Conwy Local Development Plan 2007 - 2022

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4.2 THE HOUSING STRATEGY

4.2.1 Spatial Objectives

SO1, SO2, SO3, SO12.

4.2.2 Housing Strategy Statement

4.2.2.1 Housing issues remain the key area of concern for many communities within the Plan Area. The shortage of affordable housing to rent or to buy is one of the greater challenges facing many communities in Conwy. Local incomes in the Plan Area are generally low and opportunities for higher paid employment limited. The combination of these factors creates difficulties for local people to access the housing market. The accessibility and affordability of housing is an essential factor in securing long term sustainability of our communities. The average household size in the Plan Area has also decreased, as more people live alone and young people move from the area, to be replaced by older people moving in. The changing age and social structure of Conwy’s population may threaten the wellbeing of communities and the viability of local schools, businesses, services and facilities. Therefore, it is crucial to the future of Conwy that the needs of predicted population and household change are secured and a more balanced age structure promoted through the development of well designed and accessible dwellings of the right type, size and tenure.


4.2.2.2 The strategic housing policy is designed to ensure that over the remainder of the Plan period a housing land supply of a maximum of up to 6,520 houses (with a contingency level of up to 7,170 dwellings) will be built in the right places and of the right type to maximise the contribution it makes towards meeting identified market and affordable housing needs (refer to BP/2 – ‘Population and Household Projections’). The key priority is to increase the supply of Affordable Housing for Local Need (AHLN) and the Council will take every opportunity through its policies to maximise AHLN provision. The policy approach ensures that the affordable housing requirement of 1,875 (refer to BP/36 – ‘Affordable Housing Needs Calculation’) is met through the provision of approximately 1,000 new build affordable housing units over the Plan period. The strategy recognises that the ‘bottom line’ affordable housing need figure of 1,875 is not simply about the requirement to build new homes – it’s about households in need. As well as providing new affordable housing of approximately 1,000 new build dwellings, the strategy recognises that there are a variety of other ways of helping these households which don’t require new-build homes – for example through placement within existing social housing stock, the provision of supported purchase schemes such as the Homebuy initiative, and through financial support to rent within the private sector (housing benefit). Such non-build methods of delivery will be met through the Conwy Housing Strategy Team and the implementation of the Conwy Local Housing Strategy. As evidenced in BP/36, this approach seeks to deliver the identified need of 1,875 which comprises a split of 50% social and intermediate housing.


4.2.2.3 The growth strategy proposed is sufficient to meet the demands created by population and household projections and to satisfactorily deliver the majority of the new build affordable housing need. The housing policy is clear in that the level of housing need cannot be achieved without being flexible and fully understandable of the viability issues associated with housing development. It also recognises the importance of having a joined-up approach with the Conwy Local Housing Strategy to deliver the social and intermediate needs of Conwy.


4.2.2.4 To that point, the policy target for the level of affordable housing to be provided over the Plan period is informed by taking account of the risks to delivery, the types of sites likely to come forward over the Plan period and on the likely levels of finance available for affordable housing, including both public subsidy such as Social Housing Grant and the level of developer contribution that could reasonably be secured. Site capacity thresholds and site specific targets set out in the housing policy have been balanced against the need for affordable housing and site viability as evidenced in BP/9 – ‘Affordable Housing Viability Study’ (AHVS). Informed by the AHVS, a split target has been adopted to take into account different market areas in Conwy. The Plan fully recognises in its housing supply figures that it will not always be possible to achieve the required percentage of affordable housing on all sites (allocations and windfall), in particular from brownfield site developments. A flexible policy approach to affordable housing contributions through negotiation and viability assessments, in addition to the other mechanisms to deliver need, provides the bases for a realistic and achievable target.


4.2.2.5 The Tier 1 Main Villages will provide a combination of market value and AHLN from existing commitments, on allocated sites and from windfall development, to realise the spatial objectives for the delivery of AHLN and protection of the natural and historic environment. Within the Tier 2 Main Villages, the Council will seek to deliver 100% AHLN only on allocated and windfall sites within the settlement boundaries. To provide an element of flexibility, market dwellings may be permitted in exceptional circumstances on allocated and windfall sites within the Tier 2 Villages where it is essential to assist the delivery of affordable housing on site and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Such windfall schemes will generally be smaller than those permitted in the Urban Development Strategy Areas (no more than 10 dwellings on windfall sites) and will be phased in line with the provision of infrastructure. Small scale (up to 5 dwellings) 100% AHLN exception sites may be permitted outside, but on the edge of, the settlement where it meets local need.


4.2.2.6 There are no settlement boundaries for Minor Villages and no allocations are made for new dwellings. To meet the needs of the community, the Council will seek to deliver 100% AHLN only on windfall sites within the confinements of the settlement or where single or small groups of new dwelling estates (up to 5 dwellings) represent a form of infilling and relates physically and visually to the settlement. The level of development should represent the level of facilities and services and safeguard the Welsh language. To provide an element of flexibility, market dwellings may be permitted in exceptional circumstances on windfall sites only where it is essential to assist the delivery of affordable housing on site and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Small scale 100% AHLN (up to 3 dwellings) exception sites may be permitted outside, on the fringe of, the main settlement confinements where it meets local need.


4.2.2.7 The needs of the Hamlets will be met through appropriate development. Agricultural or forestry worker dwellings, conversions to dwellings and single AHLN developments may be permitted in appropriate locations.


4.2.2.8 The policy approach recognises that the improved delivery of AHLN is challenging, resulting from a lack of financial subsidy, increased developer build costs and decreasing house prices. This not only requires a flexible approach by the Council, but also a positive ‘step change’ from landowners and developers when negotiating land purchase or option costs in the future. Proposals for reduced affordable housing contributions from housing schemes will not be permitted where it results from land being purchased at ‘inflated’ prices. Land purchase should be negotiated on the basis of providing affordable housing, other planning obligations and overcoming ‘known’ constraints. The policy assumption is that land has been purchased at the right price. Deviation from the policy assumption and reduction in affordable housing contribution will only be acceptable where a supporting viability assessment demonstrates that ‘unknown’ development costs are apparent.


4.2.2.9 To contribute to the viability of schemes in the future, the Council will be proactive and propose to use its own land holdings and establish a register of public owned sites to contribute to meeting AHLN.


4.2.2.10 The Plan includes criteria based policies to contribute to meeting the site needs for gypsies and travellers identified in the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment (GTANA) and in assessing applications to accommodate housing for the elderly. Policies are also covered to ensure the right density and type of housing is considered in addition to controlling the development of further houses in multiple occupation to encourage higher living standards. To safeguard the open countryside, further policy is set out to control the conversion of rural buildings in the open countryside.


4.2.2.11 This section incorporates the necessary detailed policies, supported by the Implementation and Monitoring Section, to ensure this strategy is delivered.
 

STRATEGIC POLICY HOU/1 – MEETING THE HOUSING NEED

  1. Over the period 2007 to 2022 the Council will plan, monitor and manage the delivery of approximately 6,520 new dwellings (at an average annual rate of 478 new dwellings) inclusive of completions, commitments, windfall and new allocations and a contingency level of up to approximately 7,170 dwellings.
  1. Priority will be given to locating new development in line with Strategic Policy DP/1 – ‘Sustainable Development Principles’ and the settlement hierarchy set out in Policy DP/2 – ‘Overarching Strategic Approach’. Approximately 85% (5,542 dwellings) of the housing development will be located within the accessible Urban Development Strategy Area and distributed as set out below and in Table HOU1a:

Housing Allocations

URBAN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY AREA
Settlement
Site
Housing Allocation

