What does this mean?
The government has made reforms to the planning system to help local authorities determine how many, where and what type of new homes should be built as it seeks to deliver on its ambition to build 300,000 new homes each year from the mid-2020s. Now for years the supply of new homes has failed to meet demand. In the absence of relevant up to date development plan policies, or where a Council cannot demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing sites (with an appropriate buffer), or where the Housing Delivery Test indicates that the delivery of housing is substantially below the housing requirement over the previous 3 years, the balance is tilted in favour of sustainable development.
This means that planning permission should be granted except where the benefits of doing so are outweighed by any adverse impacts when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole. NPPF Para 11 d (ii). Developers can build houses on sites that are not local plan housing allocations. Currently Swale Council does not have a 5 year housing land supply and consequently is vulnerable to the application of the ‘titled balance’ when determining planning applications. We understand Swale Council has a 4.6 year housing supply - a shortfall of around 400 dwelling per annum. The Interim Planning Policy for Residential Park Homes is likely to only contribute to a small portion of housing supply.
The Policy states proposals for residential park homes will be granted provided certain criteria are met. These are:
the site is in a sustainable location with access to services and facilities;
if the site is within an area at high risk of flooding, the risks must be mitigated through design solutions to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency and these solutions will not lead to other material planning harm;
the accommodation that is the subject of the application complies or will comply within 12 months of the granting of planning permission with standards BS3632 and meets the requirements of the Caravan sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (as amended) and the Mobile Homes Act 2013 in terms of both standard and condition of the unit and external layout within the context of surrounding area;
the proposed development will demonstrate that they are designed in line with the ‘Lifetime Homes’ criteria;
the site is not in an area of coastal erosion; and
the site layout is acceptable in terms of privacy and amenity of site occupants.
Is this a quick fix to the problem? Maybe, but what will it mean for other residential development in areas that would currently be seen as unsustainable. Also, is the interim policy in conflict with adopted policies?
Watch this space!