Agenda item

Draft Exemption of Small Sites & the Vacant Building Credit Statement- Update September 2018


Resolved that the Exemption of Small Sites and the Vacant Building Credit Statement (update September 2018) be approved for publication on the Council’s Website.


(Link to Council Priorities: P2)


The Portfolio Holder for Planning Services considered a report that provided details of the updated Exemption of Small Sites and the Vacant Building Credit Statement, that had been prepared following the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Statement (NPPF) in July 2018.


The Portfolio Holder was reminded that in the summer of 2016, the Council had decided to continue to apply Policy CS21 (Affordable Housing) in the decision-making process and to consider on a case by case basis the weight to be given to conflicting local and national planning policy.  At that time, this element of national policy had been issued through a Government Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) together with changes to Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).  The WMS set out that local planning authorities should not seek affordable housing contributions on development sites of 10 dwellings or less.


To support the decision to continue the application of Policy CS21, the Council had published a position statement, the first of which had been published in 2016.  In February 2017, the statement had been updated and it looked at planning applications and appeals over the six-month period following the amendment to the Planning Practice Guidance and the Council’s decision to continue to apply Policy CS21.


The Portfolio Holder was advised that within the revised NPPF, published in July 2018, the provision set out in the WMS had been formally incorporated into national policy.  In this regard, a conflict now existed in respect of the Council’s approach to affordable housing provision as set out in Policy CS21 ‘Affordable Housing’ of the adopted Elmbridge Local Plan: Core Strategy (July 2011).


Accordingly, a draft Statement had been prepared which outlined the Council’s position on the revised NPPF and how it intended to take forward decisions where there was a conflict between local and national policy.


The Portfolio Holder noted that the draft Statement explained the local circumstances and provided justification for the continued approach of seeking affordable housing contributions on developments of 10 units or fewer, on a case by case basis.


From past delivery, it was clear that the current policy approach had not had an adverse impact upon the delivery of new homes on small sites or had been financially harmful to small and medium enterprise developers.


The draft Statement also reflected on the successful delivery of Policy CS21 evidencing how the contributions to date had enabled the Council to support the delivery of both new affordable units and ensure the more effective provision of its existing stock and reduce under occupation.


On consideration of the report and draft Statement, the Portfolio Holder for Planning Services supported the need to continue to consider Policy CS21 Affordable Housing as part of the decision-making process for any relevant application and where applicants / developers considered that the charge was disproportionate, the relevant information setting out scheme viability could be submitted for independent assessment as set out in the Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document.


Resolved that the Exemption of Small Sites and the Vacant Building Credit Statement (update September 2018) be approved for publication on the Council’s Website.

Supporting documents: