Solihull Local Plan (Draft Submission) 2020

Ended on the 14th December 2020
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(5) Providing Homes for All

Introduction

  1. Good housing is essential for social, environmental and economic wellbeing. A broad range of housing of different types, sizes, values and tenures are required to meet needs and create and maintain mixed and balanced communities. A well-functioning housing market is essential for Solihull to meet its full potential as an area which is a good place to live and for its future economic success.
  2. Solihull provides some of the best housing in the West Midlands, with values consistently above the regional average. It is a strong attractor of households, given its location, connectivity, local environment, excellent schools and the strength of the local economy and employment opportunities.
  3. More housing is needed because of population and household growth. Population is projected to increase by around 23,369 from 217,047 in 2020 to 240,417 in 2036, an increase of 10.8%. The number of households is projected to increase by 13.8% over the period 2020 to 2036 from 91,059 to 103,595.
  4. Meeting housing need does not just mean building additional housing. It is important that the right type of housing is delivered.
  5. 65% of household growth in the period to 2036 is projected to be households aged 65 and over and single households. It is projected that by 2036 46% of all households will be single people or couples aged 65 and over.
  6. Affordable housing need is exceptionally high as Solihull has one of the most severe affordability problems in the West Midlands Region. Mean and median house prices in Solihull are significantly higher in comparison to regional and national figures. Solihull's median price of £275,000 is £85,000 higher than the West Midlands region. Median house prices in Solihull stand at 8.42 times the median earnings of those working in the Borough. The shortage of affordable housing is particularly acute in the Mature Suburbs and Rural areas of the Borough.
  7. There is therefore a need for more market and affordable housing, and also for more specialist and supported housing. There is a need for more housing that can provide opportunities for households to 'downsize', thereby releasing family housing for resale and re-letting.
  8. There is a Borough wide shortage of homes which are affordable. The local Borough need is for both smaller and family-sized affordable rented housing and intermediate tenure homes. There is also a need for more smaller and lower cost market housing. It is important that housing of the right type is delivered to meet these needs and the Council will seek to achieve this through use of a range of approaches, including advice to developers through the 'Meeting Housing Needs' Supplementary Planning Document and how it brings forward and disposes of its own land.
  9. The provision of new homes must therefore address the needs of all types of household, including families, single people, older and disabled people and those who want to build their own home. New homes should be affordable by those who are seeking a first home and those who wish to move home. There must be increased provision of affordable housing both for rent and intermediate tenure to meet the growing needs of households which cannot afford market housing.
  10. The Council aims to ensure that everyone has the opportunity of access to a decent and safe home within a quality living environment, by:
  • identifying deliverable housing land supply for fifteen years from the date the Plan will be adopted and ensuring that at least a five-year supply of housing land is available for development;
  • prioritising locations for development that will best contribute to building well connected sustainable and balanced communities;
  • ensuring the provision of an appropriate mix, type and tenure of housing on sites in a range of locations which meet the needs of all Solihull's residents, particularly needs for social rented housing, affordable home ownership, and housing for older and disabled people, on a Borough wide basis;
  • promoting opportunities for self and custom build.

Policy P4 – Meeting Housing Needs

  1. This policy is set out in 5 parts:
  • P4A – Affordable Housing
  • P4B – Rural Exceptions
  • P4C – Market Housing
  • P4D – Self Build and Custom Housing
  • P4E – Housing for Older and Disabled People

(39) Policy P4A Meeting Housing Needs – Affordable Housing

  1. The Council will require developers of allocated and windfall sites to make a contribution to affordable housing on residential sites of major development, where 10 or more homes will be provided, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more to meet the housing needs of the Borough. Affordable housing includes social rented, affordable rented, intermediate tenure and Starter Homes, which is available at below market price or rent and which is affordable to households whose needs are not met by the market.
  2. The Borough definition of 'affordable' will be informed by work with the WMCA and build upon the definitions in national guidance. It will be set out in a Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will be updated periodically to ensure it remains up to date and can respond to the introduction of new tenures quickly and effectively if required.
  3. Contributions will be expected to be made in the form of 40% affordable dwelling units on all development sites that meet the threshold, but will take into account:
    1. Site size;
    2. Accessibility to local services and facilities and access to public transport;
    3. The economics of provision, including particular costs that may threaten the viability of the site;
    4. Whether the provision of affordable housing would prejudice the realisation of other planning objectives that need to be given priority in the development of the site;
    5. The need to secure a range of house types and sizes in the locality in helping to achieve socially balanced and mixed communities; and
    6. Vacant Building Credit
  4. Where on-site provision is not feasible or viable there will be a financial contribution towards the provision of affordable housing that would not otherwise be provided, elsewhere within the Borough. The approach to calculating commuted sums is set out in the 'Meeting Housing Needs' Supplementary Planning Document.
  5. The extent of affordable housing that should be provided in relation to developments that either re-use existing buildings or include the demolition of existing buildings will be assessed according to the 'vacant building credit'. The approach to calculating the vacant building credit is set out in the 'Meeting Housing Needs' Supplementary Planning Document.
  6. On-site provision and off site contributions should be calculated based on a tenure split of 65% social rent with 35% provided as shared ownership.
  7. The social rented should be provided as follows, but will take into account site circumstances:
    1. 30% one bedroom maisonettes/apartments (2 person home)
    2. 35% two bedroom houses (4 person home)
    3. 25% three bedroom houses (5 person home)
    4. 10% four bedroom houses (6 person home)
  8. 8. The shared ownership should be provided as follows, but will take into account site circumstances:
    1. 15% one bedroom maisonettes/apartments
    2. 40% two bedroom houses/apartments
    3. 40% three bedroom houses
    4. 5% four bedroom houses
  9. Specific sites circumstances are defined as town centre development, which may result in a different mix of type and size being delivered.
  10. The availability of a rented home at time of need and that meets a household's size mean that social rent is most needed to meet homeless and housing needs in a timely way. Affordable rent will only be supported if the rent is provided at target rent.
  11. Where the economics of provision of affordable housing, including particular costs that may threaten the viability of the site, the applicant is required to submit a viability assessment at the time of planning application submission. The Council will instruct a qualified valuer to examine the submitted viability assessment. The cost of the Council's qualified valuer will be met by the applicant.
  12. The mechanisms and criteria for the delivery of Policy P4A will be set out in the Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document.
  13. Further detail and guidance for delivery of Policy P4A will be set out in the Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document

