Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Providing for Housing Choices Provision of Affordable Housing Policy 9 - Provision of affordable housing [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP1093
Respondent Nicola Jones ID-4778 [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 27 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted
Response Type OBSERVATIONS
Comment

Paragraph 5.19 states:
In 2016 the medium house price in the District was £392,500, the highest in Kent, and house
prices were 13 times annual earnings, compared with 6.5 times across England … High
housing costs have led to an increase in the number of households privately renting and the
out-migration of younger and economically active groups in search of cheaper housing
elsewhere, including essential workers
”.
In setting out the context of the District, paragraph 12 of the draft Local Plan, states:
The District has generally high house prices. The average house prices in the District are
around £175,000 higher than in Kent making is very difficult for first time buyers and young
families to remain in the district … This includes a high proportion of affordable homes and
specialist accommodation for older people.

There is a clear pressure for the District to deliver a range of more affordable homes so that
there are options available to meet the needs of different groups within the population.
There are options for the District to consider. Not all
more affordable homes need to meet the
definition of affordable as set out within national policy. There are a number of individuals who
would not quality for affordable housing but nevertheless struggle with purchasing equivalent
properties at market values.
Whilst not falling under the definition of affordable housing, park homes are low-cost market
homes when compared with equivalent bedroom properties in the same area. Park homes often
attract those who are downsizing from larger family homes for a number of reasons, including,
to reduce the upkeep and maintenance on properties and where the costs of living in the larger
properties are no longer manageable, for example after a separation.

Haulfryn can facilitate the ambitions set by the Council in the draft paragraphs presented
above. The Company delivers park home communities for older people at a more
affordable cost, with wider benefits for the older population (as set out elsewhere in the
representations). Haulfryn considers that the emerging Local Plan should recognise the
potential of park homes in meeting the affordability challenge within the District.
Reference to the future role of park homes in Sevenoaks should be made within the
emerging Policy as part of a wider strategy to tackle the average house price disparity
between the District and Kent.
Policy 9
Whilst the Company agrees that where viable the provision of new homes should
contribute to the delivery of affordable housing that falls within the national policy
definition, the policy needs to be effective and must take into account all forms of homes
that could be delivered. The percentage of affordable housing required as set out in draft
Policy 9 has not been based upon the testing of park homes, which have lower values
compared with tradition build housing. As such, Haulfryn considers that this part of the
Plan is not sound and as such draft Policy 9 needs to be amended to be sufficiently
flexible to accommodate non-traditional types of homes. It is vital that these are viable to
contribute to meeting the District’s overall housing needs.
In addition, and reflecting the unique nature of park homes, the draft policy should
recognise that these properties are not typically taken on by registered social landlords
(RSLs). As such, the emerging policy should enable the off-site contributions to be made
in these cases to avoid prohibiting the delivery of low cost homes to meet other needs.
Proposed Modifications
Haulfryn considers that the following additional paragraph should be made to draft
Policy 9 of the emerging plan in order to ensure the plan will be effective and justified:
“The Council supports the delivery of low cost homes, such as park homes, that do not
meet the definition of affordable housing where they seek to address wider objectives of
the plan. It is recognised that it will not normally be possible to deliver on-site
affordable homes in these circumstances and therefore an off-site contribution towards
the delivery of affordable homes to meet locally identified needs will be required where
this is viable.

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