Our guide to developing in the Test Valley
Test Valley Borough Council is a largely rural Hampshire local authority stretching from the urban periphery of Southampton in the south to the very north-west of the county. The largest towns are Andover and Romsey almost at opposite ends of the borough.
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Key points about developing in Test Valley
Development Plan: The Test Valley Revised Local Plan 2016 was adopted in January 2016 replacing the former 2006 plan.
Pre-application advice: Test Valley charges for this service (unusually there is a small charge for householder proposals) with fees dependent upon the scale of the proposal – the current schedule of fees can be found here. Call us for advice on whether this service is worthwhile in your case.
Affordable Housing: The Revised Local Plan (adopted during the period when the Government’s 10 unit threshold had been disabled by legal challenge) requires that each new dwelling contributes but with a reducing percentage for smaller schemes. With the 10 unit threshold it means sites of 11-14 are expected to provide 30% affordable units onsite and larger sites of 15+ provide 40%.
CIL and Section 106 contributions:
Test Valley adopted the Community Infrastructure Levy and began charging in August 2016. There are four rates for residential development depending upon the value of property within the parish. The rates are £175 per sqm for the most valuable areas (including Stockbridge), then £140 (which includes Romsey, Nursling and Rownhams), then £105 and finally £90 per sqm (which includes Andover). Non-residential development is limited to only supermarkets and retail warehouses (£180 per sqm).
The southern-most part of the Borough is covered by the Solent & Southampton Water Mitigation area where as well as CIL new dwellings have to contribute to habitat mitigation at a rate of around £175 per new unit.
Special policy restrictions:
Test Valley current Local Plan uses unusual frontage development policies for most of its rural settlements. Rather than drawing a line around the extents of the settlement and indicating that in principle development is acceptable within, the frontage policy draws lines along the sides of roads where frontage development is in principle acceptable. So houses within the frontage line may be redeveloped and potentially subdivided and any gaps in the frontage can be infilled but no development may take place behind the frontage. In the forthcoming Revised Local Plan this is all set to change with the introduction of conventional settlement boundaries across the board.