Justification

  1. The requirement for the provision of affordable housing is justified on the basis that Solihull has a high level of unmet housing need, as evidenced in the Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA). This is supported by official data produced by MHCLG and local Borough wide data on housing need.
  2. The HEDNA identified a need for 578[27] affordable homes per annum. The scale of need means that the Council is justified in seeking to secure as much affordable housing as viability allows.
  3. The consequences of unmet housing need are significant. These can include homelessness, households in temporary or unsuitable accommodation for longer periods of time and overcrowding. Insufficient affordable housing will also act as an impediment to economic growth where companies experience problems in workforce recruitment and retention.
  4. The level of need for affordable housing is therefore high in relation to the level of new provision. Provision of affordable homes is however limited by the proportion of development that takes place, and will continue to take place, on sites below the national affordable housing threshold. The site size threshold below which there is no requirement to provide affordable housing will result in many sites which could reasonably have provided affordable homes being fully developed only with market housing.
  5. The affordable housing threshold adopted in the 2013 Solihull Local Plan was 0.2 hectares or 3 or more net dwellings. This threshold did not discourage development of small sites or the replacement of individual homes at the end of their lifespan, and the Council considered that it was appropriate to Solihull's local circumstances
  6. The new threshold is dictated by changes to National Planning Policy Guidance and is consistent with this. Setting the threshold of major development, where 10 or more homes will be provided, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more to meet the housing needs of the Borough, is justified on the basis that housing developments at and above this level should contribute to meeting the need for affordable housing.
  7. Since the adoption of a 40% affordable housing target (Policy H4 in the Solihull UDP, February 2006 and Policy P4 in the Solihull Local Plan, December 2013), a wide range of privately led residential developments have made provision at this level. The implementation of the policy has had due regard to the suitability of each site and its capacity to provide affordable homes. The Authority Monitoring Report highlights the delivery and contribution this policy makes towards meeting the borough's affordable housing need. It is therefore considered appropriate to the Borough's local circumstances.
  8. Policy 4A is set on a Borough wide basis. This reflects the fact that needs cannot always be met where they arise, so use has to be made of the development opportunities that become available. Therefore any development may need to provide for needs arising in another part of the Borough. The only exception to this may be on rural 'exceptions' sites where housing may be reserved for those with a local connection.
  9. The policy applies to all development in the 'C3' use class. The policy will also apply to 'C2' development that provides individual self-contained units that can be counted as part of the Borough's overall housing supply.
  10. The Council recognises that provision of affordable housing will result in a cost to developers and so the implementation of this policy requires a reasonable and flexible approach, reflecting individual site characteristics. Where there are factors that could threaten the viability of developments as a result of site specific constraints or circumstances these will be considered in negotiations. However, the overall target is that 40% of all new housing built in the Borough will be affordable housing.
  11. Consultation responses to the 2016 Draft Local Plan supported this policy approach. The Council is justified in adopting its definition of affordability because it provides clear guidance to developers on what is required. The definition will be based on Borough data on incomes and house prices, subject to monitoring and review.
  12. The Council is justified in defining the tenure of 'affordable' homes on the basis that a spread of tenure options is required to satisfy needs and aspirations of households.
  13. Most households in housing need are only able to afford to rent below market level, so the provision of homes at social rent or affordable rent is the most important aspect of affordable housing provision. In view of the greater cost to land value of rented provision, the ability to require a proportion of any affordable provision to be for rent is essential. The objective will be to maximise housing provision for those in most need whilst producing balanced communities and to secure a level and mix of provision which is viable and practicable to the developer.
  14. The Council also wishes to promote affordable routes to home ownership. This will mainly be for shared ownership but will include discounted market products as may be required by legislation and planning guidance at the time of determination. The policy therefore provides a range of affordable housing provision.
  15. National Planning Policy Framework defines Entry Level Exception sites as sites that are suitable for first time buyers (or those looking to rent their first home). The Council will support these in accordance with the latest National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Policy Guidance at the time of decision making.
  16. National Planning Policy Framework defines Build to Rent as purpose built housing that is typically 100% rented out. Schemes typically offer longer tenancy agreements of three years or more, and will typically be professionally managed stock in single ownership and management control. The Council will support these in accordance with the latest National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Policy Guidance at the time of decision making.
  17. The Council is justified in requiring the on-site provision of affordable housing wherever feasible in order to maximise the provision of affordable homes on sites of all values. It is recognised that the provision of affordable housing in some parts of the Borough can present challenges to developers because of existing use values. These are often in parts of the Borough where affordable homes are in particularly short supply so insistence on on-site provision is justified to ensure that homes are provided in these locations.
  18. This policy is consistent with the Government's policy that where local authorities have identified that affordable housing is required they should set policies for meeting this need on site, unless off-site provision or a financial contribution of broadly equivalent value can be robustly justified and the agreed approach contributes to the objective of creating mixed and balanced communities.
  19. The policy in this plan does not cover matters relating to how affordable dwellings will be allocated for occupation. Eligibility and priority is governed by the Councils Housing Allocation Scheme. This is a statutory policy required under the Housing Act 1996. However where Neighbourhood Plans include a policy relating to the occupation of affordable housing (through for instance a priority being given to those with a strong local connection), then due consideration should be given to the neighbourhood plan.

(7) Policy P4B – Meeting Housing Needs – Rural Exceptions

  1. The provision of affordable housing developments on Green Belt land to meet the local needs of households in that Parish or neighbourhood will be supported in circumstances where:
    1. The development proposal is consistent with the Village, Parish or Neighbourhood Plan; or
    2. There is evidence that people with a local connection to the Parish area have a housing need that cannot be met through affordable housing provision on an allocated housing site and the proposed development is supported by the Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum.
  2. Proposals will also be considered against openness and character of the village/settlement and any design criteria in an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
  3. Further detail and guidance for delivery of Policy P4B will be set out in the Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document.

