4. Housing

4.1.

The policies and proposals of this chapter are intended to meet the District’s need for new homes. In quantitative terms, meeting this objective will require continued growth in the District’s housing stock (at a rate set by regional and strategic planning guidance) - North Kesteven’s population grew from 80,251 in 1991 to 94,024 in 2001, and further population increase is predicted for the future. However, growth should not be unfettered – it is important that the Plan’s policies and allocations have due regard to the provisions of strategic planning documents such as Regional Planning Guidance and the Structure Plan, to ensure that North Kesteven’s growth is properly co-ordinated with that of its neighbouring districts.

4.2.

In qualitative terms, meeting the District’s housing needs will require that a variety of new homes is provided (in terms of sizes, types and prices) in order to reflect the fact that the District’s community has a range of needs. The policies of this chapter seek such variety within appropriate new housing developments, and the residential development of windfall sites, the sub-division of large dwellings, the residential conversion of non-residential buildings, and extensions and alterations to existing dwellings (which will be judged against the provisions of the Core Policies) will all help to contribute further to providing a diverse new housing stock. It will also be important that new housing developments should make the maximum possible contribution to the character of their surroundings, and should help to provide the people who will occupy them with the open space they will need.

4.3.

Lastly, the policies and proposals of this chapter can make a major contribution towards the implementation of the locational strategy set out in the Objectives and Strategy chapter. They can also assist in making the best use of the District’s existing built-up areas. In considering future planning applications, the Council will give priority to the development of previously-developed land which is in a sustainable location, and will seek to ensure that a minimum of 15% of new housing developments approved during the plan period will be on such land. In both these ways they will contribute to the creation of a more sustainable land use distribution.

4.4.

This chapter’s policies and proposals will contribute to all three of the Council’s objectives:

  • A good quality of life for all residents– The chapter’s policies and proposals seek to ensure that new housing development meets the needs of all sections of the community – in terms of providing a choice and range of accommodation, and in terms of contributing towards meeting recreational needs.
  • A thriving and prosperous economy– New housing development contributes positively to the District’s economy. Furthermore, the chapter’s policies seek to ensure that the character and appearance of the District, and the quality of life enjoyed by residents are enhanced. This will benefit the image that the District projects to visitors, tourists and potential inward-investors.
  • A clean, green and safe environment – The chapter’s policies and proposals will help to contribute to a sustainable pattern of settlement, by making the best use of the District’s land resources, by reducing people’s need to travel and by facilitating walking, cycling and public transport use. They will also ensure that new housing development makes the maximum possible contribution to the quality of its surroundings.

POLICY H1 - Housing View Map of this site ?

The Local Plan provides for the development of 8000 dwellings in the period 2001-2021. They will be distributed throughout the district in the following way:-

Lincoln Policy Area - 5300 dwellings

Sleaford - 1700 dwellings

Rest of District - 1000 dwellings

Planning permission will be granted for the residential development of land only if:-

  1. the site is allocated for housing development in the local plan: or
  2. it is proposed on previously-developed land, or the applicant can demonstrate that no suitable alternative site is available on previously-developed land; and
  3. it complies with the criteria identified in the locational strategy set out in the local plan; and
  4. it complies with the housing requirements set out in the table in paragraph 4.10

Justification

4.5.

One of the roles of a Local Plan is to ensure that sufficient well-located land for housing development is available to meet the area’s need for new homes. The starting point for determining how many dwellings should be built is the Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands (RPG8), issued by the then Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in January 2002, which covers the period 2001 to 2021. This document indicates that provision should be made for new housebuilding at an annual average rate of 2,750 dwellings in Lincolnshire. It is then the role of the Lincolnshire Structure Plan to divide this County-wide total between the seven district council areas. Local Plans’ housing allocations are then arrived at within the framework set out by the Structure Plan. This Local Plan covers the period from 2001 to 2021.

4.6.

