New homes that are genuinely affordable, sustainable, accessible and of a decent standard, are the cornerstone of the City Plan Part 2.
The Plan, which will guide new development to 2030, was agreed at the virtual full council meeting on 23 April.
Communities will have another chance to comment on its policies when City Plan Part 2 goes out to public consultation. The council will consider the best time to put this out after the coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are lifted.
Planning for new housing development in Brighton & Hove is particularly difficult as the city is sandwiched between the South Downs and the sea.
Despite the constraints, 88% of new housing will be built on ‘brownfield’ land, which has been developed before, making the best use of the limited sites available.
Genuinely affordable homes
Our current policy requires all developments of five or more dwellings to provide an affordable housing contribution ranging from 20% for smaller schemes rising to 40% in developments of 15 or more homes.
We’ve also recently agreed to independently assess the financial business cases of new private housing in the city to reinforce planning policy requirements for developers to provide affordable homes.
One of the key policies in the new Plan covers housing quality, choice and mix. It says that that new residential development should provide for a range of housing types to meet the city’s varied needs.
Councillor Nick Childs, lead member for planning policy, said: “It is important that the council has up to date and relevant planning policies that reflect the city’s unique and local circumstances.
“This will give us greater local control to make sure the right amount of development takes place in the right places, that homes are genuinely affordable and meet the needs of our residents, and that planning applications include measures for reducing carbon and increasing biodiversity.”
Meeting our housing needs
In order to help meet our housing needs, the City Pan Part 2 allocates 16 sites on the urban fringe around the city’s edges. Government policy requires the council to allocate at least some urban fringe sites, but innovative use of brownfield sites means the urban fringe sites identified represent just 7% of the total, meaning we can protect 93% of the urban fringe.
The government has set Brighton & Hove a minimum target of building 13,200 new homes by 2030 which represents 44% of our fully assessed housing need (which was 30,000 in 2015).
New policies to improve housing quality, choice and mix include:
- Minimum space standards for new housing, such as bedroom sizes, ceiling heights and storage space
- Improved accessibility standards to ensure that all new homes are designed to respond to changing lifetime needs. A proportion of wheelchair accessible housing is to be provided on all schemes of 10 of more homes
- Providing private outdoor space
- Support for different forms of housing delivery such as community-led housing, self-build, and build to rent schemes
- Tougher tests for the management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
- High quality design standards in both new buildings and surrounding spaces.
Councillor Gill Williams, lead member for housing, said: “One of the biggest challenges facing our city is how we can provide more housing to meet the city’s diverse range of needs and how to make sure it is genuinely affordable for local people.
“City Plan Part 2 includes planning policies which will help increase the overall supply of housing and ensure that new housing is well designed, of high quality and meets the needs of different households from starter and family homes to accommodation for older people.”
Meeting the needs of older people
By 2030, the number of the city’s residents aged 60 or more will be 40% higher than in 2010. In addition to requiring all new housing to be accessible and adaptable, the City Plan includes a policy to encourage the development of high quality specialist housing and accommodation for older people.
This aims to meet a range of needs from retirement homes and sheltered housing, through to extra care housing and nursing homes. Proposals for private residential accommodation for older people will have to provide a proportion of genuinely affordable housing provision.
An independent study commissioned by the council said that there needs to be a wider mix of housing options for older people, including supporting people to live well in their own homes.
Housing for people with specialist needs
The City Plan supports the provision of specialist supported accommodation for people with specialist and vulnerable needs, such as homeless people and people with severe physical or learning disabilities.
Types of accommodation include hostels, shared and supported housing and care homes.
Build to rent housing
Build to rent is a relatively new but growing type of housing development made up of purpose-built apartments for private rent rather than sale.
The City Plan includes a detailed policy to guide future build to rent schemes in the city to ensure that they are:
- Well designed and managed
- Offer secure tenancies of at least three years
- Contribute to genuinely affordable housing, either as part of the scheme or through a payment towards low-cost housing.
Our policy for build to rent housing will require a proportion of the units to be at genuinely affordable rents to be agreed with the council. Because this form of development works on a different economic basis from build for sale, government policy prevents us from asking for more than 20%.
Purpose built student accommodation
Purpose built student housing reduces the number of students who need to find accommodation in the private rented sector, freeing up properties in the city for others to use.
A new policy relating to purpose built student accommodation calls for new developments for students to include high proportions of more affordable flats that are available to a broad range of students.
This policy also seeks to ensure that student accommodation is of a good standard, secure, and with sufficient space for living and studying.