Justification

  1. Policy 4B responds to the identified need in some Parish and Neighbourhood Plan areas of providing affordable housing for people with a local connection to the Parish or Neighbourhood Plan area and the importance of development in helping to sustain local community services.
  2. The policy supports the provision of affordable housing where there is evidence of need that cannot be met through affordable housing provision on an allocated housing site. The provision of affordable housing developments to meet the needs of people with a local connection to the Parish or neighbourhood will be supported on Green Belt land. The policy will ensure that the most suitable site in the village is used as outlined in the Parish or Neighbourhood Plan. All sites will be assessed for their accessibility to services and facilities, the impact of development on the Green Belt and environmental considerations.
  3. The policy is justified by the acknowledged role that providing homes for local people in these Parishes or Neighbourhood Plan areas has in supporting communities and maintaining the vitality of rural settlements through retaining population which supports local services and facilities.

(27) Policy P4C – Meeting Housing Needs - Market Housing

  1. In assessing the housing mix on allocated and windfall major development sites, the Council will, in negotiations, have regard to:
    1. Site size;
    2. Current indicative Borough-wide needs assessments;
    3. The existing mix of market housing and local housing demand in the area;
    4. Accessibility to local services and facilities and access to public transport in accordance with policy P7;
    5. The economics of provision, including particular costs that may threaten the viability of the site;
    6. The need to secure a range of house types and sizes in the locality in helping to achieve socially balanced and mixed communities.
  2. Where the Council issues a concept masterplan for a site this will include details of the likely profile of household types requiring market housing, e.g. multi-person, including families and children, single persons and couples, as identified by the latest HEDNA.
  3. Market dwellings shall be provided in accordance with the following mix:
    1. 1 or 2 bedrooms – 30%
    2. 3 bedrooms – 50%
    3. 4 or more bedrooms – 20%
  4. Further detail and guidance for delivery of Policy P4C will be set out in the Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document.

Justification

  1. The Council is justified in requiring that the mix of market housing reflects the latest evidence on need for household types and sizes, so that market provision reflects local Borough demand and promotes and sustains mixed and balanced communities.
  2. The recommended market mix is derived from the outputs of the 2020 HEDNA, which is a Borough-wide assessment. A similar mix of housing in all areas is expected but this will be applied flexibly according to specific local characteristics. In applying the mix to individual development sites, regard will be given to the size and nature of the site and character of the area; any relevant policies in Neighboured Plans; up-to-date evidence of need; and the existing mix and turnover of properties at the local level.
  3. Specific sites, such as town centre development, may result in a different mix of housing being delivered.
  4. Based on the evidence, it is expected that the focus of new market housing provision will be on 2- and 3-bed properties; which will also assist affordability. Continued demand for family housing can be expected from newly forming households. Some demand for smaller to medium-sized properties (2- and 3-beds) can be expected to increase opportunities for older households to downsize and allow turnover of existing larger family homes.
  5. The Council will monitor what is being built to ensure that a reasonable mix of market housing is provided across the Borough.
  6. In applying this policy, any room designated as a bedroom should comply with the criteria set out in the national space standards, in accordance with Policy P5.

(27) Policy P4D – Meeting Housing Needs - Self and Custom Housebuilding

  1. The Council will require developers of allocated sites to make a contribution to Self and Custom Build Housing on residential sites of 100 units or more. Contributions will be expected to be made in the form of 5% of open market dwellings in the form of Self and Custom Build Plots on each development site, but will take into account:
    1. Site size;
    2. Accessibility to local services and facilities and access to public transport;
    3. The economics of provision, including particular costs that may threaten the viability of the site;
    4. Whether the provision of self and custom build plots would prejudice the realisation of other planning objectives that need to be given priority in the development of the site;
    5. The need to secure a range of house types and sizes in the locality in helping to achieve socially balanced and mixed communities; and
    6. The need to achieve a successful and functional housing development.
  2. The Council expects these plots to be offered for sale with outline planning permission, fully serviced to the boundary and unconstrained access to the highway for a period of 12 months to those Registered on Solihull's Self and Custom Build Housing Register. The value of the plots will be subject to an independent valuation by a Registered Surveyor.
  3. Further detail and guidance for delivery of Policy P4D will be set out in the 'Meeting Housing Needs' Supplementary Planning Document.

Justification

  1. The Council is justified in making provision for self and custom build housing in order to comply with the Self and Custom Housebuilding Act, the Housing and Planning Act, National Planning Policy Guidance and the needs on the self-build register.
  2. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 took forward the requirements of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 further by introducing a 'Right to Build'. This requires local planning authorities to support custom and self-builders registered in their area in identifying enough suitable plots of land to build or commission their own home to meet local demand through their Local Plan.
  3. In accordance with the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the Government released Ministerial Regulations on 31 October 2016. These Regulations enable the Council to split the Register into two parts. Part 1 of the Register is for those who potentially meet Local Connection Criteria and Assessment of Financial Resource. Applicants who meet these qualifying criteria will have the 'Right to Build' and Policy 4D will create suitable plots of land to build or commission their own home. Part 2 of the Register is for all other applicants. The Council does not have a legal obligation to identify enough suitable plots of land for those on this part 2 of the Register, however it does illustrate a level of demand which has been considered through the development self-build and custom housebuilding policy.
  4. The Council has approved Local Connection Criteria and Assessment of Financial Resources and fees for the Solihull Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Register. As at 30 October 2019 there were 370 individual entries on the Register along with 4 groups containing a total of 18 individuals.