Abergele

Abergele Business Park
200 Dwellings

Abergele

Rhuddlan Rd/Tandderwen Farm
600 Dwellings

Colwyn Bay

Lawson Road
35 Dwellings

Colwyn Bay

BT Exchange
70 Dwellings

Colwyn Bay

Glyn Farm
39 Dwellings

Old Colwyn

Ty Mawr
255 Dwellings

Old Colwyn

Ysgol y Graig
30 Dwellings

Rhos on Sea

Dinerth Road
65 Dwellings

Rhos on Sea

Dinerth Hall Farm
80 Dwellings

Llandudno Junction

Esgyryn
120 Dwellings

Llandudno Junction

Social Club/Youth Club
40 Dwellings

Llandudno Junction

Woodland
75 Dwellings

Llandudno

Plas yn Dre
40 Dwellings

Penrhyn Bay

Plas Penrhyn
30 Dwellings

Llanfairfechan

West Coast Building
10 Dwellings

Llanfairfechan

Adjacent to Glanafon
15 Dwellings

Llanfairfechan

Dexter Products
15 Dwellings

Llanrwst

Bryn Hyfryd/Ffordd Tan yr Ysgol
40 Dwellings

Llanrwst

Site A North of Llanrwst
50 Dwellings

Llanrwst

Site E adj to Bryn Hyfryd
50 Dwellings

Llanrwst

Site D East of Llanrwst
60 Dwellings
Total UDSA Allocations
1919 Dwellings


Outside the urban settlement boundaries, no further housing development will be permitted, except to meet AHLN on exception sites adjoining Llanrwst in line with Policies HOU/2 – ‘Affordable Housing for Local Need’ and HOU/6 – ‘Exception Sites for Affordable Housing for Local Need’. Development proposals within settlement boundaries on unallocated sites will be assessed against other policies in the Plan;

  1. In the Main Villages, the scale of proposed future development will reflect the settlement’s size and function and their physical and functional relationships with the urban areas. Over the Plan period, approximately 15% (978 dwellings) of the housing requirement will be accommodated mainly within the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Main Villages and distributed as follows:

Housing Allocations

RURAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY AREA
Settlement
Site
Housing Allocation
Tier 1 Main Villages

Dwygyfylchi

Off Ysguborwen Road
15 Dwellings

Dwygyfylchi

N of Groesffordd
30 Dwellings

Glan Conwy

Top Llan Road
80 Dwellings

Llanddulas

South of the Mill
20 Dwellings

Llanddulas

Pencoed Road
20 Dwellings

Llysfaen

Adjacent to former rectory
30 Dwellings

Llysfaen

Adjoining Ysgol Cynfran
40 Dwellings
Tier 2 Main Villages

Betws yn Rhos

Ffordd Llanelwy
10 Dwellings

Betws yn Rhos

Minafon
10 Dwellings

Cerrigydrudion

Land fronting B5105
20 Dwellings

Dolgarrog

Tan y Ffordd
15 Dwellings

Dolgarrog

Aluminium works
30 Dwellings

Eglwysbach

Off Heol Martin
10 Dwellings

Llanfair TH

The Smithy
25 Dwellings

Llangernyw

Coed Digain
25 Dwellings

Llansannan

North of Llansannan
25 Dwellings
Total RDSA Allocations
405 dwellings


The Tier 1 Main Villages will accommodate an element of market and AHLN and the Tier 2 Main Villages will seek to achieve 100% AHLN subject to viability. Outside the settlement boundaries only justified small-scale schemes (up to 5 dwellings) providing 100% AHLN on exception sites at the edge of the settlements, or where it represents a Rural Enterprise Scheme or a Low Impact Development, will be permitted in line with Policies DP/6 – ‘National Planning Policy and Guidance’, HOU/2 – ‘Affordable Housing for Local Need’ and HOU/6 – ‘Exception Sites for Affordable Housing for Local Need’;

  1. In the Minor Villages, only limited development will be permitted to reflect viability, sustainability and the character of settlements. Over the Plan period, no housing allocations or settlement boundaries are required. Only small scale development seeking to achieve 100% AHLN proposals may be supported within the confinements of the settlement where it comprises redevelopment, conversion of existing buildings or where single or small groups of new dwelling estates (up to 5 dwellings) represent a form of infilling and relates physically and visually to the settlement. At the edge of minor settlements, only justified small-scale schemes (up to 3 dwellings) providing 100% AHLN, or where it represents a Rural Enterprise Scheme or a Low Impact Development, will be permitted in line with Policies DP/6, HOU/2 and HOU/6;
  2. In Hamlets and in the open countryside, housing development will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. A single dwelling may be supported within, or at the edge of, the settlement or where this represents a conversion of a non-residential building in the open countryside, and where it is justified to meet AHLN or a Rural Enterprise and/or Low Impact Development on a case by case basis, in accordance with Policies DP/6, HOU/2 and HOU/6;
  1. The following sites are identified as contingency sites to be held in reserve but which can be released for development on a managed basis if the allocated housing sites in the Plan do not come forward for development as anticipated in the Plan:

Contingency Sites

Settlement
Site
Dwellings

Abergele

Llanfair Road
100 Dwellings

Colwyn Bay

Glyn Farm
27 Dwellings

Old Colwyn

Llysfaen Road
20 Dwellings

Conwy

Henryd Road, Gyffin
10 Dwellings

Llandudno

Nant y Gamar Road
60 dwellings

Penrhyn bay

Off Derwen Lane
175 Dwellings

Penmaenmawr

Conwy Road
15 Dwellings

Llanfairfechan

West of Penmaen Park
45 Dwellings

Llanrwst

Site C North East of Llanrwst
70 Dwellings
Contingency Total
562 Dwellings


Basis for release of Contingency Sites

If, following adoption of the LDP, the Joint Housing Land Availability Study (JHLAS) indicates that the Council is unable to achieve a five year housing land supply, the Council will release a site (or sites) from the list of contingency sites, in order to increase the housing land supply. The release of contingency sites will be based on the following criteria:

  1. The location of the site within the Spatial Strategy, with priority being given to the release of a site in the same area where a shortfall in the land supply has been identified, and;
  2. The ranking of the site within BP/21, with priority being given to releasing the highest ranking contingency sites.
  1. The Council will give priority to housing on previously developed land over the Plan period by phasing development in line with Policy HOU/3 – ‘Phasing Housing Development’, the Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan and table HOU/1b. Through the plan, monitor and manage approach, housing contingency sites will be released accordingly in line with the Monitoring Plan and the Annual Monitoring Report
  2. The Council will ensure that housing developments make the best and most efficient use of land by achieving a broad mix of housing types at an appropriate density which reflects the diverse needs of the residents in line with Policies HOU/4 – ‘Housing Density’ and HOU/5 – ‘Housing Mix’.
  3. The Council will address the need for gypsies and travellers in line with Policy HOU/9 – ‘Meeting the Site Need for Gypsies and Travellers’.
  4. The Council will control the development of self contained flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation to aid regeneration, improve housing quality and choice, and contribute to an enhanced environment in line with Policy HOU/10 – ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation and Self Contained Flats’.
  5. The Council will accommodate the housing needs for the elderly in line with Policy HOU/11 – ‘Residential Care Homes and Extra Care Housing’.
  6. The Council will control the conversion of rural buildings to residential in line with Policy HOU/12 – ‘Re-Use And Adaptation Of Redundant Rural Buildings For Residential Use’.

Table 3: HOU1a Settlement Hierarchy

Completions Permissions Windfall Allocations Empty Homes TOTALS %

URBAN

Abergele, Towyn & Kinmel Bay 143 245 95 800 116 1399 21.3
Conwy, Llandudno Junction & Llandudno 485 424 426 305 135 1775 27.1
Colwyn Bay, Rhos on Sea & Mochdre 506 245 352 574 174 1851 28.2
Llanfairfechan & Penmaenmawr 132 53 80 40 44 349 5.3
Llanrwst 33 0 58 200 21 312 4.8
Urban Total 1299 967 1011 1919 490 5686 86.8
RURAL Tier 1 Main Villages 28 70 43 235 8 384 5.9
Tier 2 Main Villages 46 0 103 170 12 331 5.1
Minor Villages 16 0 33 0 6 55 0.8
Hamlets 6 0 31 0 4 41 0.6
Open Countryside 23 0 35 0 0 58 0.9
Rural Total 119 70 245 405 29 868 13.2
TOTALS 1418 1037 1256 2324 519 6483 100.0
School Modernisation 199
TOTAL 6753
Contingency 522
OVERALL HOUSING TOTAL 7275

Table 4: HOU1b Estimated Housing Delivery

2007 - 2012 2012 - 2017 2017 - 2022 TOTALS
Completions 1418 0 0 1418
Permissions 0 1037 0 1037
Windfall 0 628 628 1256
Empty Homes 269 125 125 519
School Modernisation 0 99 100 199
Allocations 0 934 1390 2324
TOTALS 1687 2823 2243 6753


 

4.2.3 Housing Need

4.2.3.1 The Welsh Government requires local planning authorities within each region of Wales to work together and with appropriate stakeholders to apportion the Assembly’s sub-national household projections, or agree their own regional projections. Local planning authorities in North Wales have undertaken an apportionment of the latest Welsh Government household projections with the involvement of key stakeholders. The apportionment procedure placed an expectation on Conwy to consider options for housing development based around a figure of 5,325 dwellings during the Plan period (i.e. 355 dwellings per year).


