H14. The calculation of the commuted sum will be based on the proposed mix of market housing and will assume the affordable housing proportionately reflects the market mix of housing in terms of the bedroom size of the market housing proposed and the mix of flats and houses. The floor area in sqm for each property size will reflect the Nationally Described Space Standard (as set out in Policy HP06).
H15. If a commuted sum in lieu of on-site affordable housing is agreed by the Council, the commuted sum will need to be paid prior to commencement of the development.
H16. Outline planning applications that include a commuted sum in lieu of on-site affordable housing will include the formula for calculating the commuted sum in the S106 agreement, using this guidance. Full planning applications, where the market mix of residential dwellings is agreed, will state the commuted sum amount and be index linked.
As above, par 4 of Policy HP05 states that the Council will only accept “an appropriate financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision where it can be robustly demonstrated that onsite provision is not possible and that, in the individual case and to the satisfaction of the Council, the objective of creating mixed and balanced communities can be effectively and equally met through either off-site provision or an appropriate financial contribution in lieu or a combination of the two.”
Policy HP05 Affordable Housing
Mid and late-stage viability reviews
H17. Mid and late-stage review mechanisms will be secured via a s106 agreement for all residential development where the minimum policy requirement level of affordable housing is not being provided.
H18. Late-stage reviews will be carried out at the point at which 75% of private residential units have been sold or let.
H19. For larger schemes which are being delivered over multiple phases, mid stage review mechanisms will also be secured.
H20. In the event that on-site affordable housing units was not policy compliant, then any surplus developer profit identified through viability reviews will, in the first instance, result in a clawback commuted sum on the additional units.
Viability reviews are necessary to ensure that affordable housing delivery is maximised as a result of any future improvement to a scheme’s viability. This is particularly relevant in Brentwood where there has been a consistent uplift in the value of properties for market sale and rent. In light of planned growth and infrastructure, it is expected that this trend will continue.
The Council expects that any surplus identified through viability reviews, including late stage reviews, to result in additional affordable housing units on-site. This will help deliver the Local Plan strategic objectives regarding creating a mixed and balanced communities
Policy HP05 Affordable Housing
Provision of Specialist Accommodation
H21. On sites where Specialist Accommodation will be required as per policy HP01 and HP04, the Council will seek to secure a S106 obligation which sets out the amount, type, size, mix and where necessary, priority mechanisms of the Specialist Accommodation to be provided in perpetuity. Further detailed requirement for each identified type of Specialist Accommodation is set out below.
H22. The S106 agreement will seek to secure that Specialist Accommodation for the above group is made available before occupation of 50% of market housing provision, to ensure timely delivery of the Specialist Accommodation.
H23. For new development of more than 100 dwellings, the Council will also consult Essex County Council (ECC) to seek advice on their priority Specialist Residential Accommodation needs, including Independent Living for older people and adults with disabilities. The Council will also refer to their latest Position Statement regarding Independent Living Programme for Older People.
To meet an identified local need, as per the latest evidence and Policy HP01 and Policy HP04 requirements.
The SHMA 2016 Part 2 and the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment forms the main Evidence Base for the Council’s assessment of Specialist Accommodation provision. These identified the following Specialist Accommodation requirements of the following groups in the Borough:
- Older persons;
- People with disabilities;
- People wishing to build their own homes;
- Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople;
- Family households.
Further information on the characteristics of suitable sites/buildings for older people and adults with learning disabilities is available in the Essex County Council’s Developers’ Guide to Infrastructure Contributions (2020 or as amended).
Policy HP01 Housing Mix
Policy HP04 Specialist Accommodation
Site specific policies
Provision of accessible and adaptable housing, and wheelchair user dwellings
H24. To ensure compliance with policy HP01 requirements regarding M4(2) and M4(3) standards, planning conditions will be used to ensure the housing needs of older persons and people with disabilities will be met. Where deemed necessary, the Council may also impose restricting occupation to persons requiring specialist accommodation.
H25. Development proposals within the Ingatestone and Fryerning Parish boundary will also need to ensure compliance with Policy 2 of the Ingatestone and Fryerning Neighbourhood Plan regarding M4(3) standards.
Policy HP01 requires development proposals of 10 or more (net) additional dwellings to provide M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings, unless it is built in line with M4(3) wheelchair adaptable dwellings is required. Additionally, on developments of 60 or more (net) dwellings the Council will require a minimum of 5% of new affordable dwellings to be built to meet requirement M4(3) wheelchair accessible dwellings standard.