(58) Policy P4E – Meeting Housing Needs - Housing for Older and Disabled People

  1. New housing developments will be expected to provide a mix of dwelling size and type to meet the identified needs of older people and those with disabilities and special needs in accordance with current assessments of housing need and evidence:
  2. All new build housing on major development sites must be built to Category M4(2) (Accessible and Adaptable dwellings) of approved Building Regulations Document M; Volume 1, unless it is built in to M4(3);
  3. At least 5% of housing on major development sites must be wheelchair user dwellings to M4(3) of the Building Regulations;
  4. All developments of 300 dwellings or more must provide specialist housing or care bedspaces in accordance with the Council's most up to date statement of need on older person's accommodation.
  5. This policy will be applied flexibly taking into account:
    1. i. Site specific factors which may make step-free access unviable;
    2. ii. The economics of provision, including particular costs that may threaten the viability of the site;
    3. iii. Whether the provision of housing at these standards would prejudice the realisation of other planning objectives that need to be given priority in the development of the site;
    4. iv. The need to achieve a successful housing development.
  6. Applications for specialist housing for older people and younger adults with disabilities will be supported where:             
    1. i. The site is accessible to shops, amenities and public transport;
    2. ii. It can be demonstrated that satisfactory Primary Health Care services will be accessible to serve the residents of the development;
    3. iii. The development makes a positive contribution towards meeting identified needs set out in the Council's most up to date statement of accommodation need;
    4. iv. All specialist housing must meet the Category 2, Category 3(2a) or Category 3(2b) requirements of the Building Regulations, Approved Document M, Volume 1.
  1. Applications for care homes (Use Class C2) for older people and younger adults with disabilities will be supported where:
    1. The site is in close proximity to shops, amenities and public transport;
    2. It is appropriate to the needs of the intended occupiers, staff and visitors;
    3. There are satisfactory Primary Health Care services to serve the residents of the development within reasonable proximity;
    4. The design meets or exceeds the most up to date standards set by the Care Quality Commission (or successor bodies) regarding the safety and suitability of premises;
    5. The proposal will facilitate an improvement in the quality of care provided in particular including the provision of nursing care.
  2. A planning condition will define the percentages of M4(2) and M4(3) required for each planning approval.
  3. Where references to the Building Regulations in the policy change, the requirement shall be taken to refer to the most up-to-date standard.
  4. Further detail and guidance for delivery of Policy P4E will be set out in the Meeting Housing Needs Supplementary Planning Document.

Justification

  1. National planning policy requires local planning authorities to plan for the needs of different groups in the community, including older people and younger adults with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions, mental health and physical disabilities and sensory impairments.
  2. Planning policy must therefore understand the housing needs of particular groups and this is an important part of the Council's duties under the Equality Act 2010, including the Public Sector Equality Duty.
  3. The proportion of older people in the population is forecast to increase. The number of people aged 75 and over is projected to increase by 7,147 between 2020 and 2036 to comprise 12% of the population.
  4. It is also projected that there will be a 35% increase in the number of people aged 65 and over with dementia and a 31% increase in those aged 65+ with mobility problems.
  5. A number of Neighbourhood Plans identify the requirements to provide a range of housing for older people, and Local Plan policy P4E supports this. Consultation responses to the 2016 Draft Local Plan also supported provision for older people and those with disabilities.
  6. It is important that all older people have good and affordable housing choices. Not all older people need specialist accommodation; many will prefer to remain in their own homes. There is therefore a clear need to increase the supply of accessible and adaptable dwellings and wheelchair user dwellings as well as providing specialist housing.
  7. An important part of meeting need for older people will be through general purpose new homes built to accessible standards and which are suitable and attractive for 'downsizing'. This will include 'age-restricted general market housing' designed for people aged 55 and over and the active elderly which may include some shared amenities such as communal gardens but does not include support or care services.
  8. Policy P4E supports the Council's adult social care approach. Suitable general needs housing and specialist schemes both contribute to older and disabled people having good housing options. This brings long term benefits for both adult social care and the National Health Service. The policy also supports one of the priorities of the Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of the population by working with local partners, particularly focussing on employment, education, housing and work.
  9. Government has consolidated a wide range of new housing standards. This is based on minimum Building Regulations requirements with the ability for local planning authorities to apply the optional national standards over and above these. One of the optional standards covers accessibility.
  10. Optional standards can only apply where a policy is included in a Local Plan. Policy P4E therefore applies the optional accessibility standards in Solihull.
  11. Conditions will be applied to relevant planning permissions to ensure compliance with Policy P4E. Where references to the Building Regulations in the policy change, the requirement shall be taken to refer to the most up-to-date standard.
  12. The two optional Building Regulation standards for accessibility and adaptability are M4(2) and M4(3). M4(2) promotes the ability of people to remain in their homes as their circumstances change as it covers design measures that can allow homes to be adapted. M4(3) relates specifically to wheelchair user housing and distinguishes between 'wheelchair adaptable' (M4(3 2a)) and 'wheelchair accessible' dwellings (M4(3 2b)). Policy P4E requires 'wheelchair adaptable' as 'wheelchair accessible' only applies where the Council is responsible for allocating or nominating an individual.
  13. The HEDNA demonstrated a need for homes which are suitable for older people and those with disabilities (physical, sensory and learning). This is also evidenced by local Borough wide data and Council assessments and plans.
  14. The HEDNA also demonstrated the need to increase the supply of accessible and adaptable dwellings and wheelchair user dwellings as well as providing specific provision of older persons housing. The evidence supported a policy requirement that:
  • All dwellings (in all tenures) meet the M4(2) standards
  • A need for around 700 dwellings to be for wheelchair users (M4(3)) in the period to 2036, met by a requirement that 5% of new homes are built to M4(3 2a).
  1. Policy P4E therefore sets a requirement for M4(2) and M4(3) dwellings to be provided on all major development. Conditions will be applied to relevant planning permissions to ensure compliance with Policy P4E.
  2. Where application of the 5% requirement for M4(3) results in a fraction of a wheelchair user dwelling, provision will be rounded to the nearest whole dwelling.
  3. In addition to enabling people to remain in their own homes, there is also a need for policy to support specialist provision.
  4. Specialist provision can take the form of specialist housing and care homes. P4E will make provision for housing with care dwellings, which are part of the overall housing need identified in Policy P5, and additional care bedspaces for elderly people.
  5. Specialist housing will provide fully self-contained homes to people who may need care at the time that they take up occupation, or may develop a need for care over a period. People will have tenancies or leases which give them security of tenure and the right to control who enters their home. Schemes will have communal spaces and facilities, access to personal care and support 24 hours a day through an agency registered with the Care Quality Commission, community alarms and other assistive technologies and an office for use by staff serving the scheme.
  6. Care Homes will provide individual rooms ('care bedspaces') on a licence within a residential building. They will provide a high level of care meeting all activities of daily living. Personal care and accommodation will be provided together as a package with no clear separation between the two. This type of provision includes residential, nursing and dementia care. Care homes will be Care Quality Commission regulated for the purpose of 'accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care'.
  7. Specialist housing and care homes must be in accessible locations, consistent with policy P7.
  8. The Council is also justified in requiring the provision of homes which are designed to meet specific needs of older and/or disabled people (including people with learning and/or physical or sensory disabilities) because of the outstanding need for such accommodation and the relatively high cost of provision.
  9. The population growth among adults aged 18-64 with disabilities is less pronounced than among older people, but the Council must develop affordable housing as an alternative to residential care. It is expected that this need will mainly be met by the Council directly commissioning the required provision.
  10. Applicants for planning permission should seek pre-application advice to establish whether their proposal will be classified as use class C2 or C3.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

