1. Preferred Options Revisions

Section 11 - National Standards

Water efficiency:

11.1 In March 2015 the Government introduced new technical standards covering water usage, internal space requirements, accessibility and adaptability.  The Planning Practice Guidance states that where there is a clear local need, local planning authorities can require new dwellings to meet the tighter building regulations optional requirement of 110 litres/person/day, rather than the 125 litres/person/day.  Thanet is within a water stress area as identified by the Environment Agency in their publication “Water Stressed Areas Final Classification July 2013”.  Both the Environment Agency and Southern Water recommended at the last public consultation in January 2015, that authorities in water stressed areas promote higher water standards of 105 litres per person/day for internal use.  The Council therefore intends to include a policy in the pre-submission draft requiring new developments to meet the higher standard of 110/person/day as set out in the technical standards.

 

Internal space standards:

11.2 Paragraph 50 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that local planning authorities should identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in particular locations, reflecting local demand.  The National Planning Practice Guidance further qualifies this by recommending that where a local planning authority wishes to require an internal space standard they should do so by reference in their local plan (paragraph 18).

11.3 The council believes that everyone has the right to a high standard of residential accommodation with sufficient space to meet their own needs. There has been a general trend for houses today to be comparatively smaller than ones built a hundred years ago and these trends have led to calls for the introduction of national space standards for housing. The requirement of a minimum space standard can add to the attractiveness of the development thereby widening the potential sale and rental markets.

11.4 In order to ensure that new housing is built to a high standard of design and provide adequately for the changing needs of future occupants thereby improving the quality of life, the Council is intending to implement the National Described Space Standard (March 2015).  These are replicated in the table below for ease of reference.  It is intended to include a new policy in the pre-Submission Local Plan which will also address other considerations such as need and viability.  The policy will apply to all tenures and it will be up to the applicant to demonstrate why these standards cannot be met within their development.

 

Number of bedrooms (B)

Number of bed spaces (persons)

1 storey dwellings

2 storey dwellings

3 storey dwellings

Built-in storage

1b

1p

39 (37)*

 -

1.0

2p

50

58

 -

1.5

2b

3p

61

70

 -

2.0

4p

70

79

 -

3b

4p

74

84

90

2.5

5p

86

93

99

6p

95

102

108

4b

5p

90

97

103

3.0

6p

99

106

112

7p

108

115

121

8p

117

124

130

5b

6p

103

110

116

3.5

7p

112

119

125

8p

121

128

134

6b

7p

116

123

129

4.0

8p

125

132

138

 

11.5 It certain circumstances it may be necessary to make an exception to development meeting these standards e.g. in the conversion of historic buildings where the implementation of the standard would be detrimental to the character and integrity of the building.  In such circumstances the applicant will be required to demonstrate the case for not meeting these standards.  

 

Accessible and adaptable accommodation:

11.6 Paragraph 7 of the NPPF states that one of the three dimensions to sustainable development is a social role which should support strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being.  Paragraph 50 further states that local authorities should deliver a wide choice of high quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities.  Local planning authorities should also plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community (such as, but not limited to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes);

11.7 The District has an ageing population base and the recent 2014 based Sub-National Population Projections (published May 2016) project that the 60+ age group in Thanet will grow by 39% from 41,000 in 2014 to 57,000 by 2031.  This has implications for the demand for different types of housing and meeting the needs of an ageing population in situ.  An increase in the elderly population can be expected to result in an increase in people with dementia and mobility problems. The SHMA estimated that the number of people with a long term health problem or disability will increase by 32% over the plan period.  Some of these households will inevitably require adaptions to properties to meet their changing needs whilst others may require more specialist accommodation or support. There is clear evidence of need for properties which are capable of accommodating people’s changing needs. This general trend can be evidenced from the Council’s housing register (September 2016) which shows that there are 51 households on the register who are dependent on a wheelchair and a further 73 households who use a wheelchair for part of the day.  Therefore there are currently 124 households currently in need of wheelchair adaptable accommodation.  However, this may not include those households who currently have mobility problems and may become dependent on a wheelchair in the future.

11.8 The increase in persons with a long-term health problem/ disability, as evidenced by the SHMA, together with the council’s own data from the housing register, provides clear evidence of a need for adaptable homes. The SHMA recommends that on this basis, the Council should consider whether it should require a proportion (such as 10%) of new homes to be wheelchair-accessible or whether new housing should be built to new National Housing Standards.

11.9 In order to meet the changing needs of this increasing age group, the Council will encourage developers to consider the future needs of households when designing residential units.  The Council is currently considering whether as a minimum, a percentage (eg 10%) of all new development should be designed to building regulation optional requirement M4(2)  accessible and adaptable dwellings.  In respect of the new Building Regulation optional requirement M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings, the Council is intending to include a policy referring to a proportion of new dwellings to  meet this standard, however, this will need to relate to the number of households requiring wheelchair adaptable homes in suitable locations, that are currently on the Council’s housing register. This will be addressed by a policy in the pre-Submission Local Plan and would support the general aim of the plan to improve the quality of life and health of the residents of the District and ensuring a high standard of design.

11.10 These standards aim to future proof new development in a sustainable way ensuring adaptability to changing needs and achieving longevity of design.