4.2.3.2 The growth projections and associated housing requirement are informed by BP/2. This paper updates the 2008-based projections which were published by the Welsh Government in 2010. The updated projections were produced in October 2011 by Conwy County Borough Council’s Corporate Research Department. The LDP uses the 6,620 15 year figure as the principal indicator of new dwelling requirement for the whole of the County Borough for 2007 – 2022 period. This figure is reduced to 6,520 for the 15 year period when development within the part of the Snowdonia National Park Authority, which falls within the Conwy County Borough boundary, is taken into account. BP/2 uses more recent data to prepare a more up-to-date set of population and household projections, and provides data on the assumed dwelling impacts of these projections, including potential future housing mix requirement. It also looks at the migration trend assumptions used in the preparation of Welsh Government’s 2008-based projections and discusses why Conwy County Borough Council have opted to use different assumptions to predict future growth taking into account the justification to deviate away from the WG 2008-based projections. WG produced only one migration scenario (5-year trend based) which had limited usefulness, especially as migration is the most volatile component of change. Taking these factors into account, the requirement for new housing during the Plan period has been calculated at approximately 6,520 (approximately 478 dwellings a year) with a contingency level up to 7,170 dwellings.


4.2.3.3 This level of housing growth reflects the principal natural population change, household size change, net in-migration and at the same time contributes to tackling the key objectives of AHLN delivery, protection of the natural and built environment and provides suitable housing for the existing and future younger population to remain and work in the area. Overall, this growth represents past trend builds over the last 5 years (refer to BP/4 – ‘Housing Land Supply’) and reflects the capacity of the house building industry and their ability to deliver over the Plan period (refer to BP/31 – ‘Capacity of the House Building Industry’).


4.2.3.4 The majority of this housing requirement will be delivered in the Urban Development Strategy Area being the most sustainable location as demonstrated in BP/37 – ‘Growth Distribution Options Report’ and BP/8 ‘Hierarchy of Settlements and Settlement Boundaries’.


4.2.3.5 The Authority proposes that this housing requirement of 6,520 should be met by phased development across the Plan period, split into three time periods (from April to March) as shown in table HOU1b, the Implementation and Monitoring Section, BP/30 – ‘Phasing Plan’ and BP/4 – ‘Housing Land Supply’.


4.2.3.6 Sufficient land, therefore, needs to be allocated in the LDP to accommodate approximately 6,520 dwellings over the Plan period, including the contribution from those already built since 2007, current commitments and the sources of supply from windfall sites (refer to BP/4). A further contingency land supply from suitable and deliverable sites totalling 650 dwellings is included in the Plan (6,520 + 650 = 7,170 dwellings). Contingency sites will be released in order of priority as outlined in Policy HOU/1, where the Council is unable to achieve a five year housing land supply.


4.2.3.7 In accordance with national planning policy, development in sustainable and accessible locations on previously developed land (PDL) is preferred to greenfield sites. In delivering the housing needs in Conwy, it will not be practicable to deliver the whole dwelling requirement on PDL, so some loss of greenfield sites and green wedges will be necessary to ensure deliverability of the Plan. Within this LDP, the strategic housing sites (sites over 100 dwellings) and non-strategic sites (sites under 100 dwellings) are located on the Proposal Map and within the Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan set out in the Implementation and Monitoring section.

4.2.4 Sources of Housing Supply

4.2.4.1 The Conwy LDP will allocate sites that are capable of providing 10 or more dwellings for housing. As shown from the 2012 Joint Housing Land Availability Study, Conwy has already delivered 1,418 new homes between 2007 and 2012. The outstanding commitments (those with current planning permission but not yet built) and projected windfall (development likely to come forward on unallocated sites) totals 2,293 homes (refer to BP/4 – ‘Housing Land Supply’), which are likely to be built over the Plan period. This figure includes bringing back into use a projected 519 empty homes over the Plan period and developing out sites totalling approximately 199 dwellings becoming available from the School Modernisation Programme. The Council will consider serving a completion notice to reduce that uncertainty and ensure deliverability of the needs facing the communities of Conwy.


4.2.4.2 Taking into account all these sources of housing supply, land is allocated in this Plan to accommodate approximately 2,324 houses and a further 522 for contingency as shown below:
 

Table 5: Sources of Housing Supply

Source of Supply Greenfield Brownfield Total
All Net-Completions 01/04/07 – 31/03/12 362 1,056 1,418
Commitments as at 01/04/12 176 556 732
Further committed sites since 01/04/12 251 54 305
Windfall 64 1,192 1,256
Empty Homes 0 519 519
Primary School Modernisation 0 199 199
Sub Total 4,429
Allocation 1,744 580 2,324
Contingency 522
Overall Land Requirement 7,275

4.2.5 Broad distribution of new housing growth

4.2.5.1 Evidence to support the distribution of growth is detailed in BP/37 – ‘Growth Distribution Options Report’. As part of the process to investigate where housing land might be made available to meet future housing needs, all the settlements within the Plan Area have been subjected to a sustainability test to assess their capacity for housing and in formulation of the Settlement Hierarchy (refer to BP/8 – ‘Hierarchy of Settlements and Settlement Boundaries’). As detailed in the Strategy (section 3) and BP/37, a greater scale of development is proposed within the Urban Development Strategy Area to reflect the sustainability of the area in terms of adequacy of facilities and the capacity of the local environment. These locations have a strong range of community facilities offer with good access to new and existing jobs, key services and infrastructure. The target for housing developments in each settlement tier between 2007 and 2022 is set out in Table HOU1a.

4.2.6 New Housing in the Countryside

4.2.6.1 Housing development in the open countryside will be strictly controlled unless it can be fully justified by reference of robust supporting evidence. One of the few circumstances in which new isolated residential development in the open countryside may be justified is when accommodation is required to enable rural enterprise workers to live at, or close to, their place of work. In line with Policy DP/6, rural enterprise dwellings include:

  • A new dwelling on an established rural enterprise (including farms) where there is a functional need for a full time worker and the business case demonstrates that the employment is likely to remain financially sustainable.
  • A second dwelling on an established farm which is financially sustainable, to facilitate the handover of the management of the farm business to a younger farmer.
  • A second dwelling on an established farm which is financially sustainable, where there is a functional need for a further 0.5 or more of a full time worker and at least 50% of a Grade 2 Standard Worker salary, as defined by the latest version of the Agricultural Wages Order, is obtained from the farm business.
  • A new dwelling on a new rural enterprise where there is a functional need for a full time worker.


4.2.6.2 A rural enterprise comprises land related businesses including agriculture, forestry and other activities that obtain their primary inputs from the site, such as the processing of agricultural, forestry and mineral products together with land management activities and support services (including agricultural contracting), tourism and leisure enterprises.


4.2.6.3 New permanent dwellings will only be allowed to support established rural enterprises providing the required functional, time and financial tests are met in line with Policy DP/6 and demonstrated through a Rural Enterprise Dwelling Appraisal.


4.2.6.4 In general, preference will be given to the re-use or replacement of existing buildings over those which propose the erection of a new dwelling in order to avoid further development in the countryside. Where new buildings are proposed to be erected they should be sited and designed to minimise impact on the countryside, and where possible be grouped around existing development and meet the Development Principles and other related policies of the Plan. The erection of a further dwelling would not be justified where an existing dwelling serving the unit, or closely connected with it, has either recently been sold off or in some way separated from it.