B Meeting housing needs across the Borough, including the Borough's own needs and, where possible, assisting with accommodating the HMA wide shortfall.

C Sustaining the attractiveness of the Borough for people who live, work and invest in Solihull

F Reducing inequalities in the Borough

J Improving health and well being

(217) Policy P5 – Provision of Land for Housing

  1. The Council will allocate sufficient land for at least 5,270 net additional homes to ensure sufficient housing land supply to deliver 15,017 additional homes in the period 2020-2036. The allocations will be part of the overall housing land supply detailed in the table below.
  2. The average annual housing land provision target is 938 net additional homes per year (2020-2036). A trajectory showing how this target will be delivered from all sources of housing land supply is shown below. It will be subject to annual review through the AMR.
  3. New housing will be supported on windfall sites in accessible locations where they contribute towards meeting borough-wide housing needs and towards enhancing local character and distinctiveness. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, new housing will not be permitted in locations where accessibility to employment, centres and a range of services and facilities is poor.
  4. Housing will be provided as a mix of small and larger sites that will ensure a continuous supply of housing provision throughout the Plan period, and a continuous supply of affordable housing. Indicative delivery periods are included in the table below.

National Space Standards

  1. In order to ensure that new residential development delivers appropriate levels of amenity and a sustainable living environment, new homes should comply with the nationally described space standards set out by Government.

Density

  1. The appropriate density of new housing will be based on a number of factors, and measured on the developable area of a site. This will include site plots and estate roads, but exclude land for other development requirements such as open space, SuDS and strategic highway infrastructure. Density will be informed by the following:
    1. The need to maximise the efficient use of land;
    2. The appropriate mix of housing in accordance with Policy P4;
    3. Responding to local character and distinctiveness, including landscape and townscape features, green infrastructure and heritage assets;
    4. Scale, type and location of development, in particular with regard to accessibility of services by sustainable transport modes;

Justification

Local Housing Need

  1. Since the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in July 2018, councils have been required to calculate their local housing need (LHN) using the Government's standard methodology. For the base year 1st April 2020, the LHN is 807 dwellings per annum, which over the plan period would result in a need for 12,912 dwellings.

Data source

Number

Households at 2020

90,937

Households at 2030

97,259

10 year difference in number of households

6,322

Annual average increase in no. of households

632

Median house price

£277,500

Median workplace earnings

£32,970

Affordability ratio

8.42

Affordability increase[28]

27.6%

Adjusted household projections annual average increase (ie the LHN)

807

Plan period

2020-36

No. of years in plan period

16

No. of dwellings required during plan period – Minimum LHN

12,912

  1. National planning practice guidance is clear that the LHN provides a minimum starting point in determining the number of homes needed in an area and it explains when it might be appropriate to plan for a higher housing need figure that the standard methodology indicates. This has been addressed in the HEDNA which has considered whether the UK Central Hub proposals represent a deliverable growth strategy that is likely to exceed past trends. The HEDNA concludes it is and has therefore looked to see what additional workforce may be required. On the basis that the standard methodology provides for higher jobs growth than baseline predictions indicate are necessary; and if commuter patterns for employment in the UK Central Hub area remain at 2011 census levels then a small increase to 816 dpa would be justified. Over the plan period this would result in a need for Solihull of 13,056.
  2. This housing growth can be delivered through sites with planning permission, suitable deliverable sites identified within the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, locations proposed for allocation by this policy and unidentified windfall sites, predominantly within South Solihull. The following table provides an overview of housing land supply.

Solihull Housing Land Supply 2020-2036 (as of 1st April 2020)

Source

Capacity

1 Sites with planning permission (started)

1,663

2 Sites with planning permission (not started)

1,119

3 Sites identified in land availability assessments

320

4 Sites identified in the brownfield land register (BLR)

77

5 Town Centre Sites[29]

961

6 Solihull Local Plan (2013) allocations without planning permission at 1st April 2020

350

7 Less a 10% to sites with planning permission (not started), sites identified in land availability assessments, BLR and SLP sites

-283

8 Windfall housing land supply (2022-2036)

2,800

9 UK Central Hub Area to 2036

2,740

10 Allocated Sites to 2036

5,270

Total Estimated Capacity (rows 1-10)

15,017

Windfall Housing Supply

  1. Windfall housing sites are sites that will become available for residential development during the Plan period that cannot be identified now. There is compelling evidence that windfall sites consistently become available in Solihull. The windfall assumption in the adopted Solihull Local Plan was 150 dpa. The average windfall supply since 1992 has increased to 209 dpa and in the last decade is 231 dpa. The 5YLS position adopted at Cabinet in July 2019 set out a revised windfall rate of 200 dpa to reflect his position. To prevent double-counting with existing permissions, the windfall completions are counted from the third year of supply, therefore from 2022 onwards.

