Policy H/HM: Housing mix

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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What will this policy do?

This policy will set out the mix of housing to be provided by new development, to ensure that new housing is generally of a size and type to meet the housing needs of different groups in the community.

Proposed policy direction

New housing developments of 10 or more dwellings will be required to provide an appropriate mix of housing sizes (number of bedrooms), with the proportions of dwellings of each size to be guided by the housing mix for each tenure and for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire as set out in the recommendations from the Housing Needs of Specific Groups – Addendum for Greater Cambridge (2021) or any future update to the Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy or housing mix evidence published by the Councils. As the proportion of dwellings of each size is provided as a range, this allows flexibility for local circumstances.

The housing mix (size of bedrooms) recommendations from the Housing Needs of Specific Groups – Addendum for Greater Cambridge (2021) are as follows:

For Cambridge:

Tenure

1 bedroom homes

2 bedroom homes

3 bedroom homes

Homes with 4 or more bedrooms

Market housing

0-10%

15-25%

40-50%

25-35%

Affordable housing – ownership

15-25%

35-45%

25-35%

5-15%

Affordable housing – rented

35-45%

30-40%

15-25%

0-10%

For South Cambridgeshire:

Tenure

1 bedroom homes

2 bedroom homes

3 bedroom homes

Homes with 4 or more bedrooms

Market housing

0-10%

20-30%

35-45%

25-35%

Affordable housing – ownership

15-25%

35-45%

25-35%

5-15%

Affordable housing – rented

25-35%

35-45%

20-30%

0-10%

Exceptions will be allowed where an alternative housing mix is justified by site specific circumstances, such as local character, the built form of the new development, affordable housing demand on the Councils’ housing registers, and the existing housing mix in the surrounding area.

In some circumstances a condition(s) may be added to the planning permission to remove the permitted development rights for all or some of the dwellings if increasing the approved number of bedrooms for all or some of the dwellings through extensions would harm the housing mix that the development was responding to.

Policy will also encourage the delivery of a mix of types of homes – houses, flats and bungalows – proportionally across all market and affordable tenures, taking account of local circumstances including character and built form, and up to date evidence of affordable housing need as demonstrated by the Councils’ housing registers.

Applicants will be encouraged to work collaboratively with a Registered Provider, the relevant Councils housing team, and the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service, to discuss the affordable housing mix for a new development ahead of the submission of a planning application.

Why is this policy needed?

National planning policy requires the size and type of homes needed for different groups in the community to be assessed and that the results of that assessment be reflected in planning policies. The Local Plan therefore needs to set out how the Councils will secure a mix of sizes and types of homes on new developments to address the identified need and create balanced and mixed communities.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Responses to First Conversation highlighted the need to create balanced and integrated communities by providing a mix of housing types, sizes and tenures that reflect the findings of the Councils evidence of housing needs of specific groups. However, respondents also commented that the housing mix policy should be sufficiently flexible to address viability challenges, to address changing housing needs over the plan period, to appropriately cater for the needs of the community it will serve, and to appropriately respond to the site and its surroundings. There were also differing views that highlighted both a wish for more smaller homes and microhomes – particularly for first time buyers and the homeless – to help overcome the affordability crisis, and for more family sized homes / bigger homes that provide flexibility. Specific comments were received highlighting a need for more bungalows for older people.

What alternatives did we consider?

1. Not including a policy setting out a housing mix for new developments, and therefore relying on the housing market to determine the housing mix.  - Not considered a reasonable alternative as without a policy there is a risk that the housing mix provided on new developments would not meet the needs of the area.

2. Applying the housing mix policy to all developments.  - Not considered a reasonable alternative as it is not practical to apply the housing mixes suggested to sites of less than 10 dwellings, and for smaller sites it is important to make best use of the land and to take account of local circumstances.

3. Not including a policy setting out a housing mix for affordable dwellings, and therefore relying on local circumstances to determine the housing mix. -  Not considered a reasonable alternative as without guidance in the Local Plan there is a risk that the affordable housing mix provided on new developments would not meet the needs of the area.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy H/9: Housing Mix

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 45: Affordable housing and dwelling mix

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