4.2.7 Second Dwellings on Established Farms

4.2.7.1 The Plan encourages younger people to manage farm businesses and promote the diversification of established farms. To support this policy objective it may be appropriate to allow a second dwelling on established farms that have met the financial and functional tests as set out in Policy DP/6. The two exceptions to the policy are:

  • Where there are secure and legally binding arrangements in place to demonstrate that management of the farm business has been transferred to a person younger than the person currently responsible for management, or, that transfer of management is only conditional upon grant of planning permission for the dwelling. The younger person should demonstrate majority control over the farm business and be the decision maker for the farm business; or,

  • There is an existing functional need for an additional 0.5 or more of a full time worker and that person obtains at least 50% of a Grade 2 Standard Worker salary, as defined by the latest version of the Agricultural Wages Order, from the farm business.

4.2.8 New Dwellings on New Enterprises

4.2.8.1 In line with Policy DP/6, a new dwelling will be permitted where it can be demonstrated through evidence base that it is essential to support a new rural enterprise. It will be essential for applications to further demonstrate that there is a clear evidence of a firm intention and ability to develop the rural enterprise concerned, that the new enterprise needs to be established at the proposed location and it meets the functional, time and financial tests. These forms of evidence base should be supported though the submission of a Rural Enterprise Dwelling Appraisal at the application stage in line with Policy DP/6.

4.2.9 One Planet Development

4.2.9.1 One Planet Development is development which, through its low impact, either enhances or does not significantly diminish environmental quality. One Planet Development is potentially an exemplar type of sustainable development which should initially achieve an ecological footprint of 2.4 global hectares per person or less in terms of consumption. They should also be zero carbon in both construction and use.


4.2.9.2 One Planet Developments may take a number of forms. They can either be single homes, co-operative communities or larger settlements. They may be located within or adjacent to existing settlements, or be situated in the open countryside. Where One Planet Developments involve members of more than one family, the proposal should be managed and controlled by a trust, co-operative or other similar mechanism in which the occupiers have an interest. Land based One Planet Developments located in the open countryside should, over a reasonable length of time (no more than 5 years), provide for the minimum needs of the inhabitants in terms of income, food, energy and waste assimilation. Where this cannot be demonstrated, they will be considered against policies which seek to control development in the open countryside as set out in this Plan.


4.2.9.3 Planning applications for land based One Planet Developments located in the open countryside need to be supported by robust evidence. In line with Policy DP/6 a management plan must accompany planning applications for this type of development. The management plan should set out the objectives of the proposal, timetable for development of the site and timescale for review. It should be used as the basis of a legal agreement relating to the occupation of the site should planning consent be granted. The management plan should include a Business and Improvement Plan, Ecological Footprint analysis of the development, Carbon analysis of the development, Biodiversity and landscape assessment, impact assessment to identify potential impacts on the host community, and a Transport Assessment and travel plan to identify the transport needs of the inhabitants and propose sustainable travel solutions.

4.2.10 Affordable Housing for Local Need

Policy HOU/2 – AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR LOCAL NEED

  1. The Council will require the provision of AHLN in new housing development as identified in The Local Housing Market Assessment and the Conwy Affordable Housing and First Steps Registers. The delivery of AHLN will be guided by Table HOU2a, the Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan and the following hierarchy:
  • Giving AHLN provision a high priority through negotiating with developers to include AHLN on-site in all housing developments within the settlement boundaries of the Urban Development Strategy Area and Tier 1 Main Villages, according to the following distribution:

Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay, Rhos on Sea - 35%
Conwy, Llandudno Junction, Glan Conwy, Llanrwst - 30%
Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr, Colwyn Bay, Dwygyfylchi, Llanddulas & Llysfaen - 20%
Abergele, Towyn and Kinmel Bay - 10%

  • A lower provision may be acceptable where it can be clearly demonstrated and supported by the submission of evidence including completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Off-site provision or commuted payments will be acceptable for development proposals consisting of 3 or less dwellings, and may be acceptable for proposals consisting of 4 or more dwellings provided there is sufficient justification. It is expected that the AHLN units will be provided without subsidy.
  • At the edges of the Urban Development Strategy Areas, development will not be permitted outside the settlement boundaries, apart from exception sites providing 100% AHLN adjoining Llanrwst.
  • Windfall sites in Tier 1 Main Villages will reflect levels of need and consist of no more than 10 dwellings.
  • Within the Tier 2 Main Villages, the Council will seek to achieve 100% AHLN on allocated and windfall sites within the settlement boundaries. Market dwellings may be permitted in exceptional circumstances on allocated and windfall sites where it is essential to assist the on-site delivery of affordable housing and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Windfall sites will reflect levels of need and consist of no more than 10 dwellings.
  • Outside Tier 1 and Tier 2 Main Village settlement boundaries, as an exception, small scale 100% AHLN will be acceptable on the edge of settlements up to 5 dwellings, giving first priority to Previously Developed Land, to encourage the creation of sustainable communities in line with Policies DP/2 – ‘Overarching Strategic Approach’, and HOU/6 – ‘Exception Sites for Affordable Housing for Local Need’.
  • Within the Minor Villages, the Council will seek to achieve 100% AHLN only through single and small scale developments within the confinements of the settlement and where proposals represent a form of infilling and relate physically and visually to the settlement. Market dwellings may be permitted on such windfall sites in exceptional circumstances where it is essential to assist the on-site delivery of affordable housing and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Windfall sites will reflect levels of need and character of the settlement and consist of no more than 5 dwellings.
  • At the edge of Minor Villages, only justified small-scale schemes (up to 3 dwelling) providing 100% AHLN, or where it represents a Rural Enterprise Scheme or a Low Impact Development, will be permitted in line with Polices DP/6 and HOU/6.
  • Within Hamlets, development will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances to provide an individual single justified AHLN dwelling in an acceptable and sustainable location in line with Policy HOU/6.
  • Within the open countryside, AHLN will be guided in line with Policy DP/6.
  1. All developments will be required to achieve an appropriate mix in terms of housing types and house sizes of AHLN within a development, determined by local circumstances at the time of the submission of a development proposal in line with Policy HOU/4.
  2. AHLN units should be fully integrated within a development and indistinguishable from non-affordable housing in line with Policy DP/3.
  3. The Council will seek to achieve higher levels of AHLN on Council owned sites in line with Policy HOU/7.
  4. The Strategic Planning Policy Service will seek to establish a Plan Area-wide register of land holdings in public ownership for AHLN, in line with Policy HOU/8.

Table 6: HOU/2a: Affordable Housing Delivery

Source of Affordable Housing Supply Urban Development Strategy Area (UDSA) Rural Development Strategy Area (RDSA)
Generated via completions 1/4/2007 – 31/3/2012 202 12
Commitments as at 1/4/2012 184 27
Further committed sites since 1/4/2012 28 0
Generated via Windfall Includes supply generated by Rural Enterprise dwelling and AHLN Exception sites. 241 211
Generated via Windfall (school modernisation) 10% of projected 199 dwellings split 85% in UDSA and 15% in the RDSA) 17 3
Generated from Allocations seeking levels of AHLN in line with Policy HOU/2 392 225
SUPPLY VIA STRATEGY AREA 2007 - 2022 1064 478
TOTAL SUPPLY 1542

4.2.11 Meeting the Need for Affordable Housing in Conwy

Local Housing Market Assessment

4.2.11.1 A shortage of Affordable Housing for Local Need (AHLN) is one of the most pressing priority issues the County Borough faces. The authority has been working collaboratively with Snowdonia National Park, Ynys Môn, Gwynedd and Denbighshire Housing and Planning Authorities to develop improved shared understanding of the housing market through a Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA), recognising that housing market areas do not conform to administrative boundaries. The LHMA Phase 1 (refer to BP/7) provided a good guide to the general County-wide level. A further revised assessment of the affordable housing requirements has been prepared as detailed in BP/36 – ‘Affordable Housing Needs Calculation’. The affordable housing needs calculation presented in BP/36 uses the methodology recommended in Welsh Government’s Local Housing Market Assessment Guide (March 2006) and represents a partial update of the Local Housing Market Assessment base line report that was produced for North West Wales in 2008. The revised affordable housing needs calculation looks at current and potential future affordable housing need, and calculates an annual estimate of how many households will require help to access affordable housing in addition to households who are already being helped. The revised calculation gives an annual estimate of households falling into affordable housing need in the Plan Area of 125 (approximately 61 social need and 64 intermediate need each year), concluding an overall affordable housing need of 1,875. This represents a reduction in overall affordable housing requirement based on past assessments. This is as a result of the availability of better quality up-to-date base data and a review of the calculation methodology, rather than as a reflection of an increase in the supply of affordable housing or a dramatic fall in the number of households in need.


