Chichester Local Plan Review update: 16 July 2021
Planning for our future - Housing
Housing need and the delivery of affordable housing is a huge issue for the Chichester District and a key part of the Local Plan Review. Around 1,500 households with a connection to the district - such as people who have been brought up here or who are a key worker in the district - are waiting for a home in our area. Around 40% of these have urgent housing needs.
These people are our children, grandchildren, local nurses and other key workers. They are important people who we rely on and want to keep close by. There's a high demand for housing and our young people are finding it difficult to get on the property ladder as first time buyers or renters. We want those who grow up here to have the option to stay here and important key workers to be able to afford to work here - and so we need to make sure that there are homes of the right prices, size and type.
Unfortunately, there is limited Government funding available for affordable housing. This is why the Local Plan is so important, because it requires developers to deliver a proportion of affordable homes that are suitable for local families and young people who have a local connection. This is also vital because we also need to attract people to work here, in our hospitals, schools and other essential services. This is why our planning powers are so important.
Over the past year, nearly 200 affordable homes have been provided in the district, including at Graylingwell, Shopwhyke and Southbourne. This includes delivering shared ownership and affordable rental properties. Our housing policy, under the current Local Plan, means that we can make sure that up to 30% of all housing on all larger developments is affordable and that this is ring fenced for those with a local connection. By far, the majority of affordable homes are provided through this route, and this is why the Local Plan is so vital.
Under the Local Plan Review process, we are also testing options to see how we can increase and improve affordable housing provision through updated policies which will be consulted on at the draft plan stage scheduled for spring 2022. We'll keep you updated on this important work.
The Government has also recently introduced a new scheme called First Homes. This new scheme means that a First Home must be discounted by a minimum of 30% against the market value. After the discount has been applied, the first sale must be at a price no higher than £250,000. 'First Homes' will be protected to ensure that restrictions are place on the property at each future sale to make sure that the home continues to be affordable to future buyers. These homes will also account for 25% of all affordable housing units delivered by developers through planning obligations moving forward. The Local Plan Review policy approach for affordable housing delivery will reflect the Government's latest policy approach for First Homes.
We also work closely with housing associations and Community Land Trusts to deliver affordable housing and have invested nearly £1 million into these projects over the past year. This includes social rented homes in Bracklesham, Midhurst and Chichester.
On top of this, we are investing over £2 million pounds into expanding our short stay temporary accommodation for those who are homeless. This project has been moving forward throughout the pandemic and we hope that the seventeen new flats will be available early next year. You can see the progress that we are making here: Freeland Close video.
There are also people who don't quite fit the national system of income support. Every day, we make discretionary housing payments to prevent hardship and homelessness. This vital support enables people to afford housing in the private and social housing sector. To find out more about this particular work, please visit Housing.
Making best use of Brownfield Land
Many people may not be aware that the council has a Brownfield Land Register. The council is required to prepare, maintain and publish a register of brownfield (previously developed) land appropriate for residential development. This helps us to maximise and prioritise the use of this type of land for residential development, before we consider Greenfield sites. This is in line with national policy and also helps to provide certainty for developers and communities to encourage investment in local areas.
This register is being constantly updated and we can accept new sites at any time, but it would assist us if these are submitted as soon as possible so that they can be taken account of at the earliest opportunity.
If you know of sites that would be suitable, then we would advise you to encourage the landowner or agent to contact us as soon as they can. We are keen for any agent or landowner to put forward sites and this can be done by visiting: Brownfield land register.
Do you have questions about the Local Plan?
Planning can sometimes be incredibly complex and confusing, and so we asked the council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Susan Taylor, to answer some of your key questions about the Chichester Local Plan. You can watch Cllr. Taylor answering these questions here: Chichester Local Plan video.
In our last email newsletter, we also covered more of the common questions people are asking about the plan process and addressed some of the myths and misinformation surrounding this. If you missed it, you can find the Q&As here: Chichester Local Plan Review update: 22 June 2021.
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