In addition, development proposals within the Ingatestone and Fryerning Parish boundary will need to comply with the Ingatestone and Fryerning Neighbourhood Plan. Policy 2: Design for New Developments of this plan requires development proposals of 20 or more dwellings the IFNP requires 5% to be built to meet requirements M4(3) wheelchair accessible dwellings standard.
Policy HP01: Housing Mix
Provision of self-build and custom build homes
Amount, type, and mix
H26. The Council will seek to secure a S106 obligation which sets out the amount, type, mix and priority mechanisms that the self-build or custom housebuilding must achieve.
H27. At the time a planning application is submitted, the Council will review the preferences of the people on the register to advise developers and landowners on the type of self and custom housebuilding required.
H28. The priority mechanism will include a restrictive marketing period of 3 months. In this 3-month period a household containing at least one adult that lives or works in the administrative area of Brentwood Borough Council that can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the vendor, that they have the financial means to purchase a serviced plot at the advertised price, will be given priority over other potential self and custom build purchasers that do not live or work in Brentwood.
H29. Sites with multiple serviced plots or other forms of self-build and custom housebuilding provision, will be required to be supported by a Design Code at outline or full planning stage. Design Codes will vary depending on the amount of development proposed and the context of the site. They will need to be agreed by the Council prior to the marketing of any self-build and custom build plots. The implementation of a Design Code will be secured through a planning condition rather than a planning obligation.
H30. The CIL Regulations 2010 (as amended) defines self-build housing for CIL exemptions purposes as housing built or commissioned by a person and occupied by that person as their sole or main residence for the duration of the claw back period (3 years). H31. Qualifying self-build developments will be required to accept liability for CIL and declare that their development is intended to be selfbuild, prior to the commencement of development.
Reverting back to market housing
H32. Plot providers reverting self-build and custom housebuilding back to market housing will be responsible for the full CIL liability, if CIL is adopted by that time in the Borough. If the dwelling is sold or let within three years of completion, the Council will claw back the CIL liability.
H33. The S106 agreement will seek to secure that self-build and custom housebuilding provision will need to be made available and actively marketed before occupation of 50% of market housing provision.
H34. Providers of self-build and custom housing building will be required to market appropriately serviced plots and ensure they remain available for at least 36 months at a price which is comparable to other serviced plots marketed in the administrative area of Brentwood in the same 36-month period. If after 36 months a serviced plot has been made available and actively marketed but has not sold, the plot can either remain on the open market or be built out by the Developer in accordance with other relevant Local Plan policies.
H35. Self-build and custom housebuilding will not be considered as part of the affordable housing obligations, irrespective of whether the accommodation is subject to suitable restrictions on occupation and price, because it is meeting a different identified housing need
Policy HP01 sets out that on development sites of 100 or more dwellings the Council will require a minimum of 5% self-build homes which can include custom housebuilding.
This section ensures that self-build and custom housebuilding provision are delivered in a way that meets local need whilst comply with Policy HP01.
Policy HP01: Housing Mix
Site specific policies
Provision for Gypsy, Traveller or Travelling Showperson
H36. Gypsy, Traveller or Travelling Showperson sites will need to provide a suitable living environment for the proposed residents, with mains water, electricity supply, drainage and sanitation to be available on-site or be made available on-site. Sewerage should normally be through mains systems, however, in some locations this may not always be possible and in that case suitable alternative arrangements can be made. All sanitation provision must be in accordance with current legislation, regulation and British Standards. Specifically designated play area should be provided that meets the normal Council standards.
H37. Applicants should refer to the Essex Design Guide regarding design, layout and density of traveller sites and where appropriate, relevant legislation.
H38. The term ‘pitch’ refers to the space required on a site to accommodate a Gypsy and Traveller household and are typically residential. There is no set size for an individual pitch. They can vary like house sizes depending on the number of family members. A pitch, however, must meet the licensing requirements to prevent overcrowding and be large enough to provide at least all the following:
- hardstanding for one static caravan;
- hardstanding for one travelling caravan;
- two parking bays for larger vehicles;
- an amenity building containing a kitchen, lounge and dining area, shower and utility room; and
- separate toilet facilities;
- an external shed;
- a secure enclosure for metal gas bottles; and
- clothes drying area.