4.2.11.2 The ‘bottom line’ affordable housing need figure of 1,875 is not the total new build housing figure required for the LDP, but represents overall ‘households’ in need. ‘Social housing need’ (915 by 2022) includes people who meet very specific criteria of housing need and are eligible for social rented housing assistance. This element of need is primarily delivered via other mechanisms, for example through placement within existing social housing stock; the provision of supported purchase schemes such as the Homebuy initiative; and through financial support to rent within the private sector (housing benefit). It is recognised within the Plan that the social housing need will be delivered via these alternative methods and not via new build developments. The delivery of social need is further supported and evidenced in the Conwy Local Housing Strategy to be implemented by the Conwy Housing Strategy Team via a partnership approach.


4.2.11.3 ‘Intermediate housing need’ covers those who do not fall into the social need category but still need help to rent or buy within the open market. As detailed in BP/36, 64 households (960 by 2022 rounded up to 1,000) are in need of intermediate housing and will be delivered via new build dwelling supply detailed in table HOU/2a above. Table 6 provides the level of affordable supply, calculated based on the housing supply in Table 3, with AHLN delivery on the basis of the split policy in HOU/2. This calculates the maximum levels of AHLN likely to be achieved from the identified sources of housing supply; 1,542 units. In practice, a lower level is likely to come forward, owing to the flexibility within the policy on the basis of viability considerations. Even so, the level of AHLN oversupply that is provided in this scenario will ensure that the new-build requirement of 1,000 AHLN units will be met over the Plan period, with almost half of this figure already either complete or committed. Small-scale schemes on brownfield sites coming forward over the Plan period are those most likely to be less viable for AHLN provision owing to higher existing use values and increased development costs. In contrast, large and particularly Greenfield allocated sites will provide higher levels of AHLN, with financial viability being taken into account on a site-by-site basis. However, the policy assumption is that land has been purchased at the right price taking into account the requirements of planning obligations and constraints. Applications seeking to provide a lesser level of affordable housing as a result of inflated land purchase costs will not be accepted. Only new ‘unknown’ development costs will be considered through the completion of an Affordable Housing Viability Assessment Pro-forma demonstrating issues of viability. Based on the level of delivery of affordable housing set out in Policy HOU/2 the overall need of approximately 1,000 new build dwellings can be achieved through the Plan’s growth level.


4.2.11.4 An Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance will be prepared to give further guidance on how Policy HOU/2 is to be implemented. It will include information on defining affordability and eligibility, types and sizes of affordable housing for local need, financial viability and applying flexibility to the requirements.

4.2.12 Rural Housing Enabler Studies

4.2.12.1 The Welsh Government guidance on undertaking Local Housing Market Assessments states that in the context of rural settlements an additional survey at the community level is the practical way to proceed to assess housing needs in rural areas as housing need can be highly localised in rural areas. In order to improve the information on local housing needs and help deliver affordable housing in Conwy, the Authority part funds Rural Housing Enablers. The role of the Rural Housing Enablers is to act as independent, impartial brokers working on behalf of local communities to assist communities to come up with tailor-made solutions to meet identified local housing need and to help communities carry out housing need surveys.

4.2.13 Viability

4.2.13.1 In line with the Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note 2 (TAN2) which emphasises the importance of viability testing policy targets, the Council has prepared evidence on the financial viability of housing development by setting deliverable affordable housing targets and by assessing an appropriate threshold which should trigger affordable housing contributions.


4.2.13.2 Through the results of the financial viability evidence base, within the Urban Development Strategy Area and Tier 1 Main Villages the Council proposes a split affordable housing target by housing market area, ranging from 35% in Llandudno, Penrhyn Bay and Rhos on Sea, to 10% in Abergele, Towyn and Kinmel Bay. The Council will seek to achieve 100% AHLN provision within the Tier 2 Main Villages and Minor Villages; however, market dwellings may be permitted in exceptional circumstances on allocated and windfall sites where it is essential to assist the on-site delivery of affordable housing and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. In the Hamlets only single 100% AHLN units will be permitted in exceptional circumstances.


4.2.13.3 The assumption is that land purchase costs are negotiated on the basis of taking on board known planning obligations as identified in the Plan and known constraints. Applicants should complete the Affordable Housing Viability Assessment Pro-Forma available on the council’s website, or as detailed in the Planning Obligations SPG, where new unknown viability issues become apparent which impact on the deliverability of the scheme.


4.2.13.4 The Council will closely monitor delivery through the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) should there be significant market change.

4.2.14 Affordable Housing Target in Conwy

4.2.14.1 The LDP affordable housing target must be based upon a realistic assessment of what is likely to be achievable within the Plan Area. The AHVS provides the viable target to which affordable housing should be provided and the threshold from which it should be sought.


4.2.14.2 The contribution to the affordable housing target will be delivered through completions since 2007, commitments (those with planning permission), the predicted windfall and new allocations. This source of potential affordable housing supply will be further contributed too through the implementation of the Empty Homes Strategy, new build on exception sites (see Policy HOU/6) and conversions within the open countryside to form agricultural workers dwellings. Table HOU2a details the distribution of these sources of supply and the overall delivery target over the Plan period. The application of these targets and the yield of affordable housing will be key monitoring elements in the AMR. However, what is clear from viability testing of sites in a range of market areas is that a single AHLN target cannot apply to all sites and the split approach taken in Policy HOU/2 is appropriate and allows financially viable development of AHLN on sites throughout the Plan Area. A conservative approach to estimate AHLN demonstrates that the new-build AHLN requirement of 1,000 dwellings can be delivered on this basis, taking into account the flexibility in the policy subject to viability testing.


4.2.14.3 There remains a relatively high level of long term empty properties in Conwy as detailed in the Council’s Empty Homes Strategy. As a result of current initiatives and the commitment of a full-time Empty Homes Officer in Conwy, it is anticipated that 519 empty dwellings could be brought back into use for housing purposes over the Plan period and in many cases will give wider regeneration benefits. Some of the affordable housing shortfall identified in Conwy will be met by empty properties being brought back into use. A Commuted Sum Protocol has been prepared which sets out that commuted sum payments can be used to finance the bringing back into use of empty homes. It is important that Conwy works in partnership with other organisations to help bring these long-term empty properties back into permanent residential use as affordable housing for local needs. The LDP housing policies link up with Gwynedd and the Snowdonia National Park Authority’s Empty Property Strategies by facilitating the return of long-term empty properties and the conversion of other appropriate empty buildings back into permanent residential use including AHLH.


4.2.14.4 It can be seen that the proportion of affordable housing required by the Local Development Plan is based on the AHVS. Whilst this provision is to be challenging, it represents an appropriate response to a well established need and is a major community priority which has been clearly expressed throughout the preparation of the LDP. The priority in delivering this contribution will be via on-site affordable housing. Off-site provision or commuted payments will be acceptable for development proposals consisting of 3 or less dwellings, and may be acceptable for proposals consisting of 4 or more dwellings provided there is sufficient justification. It is expected that the affordable housing units will be provided without subsidy. To assist developers, an Off-Site Assessment Pro-Forma supports the Planning Obligations SPG which should be completed as part of a planning application if an off-site contribution is sought.

4.2.15 The Hierarchy of Settlements and Affordable Housing Provision

4.2.15.1 Settlement boundaries have been provided for all settlements falling within the Urban Development Strategy Area and the Tier 1 and 2 Main Villages. These settlements are better equipped with the services and employment opportunities to support new housing. They are also considered to have the capacity to accommodate development without detriment to the position of the Welsh language. Within the Main Villages and Hamlets no settlement boundaries are drawn.


