The following frequently asked questions details some of the key matters and considerations which have emerged as part of the implementation of the requirements of LDP Policy AH1, and most notably in relation to commuted sum requirements for residential developments below the threshold of five dwellings.
Internal Garages - In line with Paragraph 6.6 of the Affordable Housing SPG, the charge for commuted sum contributions is calculated on the internal floor space of a dwelling. The contribution also includes the floor space of an internal garage. If a garage is attached to the proposed dwelling house but there is no internal door from the house to the garage then the charge on the floor space still applies. The key consideration for any scheme which falls within this category is whether the garage can readily be incorporated into the dwelling, thus potentially creating additional habitable space.
External Garages - For dwellings with detached garages, the floor space of the garage would not be calculated within the commuted sum contribution calculation.
The development of a granny annex would not constitute a requirement for an affordable housing commuted sum contribution, as it does not result in an increase of one net (separate) residential unit.
Paragraph 6.1 of the Affordable Housing SPG identifies that any net increase of one dwelling will require an affordable housing commuted sum contribution. However, if the development includes a conversion only with no increase in floor space, then the cost would be nil given that the calculation would be £ per sq.m x increase floor area (in this case zero sq.m).
For sub division of a dwelling to flats which includes an extension, this would require an affordable housing commuted sum contribution. The affordable housing commuted sum contribution would be calculated on a £ per sq.m ratio based on the floor space of the extension.
Where the subdivision of a dwelling to flats is proposed and results in a net increase of 5 dwellings, then an on-site contribution for affordable housing will be required in accordance with LDP Policy AH1.
Yes - where a proposal consists of a change of use to a residential dwelling then in line with the provisions of Paragraph 6.1 of the Affordable Housing SPG, any net increase of one dwelling would result in a requirement for an affordable housing commuted sum contribution. Any commuted sum requirement will be based on the policy requirements at that time. However, proposals for a change of use to an affordable dwelling would be exempt from a commuted sum contribution.
Second homes are not considered holiday accommodation.
The potential affordable housing commuted sum contribution for residential caravans is fully dependent on the fact that their size, lack of mobility and permanency are such as to make them ‘building operations’. If they are deemed to be ‘building operations’ then a commuted sum contribution will be required.
Whether the residential caravan is a ‘building operation’ will be a matter for determination by the Local Planning Authority. In such circumstances, early contact should be made with the relevant Development Management officer.
Given the nature of the proposed dwelling, it is considered that no commuted sum contribution is required as part of any One Planet development. However, should an application be submitted to remove its One Planet status, thus effectively allowing it to become ‘open market’, then a commuted sum contribution will be required. Any commuted sum requirement will be based on the policy requirements at that time.
Agricultural and Rural Enterprise Dwellings are identified as Sustainable Rural Housing and any planning permission is subject to the requirement of an occupancy condition as stated in Paragraph 4.13.1 of Technical Advice Note 6: Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities. The condition states:
The occupancy of the dwelling shall be restricted to those:
- solely or mainly working or last working on a rural enterprise in the locality where there is/was a defined functional need; or if it can be demonstrated that there are no such eligible occupiers, to those;
- who would be eligible for consideration for affordable housing under the local authority’s housing policies: or if it can be demonstrated that there are no persons eligible for occupation under either (a) and (b);
- widows, widowers or civil partners of the above and any resident dependants.
In this respect, it is considered that the dwellings in themselves are deemed to be ‘affordable’ and therefore no commuted sum contribution is required as part of any permission for an Agricultural or Rural Enterprise Dwellings. However, should an application be submitted to remove the occupancy condition, thus effectively allowing it to become ‘open market’, then a commuted sum contribution will be required. Any commuted sum requirement will be based on the policy requirements at that time.
An assessment may, where appropriate, be submitted to demonstrate a scheme’s viability. Where viability is questioned then any proposed viability assessment should include the details set out in Paragraph 4.4 of the SPG. It will be for us to determine whether the figures included within the viability assessment are robust and acceptable as clear evidence for deviation from policy.
It is noted that viability may be impacted upon by the nature of the proposal. For example, the conversion of a listed building may result in a series of unknown and unforeseen costs over and above that which may have been reasonably predicted. It is however in general expected that any developer should have a clear understanding of costs in preparing their proposals. In this respect, it is a matter for the applicant/developer to determine whether the nature of the proposal (scale, materials, design etc.) impacts on its viability. The affordable housing commuted sum should represent a known cost and its impact on the viability of any proposal will only be considered where a proposal has demonstrated that the unknown developmental costs are, in conjunction with the commuted sum requirement, prohibitive to the development taking place.
Timing of Payment - We recognise that in some circumstances, it may be difficult for an applicant to pay the whole cost of the commuted sum in one lump sum. Through negotiation and the provision of sufficient evidence from the applicant, a pragmatic approach may apply where staged payments of the commuted sum can be made. This staged approach may be tailored to be reflective of the applicant’s circumstances and reflect the need for many small developments to manage costs associated with construction across the build process. In implementing any staged payments, the final payment of the commuted sum should be received prior to the occupation of the dwelling.
The agreement of staged payments should be set out within a legal agreement through a Section 106 or Unilateral Undertaking.
Yes. Appendix 6 of the Affordable Housing SPG provides a template S106 agreement. For reference, a template Unilateral Undertaking is available to support any future submission from which a UU is the preferred legal agreement method.
Yes – the two dwellings would be subject to consideration under Policy AH1 of the LDP and would be liable to the charge.
The key consideration between the new planning policy framework and the 'fall back' position of any development is the extent of the amendment of the valid planning permission in place. In principle, an application which does not seek to make substantive amendments to the design / layout, scale, etc. of a permission would not be liable to the charge. However any substantive amendments to a scheme, e.g. change in the number of dwellings or the variation of time to extend the period of the planning permission would be liable to the charge. Applicants / Developers are advised to contact a Development Management Officer at an early stage relating to any future application.
In relation to an existing valid planning permission, the applicant / developer may wish to rely on the ‘fall back’ position and implement it accordingly.
More from Planning