Matter 01/219 Home Builders Federation Tonbridge And Malling Local

Matter 01/219 Home Builders Federation Tonbridge And Malling Local

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Matter 01/219

Home Builders Federation
Tonbridge and Malling Local Development Framework
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Examination in Public – Core Strategy Submission Statement Matter 01
Bartholomew Wren
Home Builders Federation
1st Floor
Byron House
7-9 St James’s Street
London SW1A 1DW
Matter 01/219
Tonbridge and Malling Core Strategy Examination Matter 01 Statement
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What part of the DPD is unsound?
Our concern here is further to our previous representations in
relation to policy CP16, and in response to question 2 of Matter 01 as
outlined by the inspector. As such the HBF maintains their objection
to the end date of the plan, and the timescale for delivery outlined
in policy CP16, point 1.
Housing land supply - The core strategy needs to more firmly commit to
bringing forward safeguarded strategic site allocations as identified
under policies CP4 and CP17 to satisfy the full RSS requirement.
Specifically with the intention to develop these later in the plan
period, as a result of increased regional and perhaps sub regional
housing allocations (i.e. increase in regional allocation or
redistribution within the identified HMA should appropriate
circumstances arise). The HBF consider that insufficient sites have
been allocated in the policy and elsewhere in the core strategy and
housing trajectory.
Which test(s), set out in paragraphs 4.23 and 4.24 of PPS12, does it
fail?
vii, ix
Why does it fail?
The HBF believe that adopting a plan end date of 2021 is arbitrary and
lacks conformity to the regional spatial strategy, which runs until
2026. It is the case that PPS3 paragraph 43 states that local planning
authorities should plan for housing over a period of at least 15
years, not 15 years exclusively. It is by far the most sensible
approach for the plan to be in conformity with the RSS on this matter.
Having an end date of 2026 allows the council to plan for the full
housing target set in the RSS in a cohesive and comprehensive manner,
and not leaving delivery after 2021 as an unknown entity at this
stage. This is especially necessary if the housing delivery
requirement for the borough were increased prior to the adoption of
the RSS. Extending the plan period would allow the council additional
years to spread delivery as appropriate. The HBF strongly believe in
any case that the housing figures contained in the South East Plan are
likely to increase in the adopted version and GOSE have indicated this
as well, during the RSS EIP. The HBF do not wish to see a situation
arise where housing delivery is postponed or delayed in the borough in
any way after 2021. The difference between regional and local policy
timescales offers potential for future delivery uncertainty in our
opinion, as site release at present beyond 2021 would be subject to a
review of the core strategy, we believe this is not the correct
approach.
It is important to consider that core strategy documents being
prepared by many other councils in the South East have the time
horizon of 2026, and there is no reason why this strategy can’t adopt
the same approach. The HBF are also concerned as a consequence that
when the RRS housing
Matter 01/219
requirement is increased, there will not be sufficient additional
reserve sites, which are clearly allocated and intended to meet any
revised delivery
requirement during the period up to 2026. It may be the case that
windfall development will contribute significantly to the delivery of
a higher housing requirement over the plan period, however this can
not be relied upon, and in the context of PPS3 the council at the
least need to clearly allocate strategic sites which could be brought
forward later in the plan period as necessary. This would ensure that
the plan is flexible to enable it to respond to a change in
circumstances. It must be remembered in any case that the borough’s
housing target is not a ceiling rate for delivery, but a milepost
beyond which further delivery should be encouraged given the regional
disjuncture between household growth both at present and historically
in relation to housing supply.
How can the DPD be made sound?
Revise the timescale of the plan to 2026, and include future strategic
reserve housing sites within the housing trajectory to ensure
provision has been made for a sufficient, identified and deliverable
land supply. We note this would require appropriate revision to CP4
and CP17, to allocate currently reserved sites for housing before 2026
to meet delivery requirements. Their needs to be greater flexibility
and certainty in the councils housing land supply, to ensure the core
strategy fulfils the requirements of PPS 3 paragraphs 52 to 67.
What is the precise change/wording that you are seeking?
Further to our comments above, the HBF would require appropriate
changes where necessary to the policy and core strategy to take
account of the 2026 time horizon. As well as changes to the Councils
housing trajectory contained in Annex C of the core strategy document.
This would also need to be revised to take account of the PPS3
requirement to not include existing permissions where they cannot be
robustly evidenced to assure delivery. The HBF question whether
assumptions made by the council, in relation to the deliverability of
all identified sites as outlined in Annex C of position statement 01,
are adequately robust to assure stakeholders of the deliverability of
the council’s housing land supply. We assume evidence of development
negotiations / market interests / planning permission negotiations /
existing use values would need to be produced by the council to
support site deliverability assumptions, in addition to an up to date
Housing Land Availability Assessment. As a point of approval the HBF
note the council have responded satisfactorily to the PPS3 requirement
to not include windfalls within the first 10 years supply.
The HBF consider in any case that the requirement to identify a 5-year
minimum identified, available and deliverable land supply, should be a
policy objective in CP16. The HBF suggest the following wording:
‘In accordance with PPS3, the council will update its housing land
allocations on an annual basis, for a rolling 5 year period’
Matter 01/219
In relation to point 2 of policy CS16, the HBF suggest that the
strategic sites should be identified as they are at present. However
the consideration of existing permissions should be robustly supported
with evidence to provide assurance that the housing will be delivered
within the intended timescales. Where this cannot be proven, existing
permissions should be deleted form the policy wording. In any case a
plan, monitor, manage approach will ensure that where these sites do
deliver during the plan period, further site release can be managed
accordingly.
Matter 05/219