Housing Trajectory

  1. To ensure that an adequate supply of housing will be available throughout the plan period consideration has been given to the likely delivery rates of both existing commitments and the proposed allocations over the plan period. A number of small-medium sites will gain permission and commence development within the first five years of adoption of the plan from 2021. However, some of the larger sites will not make a significant contribution to completions until the mid-delivery phase. For this reason, and to ensure a robust five year housing land supply for the duration of the plan, the housing requirement is stepped:

Delivery Phase

Stepped Requirement

Annualised requirement

I – 2020-2026

5,106

851

II and III – 2026-2036

9,911[30]

991

Total

15,017

938

Maintaining Housing Land Supply

  1. The NPPF requires Councils to identify and maintain five years' housing land supply with an additional buffer of 5% to ensure choice and competition in the market. The following table establishes the five year housing land requirement from the current base date of 1st April 2020:

Source

Capacity

1 Sites with planning permission (started)

1,663

2 Sites with planning permission (not started)

889

3 Sites identified in land availability assessments

200

4 Sites identified in the brownfield land register (BLR)

77

5 Solihull Local Plan (2013) allocations without planning permission at 1st April 2020

350

6 Less a 10% to sites with planning permission (not started), sites identified in land availability assessments, BLR and SLP sites

-152

7 Allocated sites

1,170

8 Windfall housing land supply (2022-2025)

600

Total Estimated Capacity (rows 1-8)

4,797

Annualised requirement

851

Annualised requirement + 5%

894

5 year requirement

4,468

5 year supply/requirement

5.37 years supply

Allocated Sites

  1. Summary Table of Residential Allocations

Area[31]

Ref.

Site Name

G

B[32]

P

D

L[33]

Site Area (ha)

Capacity

Delivery Period[34]

Balsall Common

BC1

Barratt's Farm

Y

N

91

875

II and III

BC2

Frog Lane

Y

N

6

110

I

BC3

Windmill Lane/Kenilworth Road

Y

N

7

120

I

BC4

Pheasant Oak Farm

Y

Y

14

200

II

BC5

Trevallion Stud

Y

Y

12

230

I and II

BC6

Lavender Hall Farm

Y

Y

4

80

III

Blythe

BL1

West of Dickens Heath

Y

N

23

350

I and II

BL2

South of Dog Kennel Lane

Y

N

47

1000

I, II and III

BL3

Whitlocks End Farm

Y

N

14

300

I and II

Hampton in Arden[35]

HA1

Meriden Road, Hampton in Arden

Y

Y

5

100

I

HA2

Oak Farm, Catherine-de-Barnes

Y

Y

3

95

I

Hockley Heath

HH1

School Road

Y

N

6

90

I

Knowle

KN1

Hampton Road

Y

N

11

180

I and II

KN2

South of Knowle

Y

N

49

600

I and II

Meriden

ME1

West of Meriden

Y

N

4

100

I

North of the Borough

NS1

Kingshurst Village Centre

N

Y

4

50

I

Solihull

SO1

East of Solihull[36]

Y

N

43

700

I and II

SO2

Moat Lane Depot

N

Y

3

90

III

Non Green Belt Sites (2)

7

140

Green Belt Sites (16)

340

5,130

Total

347

5,270

Housing Market Area

  1. Solihull is one of 14 local authorities within the Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area (GBHMA). The Birmingham Development Plan (adopted January 2017) recognises that there is a shortfall of 37,900 homes, which needs to be met in the wider GBHMA up to 2031. Under the Duty to Cooperate, the Council has been working with its partners to address this shortfall.
  2. Through the Local Plan Review process undertaken to date, the Council had indicated it would test the ability to accommodate 2,000 dwellings from the shortfall up to 2031. Now that the Council has tested and established an appropriate capacity it is able to confirm the contribution to the HMA as the difference between the identified supply and the LHN. Thus the contribution to the HMA is 2,105 being the difference between 15,017 and 12,912. Thus 15,017 will be the housing requirement for the plan, this equates to an average of 938 dwellings per annum.
  3. The figure of 12,912 was used rather than 13,056 (the HEDNA UK Central Hub 'uplift figure') as this represents the minimum needs of the Borough as determined by the standard methodology. The occupation of the additional dwellings needed as a result of the UKC Hub uplift would be as a result of additional net migration into the Borough (as it is above the Borough's own demographic needs) from elsewhere and to have added this to the contribution to the HMA shortfall would result in double counting.

Putting the Level of Growth into Context

  1. Solihull is recognised for its high quality environment which attracts residents and investors to the sub-region. These include green infrastructure assets such as the Arden Landscape, the River Blythe SSSI, tree-lined suburbs and principal parks as well as major transport and economic assets such as UK Central, the M42 corridor and forthcoming HS2 Interchange. Growth needs to be managed at a sustainable rate so that the success of these assets are not compromised and can continue to deliver their economic and ecosystem services.
  2. The proposed level of growth is significantly more than previously planned for and is recognition that the SLP 2013 used a constrained figure. The Council is now not only seeking to accommodate its own needs in full, but also help to accommodate some of the shortfall occurring in the HMA.

Commentary on comparison to previous levels of growth

  1. The level of growth now proposed in the Borough at 938 dwellings per annum represents a significant step change in the delivery of housing. This is higher than has been achieved in any single year since 2001 (the highest being 836 in 2005/06). The average over the last 5 years has been 706 dwellings per annum.

Housing Requirement for Designated Neighbourhood Areas

  1. Paragraph 65 of the NPPF states that the overall strategic housing requirement policy in the local plan should set out a housing requirement for designated Neighbourhood Plan areas which reflects the overall strategy for the pattern and scale of development and any relevant allocations.
  2. The schedule below outlines the housing requirement for each of the designated Neighbourhood Areas in the Borough. This figure comprises the amount of housing expected to be delivered through site allocations (made in this plan) in each Neighbourhood Area along with sites identified in land availability assessments, those identified in the Councils BLR and site allocations in the Solihull Local Plan 2013 without planning permission at 1st April 2020.
  • Balsall 402
  • Berkswell 1,356
  • Cheswick Green 1,002
  • Dickens Heath 650
  • Hampton in Arden 1,012
  • Hockley Heath 141
  • Knowle, Dorridge & Bentley Heath 808
  • Meriden 100