A County Structure Plan for Lincolnshire was formally adopted by Lincolnshire County Council on 27 September 2006. The adopted Structure Plan proposals form part of the development plan for the areas of Lincolnshire County Council including North Kesteven District Council. The development plan forms the basis for decisions on land use planning affecting the area. The Local Plan must generally conform with the Structure Plan. The adopted Lincolnshire Structure Plan 2006 sets out the requirements for housing provision to be made by the Districts over the period 2001 to 2021. The adopted Structure Plan’s Policy H1(Housing Provision) and Appendix 1 set out the housing allocation figures in detail for 2001 to 2021, including the average annual additions to the housing stock to be made per year over that period.

4.7.

These figures indicate that provision should be made for the construction of 8000 dwellings in North Kesteven between 1st January 2001 and 31st December 2021. Of these, 1,700 should be in Sleaford, 5,300 should be in the Lincoln Policy Area and 1000 should be in the remaining predominantly rural parts of the District.

4.8.

Taking account of dwellings built between 1st April 2001 and 31st March 2004, and planning permissions and housing allocations as at 31st March 2004, the adopted Local Plan (1996) provided for the development of approximately 15,000 dwellings (approximately 5,800 more than the then Structure Plan required):

  • Approximately 4,000 dwellings in Sleaford (approximately 1,600 more than Structure Plan requirements)
  • Approximately 7,000 dwellings in the Lincoln Policy Area (approximately 1,700 more than Structure Plan requirements)
  • Approximately 4,000 dwellings in the rest of the District (approximately 2,500 more than Structure Plan requirements)
4.9.

One of the tasks in the production of this Local Plan has been to reduce the degree of over-supply of housing land, and this requires that some areas of housing land should be de-allocated. In considering sites for de-allocation, the Council has taken account of:

  • Whether the site’s development has begun (and the permission appears to be exercisable) – the Council can see little purpose in de-allocating sites where it is almost certain that the development will go ahead anyway;
  • Whether the settlement is an appropriate location for new residential development – judged against the provisions of the locational strategy;
  • Whether there is a need for further residential development in a settlement (e.g. to help to retain existing local services and facilities);
  • Whether the site includes previously-developed land;
  • The likely impact of a site’s development upon the character of its surroundings; and
  • Whether the site’s development would be likely to be constrained by issues such as flood risk, or infrastructure limitations.
4.10.

After undertaking this de-allocation process through the revised deposit Local Plan, the Structure Plan was revised to accord with Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands (RPG8) which was adopted in 2002. The revised adopted Structure Plan (September 2006), set a housing requirement of 400 dwellings per annum for the period 2001 to 2021, a total of 8000 houses. Of these houses 5,300 were to be in the Lincoln Policy Area, 1,700 in Sleaford and 1000 in the Rest of the District. At 31 March 2004, however, the total supply of dwellings for the plan period, including completions from 2001 to 2004, extant planning consents and windfall allowance was 9,373, or 1,373 more than the Structure Plan requirement. Consequently all housing allocations have been deleted from the Local Plan.

Housing Requirements

 Sleaford
Lincoln
Policy Area
Rest of the
District
 Total
Structure Plan
Requirements
(1/1/2001 -
31/12/2021
 1,700 5,300 1,000 8,000
 Deduct Number
of Dwellings
Completed
(1/4/2001 -
31/3/2004)
 583 1,103 586 2,272
 Deduct Windfall
Allowance (i)
 241 232 100 573
 Gives:
The Residual
Requirement
 876 3,965 314 5155

Housing Supply

 Sleaford
Lincoln
Policy Area
Rest of the
District
Total
Number of
Dwellings with
Planning
Permission
(31/3/2004)
 1,181 3,732 1,268 6,268
Add: Capacity of
allocated sites
 000 347 000347
 Gives: The
total supply
 1,181 4.079 1,268 6,528

Balance

  SleafordLincoln
Policy Area
 Rest of the
District
 Total
Total Supply
 1,181 4,079 1,268 6,528
Deduct: Residual
Requirement
 876 3,965 314 5155
Gives: Overprovision
of
 305 114 954 1,373

NOTES

  1. The Council undertook a Housing Capacity Study which found that windfall redevelopments of buildings, and the development of significantly-sized areas of previously-developed land might be expected to contribute 189 dwellings in Sleaford, 116 in the Lincoln Policy Area and 57 in the Rest of the District (362 in total). However, the Plan’s locational strategy indicates that windfall developments will not be permitted in third tier settlements, and thus the Housing Capacity Study’s findings for third tier settlements must be excluded. Thus, the development of significantly-sized areas of previously-developed land might be expected to contribute 189 dwellings in Sleaford, 102 in the Lincoln Policy Area and 57 in the Rest of the District (348 in total).