4.2.15.2 The Tier 1 Main Villages will provide a combination of market value and AHLN from existing commitments, on allocated sites and from windfall development. Within the Tier 2 Main Villages, the Council will seek to deliver 100% AHLN only on allocated and windfall sites within the settlement boundaries. In exceptional circumstances market dwellings will be permitted in the Tier 2 Villages within the settlement boundaries on allocated and windfall sites where it is essential to assist the delivery of affordable housing and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Such windfall schemes will generally be smaller than those permitted in the Urban Development Strategy Areas (no more than 10 dwellings on windfall sites). Small scale (up to 5 dwellings) 100% AHLN exception sites may be permitted outside, but on the edge of, the settlement where it meets local need.


4.2.15.3 There are no settlement boundaries for Minor Villages and no allocations are made for new dwellings. To meet the needs of the community, the Council will seek to deliver 100% AHLN only on windfall sites within the confinements of the settlement or where single or small groups of new dwelling estates (up to 5 dwellings) represent a form of infilling and relate physically and visually to the Minor Village. The level of development should represent the level of facilities and services and safeguard the Welsh language. To provide an element of flexibility, market dwellings may be permitted in exceptional circumstances on allocated and windfall sites only where it is essential to assist the delivery of affordable housing and where supported by the completion of a Viability Assessment Pro-Forma. Small scale 100% AHLN (up to 3 dwellings) exception sites may be permitted outside, on the fringe of, the main settlement confinements, where it meets local need. The Affordable Housing SPG will provide further guidance on sites classed as falling within the confinements of the settlement and exception sites.


4.2.15.4 The needs of the Hamlets will be met through appropriate development. Agricultural or forestry worker dwellings, conversions to dwellings and single AHLN developments may be permitted in appropriate locations.

4.2.16 Flexibility

4.2.16.1 The Council expects developers to purchase land for housing in the future having taken into account the need to provide the ‘known’ planning obligations and any ‘known’ abnormal costs (e.g. contamination costs). This step change in purchasing land over time will further assist the delivery of affordable housing as it is anticipated that this reduction in the value of the land will make such sites attractive to Housing Associations seeking to provide affordable housing. However, it is inevitable that changes to the economic climate, site specific issues and the level of need will change over the period of the Plan which could warrant sites being unviable or indeed more viable to seek a higher provision. Therefore, a flexible approach is applied to Policy HOU/2 and trigger points have been put in place in the Monitoring and Implementation section for when actions need to be taken to release contingency sites or warrant a review of the Plan.


4.2.16.2 Further guidance on applying flexibility to affordable housing contributions will be provided in the Affordable Housing SPG.

4.2.17 Off-Site Provision of Affordable Housing

4.2.17.1 The onus will be on the developer to set out the exceptional circumstances as to why provision may not need to be on site and how their alternative proposal will address the affordable housing need identified by the Local Authority.


4.2.17.2 Detailed guidance on flexibility will be provided in the Affordable Housing SPG.

4.2.18 Phasing Housing Development

Policy HOU/3 – PHASING HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

Housing allocations will be released in line with the Phasing Plan as set out in the Implementation and Monitoring Framework.


4.2.18.1 In the light of local circumstances and sustainability, the Plan phases development over the period of the LDP. The Phasing is justified by considerations relating to physical or social infrastructure, or to the adequacy of other services, which may indicate that a particular site cannot be released for development until a particular stage in the Plan period (refer to BP/30 – ‘Phasing Plan’). As set in BP/30, where phasing is included in an LDP it should take the form of a broad indication of the timescale envisaged for the release of the main development areas or identified sites, rather than an arbitrary numerical limit on permissions or a precise order of release of sites in particular periods.


4.2.18.2 Proposals for phasing should allow for a reasonable degree of choice and flexibility, for example to secure an efficient and effective housing market. Flexibility will be needed in respect of the emergence of unidentified sites, i.e. sites not allocated in the LDP for the particular type of development and generally referred to as windfall sites. Phasing policies should recognise the need for possible adjustment to the timing of land release to the extent that the emergence of unidentified sites exceeds or falls short of the assumptions in the LDP. Where assumptions are made in the LDP about the future availability of windfall sites the assumptions will need to be checked by regular monitoring of planning permissions granted.

4.2.19 Housing Density

Policy HOU/4 – HOUSING DENSITY

  1. Residential developments should make the best use of land. The Council will seek a density of 30 dwellings per hectare on allocated sites and large windfall sites (10 dwellings and above).
  2. Higher densities of up to 50 dwellings per hectare will be sought where it represents a sustainable use of land and buildings and does not result in an unacceptable impact. Higher density schemes which result in a negative residual value and lower affordable housing provision will be discouraged.
  3. Lower densities below 30 dwellings per hectare may be acceptable in circumstances where natural and/or built environment and infrastructure constraints impact on site layout.


4.2.19.1 Residential proposals should comply with the policies in the Development Principles and LDP9 – ‘Design’ Supplementary Planning Guidance in order to achieve quality living environments. For new homes to contribute to meeting the needs of current and future residents, it is important that they are designed to a high quality, are sustainable and inclusive and create an attractive environment that functions well, where people want to live, which meets their needs and which creates a sense of place where community identity can develop.


4.2.19.2 In line with government guidance, higher density developments are encouraged. This approach is supported by BP/9 – ‘Affordable Housing Viability Study’ where it is shown that increasing the density to 40 dwellings per hectare (dph) will improve residual values and overall affordable housing delivery. For example, in the lower value areas of the Plan Area, increasing the density from 30dph to 40dph will make the difference between having a scheme which has negative residual value to one where the residual is positive and affordable housing is provided. Evidence as shown in BP/9 demonstrates that housing density at 50dph and above decreases the viability of schemes resulting in a lesser affordable housing provision. The main reason for the apparent decrease in viability is that the 50dph and above schemes includes a significantly higher proportion of smaller units, notably flats. Smaller units, in a location such as Conwy, will normally have a depressing impact on overall viability since they do not generate a significant surplus of sales value relative to costs. When affordable housing is included in these schemes, residual value can quickly become negative or viability marginal. In general terms however, BP/9 demonstrates that residual value will be maximised between 40dph and 50dph. The Council has, therefore, sought higher density developments of up to 50dph on a number of Urban Development Strategy Area sites in sustainable locations to ensure a higher level of affordable housing delivery. It will be essential to test the viability of a housing scheme at planning application stage in line with Policy HOU/2 but the Council also recognise that lower densities, of below 30dph, may be necessary in exceptional cases to achieve a satisfactory design and amenity. To this point, low cost market dwelling schemes built at a price affordable to those in need, enabled through the level of density proposed, design, layout and materials, will be supported where affordable housing is delivered and retained in perpetuity. The Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan details those sites which will accommodate higher housing density.


4.2.19.3 Building at moderate to high densities also enables best use to be made of development sites, and helps safeguard the countryside from unnecessary development. Where building occurs on a large scale, dense forms of development can also support the critical mass of people that may be needed to support local facilities. There is no reason why higher densities should compromise the quality of new development.

4.2.20 Housing Mix

Policy HOU/5 – HOUSING MIX

Development proposals should reflect the requirements for tenure, house types and sizes as set out in the Local Housing Market Assessment and the Conwy Affordable Housing and First Steps Registers, unless it can be demonstrated by evidence that the local circumstances of the particular settlement or location suggests a different mix of housing which would better meet the local needs. A proposed mix of dwellings which results in a negative residual value and lower affordable housing provision will be discouraged.
 


4.2.20.1 All housing developments in Conwy should be inclusive and accommodate a diverse range of residents' household size and housing need to create mixed communities. All housing developments, therefore, need to provide a more balanced range of housing types to reflect identified community need. The percentage split of housing mix throughout the Plan Area was concluded using the most up to date population projections set out in BP/2. This information will be reviewed resulting from future projections for Conwy and the finalisation of the Conwy LHMA.


4.2.20.2 As set out in Planning Policy Wales it is desirable in planning terms that new housing development in both urban and rural areas should incorporate a reasonable mix and balance of types and sizes of affordable housing to cater for a range of housing needs and contribute to the development of sustainable communities. PPW also states that for affordable housing it is important that authorities have an appreciation of the demand for different dwelling sizes and types of housing (i.e. intermediate and social rented) in relation to supply, so that they are well informed in negotiating the required appropriate mix of dwellings for new developments. The Council will implement the LHMA and the Affordable Housing Registers in negotiating the appropriate mix of housing type to meet the needs of the community. This applies especially to housing estates which, because of their size, have the potential to contribute significantly to the community’s need for a wider range of dwelling sizes and types. As with HOU/4, all policy implications relating to density and development mix issues need to be tested at a scheme specific level taking into account the viability of the scheme in line with HOU/2.