National Space Standards

  1. In 2015, the Government introduced nationally described space standards as a new form of technical planning standard that local authorities can adopt through their local plans. The standard provides for minimum gross internal floor areas and storage, to ensure that sufficient internal space within new homes for both a high quality of life and flexibility over time. This is especially important for smaller homes, which need to be fit for purpose and attractive in the market, e.g. to those wishing to down-size. For conversions it may be more difficult to achieve these standards, however, developers should set out how the internal space provision will meet housing needs.
  2. Summary of National Space Standards[37]

Density

  1. It is important that efficient use is made of the land available to ensure delivery of sufficient new homes in the Plan period.
  2. Assessing the efficient use of land and corresponding appropriate density will involve a range of considerations, including accessibility, infrastructure capacity, environmental issues and in particular, the prevailing character, identity and setting of the surrounding areas. . Each site has its own characteristics, context and constraints, and it is important that these are taken into account in creating well-designed places in accordance with policy P15.
  3. In more sustainable locations, which are highly accessible by public transport, as well as walking and cycling, there will be opportunities to increase densities. Where it can be demonstrated that higher densities would respect the character and quality of an area, this will be supported.
  4. Dwelling figures for Allocated Housing Sites have been informed through a series of concept masterplans, and are based on a range of densities deemed appropriate at each site. The eventual capacity of sites will depend on various factors, many of which will need to be addressed at application stage, including detailed design and layout. This may mean that dwelling and bed space totals for an allocated site fall outside the indicative range specified in the respective policy.

Indicative densities[38]

Dwellings per hectare (developable site area)

Houses

Apartments

Mixed

Town Centre/UKC Hub Area

40dph

90-150dph

50-70dph

Urban redevelopment

35-45 dph

70-90 dph

45-60dph

Significant extension of urban or larger village edge

30-40 dph

As appropriate

40-50dph

Limited extension of urban or larger village edge

30-35dph

As appropriate

40-50dph

  1. Where the density in a planning application falls significantly below those specified above, the applicant will be expected to provide supporting information justifying the density proposed.

Concept Masterplans

  1. The Council has prepared a concept masterplan for each site to ensure confidence on capacity and deliverability. Concept masterplans include details on:
  • A clear objective/aim for what is intended to be achieved in the overall development.
  • That key site constraints have been identified (both those that are fixed (i.e. to be accommodated within the scheme (e.g. important open spaces)) and those that need to be overcome or mitigated).
  • That all the different land uses/proposals and their scale that the site is to accommodate (including dwelling capacity) have been identified (this will include key green infrastructure/open space (including, where relevant, areas of biodiversity value that are to be retained) either within the site or adjacent to it).
  • Key access and movement routes to and through the site.
  • The infrastructure that is required to make that development an attractive and sustainable location has been identified.
  • A clear phasing and delivery programme (and this may demonstrate the need for critical infrastructure to be in place before occupation of certain phases).
  • Establishing a clear and logical boundary to identify precisely the land to be released from the Green Belt (for those allocations which require land to be removed from the Green Belt). This does not mean that all of the site will be developed as it is necessary to ensure a clear, logical and defensible boundary to the Green Belt is formed.
  1. It will be expected that where there are multiple ownerships involved, the concept masterplan will show a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the development of the site that is supported by relevant site promotors/developers so that piecemeal development is avoided. This needn't necessarily preclude a phased approach where one parcel of land or part of the site may be available for development in advance of another. However it will be expected that evidence can be provided of a joint and coordinated approach so that one phase of development does not prejudice a future phase, nor place undue viability pressures on a later phase to complete necessary infrastructure to serve the whole development.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

B Meeting housing needs across the Borough, including the Borough's own needs and, where possible, assisting with accommodating the HMA wide shortfall.

E Protecting key gaps between urban areas and settlements

F Reducing inequalities in the Borough

H Increasing accessibility and encouraging sustainable travel

J Improving health and well being

K Protecting and enhancing our natural assets

L Water quality and flood risk

(3) Policy P6 – Provision of Accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers

  1. An updated Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) is currently being undertaken and is in the process of being completed. The Council will seek to meet the need for any permanent residential pitches to 2036 that is identified in the updated GTAA. This will include meeting the needs arising from Gypsies and Travellers who meet the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) planning definition of a Traveller, as well as those who have ceased to travel permanently. It will also include an allowance for 'undetermined' households where it was not possible to complete an interview during the completion of the GTAA, where required.

Gypsies and Travellers who meet the PPTS planning definition.

  1. The accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers who meet the PPTS planning definition of a Traveller will be met through a combination of the remaining site allocations in the Council's adopted Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Plan (2014) that have not yet come forward; work to identify whether need can be met through other unimplemented planning consents and vacant pitches on sites; and through work on a pitch deliverability assessment to identify whether identified need can be met through the intensification of existing authorised Gypsy and Traveller sites.
  2. The remaining pitch allocations are:
    1. The Haven – 6 pitches
    2. Old Damson Lane – 2 pitches
  3. As far as possible, the Council will seek to meet any remaining need within the boundaries of existing authorised sites or through an updated Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Plan.
  4. The following criteria will be used in the allocation of future sites and subject to compliance with other policies in the plan, applications which perform well against the criteria and which contribute to meeting any identified unmet need, will be considered favourably.
    1. The size and scale of the site and the number of caravans stationed is appropriate to the size and density of the local settled community, having regard to factors such as the scale and form of existing pitches and sites in the locality, and the availability of infrastructure, services and facilities;
    2. Any unacceptable adverse visual impact can be adequately minimised;
    3. The site is not in an area prone to flooding;
    4. Any unacceptable adverse impact on landscape or local nature conservation designations, ecology, biodiversity, water quality or the historic environment can be mitigated;
    5. There is no unacceptable adverse impact on privacy and residential amenity for both site residents and neighbouring land uses, and the site will provide safe and healthy living conditions for site occupants;
    6. The site has safe and convenient access to the highway network;
    7. The site is of a sufficient size to support the provision of amenities and facilities for the number of caravans proposed and will have adequate circulation space within the site for the parking and safe manoeuvring of vehicles and trailers;
    8. Local services and facilities such as schools, health facilities, fresh food and employment are accessible by walking, cycling and public transport, or it can be demonstrated that the site is sustainable in other ways.
  5. Sites in the Green Belt (whether temporary or permanent) will not be permitted unless other reasonable alternative locations have been robustly discounted, including the availability of existing local provision, and only then where applicants can demonstrate "very special circumstances" as required by the PPTS.
  6. Applications to intensify existing authorised Gypsy and Traveller Sites that contribute to meeting any need that may be identified in the forthcoming 2020 GTAA will also be supported where they meet the above criteria.

