Small Sites Affordable Housing Exemptions and Vacant Building Credit Re-Instated to National Planning Policy Guidance
Following last Wednesday’s Court of Appeal decision, the Government has now officially re-instated previously revoked guidance contained within the NPPG for small sites affordable housing exemptions relating to sites of 10 dwellings or fewer together with guidance on the vacant building credit.
The vacant building credit allows sites occupied by existing buildings to be offered a financial credit against any affordable housing obligations based upon the total floor space of any existing buildings. This is a major step forward that will reduce financial burden on the redevelopment of brownfield sites with existing viability constraints.
Johnson Mowat are able to advise on the implications of changes to the NPPG and can assist with development viability and Section 106 negotiation. Please contact our office for details.”
Yesterday the Court of Appeal upheld the Government proposal to exempt small development sites from affordable housing contributions. This will apply to developments of 10 dwellings or fewer, or 1,000 square metres or less. In designated rural areas, including National Parks and AONBs the threshold is reduced to 5 dwellings.
This is a major step forward for our clients with smaller development sites.
Richard Mowat, Partner commented “In certain areas this exemption will increase the number of viable options available, potentially revive stalled projects and should contribute to an increase in the housing land supply moving forward. This is a positive in the context of the current national imperative to boost the supply of housing.”
Harrogate Borough Council for example has an affordable housing policy which expects all housing sites outside of Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough to deliver or contribute to affordable housing provisions on sites of 3 dwellings or more.
A further appeal to the Supreme Court is possible should West Berkshire and Reading Councils, who challenged the Government on this matter, have the appetite. However, in the interim, there is an opportunity for our clients to maximise this relief on affordable housing requirements, which will hopefully remain unchallenged.