However, the Study did not include individual gardens or private car parks of less than 0.2 hectares in size, and the Plan’s calculations must include an additional estimate of the contribution that such sites will make. Historical data concerning completions on such sites is available only for the years 1999/00, 2000/01 and 2001/02. Assuming that completions in first and second tier settlements from such sources will come forward at the same rate as they have in the past gives the following numbers for the period up to 31st March 2021: Sleaford – 52; Lincoln Policy Area – 130; Rest of the District – 130; Total – 312.

The total windfall allowance is derived from the figures from the Housing Capacity Study and the above projections for small sites.

POLICY H2 - Design and layout of residential development View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for a new housing development, that:

  1. Creates a clear spatial structure of contrasting and clearly defined public spaces, building groups, streets and vistas; and
  2. Includes a range and mix of housing types and sizes, building forms, plot sizes, heights, materials and development densities.

Justification

4.11.

In all cases, new residential development will be expected to take account of the character of North Kesteven’s towns and villages, to protect and enhance local distinctiveness, and create sustainable, vital, interesting and safe new places to live. These issues are covered by the Plan’s general design policies (C18 to C22 and C6), and all new residential development will be judged against their provisions. However, in the case of larger residential proposals, the Council will also expect development schemes to deliver variety and contrast within their design and layout.

4.12.

Firstly, the Council recognises the importance that roads and footpaths have in relation to the successful design of a development. Highways that are rigidly standardised and dominated by culs-de-sac have defined many recent housing estates. Such layouts rarely give a distinctive shape or form to a development and tend to favour car users rather than pedestrians (see also policy T3). The Council wishes to see new developments that make full use of the highway network as public spaces in their own right - to create a range of avenues, squares, crescents, mews and courtyards, lanes, alleys and greens, reflecting the complexity of traditional settlements.

4.13.

Secondly, the Council will seek to ensure that schemes incorporate diversity in the homes themselves through a genuine mix of sizes, forms and functions. For example, some groups of dwellings may be linked together, enclosing spaces with terraces and/or outbuildings, whilst others may be imposingly detached with generous gardens. Some may be taller to create a focal point, with others hidden behind walls and gates. This variety should extend to front boundary treatments where walls, railings and hedges can be used to emphasise and enclose spaces and introduce neighbourhood identity. This variety will assist in creating distinctive places, but will also contribute to developing diverse and sustainable communities, and will offer a choice of dwelling size and type (reflecting the fact that North Kesteven’s community has a range of housing needs). The Council supports the 'homes for life' concept, and will welcome developments that include dwellings designed to meet the needs of their occupiers throughout their lifetime.

4.14.

Proposals for individual phases of larger developments will normally only be considered in the context of an outline planning permission or a comprehensive appraisal or ‘master-plan’ which establishes the development principles for the wider site.

4.15.

The requirements of this policy are amplified in the ‘Lincolnshire Design Guide for Residential Areas’, which has been prepared in consultation with local developers and amenity bodies and formally adopted by all of the Lincolnshire planning authorities as Supplementary Planning Guidance. Appendix B of the Guide requires that all residential developments consisting of five or more dwellings, or in sensitive locations, are accompanied by a Development Appraisal demonstrating how urban design principles have been addressed.

POLICY H3 - Density View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for residential development, provided that it achieves an average net site density of 30 dwellings per hectare (dpha)

Densities above the minimum will be encouraged on sites with good public transport accessibility.

Lower site densities may be acceptable where dictated by site conditions.

Justification

4.16.

Low residential densities lead to a high level of land-take, and also result in development that is less likely to sustain local services or public transport. As a consequence, development that makes inefficient use of land cannot be considered as sustainable. However, the Council considers that, in most of the District’s settlements, development at an average net density of 30 dwellings to the hectare or more would be incompatible with their established rural character. Nonetheless, the Council considers that the densities that have been achieved in many recent developments make wasteful use of land, and will not generally grant planning permission for residential development at an average net density of less than 25 dwellings to the hectare. In the more central and accessible parts of these settlements, the Council will generally expect that densities in excess of 25 to the hectare will be achieved.

