5.17 Housing – The key objective is to significantly increase the delivery of new homes nationally, this not only means increasing the supply but also the choice, quality and tenure of homes to create mixed and sustainable communities. Local Planning Authorities should plan for housing mix based on current and future demographics and a range of housing that reflects local demand.
5.22 Policy 3.5 emphasises the need to develop high quality accommodation internally and externally and Table 3.3 sets out the minimum space standards for new residential development. Policy 3.8 goes on to require housing choice for all Londoners; development should provide a range of types and sizes of dwellings. Policy 3.9 seeks the delivery mixed and balanced communities through the delivery of a range of housing tenures and Policy 3.11 sets out that Planning Authorities will look to maximize the affordable housing provision and will seek 60% of the affordable housing provision to be social rented housing and 40% intermediate housing with a priority on providing affordable family housing. The definition of affordable housing set out in Policy 3.10 states two housing products; social rented (target rents determined through the rent regime) and intermediate housing. Policy 3.16 refers to the need for developments to ensure the protection and enhancement of social infrastructure and community facilities that are inclusive and located in areas maximizing accessibility and reducing the need to travel.
6.2 Poplar HARCA’s vision and objectives for all of its estates is to bring about their genuine and lasting regeneration. The Brownfield Estate transferred from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to Poplar HARCA in December 2007. Since then, Poplar HARCA has begun to invest in improvements to bring all of its homes up to Decent Homes Standard. This programme is ongoing.
Housing 7.17 The overarching aspiration with regard to the new housing is to ensure sufficient high quality affordable housing and to provide a suitable mix that meets the needs of those living in the area and to overcome some of the serious overcrowding issues that are faced by residents in the area. The creation of additional affordable habitable rooms to meet local need should be also seen alongside the recently approved application for Brownfield Phase 1, which brings in more private units into the estate to help create a more balanced tenure mix across the estate.
7.18 These aspirations are supported by PPS3: Housing, which highlights the need to retain and increase the amount of affordable housing across the Country. This is particularly important for London where there is a demonstrated shortage of affordable homes and in Tower Hamlets where there is a particular need for affordable family homes.
7.19 The development proposals will result in the net gain of 25 new affordable dwellings. Whilst the new London Plan (2011) does not specify a target percentage of affordable housing that new developments should provide, policy 3.11 gives a figure of 13,200 new affordable units to be provided in London each year over the term of the plan. Policy CP22 of the Council’s current IPG states that the Council will seek to maximise all opportunities for affordable housing on each site in order to achieve a 50% affordable housing target across the borough, with a minimum of 35% affordable housing provision. It is the Council’s aim, through the above policies to achieve a better balance of tenures and create mixed communities on existing estates.
7.20 The Applicant, as the largest registered social landlord in the local area, and freehold owner of the majority of properties in the location is well aware of the diversity of tenure mix within the area. Generally, this has evolved through the Government’s Right-to-Buy policy and has resulted in a ‘fine grain’ mix of tenures throughout the Brownfield Estate. In this respect, the application scheme complements the existing mix in the wider estate, taking into account the new dwellings that are being built following the approval of the Brownfield 1 application reference PA/09/02100 and contributes towards achieving the objective of creating a mixed and balanced community in this location.
7.21 The Council’s own housing studies (including the Strategic Housing Market and Needs Assessment (August 2009)) have identified that there is a significant deficiency of family housing within the Borough and the Council’s policies reflect this. Saved Policy HSG7 of the UDP (1998) requires development to provide a mix of unit sizes. Similarly, Policy 3.8 of the London Plan requires development to provide a range of housing choice, policy 3.9 going on to promote mixed and balanced communities. Interim Planning Guidance (2007) Policies CP21 and HSG2 specify the particular mix of unit sizes required across the different tenures.
7.22 In February 2011 the Department for Communities and Local Government published its consultation on a technical change to Annex B of Planning Policy Statement 3: Planning for Housing in order to include the new affordable rent product within the definition of affordable housing. At the same time, the Homes and Communities Agency published the Affordable Homes Framework document, setting out details of the Affordable Rent product. Affordable Rented Housing is defined as rented housing let by registered providers of social housing to householders who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable rent is not subject to the national rent regime but is subject to other rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent.
7.23 The proposals forming this planning application propose 100% affordable housing with a mix of 8 affordable rented dwellings, as defined in the consultation draft of PPS3 and subsequent Draft National Planning Guidance in the form of 6 x 3 beds and 2 x 4 bed dwellings, as well as 17 social rented units in the form of 4 x 1 beds and 13 x 2 bed dwellings (comprising 68% of the total new dwellings), which on its own is well above the council policy requirement for a minimum of 35% affordable housing.
7.24 The introduction of the new Affordable Rent dwellings will allow a more diverse offer for the range of people accessing social housing locally. The new affordable homes programme, set out by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), enables Affordable Rent homes to be made available to tenants up to a maximum of 80% of market rent and allocated in the same way as social housing is at present. Providers will be able to offer Affordable Rent homes on flexible tenancies. Where tenants are eligible for Housing Benefit it will continue to be paid in full in the same way as for social rented properties at present.
7.25 The affordable rented units proposed in this application are proposed to be set generally between 50 – 55% of the borough average market rent in line with emerging policy, depending on the size of the dwelling.