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Fife Council report seeking approval of
supplimentary guidance on affordable housing
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F I F E C O U N C I L
Environment and Development Committee 20th January 2005
Agenda Item No.
DRAFT SUPPLEMENTARY GUIDANCE ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The purpose of the report is to seek members approval
for Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing, as a basis for
2.1 Approval was given by the Environment and Development
Committee on 6 September 2004 (Agenda Item 6) for the Councils overall
approach to addressing the need for affordable housing through the planning
system. The basis for this approach lies in the Local Housing Strategy for Fife
(LHS), which covers the period 2003-08.
2.2 The new Consultative Draft Structure Plan, Fife
Matters contains a broad strategic policy on affordable housing. This
will be published for consultation in February 2005. There is however a need
for a more detailed approach and this is being provided by supplementary
guidance. This guidance will also be published for public consultation in
February 2005 (see appendix 1). Comments will be sought from a wide range of
interested individuals and relevant organisations. This feedback will then be
used constructively to adjust and strengthen the guidance. The detailed
guidance and the Development Plan will be complementary.
Fife Housing Needs and Affordability Study
2.3 The primary reason for undertaking the Housing Need and
Affordability Study was to update previous work carried out in 2000 thereby
ensuring an ongoing and reliable assessment of housing need in Fife. The
results provide the robust evidence required to underpin a number of Council
strategies on affordable housing.
2.4 Given the complex nature of the housing market, a
systematic and comprehensive approach is required to identify housing needs and
ensure that survey results are robust. Consequently, the selected consultants,
Arneil Johnston, were asked to base their approach on best practice guidance
Housing Needs Assessment Guidance (1998) produced by the Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR).
2.5 The approach adopted by the consultants, involved a
face-to-face survey of just over 2,400 households to establish baselines of
housing need and of the ability of households to resolve their need in the
market based on their income. The results of this survey were validated and
contextualised against a range of other information sources such as census data
and GRO projections. This, together with analysis of other information such as
house price trends, costs of housing, supply and availability of social rented
properties etc. allowed overall shortages or surpluses of affordable housing to
be established and projected to 2016, which is midway through the consultative
draft Structure Plan period.
2.6 The final study report will be available online at
www.fifedirect.org.uk . Key results are summarised below. The Study found that
Fife has and will continue to have a very substantial need for affordable
housing. The total shortfall of affordable housing across Fife is 10,832 units,
equating to 7.2% of all existing households. This represents a considerable
increase compared with the previous study carried out in 2000. Although there
are differences in approach between the two studies, this increase undoubtedly
reflects steeply rising house prices and a very active housing market in recent
2.7 The overall shortfall is projected to rise to 11,033
units by 2009 and fall to 10,658 units by 2016. It can be seen therefore that
the need is projected to remain relatively stable over time. The table below
illustrates the level of need at the present time for the four proposed housing
market areas (HMAs) in Fife. All four areas now show shortfalls of provision as
HMA HOUSEHOLDS IN NEED, % OF TOTAL HOUSEHOLDS
- CUPAR 576 5.0
- ST. ANDREWS 2,304 11.8
- KIRKCALDY 3,388 5.3
- DUNFERMLINE 4,564 7.1
2.8 The need is most pronounced in the St. Andrews HMA
where 1 in 8 households has a net housing need, followed by the Dunfermline HMA
where 1 in 14 households has a net housing need. In the Kirkcaldy HMA 1 in 19
households are in need whilst 1 in 20 households are in need in the Cupar HMA.
At a Locality level, the disparity in the level of housing need demonstrated is
considerable being most evident in St Andrews (22.9%), Dunfermline (20.5%) and
Inverkeithing (20.1%). The two Localities with the most significant surpluses
are Methil (2.5%) and Benarty (4.8%). Given the gross level of need established
at a Fife level, it is clear that the profile of the housing stock in these
areas does not provide an effective response to housing need or aspiration.
A briefing event for Members was held on 18th January 2005
to dovetail with Committee dates. A more comprehensive report on the Housing
Needs and Affordability Study will be considered by the Adult Services
Committee on 21st January 2005.
The detailed or supplementary, guidance covers a range of
topics including policy justification, categories of provision, mechanisms for
securing affordable housing, contributions from non-residential development,
quality of affordable housing, retention of housing as affordable and the
importance of partnership working.