4.17.

In the District’s larger and more accessible settlements (where the Plan’s locational strategy proposes to focus most new house building), development at an average net density of 30 dwellings to the hectare or more will be in character with the established built form. In the more central and accessible parts of these settlements, the Council will generally expect that densities in excess of 30 dwellings to the hectare will be achieved.

4.18.

As policy H2 indicates, the Council wishes to see variety and diversity of house size and type within new residential estates. As a consequence, within a housing development that achieves an overall, average density of 30 dwellings to the hectare, the Council will expect different areas to be developed at different densities.

4.19.

The Council accepts that not all sites will be suitable for development at the minimum densities sought by this policy – e.g. the capacity of some sites will be reduced by poor vehicular access, by physical or infrastructure constraints, by the need to protect or enhance local distinctiveness, or by the presence on the site of features that are desirable to retain. However, where no such factors restrict a site’s capacity, the Council will expect development proposals to maximise the efficiency with which they use land.

POLICY H4 - Public open space provision in new residential developments View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for a new housing development provided that provision is made for public open space to at least the following standards:

  1. 5 square metres of amenity open space per person;
  2.  8 square metres of children’s play space per person; and
  3. 16 square metres of outdoor sport facilities per person.
Lesser provision will be acceptable if it can be proved that the location, scale or nature of a particular housing development is such that it will not generate or contribute to additional demands for such space.

Justification

4.20.

Public open space is a valuable amenity, and part of the infrastructure necessary to support development. It provides a place where both children and adults can relax or play and it acts as a green lung within the built environment. New housing development will increase the demand for public open space and it is only right that developers should contribute to the provision of infrastructure that would not have been necessary but for their development, or which is necessary in order for their development to be acceptable. Three broad types of public open space can be identified:

  • Amenity open space, which contributes towards giving the development a distinct sense of character. Such open space may provide some landscape interest (e.g. at the intersection of roads or footpaths), or may be positioned so as to safeguard the retention of important landscape features such as a pond or a group of trees.
  • Children’s play space, which is specifically set aside to cater for the needs of the children who will live within, or visit, the development. Depending upon the role it is intended to fulfil, and the age group of children at which it is aimed, play space may or may not contain play equipment such as swings, slides, roundabouts, a multi-sport rebound wall, etc.
  • Outdoor sport facilities for youth and adult use, consisting of facilities such as pitches, greens, courts, etc.
4.21.

The amount of open space that the Council will wish to be provided will depend primarily upon how many people will be expected to live on the development. This will be calculated by multiplying the number of dwellings proposed by an assumed number of people per dwelling. For most types of development, the assumed occupancy rate will be 2.37 persons per dwelling (the District average figure from the 2001 Census). For developments with unusually high proportions of particularly large or small dwellings, more appropriate occupancy figures will be decided in discussion with the applicant.

4.22.

The Council will generally expect all developments to meet the standards set out in the policy. However, in some cases, a developer may be able to put forward evidence that suggests that it would not be necessary for their development to meet these standards, for example:

  • A proposal for housing specifically for elderly people may not need to meet the standards for children’s play space or for outdoor sports facilities.
  • Additional provision may not be needed if the area already contains sufficient, adequately-accessible public open space to meet the needs of the existing population, plus that which would be added by the development.
4.23.

The Council will generally prefer provision to be made on-site, as part of the development, and will expect open space provision to be an integral part of the design and not an ‘add-on’ or a way of using awkward corners of a site. Where possible, new areas of open space should be located adjacent to any existing open space in order to maximise its amenity value. However, there are certain circumstances where it may be more appropriate for the developer to make a financial contribution towards provision in another location that will nevertheless serve the dwellings, for example where:

  • The nature of the site would mean that any feasible location for children’s play space would cause unacceptable disturbance to neighbours.
  • The nature of the site would mean that any feasible location for children’s play space would not be safe – where it would have to border a busy road or a watercourse for example.
  • The size of the space would be so small that it would not fulfil any meaningful recreational role – generally less than 100 square metres in the case of children’s play space. In the case of outdoor sports facilities, it will only be particularly large housing developments where on-site provision will be necessary.
4.24.

