England: On Friday (28 November 2014) the Government quietly announced the introduction of a national 10-unit affordable housing threshold. This policy was first muted in last years Autumn Statement and then consulted upon in the proposals in March. Finally now the policy comes into effect.
The policy is introduced by way of a few new paragraphs in the Planning Practice Guidance (usually referred to in planning as the NPPG), the Government’s online set of planning guidance notes which supplements the National Planning Policy Framework. The updated section is that entitled “Planning Obligations”. The headline change is that, except in “designated rural areas”, affordable housing and tariff-style contributions should not be sought from developments of 10-units or fewer and which have a combined gross floorspace of no more than 1000 sqm. Designated rural areas (which includes all National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) will be allowed to apply lower thresholds.
The importance for this change for developers and self-builders in the current local policy climate should not be underestimated. We’ve produced a short Briefing Note which gives a quick summary of the new policy and how it will affect development proposals. It can be downloaded now from our Intelligence page. If you have any queries on this at all then call Dan Wilden on 07984 804109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll do his best to answer them for you.