H39. The term ‘plot’ refers to the space required on a site to accommodate a household of Travelling Showpeople, and therefore can comprise mixed uses of residential and storage.
H40. The area of land set aside for accommodation by one family unit and the area of land set aside for the storage and maintenance of equipment collectively forms a single plot. The storage and maintenance space can sometimes be a communal area, however, for security reasons there may be a preference for them to form part of individual plots.
To provide clarity to Policy HP10 (part 1) which requires essential services to be available or made available on Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites and sites for Travelling Showpeople.
To provide clarity to Policy HP09 and HP10 with regards to the term ‘pitch’ and ‘plot’.
HP09: Sub-Division of Pitches or Plots
Policy HP10: Proposals for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople on Windfall Sites
Site specific policies
Provision of other forms of Specialist Accommodation
H41. Where Specialist Accommodation is identified for adult social care (as identified by Essex County Council) a priority mechanism for households that reside, work or have strong family connections with persons living in the administrative area of Brentwood Borough from whom they require support, will be prioritised for a period of three months.
H42. The Council will consult Essex County Council (ECC) to seek advice on their priority Specialist Residential Accommodation needs.
Policy HP01 (part 4) states that “On development sites of 100 or more dwellings the Council will require […] provision for other forms of Specialist Accommodation taking account of local housing need in accordance with […] Policy HP04 […]” Policy HP04 (part 1a) is clear that development should meet demonstratable need.
Policy HP01: Housing Mix
Policy HP04: Specialist Accommodation
Vacant Building Credit (VBC)
H43. In order to apply for the VBC seeking reduced affordable housing contribution, the following information will need to be provided by the applicant to demonstrate that the building is genuinely vacant:
- Evidence that any building within the red line application boundary is a ‘vacant building’. It should be demonstrated that every reasonable attempt has been made to secure an occupier through marketing over a minimum continuous period of 6 months.
- The whole building must be vacant to apply for the VBC; and
- Evidence that any building within the red line application boundary is not an ‘abandoned building’ or artificially made vacant solely for the purpose of redevelopment.
H44. To determine whether the building is truly vacant the Council will consider the condition of the building and its suitability for occupancy as well as the length of time the building has not been used. The Council will also take into account whether the building has been used for any other purposes.
H45. Information on the existing Gross Internal Floor Area (GIFA) and the proposed GIFA need to be provided. GIFA is the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Code of Measuring Practice will be used for the purposes of assessing VBC.
H46. For wholly residential schemes the total proposed GIFA will be the GIFA of the sum of all dwellings. Where flatted development is proposed the GIFA will include all communal and circulation areas. For mixed use schemes, only the GIFA of the proposed residential elements will be included. However, floor space with headroom of less than 1.5m is excluded from the GIFA calculation.
H47. The Council will determine on a case-by-case basis whether a building is vacant or abandoned. Outline planning applications may present challenges in quantifying whether the vacant building credit will be applicable as the actual number of dwelling or size of dwellings may be determined during Reserved Matters applications. The Council will scrutinise planning applications to ensure that sites are not artificially subdivided to avoid the thresholds in Policy HP05.
H48. A financial credit, equivalent to the existing gross floor space of any vacant buildings within the red line boundary of the application site brought back into any lawful use or demolished for re-development, should be deducted from the calculation of any affordable housing contributions sought from relevant development schemes. The Council will apply the following formula to calculate the revised affordable housing percentage:
Revised affordable housing requirements = 35% x (1 - existing vacant gross internal area/proposed gross internal area)
H49. The number of affordable dwellings will be calculated to two decimal points and rounded to the nearest whole number.
- The proposal:
- 25 dwellings proposed @ 75m2
- Total floorspace 1,875m2
- Existing building on site 200m2
- Normal affordable housing requirement: 35% or 10 dwellings
- Revised affordable housing requirements:
= 35% x (1 - 200/1875)
= 7.81 units out of 25 units
- The total affordable units required is 8.
The VBC is intended to provide an incentive for development on brownfield sites containing vacant buildings.
The Ministerial statement issued on the 28th November 2014 stated that where a vacant building is brought back into lawful use or is demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer should be offered a financial credit equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of the relevant vacant building when the local planning authority calculates any affordable housing contribution. Affordable housing contributions will be required for any increase in floorspace.
The vacant building credit only applies where the vacant building has not been abandoned.
Policy HP05: Affordable Housing