Great care must be taken to ensure that the relationship between public open space and dwellings will be satisfactory. This will be particularly important in the case of children’s play areas (especially those that are likely to be used by children in the older age groups), which may be a source of noise nuisance for neighbours, or which may lead to nuisance from ball games. To avoid such problems, play areas should always be separated from nearby dwellings by adequate buffer zones and (where appropriate) fencing.

4.25.

It is essential that public open space is made available once a significant number of dwellings are completed and occupied. This is particularly important on large developments that may take a number of years to complete. Consequently, the Council will normally seek to enter into an agreement with a developer under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to provide for the completion of public open space within a defined period after the commencement of development, or will attach a suitable condition to a planning permission.

4.26.

Once public open space is established, it will require on-going maintenance (e.g. the control of weeds, mowing of grass, carrying out of necessary works to trees, maintenance of play equipment, etc.). Applicants may wish to carry out these works themselves, or they may prefer to contract it to another party. Either way, the Council will need to be certain that proper maintenance will be carried out, and will assure this either by means of an agreement between the developer and the Council or by means of a condition on the permission.

Affordable housing

4.27.

Over recent years, house prices and rents across much of the District have risen more rapidly than wage levels, at the same time as the stock of Council housing has diminished. These factors have combined to make it increasingly difficult for some sections of the community to afford to buy or rent homes that are adequate for their needs.

4.28.

Policy H2 seeks the provision of a range of housing types and sizes within new housing estate developments, and the Local Plan’s provisions also allow for: the conversion of non-residential buildings to dwellings; the sub-division of existing larger dwellings to create smaller residential units; and the introduction of residential uses to existing commercial buildings (e.g. the creation of flats over shops or offices). It is considered that these types of development may contribute towards meeting the needs of those sections of the community who require a small and affordable dwelling. However, it is considered that the need for affordable housing is larger and more broadly-based than could be filled by contributions from these sources alone.

4.29.

The two policies that follow set out two ways in which additional affordable housing can be achieved, to contribute further to meeting this need. The first policy seeks the provision of affordable housing on suitable allocated housing sites and the second allows for, in exceptional circumstances, the development of affordable housing on land that would not normally be regarded as suitable for housing development.

4.30.

In both policies, “affordable housing” means housing which is accessible to people whose income does not enable them to afford to buy or rent market housing locally. It is non-market housing, provided to those whose needs are not met by the market. It includes social-rented and intermediate housing. Social-rented housing is rented housing provided by local authorities and registered social landlords and other persons or bodies, for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. Intermediate housing is housing at prices or rents above social-rent but below market prices or rents. This can include shared equity /shared ownership products and intermediate rent (i.e. rent above social-rented but below market rents). This definition excludes low cost market housing, which the Government does not consider, for planning purposes, to be affordable housing. Affordable housing secured through the planning system should include provision for the home to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

The Council defines Housing Need as those households who are in need of subsidised housing because the cost of appropriate housing (house prices or rents) is higher than 25% of the household’s net income.

4.31.

Where a registered social landlord is to manage any affordable homes that are provided by either policy, the Council will not need to seek to control the occupancy of the homes. In other cases however, the Council will need to be certain that the homes provided will be occupied by local people who need affordable accommodation. In these circumstances, the Council will either apply a condition on any planning permission, or seek to enter into an agreement with the applicant to limit occupancy to:

  • Existing local residents needing separate accommodation in the area, and those living in sub-standard accommodation or requiring accommodation more suited to their particular requirements;
  • People who are employed locally and who need to be close to their work;
  • People with the offer of a job locally, who cannot take up the offer because of the lack of affordable housing;
  • People who are not resident locally, but who have long-standing links with the locality.
The area that will be considered ‘local’ will normally be confined to the particular parish in which the affordable housing is located, and those that surround it. In exceptional cases of need, or where opportunities for more convenient affordable housing are restricted, this geographical limit may be extended.
4.32.