Gypsies and Travellers who do not meet the PPTS planning definition.

  1. The provision of pitches for Gypsies and Travellers who have ceased to travel permanently and do not meet the PPTS planning definition will be supported, should any need be identified in the forthcoming 2020 GTAA.
  2. Proposals for new sites or pitches, and applications for the intensification of existing sites will be assessed against criteria i – viii above. Subject to compliance with other policies in the plan, applications which perform well against the criteria will be considered favourably.
  3. Sites in the Green Belt (whether temporary or permanent) will not be permitted unless other reasonable alternative locations have been robustly discounted, including the availability of existing local provision, and only then where applicants can demonstrate "very special circumstances" as required by the PPTS.

Justification

  1. Gypsies and Travellers in England have some of the worst outcomes of any group across a range of social indicators. It is well recognised that they are amongst the most socially excluded groups in society and research has consistently confirmed the link between the lack of good quality sites for Gypsies and Travellers and poor health and education. Accommodation issues contribute to many of the inequalities that Gypsy and Traveller communities experience, and are frequently a source of tensions between travelling and settled communities. The Government and the Council acknowledge that these inequalities and tensions must be addressed, but it is crucial to ensure that the planning system is not abused and that development is located in the most appropriate locations.
  2. Together with the NPPF, the 2015 Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) sets out how local planning authorities should plan for the future accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in their area. The PPTS highlights that the traditional and nomadic way of life of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople should be facilitated, while respecting the interests of the settled community and that planning authorities should make their own assessment of need, using a robust evidence base to establish accommodation requirements. Local Planning authorities should set pitch targets for Gypsies and Travellers and plot targets for Travelling Showpeople which address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of travellers in their area.
  3. Gypsies and Travellers are defined in the PPTS as 'Persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family's or dependents' educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily, but excluding members of an organised group of travelling showpeople or circus people travelling together as such'.
  4. The Council is required to specifically and separately address the future accommodation needs of Travellers who meet the PPTS planning definition of a Traveller over the plan period. For those Gypsies and Travellers who do not lead a nomadic lifestyle (i.e. that have ceased to travel permanently and do not therefore meet the PPTS planning definition), there remains a requirement for the Council to continue to assess and plan for their needs as part of its wider responsibilities to plan to meet the accommodation needs of its settled community. Additionally, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equalities Act 2010 protect the cultural choice of Gypsies and Travellers to live in mobile accommodation. In accordance with the NPPF and the Council's public sector equality duty, these needs are also addressed in Policy P6.
  5. The Council has commissioned an updated GTAA to identify the future accommodation requirements of Gypsies and Travellers in Solihull over the period 2020 to 2036. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the completion of the household interviews that are required to support this work and at the time of publishing this Draft Submission Plan, the 2020 GTAA has not yet be finalised. Notwithstanding this, the GTAA is assessing the needs of all Gypsy and Travellers in the Borough, including those who meet the planning definition of a Gypsy or Traveller and those who do not. The GTAA will also include an assessment of need for any households that it is not possible to interview – this is referred to as undetermined need and the GTAA will include recommendations on how this need should be addressed.
  6. Historically, the Council has demonstrated a positive and proactive approach to making sure that the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community have been met, and it will continue to do so. In 2014, the Council adopted a Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Plan to address the pitch requirements as set out in the previous 2012 GTAA. The Site Allocations Plan allocates sites to meet the identified need of 38 permanent residential pitches between 2012 and 2027, in full. Whilst most of the allocated sites now have planning permission, there are 8 pitches on identified site allocations that have not yet come forward through the planning application process. These sites / pitches were originally phased to come forward post 2017 to ensure provision later in the plan period and to secure the longer term need for sites.
  7. The accommodation needs of travelling Gypsies and Travellers who meet the PPTS definition will be met through these remaining sites allocations, and emerging analysis also suggests that any additional immediate need may be accommodated through intensification of use within the boundaries of existing authorised sites. Where required, the Council will undertake an update of its Gypsy and Traveller Site Allocations Plan. In accordance with the PPTS, the policy sets out the criteria that will be used to guide the allocation of future sites.
  8. Given the historic lack of suitable and available land outside the Green Belt for new Gypsy and Traveller sites, applications to intensify existing authorised Gypsy and Traveller Sites that contribute to meeting any need identified in the forthcoming 2020 GTAA for Gypsies and Travellers that meet the PPTS planning definition will also be supported where they meet the criteria set out in the Policy. This will ensure the effective use of land and optimise the use of existing sites. It will also have social benefits as many Gypsy and Travellers wish to live in extended family groups.
  9. Planning applications to meet the need of Gypsies and Travellers who do not meet the PPTS planning definition will also be considered against the criteria as set out in the Policy.

Challenges and Objectives Addressed by the Policy

B Meeting housing needs across the Borough, including the Borough's own needs and, where possible, assisting with accommodating the HMA wide shortfall.

F Reducing inequalities in the Borough

G To maintain a supply of Gypsy and Traveller sites and pitches


[27] This reduces to 224 if households already in accommodation are excluded.

[28] The formula in the standard methodology converts the ratio into a percentage increase to be applied to the household projections.

[29] Solihull Town Centre (861) & Chelmsley Wood Town Centre (100)

[30] Rounded up

[31] The area or settlement the allocation is adjacent to (not necessarily the ward or parish it falls within).

[32] Does the allocation relate to releasing a site from the Green Belt.

[33] Is the site previously developed land, or at least a substantial part of it is.

[34] Indicative delivery period: I = years 0-5, II = years 5-10 & III = years 10 -16

[35] Site SO1 is also located within Hampton in Arden parish

[36] Although the site is located within Hampton in Arden parish, it functions as an extension of the urban area and so has been included in the Solihull settlement chapter.

[38] The densities relate to those to be achieved on the net developable area of a site.

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