Publication: Pre-Submission Gloucester City Plan

Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy A2: Affordable Housing

On residential sites of 10 dwellings or more, or sites with a gross site area of 0.5 hectares or more, 25% affordable housing is required on all residential sites within Gloucester City.

The City Council will support grant aided schemes that deliver greater than 25% affordable housing, and tenure and house types, that meet the city's needs. The occupation of affordable housing will be limited to people in need of affordable housing and shall be secured in perpetuity.

Where it appears that a larger site has been subdivided into smaller development parcels in order to circumvent the requirements of this policy, or for any other reason, the threshold and the pro-rata percentage of affordable housing sought will apply to the larger area as a whole.

3.1.17 Gloucester has a significant need for more affordable homes. JCS Policy SD12 sets out the overarching strategic policy position; 'Outside of the strategic allocations, on sites of 10 dwellings or more, or sites with a maximum combined floorspace of greater than 1,000 sq m; a minimum of 20% affordable housing will be sought on developments in Gloucester City...' This policy reflects the fact that the evidence underpinning the JCS identified value areas within which different levels of affordable housing could be achieved. This evidence has been strengthened through the Viability Appraisal prepared in support the GCP, and this demonstrates that a 25% figure can be supported on residential developments in the city. Please note that since the JCS was adopted, the Government has amended the affordable thresholds as reflected in the policy above.

3.1.18 Affordable housing is defined within the NPPF as housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers), including (a) affordable housing for rent (b) starter homes (c) discounted market sales housing (d) other affordable routes to home ownership such as shared ownership.

3.1.19 In accordance with the adopted JCS, affordable housing should be provided on-site and seamlessly integrated and distributed through the development scheme. Developments should also include a balanced mix of dwelling sizes, types and tenures to meet the future housing needs of the area, including affordable rent, and the design and price of homes should ensure they are genuinely affordable and fit for purpose.

3.1.20 The density, layout and type/tenure mix of a site can impact on viability and therefore the ability to deliver affordable housing. Applicants should design schemes to ensure the most efficient and effective use of land, whilst being consistent with other policies in the JCS and GCP, for example in relation to design and heritage.

3.1.21 In exceptional circumstances where an applicant may be able to provide robust evidence to demonstrate an inability to meet the affordable housing requirement, evidence must be provided in the form of a viability appraisal. This will be independently assessed for the City Council by a third party and this will be paid for by the applicant. Clarity as to the particular circumstances that have given rise to the development's reduced viability or non-viability will be established through either an open-book valuation or through an independently commissioned assessment using the Homes and Communities Agency 'Development Appraisal Tool' or other equivalent tools, to be agreed with the City Council in advance of the assessment.

3.1.22 Where is can be demonstrated through viability that a development cannot support the required 25% affordable housing, the applicant is expected to seek, in accordance with JCS Policy SD12, public funding or other public subsidy in order to support the required level of affordable housing. Equally, the applicant should consider the mix and design of a scheme (whilst according with other relevant policies in the JCS and GCP) in order to reduce costs and maximise the delivery of affordable housing.

3.1.23 The City Council will support schemes that deliver levels of affordable housing greater than 25%, through public subsidy or other mechanisms.

3.1.24 In some circumstances, vacant building credit may apply to developments that would bring vacant buildings on a site back into lawful use, or where such buildings are demolished as part of a development. If the site in question is eligible, this would reduce the expected affordable housing contribution from a site.