The Council will also seek to enter into agreements with applicants, or will attach conditions to planning permissions to ensure that affordable housing generated by either of these policies remains affordable in perpetuity.

POLICY H5 - Affordable Housing View Map of this site ?

The Council will require the provision of 35% of dwelling units on new developments as affordable housing, where:

The development will create 5 or more dwellings or involves a site of 0.3 hectares or more; and

  1. a local need for affordable housing has been identified in the Council’s Housing Needs Study or through another survey, the format and findings of which the Council has agreed; and
  2. the site is within reasonable distance of local services and facilities and public transport services; and
  3. the provision of affordable housing will not prejudice the economic viability of the development, or the realisation of other planning objectives which would outweigh the provision of affordable housing.

For the purposes of this policy, affordable housing will include dwelling units provided at below market rents or prices, either as social-rented or intermediate housing.

The Council may consider a lower proportion of affordable dwellings on sites where the developer can demonstrate that there are exceptional development costs which affect the viability of the development.

Where the affordable housing is not to be managed by a registered social landlord, planning permission will be subject to conditions or legal agreements to ensure that priority is given to local people in occupying affordable housing, and to ensure that dwellings remain available in perpetuity for those in housing need.

Justification

4.33.

Where a planning application is made for residential development in the District where a local need for affordable housing has been identified by the Council’s Housing Need Study or through another survey, the Council will negotiate with the applicant to ensure that the development makes a reasonable contribution towards meeting that need. However, it will be inappropriate to seek affordable housing on some sites, namely:

  • Those below the thresholds given in the policy;
  • Those that are not in reasonable proximity to jobs, shops, schools, recreational facilities, etc., or which will not offer occupants opportunities to travel to such facilities by means other than the private car;
  • Those that would be uneconomic to develop if affordable housing provision was sought (because there are particular exceptional development costs associated with the development of the site); or
  • Those where the provision of affordable housing would prejudice the realisation of other planning objectives that need to be given priority in the development of the site.
Where the District Council decides to pursue negotiations, the number of dwellings sought will depend upon the scale and type of the proposed development, and the requirements of the Policy.
4.34.

The nature and extent of the need for affordable housing in the whole District has been examined by the North Kesteven Housing Needs Study. It was commissioned by the Council, published in March 2005 and adopted by the Council in March 2005. The North Kesteven Housing Needs Study surveyed and analysed the local housing market, local household income, and current supply of affordable housing. The main findings of the Housing Needs Study (a local housing needs assessment and survey in accordance with government guidance) identified the level of need for affordable housing in North Kesteven. It found that the widening gap between housing costs, particularly owner-occupation, and household income has resulted in fewer local households being able to afford housing in North Kesteven. It identified the local shortfall in affordable housing provision.

4.35.

The Housing Needs Study 2005 Conclusions include the findings that:

  • There is shortage of affordable housing - 462 new affordable housing units per annum are needed in North Kesteven for the period 2004-2014.
  • This requirement represents over 100% of the projected housing build rate. It supports any affordable housing provision target applied to site thresholds set below the current government guidance minimum threshold levels.
  • The largest shortage is for one-person affordable dwelling units for rent.
  • The majority of the need can only be met by Social Rented housing. Although a maximum of 76% of households in housing need identified could afford some sort of Intermediate Housing (based on social rented costs), only a small fraction of households in need (9%) could afford such intermediate housing at the costs that are typically available.
4.36.

An affordable housing target of 462 new affordable dwellings per year for North Kesteven cannot easily be achieved solely through the use of the planning system, to meet the identified shortfall. The Council will not therefore currently set a numerical planning target for the provision of new affordable housing units, as set out in PPG3, Circular 6/98 and PPS3. It will, however, seek to achieve the highest number of additional affordable housing units possible on development sites, by applying a percentage requirement to all proposed developments involving new private housing across the District, that meet the Policy requirements. The Council is striving to achieve as much affordable housing provision on site as is possible.

4.37.

The Council considers that more affordable homes are likely to be needed in North Kesteven than could be provided by public investment and by the application of this policy’s provisions to allocated housing sites only. Consequently, the Council will also expect planning applications for housing on windfall sites across the District that meet the terms of this policy to make a contribution to meeting affordable housing needs.

