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1.5 - Planning for Homes to meet the Needs of the Community

What the Government say:

Planning for homes to meet the needs of the community

Local planning authorities should “deliver a wide choice of high quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities”[1]

Local planning authorities should “identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in particular locations, reflecting local demand”[2]

Local planning authorities should “where they have identified that affordable housing is needed, set policies for meeting this need on site....such policies should be sufficiently flexible to take account of changing market conditions over time”[3]

The “Government’s aims in respect of travellers sites are: that local planning authorities should make their own assessment of need for the purposes of planning; to ensure that local planning authorities, working collaboratively, develop fair and effective strategies to meet need through the identification of land for sites....”[4]

What the Borough’s Local Plan needs to do:

The Local Plan will need to set out how many affordable homes should be built and ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the number of new market and affordable homes built in the Borough.

The Local Plan will need to ensure that a sufficient number of market homes for sale are built so as to widen opportunities for home ownership.

The Local Plan will need to meet the housing needs of the community by responding to any specific requirements as to the most appropriate size and types of homes (for example, for families, single people, young people, elderly people and people who need support and care).

The Council needs to make its own assessment of the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers working jointly with other councils in Leicester and Leicestershire and where necessary and appropriate, identify land for this purpose.

The Current Situation:

We have identified the level of affordable housing that can viably be provided to meet local needs within the Borough[5]. The current targets, which apply to all developments of 10 homes or more are:

  • At least 30 per cent of new homes in Oadby should be affordable
  • At least 20 per cent of new homes in Wigston should be affordable
  • At least 10 per cent of new homes in South Wigston should be affordable[6]

We have identified sites of sufficient size that will enable the provision of affordable housing and we are working with developers and housing associations to bring forward developments that will consist wholly of affordable housing.

We have identified a range of sites where new homes can be built, including sites within town centres, sites within the existing settlements and a Direction for Growth which will enable the establishment of a new suburb to the south east of Wigston[7]. This range of sites will allow opportunities to develop apartments and houses of varying size. They also enable opportunities to provide specialist forms of housing, such as retirement living and extra care housing that provides supported accommodation for those who require it[8].

We have in place a criteria that would be applied in the determination of any planning applications for Gypsy, Traveller or Travelling Showpeople sites[9]. A recent study[10] shows that there is no need arising for sites to be identified in the Borough to meet the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers.

[1] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 50); March 2012

[2] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 50); March 2012

[3] National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 50); March 2012

[4] Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (paragraph 4); March 2012

[5] Affordable Housing Provision and Developer Contributions Report; September 2009

[6] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 11; September 2010

[7] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 1; September 2010

[8] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 12; September 2010

[9] Oadby and Wigston Core Strategy Policy 13; September 2010

[10] The Leicester and Leicestershire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment; 2013

[11] Office for National Statistics, Standard Area Measurement for 2013 Local Authority Districts (UK)

[12] Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (Tables 84 and 85); June 2014

[13] Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (paragraph 10); March 2012

Planning for the Local Economy and Employment Land

The Challenges for the Future

Quick Questions

Detailed Questions

The Borough of Oadby and Wigston is the third smallest local authority in the country in terms of land area (outside of the London Boroughs)[11]. The effect of this, combined with the location of the Borough adjoining Leicester, is that, when assessed, the level of affordable housing need in the Borough is indicated to be high compared to the amount of new homes that it is actually feasible or viable to build each year[12].

In practice, also due to the specific nature of the Borough, this assessed level of affordable housing need tends to be met. This is because the Council’s affordable housing stock is supplemented by the availability of housing benefit available to people who are renting privately owned accommodation.

The amount of affordable housing required to be provided on site by a developer is important to ensure that affordable housing continues to be built in the Borough. Due to the difference in the price of land across the Borough, the requirement for different percentages of affordable homes between each of the three main settlements has maximised the amount of affordable housing built in the borough.

Everyone who lives in the Borough has their own specific housing need. This may be for a house of an appropriate size for their family. It may be a single person wishing to share or to have a home of their own. It may be someone wishing to downsize to a bungalow or apartment or someone wishing to move into retirement or supported housing. It may be someone wishing to buy a plot of land on which to build their own home.

Government guidance states that where there is no identified need arising for sites for Gypsies or Travellers, the Local Plan should contain criteria which are “fair and should facilitate the traditional and nomadic life of travellers while respecting the interests of the settled community as a basis for decisions should planning applications nevertheless come forward for Gypsy and Traveller sites” [13]

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