4.2.21 Exception Sites for Affordable Housing for Local Need

Policy HOU/6 – EXCEPTION SITES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR LOCAL NEED

Housing schemes providing 100% AHLN may be permitted as an exception to normal policy circumstances in line with Strategic Policy HOU/1 and Policy HOU/2 and providing the following criteria are met:

  1. The general local need for affordable dwellings has been proven;
  2. There are no allocated sites coming forward within the development boundaries or confinements of the settlement which could meet this need;
  3. The proposal adjoins and forms a logical extension to the development boundary or adjoins the existing settlement;
  4. Secure arrangements are provided to restrict the occupation of an affordable house/houses on first occupation and in perpetuity to those who can prove general local need for an affordable house;
  5. The number, size, type and tenure of the dwellings meet the justified local need as set out in the local housing needs survey in line with Policy HOU/5;
  6. The AHLN units are of high quality, built to the Welsh Government’s Development Quality Requirements – Design Standards and Guidance 2005 in line with Policy HOU/2, Strategic Policy NTE/1 – ‘The Natural Environment’ and The Code for Sustainable Homes;
  7. The development proposal meets the requirements set out in the Development Principles and other related policies of the Plan.

4.2.21.1 National policy allows for exception sites when meeting affordable housing need within, or adjoining, villages in circumstances where planning permission would not normally be given and where there is a demonstrable local need for affordable housing that cannot be met in any other way. These ‘rural exception’ sites provide a small but important source of affordable housing in rural areas and are regarded as additional to the provision of housing to meet the general needs. The location of rural exception sites will be determined by Policy HOU/2.


4.2.21.2 Such sites and proposals will be assessed on the basis of proven need, the suitability of the site and size of the dwelling(s), in addition to local requirements and affordability. It must be possible to develop a selected site in a way that contributes positively to the area and it must also be affordable. The density, setting, design, materials, landscaping etc must make a positive contribution to the character of the village or area.


4.2.21.3 In every case the needs of the particular village are carefully surveyed and assessed by the Council, Registered Social Landlords and Rural Housing Enablers before a scheme is progressed. Occupancy controls are imposed to ensure that the benefits of affordability (usually gained by the low land value derived from the exceptional basis of the scheme) are preserved in perpetuity for subsequent occupiers if the Council’s criteria are met.


4.2.21.4 Exception sites will be considered where allocated sites exist within the development boundary but have not been brought forward. Evidence must be produced to demonstrate that the site is not likely to come forward for some time or is no longer deliverable due to new constraints.

4.2.22 Council and Government Owned Sites in the Plan Area

Policy HOU/7 – COUNCIL AND GOVERNMENT OWNED SITES IN THE PLAN AREA

The Council will seek to achieve higher levels of AHLN on Council and Government owned sites greater than the standard for private sites, where viable, in line with Policy HOU/2 and as shown in Table HOU2b and the Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan.


4.2.22.1 The disposal of local authority and Government owned land for AHLN will also add to the certainty of delivery. As a result of the level of housing need within the Plan Area, and the priority issue to protect the natural and historic environment, Council owned land is identified in the Housing Delivery and Phasing Plan. Where deliverable and suitable to the character of the area, the Council will seek to accommodate a higher AHLN provision on-site than the standard set for privately owned sites.

4.2.23 Register of Landholdings

Policy HOU/8 – REGISTER OF LANDHOLDINGS

The Strategic Planning Policy Service will seek to establish in partnership with the Conwy Housing Service, the Snowdonia National Park and other public agencies, a County Borough-wide register of landholdings in public ownership for AHLN.


4.2.23.1 To maximise the use and deliverability of exception sites and potential future 100% allocations for AHLN, the Council will proactively establish a County Borough-wide register, alongside Engineering and Design Services, Housing Services, neighbouring authorities where cross-boundary issues exist, and the Welsh Government. Land will be appraised on a regular basis to ensure that a land-bank of potential deliverable and suitable sites are available to meet the affordable needs of the community.

4.2.24 Meeting the Site Need for Gypsies and Travellers

Policy HOU/9 – MEETING THE SITE NEED FOR GYPSIES AND TRAVELLERS

  1. Where a need is identified for a gypsy and traveller caravan site, proposals will be permitted provided all of the following criteria are met:
  1. The site must be suitable for this type of use with a realistic likelihood that the site can be developed during the Plan period;
  2. Previously developed land, or vacant land, on the edge of urban areas will be considered before sites in rural locations. Sites in rural or semi rural settings may also be acceptable provided they respect the scale of nearby communities and do not place an undue burden on local infrastructure;
  3. A site allocated for other uses will only be released as an exception where a local housing needs assessment has established a need for a gypsy or traveller site, the need cannot be met in any other way and the scale of development does not exceed the level of need identified;
  4. The site is accessible to shops, schools and health facilities by public transport, on foot or by cycle;
  5. There is good access to the main transport network and the proposed development will not cause traffic congestion and highway safety problems;
  6. The site is already appropriately screened or capable of being adequately screened and landscaped;
  7. The site will have adequate on-site services for water supply, power, drainage, sewage disposal and waste disposal facilities;
  8. The proposal would not be detrimental to the amenity of adjacent occupiers.
  1. Based on the need identified in the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment (GTANA) the Council will identify and seek to obtain planning permission for suitable sites by September 2014.


4.2.24.1 Appropriate provision is required to meet the needs of gypsies, and travellers. An understanding of these needs is required if appropriate accommodation is to be provided and the number of unauthorised encampments and developments in the Plan Area reduced. It is now a statutory requirement under Section 225 of the Housing act 2004 for all local planning authorities to assess the accommodation needs of all gypsies and travellers and address any identified needs through the planning system. All local planning authorities are, therefore, required to include suitable policies in the LDP to be used in the consideration of proposed gypsy and traveller sites and to allocate sites where a clearly defined need has been identified.

4.2.24.2 Welsh Government Circular 30/2007 (‘Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites’) requires local planning authorities to make provision for gypsy and traveller caravan sites through site allocation, where a need is identified, along with criteria-based policies. While the guidance acknowledges that a range of information sources can be considered in assessing the need and level of provision required, it emphasises that the information must be robust. The guidance acknowledges that Local Housing Market Assessments (LHMAs) provide the key source of information enabling local authorities to assess the level of gypsy and traveller accommodation provision that is required when preparing their LDPs.


4.2.24.3 Separate Welsh Government Guidance on the preparation of LHMAs (March 2006) strongly recommends that local authorities work in partnership with neighbouring authorities, as travelling patterns are liable to cross local authority boundaries.


4.2.24.4 The Council is currently undertaking a north west ‘Local Housing Market Assessment’ (LHMA) in partnership with neighbouring local authorities and Bangor University. As part of this work a ‘Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment’ (GTANA), which includes face to face interviews with gypsy traveller parties, has been carried out and provides a robust basis for assessing the need for gypsy and traveller accommodation in the region over the LDP period. While the GTANA has not yet been formally published, the findings are available and indicate a need for 3 residential pitches in Conwy by 2016 with need projected to grow by 3% per annum. In addition the GTANA identifies a likely need for a transit site (for up to 7 caravans) on the County border with Denbighshire, where the two authorities may possibly be able to co-operate in provision in order to maximise usage.


4.2.24.5 In the light of these findings, the Council has expanded Policy HOU/9 to include a commitment to identify and seek planning permission for sites within a specified timescale based on this identified need. To ensure that there is potential to provide both residential and transit needs the Council will identify suitable sites in Conwy and seek permission within the timescale specified. Additionally, as a separate exercise, the possibility of a joint approach with Denbighshire County Council will be considered which could identify further opportunities to accommodate transit needs.


