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Paper 8 - 26 September 1997 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Friday 26 September 1997

CIRCULAR 13/96 - PLANNING AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Paper from the Policy Officer

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that -

(1) the response to the consultation on draft amendments to Circular 13/96 be noted.

(2) member authorities continue to monitor the provision of affordable housing.

BACKGROUND

1.The Association decided at its first meeting to make representations to the Minister of State for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning on the adverse impact of Circular 13/96 on the provision of affordable housing. The Government has responded to the many representations received by proposing amendments to the Circular. The Association has commented on the draft amendments.

PROVISION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON NEW DEVELOPMENTS

2. Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3) on "Housing" provided a reasonable and flexible basis to plan against the background of a community’s need for affordable housing. PPG3 enabled planning authorities to require a limited amount of affordable housing on new developments. However, Circular 13/96 introduced thresholds to exclude smaller sites from the PPG3 approach.

3. Member authorities have estimated that these thresholds reduced the amount of affordable housing that could be provided as a result of PPG3 by about one third (a loss of about 1,000 affordable housing units across Hampshire). This loss simply applies to the currently available housing land supply. Further losses will occur in future if there is no change in policy.

CHANGES CURRENTLY PROPOSED

4.The Government now proposes various changes to Circular 13/96 which address the representations. They reduce the thresholds to those proposed in some member authority’s local plans. However, they continue the practice, introduced in Circular 13/96, of creating different thresholds for different types of area, which creates difficulties. Also the definition of affordable housing in Circular 13/96 is unsatisfactory in that it includes the provision of low-cost market housing.

RESPONSE TO THE PROPOSED CHANGES

5.Many member authorities have responded individually to the proposed changes. The common threads in the responses are -

(a) there should be only one threshold for all areas (15 dwellings or 0.5 hectares);

(b) the definition of affordable housing should exclude low cost market housing.

6. The Honorary Secretary has accordingly written to the Department of the Environment Transport and Regions to reinforce the case on these two points made by member authorities.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Officer

Last update: 05/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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