4.38.

The Council will generally expect provision of affordable housing to be made within the development site itself. However, there may be occasions when the Council and developer agree that, on a particular site where a requirement for affordable housing would be appropriate, it is preferable that equivalent provision is made on another site or equivalent financial contribution should be made towards the provision of affordable housing on another site in the District. In such cases, the Council will seek to enter into an agreement with the applicant to ensure that an appropriate financial contribution is paid before the development with planning permission commences on site.

POLICY H6 - Affordable housing on rural exceptions sites View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will exceptionally be granted for development providing affordable housing for local people on sites within, or outside but closely related to, the curtilages of any settlement except Sleaford and North Hykeham (as shown on the Proposals Map), which would not otherwise be considered suitable for residential development, provided that:

  1. A local need for affordable housing has been identified in the Council’s housing needs survey or through another survey, the format and findings of which the Council has agreed;
  2. The need cannot reasonably be met on sites with residential planning permission or through residential allocations in this Plan;
  3. The development will not adversely affect the character or appearance of the area;
  4. The development is of a scale that is in keeping with the identified need, and the role, status and service base of the settlement; and
  5. The site is within a reasonable distance of local services and facilities and public transport services.
Unless the affordable housing is to be managed by a registered social landlord, any planning permission will be subject to conditions or agreements to ensure that local people in need of affordable homes will occupy the dwellings, and that all the benefits of low-cost provision will pass to the initial and to all subsequent occupants.

Justification

4.39.

Affordable housing needs will best be met by the means set out in policy H5 (i.e. via the dedication of parts of allocated or windfall housing developments to affordable housing). However, where provision from this source could not meet needs, it is appropriate that other methods of provision should be explored. Exceptionally, in such circumstances, the Council will consider granting planning permission for the development of affordable housing on land that would not normally be considered an appropriate location for housing development (most commonly land outside of settlement curtilages).

4.40.

Only sites that are clearly related to an existing settlement will be acceptable, and in most cases this will mean that suitable sites will directly abut a curtilage line. However, there may be instances where, because of e.g. topography or existing tree cover, an acceptable site directly adjacent to the curtilage cannot be identified, but where a development that is some distance from the curtilage would not create a visual intrusion into the countryside and would not appear as unrelated to the settlement. All development proposals must also conform to the requirements of other relevant policies of this Plan.

4.41.

The scale of the need for affordable housing in any individual rural settlement is likely to be limited, and thus, it is expected that proposals will generally be small in scale. However, the Council will be concerned to ensure that proposals conform to the Plan’s locational strategy and, consequently, permission will not be granted for large-scale proposals at settlements that have little in the way of a service base (jobs, schools, shops, recreational facilities) or pedestrian, cycle or public transport links to such facilities.

Housing

4.42.

There is significant demand for homes in the countryside. However, if this demand were catered for, the qualities that contribute much to the countryside’s attractiveness (its openness and undeveloped character) would be very quickly eroded. The fact that the construction of a single dwelling on a particular site would cause little or no harm to the countryside’s character is not a good argument in favour of it receiving planning permission. That argument could be repeated too often, with a cumulatively harmful impact upon the countryside.

4.43.

Policy C2 establishes the principle that development in the countryside should be strictly controlled in order to protect its character and to prevent the creation of an unsustainable pattern of development. However, new housing in the countryside can be justified where it meets a clearly identified local need.

POLICY H7 - Residential development in settlements that do not have a curtilage line View Map of this site ?

Planning permission for the construction of a new dwelling in a settlement without a curtilage line will only be granted if it will meet a clearly identified local need and:

  1. The proposed site is closely associated with an existing cohesive group of dwellings;
  2. The proposal is for the construction of no more than a single dwelling or a pair of semi-detached dwellings;
  3. The proposed development represents the filling of a small gap within the group or, more rarely, a minor extension to the group;
  4. The proposed development will not create or extend ribbon or scattered development; and
  5. The development will not adversely affect the character or appearance of the countryside, the group of dwellings, or the setting of the group within the landscape, and will not increase the pressure for similar development that would collectively cause adverse effects.