Home Builders Federation
Tonbridge and Malling Local Development Framework
-------------------------------------------------
Examination in Public – Core Strategy Submission Statement Matter 05
Bartholomew Wren
Home Builders Federation
1st Floor
Byron House
7-9 St James’s Street
London SW1A 1DW
Matter 05/219
Tonbridge and Malling Core Strategy Examination Matter 05 Statement
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What part of the DPD is unsound?
Further to our representation to the council in relation to CP18, and
having read the council’s position statement No CS05, the HBF are
satisfied with the council’s response in relation some of the concerns
raised by others and ourselves previously, such as the tenure split.
However we wish to reiterate our objection to the proposal for 40%
affordable housing to be sought on all sites of (15 units or more than
0.5ha). We believe that the policy has not taken full and necessary
account of viability considerations, and believe that the requirement
which has been arbitrarily recommended by independent consultants
employed by the council, places yet further pressure upon the house
building process. The consequence of which is a further progression
towards un-tested financial burdens and constraints upon house
building.
Which test(s), set out in paragraphs 4.23 and 4.24 of PPS12, does it
fail?
Iv, vii
Why does it fail?
The HBF do not wish to labour on any particular point continually,
however we wish to reiterate that the policy is not in conformity with
either the structure plan requirement for 30% provision or the Draft
South East Plan requirement for 35% provision. The HBF are aware of
the PPS3 policy guidance, which allows local authorities to set their
own affordable housing target where they can robustly justify doing so
(paragraph 29). However due to the fact that the evidence base is not
currently the most up-to-date in terms of methodological approach, the
HBF believe this is an area of weakness even though the methodology
may have been proven sound in similar circumstances. We note the
guidance for Strategic Housing Market Assessments was only published
late in March, and obviously the council could not have taken this
into consideration. May we recommend that at the very least the
Council commit to pursuing an HMA, which could be used to support the
policy approach in the future.
The HBF believe that the policy at present has not taken full and
necessary account of viability considerations, and believe that the
requirement places considerable further pressure upon the house
building process. The consequence of which may lead to undesirable
constraint upon house building, and the rate of development. The
council should be mindful of the consequence increased S106
requirements towards affordable housing will have in relation to the
mandatory requirement for the council to meet its housing trajectory,
which may become more difficult if this policy demonstrates potential
to stymie development now or in the future. The HBF consider as a
consequence the risks of constraint to development are considerable
and as such the policy should not be implemented. In our
Matter 05/219
opinion the council may well struggle to implement the full policy
requirement especially if market conditions were to become
unfavourable in the coming years, and sites do not come forward. The
implementation risk therefore makes the policy unsound.
It will as a consequence become increasingly difficult if this policy
were adopted, for our members to make sites ‘stack up’, to engineer
schemes to be financially worthwhile pursuing, particularly open
market sites. The rate of increase from the current local plan
requirement for 25% is sizeable, and having discussed this proposed
policy with house builders who have interests in the Tonbridge and
Malling area, they also have concerns for the consequence of negative
land values in some cases. It is our understanding that viability is
already an issue for some sites in the borough, especially brownfield
sites. From discussions with member organisations, currently
accommodating the 25% affordable requirement is financially difficult
if impossible in some situations. We welcome the councils approach to
negotiate on a site-by-site basis in any case.
We consider that the site threshold requirement for rural sites is too
restrictive, and believe that a more appropriate scaling approach
should be considered for rural sites of between 5 and 14 units. As an
alternative to the current proposed policy position to require 40%
affordable provision on all sites between 5 and 14 units, our
recommendation would yield fewer affordable homes. However it is an
approach, which has been adopted by other council’s and appears to us
to be a more reasonable and workable approach. It also a more
financially sympathetic approach, as affordable housing contributions
would become scaled to the size of the development on sites below 15
units, and thus where applied less prone to appeal challenge on
grounds of viability. Were this approach would result in an
indivisible requirement, much like the current policy approach. Then
complete units of affordable housing should be delivered where
possible with the remainder of the S106 requirement delivered as
commuted sums. Alternatively flexibility could be given as regards
tenure split of affordable units on smaller sites. The HBF ask the
council and inspector to consider both these approaches as more
flexible policy options.
The HBF are especially concerned where the cost of this policy could
not be factored into the price negotiated for land. Where it can’t be,
developers will have further pressure to maximise sales prices to
cover the cost of delivering the affordable housing and this will also
have a consequence for the affordability of a proportion of new
housing locally. However this will be constrained by prevailing market
conditions. The implementation of this policy if proven sound by the
inspector should be sensibly and reasonably implemented so as not to
require unexpected requirements from potentially eligible planning