4.2.24.6 In planning for the accommodation of gypsies and travellers, it is important that site(s) are sustainable and have good access to key services and facilities and maintain and enhance the natural environment. With regard to site provision possible Welsh Government sources for funding for site delivery will be explored.

4.2.25 Houses in Multiple Occupation and Self Contained Flats

Policy HOU/10 – HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION AND SELF CONTAINED FLATS

  1. The Council will control the development of Houses in Multiple Occupation to aid regeneration, improve housing quality and choice, and contribute to an enhanced environment within the Plan Area. This will be achieved by resisting all proposals to create Houses in Multiple Occupation.
  2. The sub-division of residential properties within the Urban Development Strategy Area to self contained flats will be permitted provided that:
  1. The scheme of conversion and change of use does not create a House in Multiple Occupation;
  2. Where appropriate, the development complies with the Development Principles, the Council’s Parking Standards and all self contained flats are designed to a high quality in line with the Welsh Government’s Development Quality Requirements – Design Standards and Guidance 2005 which includes space and Lifetime Home standards and the minimum standards to be met in relation to the Code for Sustainable Homes;
  3. The level of resident activity and traffic generated would not seriously impact upon the privacy and the amenity of occupants of neighbouring properties;
  4. The Development is supported by an identified need set out in the Local Housing Market Assessment (Phase 2).


4.2.25.1 The creation of self contained flats has become increasingly popular over recent years, particularly in the Colwyn Bay and Llandudno areas. This has been achieved through the erection of new buildings and through the conversion of large houses or commercial properties. Self contained flats can help to address the needs of those wanting to purchase or rent small units of accommodation, as well as providing a relatively affordable housing option for those wishing to purchase their first property.


4.2.25.2 Whilst the creation of self contained flats helps to meet a housing need, in some instances their provision can be detrimental to the amenity of existing residential areas. For example large numbers of flats can lead to problems such as a shortage of on street parking and bin storage issues. In addition, areas with high levels of flats are often associated with low levels of owner occupation which in some instances can lead to lower standards of maintenance and associated environmental degradation issues (thereby prejudicing environmental improvement and regeneration objectives). Furthermore, the cumulative impact of converting larger dwellings to flats can have a detrimental impact on creating mixed and balanced communities by reducing the number of family homes available within an area. There are currently already high concentrations of self contained flats that are having an impact on the character and appearance of the Colwyn Bay area. To improve the area’s appearance and aid the regeneration of Colwyn Bay, in particular, and other areas within the coastal belt, Policy HOU/10 is required to prevent the over concentration of such uses and ensure that development is meeting identified needs. Policy HOU/10 will also support the approach to be set out in the Colwyn Bay Area Masterplan to improve housing offer, address social exclusion and reduce deprivation in Colwyn Bay.


4.2.25.3 In addition to self contained flats, the provision of Houses in Multiple Occupation (buildings where some facilities are shared by several people who are otherwise living independently of one another) has also historically been a problem in Conwy, in particular, in Colwyn Bay. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) often provide a relatively poor living environment and rarely contribute positively towards the quality of an area. In order to support national and local regeneration aims, as well as other adopted Council policy, further HMOs will be strongly resisted and an emphasis placed on the reduction of such properties within Conwy.


4.2.25.4 The Council will produce Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Self Contained Flats and Houses of Multiple Occupation to support the policy. The SPG will provide supporting guidance to Policy HOU/10 detailing the definitions of Self Contained Flats and HMOs and the required design standards for self contained flat conversion.

4.2.26 Residential Care homes and Extra Care Housing

Policy HOU/11 – RESIDENTIAL CARE HOMES AND EXTRA CARE HOUSING

Within the Plan Area proposals for residential care homes or extra care homes will only be permitted where all the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. The new care accommodation is located either within the settlement boundaries identified in the Urban Development Strategy Area or a Tier 1 Main Village;
  2. On the advice of the Council’s Social Service and/or Housing Strategy and taking into account the extent of existing private and local health authority establishments the proposal will not result in the over provision of care accommodation compared to the needs of the locality;
  3. The new care accommodation can be adequately serviced;
  4. It is located within reasonable walking distance of a town or village centre.


4.2.26.1 A significant number of residential care establishments exist throughout the Plan Area, particularly in the Urban Development Strategy Area. The Authority considers that where existing provision is sufficient to meet the reasonable needs of the locality, further development should be resisted. Such an approach will avoid excessive pressure being placed on local Social Services providers and the limited land within existing settlements, which may be needed for other purposes. Before making a decision on a proposal to create or extend a care home, the Authority will consider the advice of Social Services and/or Housing Strategy on whether such establishments are needed.


4.2.26.2 From a sustainable development perspective, the Authority considers that the settlements within the Urban Development Strategy Area and the Tier 1 Main Villages provide the most appropriate locations for residential homes for the elderly. In locations where the Authority is satisfied that a care home for the elderly can be satisfactorily provided, it should be sited within reasonable walking distance of town or village services and in a location which will minimise the affects of the proposal on the amenity of neighbouring residential properties.


4.2.26.3 Likewise the Authority will support the re-use of large buildings for residential care purposes, subject to the location requirements outlined above. In addition the Authority must be satisfied that the building to be used can be converted without detriment to its existing character or in a manner which is likely to harm the amenity of neighbouring properties.


4.2.26.4 Extra care housing is an important contribution to affordable provision. Although not counted in statistics as new affordable housing, some residents who move into these homes do leave vacated affordable housing units for others.

4.2.27 Re-Use and Adaptation of Redundant Rural Buildings for Residential Use

Policy HOU/12 – RE-USE AND ADAPTATION OF REDUNDANT RURAL BUILDINGS FOR RESIDENTIAL USE

  1. The conversion and re-use of suitably constructed buildings of merit in the rural area for permanent residential purposes will be supported provided that:-
  1. It can be demonstrated that there is no significant demand to accommodate business, tourism, sport and/or recreation uses to secure the retention of the building, and;
  2. The proposed development seeks to contribute to Affordable Housing for Local Need in line with Policy HOU/2, and;
  3. The existing building is structurally sound and suitable for conversion or is capable of being made so without substantial major external alteration or reconstruction, and;
  4. The building is worthy of retention due its appearance, historic, architectural or landscape value, and that the scheme of conversion retains the identified important features, and;
  5. Safe access for pedestrians and vehicles can be provided without prejudicing the character and appearance of the area, and;
  6. The proposal represents a sustainable development in terms of the location and construction, and;
  7. Any ancillary works associated with the conversion will not unacceptably adversely affect the rural character of the locality.
  1. Development proposals for residential conversions which represent a subordinate part of a scheme for business re-use will be determined in line with Policy DP/6 – ‘National Planning Policy’.


4.2.27.1 Proposals for residential development will only be considered where every effort has been made to secure a suitably constructed rural building of merit for economic use in line with the policy. A supporting statement should be submitted with the application which explains the extent of the marketing exercise and includes the agent’s view as to the commercial viability of the site. Applicants are encouraged to read the relevant sections contained within the SPG on Rural Conversions for further detailed guidance on undertaking satisfactory marketing exercises and producing supporting statements.


4.2.27.2 Due to their location, such developments must be carefully controlled. It is crucial that the proposed use and design takes account of the character and appearance of the existing building and the surrounding area. Policy DP/3 – ‘Promoting Design Quality and Reducing Crime’ and supporting LDP9 – ‘Design’ SPG also apply. Additionally, the Council recognises that the Plan Area has a number of non-listed buildings and structures which by reason of their design, material and social and historical connections are fundamental parts of the character and identity of their locality. Policy CTH/3 – ‘Buildings and Structures of Local Importance’ and supporting LDP8 – ‘Buildings and Structures of Local Importance’ SPG are also applicable.


4.2.27.3 Developments should be of a scale appropriate to their location, as large employment developments in the countryside may conflict with the principles of sustainable development, resulting in unsustainable traffic movements and potential environmental harm. Developments resulting in significant numbers of employees or visitors should be located within or near to settlements and be accessible by public transport, cycling or walking. In areas without such access, small-scale business development may still be appropriate where it results in only a modest increase in vehicle movements. This may require the production of a Travel Plan and/or mitigation of traffic impact in accordance with Strategic Policy STR/1 – ‘Sustainable Transport, Development and Accessibility’.

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