Justification

4.44.

The District contains many very small and sometimes isolated settlements, which often consist of just a few dwellings and other buildings. Some consist of a row of buildings (often all built at the same time), whilst others have a looser, more scattered character. Access to these settlements is often poor, and they frequently have very limited services. They are not locations where new development should be encouraged - because of their isolation and limited facilities, and because new development of any significant scale would be likely to harm their character, or that of their surroundings. Thus, they are not appropriate settlements for the drawing up of a curtilage line, or for the application of a policy that promoted their growth.

4.45.

Nonetheless, some of these settlements are capable of absorbing one or two new homes without harm to their character or setting, or to the appearance of the countryside generally. Such homes can help to widen the choice available to homebuyers or tenants, and can contribute towards meeting the District’s general need for new housing.

  • The existing group of dwellings must have a unified and integrated appearance, i.e. development will not be permitted within a disjointed scatter of dwellings in the countryside, or in a location where only a very limited number of dwellings currently exists. 
  • The proposed development will need to be very limited in scale, and must either:
  • fill a small gap in an otherwise built-up frontage (proposals to infill extensive gaps in a sparsely developed frontage will not be acceptable); or 
  • extend the group in a way that will not be repeated, e.g. by extending the group as far as a clear physical feature (such as a drain, road or hedgerow) that will act as a strong ‘stop’ to any possible future growth.
  • The development must not harm the character or appearance of the group, the group’s setting within the countryside, nor the countryside in general.

POLICY H8 - Residential development and environmental problems View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for new residential development provided that it will not be subject to adverse effects due to an established use that creates dust, smoke, fumes, noise, smell or vibration.

Justification

4.46.

Throughout the District there are a number of existing land uses which, by their nature, may make a poor neighbour for residential properties, e.g. an intensive livestock unit, a sewage treatment plant, or some types of employment. Residential development in proximity to such uses would be likely to suffer disturbance, to the point where occupiers may complain about the operation of the use.

4.47.

Wherever possible, the best way to avoid such problems is to avoid new residential development in areas where it is likely that an existing land use will cause problems. Specific exclusion distances within which new residential development will not be permitted cannot be given, since each case will vary greatly depending upon the nature of the use, the type of disturbance caused, surrounding topography, prevailing wind directions, etc.

POLICY H9 - Gypsy sites View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for the development of a gypsy caravan site, provided that:

  1. The site is within a reasonable distance of local services and facilities;
  2. The nature, scale, design, siting, and level of traffic generated will not adversely affect the character or appearance of the area, nor the amenities of other land users; and
  3. Adequate site services and amenities will be provided.

Justification

4.48.

Gypsies (defined as “persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin”) make up a very small proportion of the District’s population, but their land use requirements need to be met. As of July 2001, there were 12 gypsy caravans within North Kesteven.

4.49.

The Council would prefer to see most forms of development located within settlement curtilages, and the same principle applies to gypsy sites. However, because many gypsies run businesses from their homes, there may be the potential for a site within a settlement to conflict with the amenities of neighbouring land users. Thus, sites outside of settlement curtilages may be considered suitable. In all cases, however, sites must be within a reasonable distance of local services such as schools, shops and medical facilities. Remote locations will not, therefore, be appropriate.

4.50.

Like any caravan site, a gypsy site can potentially have a significant impact upon the character and appearance of its surroundings, and the operation of businesses from a gypsy site can lead to even greater impact (although some impacts can often be lessened by the use of landscaping – see Policy C19). In considering any proposals for gypsy sites, the Council will be concerned to ensure that such impacts are acceptable and, in this context, sites in sensitive, and open locations where development is generally severely restricted are highly unlikely to be appropriate, e.g. the Area of Great Landscape Value, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, County Wildlife Sites or Local Nature Reserves.

4.51.

All sites must include an adequate range of services and amenities, but the exact range will depend upon the purpose of the site. For example, sites intended for long-term occupation should offer electricity, drinking water supplies, washing facilities, sewage disposal, and regular refuse collections. Transit sites may not need such a comprehensive range but, at a minimum, should offer a refuse collection point, access to a drinking water supply and sewage disposal.

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