applications that have already been submitted to the council prior to
the adoption of this policy, this would be unreasonable and undermine
the openness of pre-application discussions. Implementation should be
supported through SPD.
Matter 05/219
It must be remembered that this planning obligation will be asked of
house builders along with other S106 components, which are also
exposed to inflationary pressures. There will be a consequence for the
provision of other social and physical infrastructure for development,
in terms of developer funding towards these things if this policy is
adopted. The extent to which is obviously unknown, but common sense
tells us that the ‘fruits of development’ can only be stretched so
far, and some of the other S106 requirements can be equally important
especially if communities are to be accepting to new housing. The
council needs to take a cross boundary perspective, and consider that
developers may well look elsewhere to develop, such as other boroughs
in Kent, if the policy requirements are more favourable in terms of
cost and risk. If the rate of house building does not increase or
decreases in the borough, then less affordable housing will be
delivered overall if the total rate of house building is stalled in
any way, and development interests are postponed.
The HBF wish to express the need for the council to have consideration
of affordability across the market, and take a broader policy
perspective. Not one that purely focuses upon the specific provision
of ‘affordable housing’ for those individuals identified as unable to
afford market housing of any tenure. PPS3 requires local authorities
to deliver a sufficient quality of housing taking account of need and
demand and seeking to improve choice. The local authority as such must
have realistic affordable housing expectations. It is the case that
the greater percentage of ‘affordable housing’, which is provided as a
consequence of the development process, will have a negative impact on
overall housing supply. Not only will development become more
financially strained, which brings the risks we have explained, but
also there are negative consequences for market affordability. With
less new housing entering the market, as a proportion of all new
housing the balance between supply and demand will remain heavily
skewed. It is likely that there will be little difference in future
years, in terms of the net open market additions to the borough’s
housing stock on an annual basis, even taking account of the current
South East Plan requirements. By far the largest proportion of
individuals and families live in owner occupied accommodation, and it
is the government’s intention to extend the opportunities for home
ownership. As such further open market supply constraint as a
consequence of this policy would not satisfy this aim fully. Helping
to maintain the continued difficulty for first time buyers as well as
those seeking to move further up the housing ladder. The council
should be mindful to maximise housing delivery overall and this way
also gain more affordable housing units.
How can the DPD be made sound?
The HBF believe that due to the impact upon development viability that
this policy will have, it’s viability impact needs to be more
thoroughly considered/tested. It is the view of the HBF that the
policy could not be proven to have no negative impact upon viability.
As such the policy should be revised to adopt the affordable housing
percentage, which is outlined in the South East Plan of 35% affordable
provision.
Matter 05/219
What is the precise change/wording that you are seeking?
Paragraph 1 of the policy should be revised to set the threshold at
35%, as well as any corresponding supporting policy text where
appropriate.
In relation to paragraph 6.3.30, the HBF requests the wording be
amended by the omission of the following “and the level to be sough on
development sites will be revised as necessary through the Production
of a Supplementary Planning Document”. The HBF objects to the
perpetual revision of planning policy in this way, as it is
procedurally incorrect. SPD should not be used to set new or revised
policy requirements, we refer here to guidance in PPS12 paragraph
2.44.
Further Point
We note that under matter 05, point 3, the inspector mentions ‘low
cost market housing’. We think this is a misprint, and what should
have been written in the sentence is ‘intermediate housing’. We do not
believe it is the intention of the council at present to make
provision for low cost market housing. As such we have not pursued its
inclusion within the core strategy to date and any identified
definition of affordable housing. However this is a matter, which the
HBF are pursuing at national and regional level. In the circumstances
could the council and or inspector clarify this point? The HBF believe
that low cost market housing can have a significant role to play in
terms of meeting the open market affordability challenge, extending
home ownership to more first time buyers and reducing the number of
people registering their housing need on waiting lists.
Matter 11/219

Home Builders Federation
Tonbridge and Malling Local Development Framework
-------------------------------------------------
Examination in Public – Core Strategy Statement
Bartholomew Wren
Home Builders Federation
1st Floor
Byron House
7-9 St James’s Street
London SW1A 1DW
Matter 11/219
Tonbridge and Malling Core Strategy Examination Matter 11 Statement
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What part of the DPD is unsound?
The HBF continue to disagree with the council’s position on the
proposed time horizon of the core strategy, and do not accept any of
the justification for the 2021 date as set out in the council’s
position statement.
Which test(s), set out in paragraphs 4.23 and 4.24 of PPS12, does it
fail?
iv
Why does it fail?
The core strategy fails to take account of PPS12 policy guidance,
which although not stipulating precise time horizons, does stress
conformity with the regional spatial strategy.