Wider Policy Support Context
3.2 Policy support for the provision of affordable housing
stems from a number of sources including the LHS, National Guidance in the form
of Scottish Planning Policy 3 Planning for Housing, and Fifes
Community Plan A Stronger Future for Fife. Affordable housing can
take a variety of forms and these are briefly set out in SPP3. These
- Social rented accommodation
- Shared ownership schemes
- Shared equity schemes
- Low cost home ownership/discounted sale
- Mid market rented accommodation
- Housing for sale on the open market
- Self build
Whilst each may have a particular role to play, the
Councils clear focus will be on social rented accommodation. The
definition of low cost housing for sale will be determined using local
household income data.
At the time of writing this report, it was expected that
the Scottish Executive would release a new Planning Advice Note (PAN) dealing
with affordable housing early in 2005. It has not been possible therefore to
reflect such advice in the consultative draft Structure Plan or, in the
supplementary guidance. However once consultation has taken place on these
documents the new advice will be taken into account later in 2005.
3.3 The Consultative Draft Fife Structure Plan states that
at housing market area level, the following requirements will apply on sites of
10 units and above:
- Dunfermline 30%
- Cupar 40%
- St Andrews 45%
Mid Fife: sites will be required to make a contribution
equivalent to 25% of their capacity to facilitate wider community
How can affordable housing be addressed through the
3.4 The strongly preferred means of delivery will be
on-site provision in the form of fully completed affordable housing. Where this
is not possible, then off site provision of built units or land will be
considered. As a last resort commuted sums will be sought. The calculation of
such sums will be based on the District Valuer's figures. Affordable housing or
equivalent contributions should be provided in phases appropriate to the
development of the whole site.
3.5 On sites of between 2 and 10 units inclusive an
appropriate a financial contribution towards the provision of affordable
housing will be sought. Single house sites are often self build and therefore
contribute towards meeting the need for affordable housing. As such they will
be exempt from the need for a financial contribution.
3.6 Contributions may also be sought from non-residential
development, through planning gain where such development creates a need for
affordable housing. This would be relevant where, in an area of identified
shortage, a development created a need for staff on modest incomes or used land
which would otherwise have been appropriate for affordable housing.
3.7 The provision of affordable housing is about more than
mere numbers it is also about the quality of what is provided, irrespective of
tenure or type of housing. Affordable housing should take the form of a range
of house types built and designed to a good standard and should blend in with
the surrounding housing to make it indistinguishable.
3.8 The New Housing Needs Study has provided information on
particular demographic groups such as the elderly. This will be supplemented by
information from other sources in order to tailor provision to meet particular
3.9 It will also be important to retain housing as being
affordable. This will be achieved most easily with rented and shared
ownership/equity stock. However, in terms of low cost housing for sale Section
75 agreements will be used to ensure retention.
3.10 In summary the approach being proposed represents a
positive attempt to address the need for affordable housing, at least in part.
Its success will be dependent on effective partnership working between all
parties involved at a practical level. It is important that discussions be
undertaken at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid unnecessary delays to
development and to influence land values at the appropriate time. Consideration
will also be given to standardising the Section 75 procedure for affordable
housing in order to make it more efficient. It needs to be recognised however
that the Planning System can only make a contribution to meeting affordable
housing need. It cannot address in its entirety.
3.11 Detailed implementation notes will also be drawn up to
address technical matters of commuted payment calculation, low cost housing for
sale in relation to local household income data and to provide detailed
guidance on types of affordable housing.
3.12 Finally it will be important to ensure that the
Councils approach to delivering affordable housing be kept up-to-date and
appropriate and consequently annual monitoring will be undertaken. This will
assist in avoiding fluctuations in the approach.
4.0 FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
4.1 There are costs related to publication and consultation
on this document. Finance has been allocated within existing Development
Services budgets. Costs are expected to be approximately £350.
5.0 LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
5.1 There are no legal implications as this is a
It is recommended that Members approve the content of the
Draft Supplementary Guidance on affordable housing as a basis for widespread
Keith Winter Head of Development Services Alan Davidson
Head of Housing Service
Authors: David Robertson, Team Leader, Housing Service Dave
Wardrope, Planner, Development Services
Date: January 2005
Background Papers Under section 50 (d) of Local Government
(Scotland) Act 1973 the following background papers were relied upon to a
material extent in the preparation of the support
1. Fife Council Environment and Development Committee report
6th September 2004 " Affordable Housing" agenda item 6
2. Fife Council Environment and Development Committee
report 1st November 2004 "Fife Structure Plan Fife Matters" agenda item 8
3. Fife Council Housing Needs Study 2001.
4. Fife Council Housing Needs and Affordability Study 2004
5. Scottish Executive Scottish Planning Policy 3 "Planning
for Housing". (available on the Scottish Executive website
www.scotland.gov.uk). more Housing Info more
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