North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options

North Somerset Local Plan Preferred Options: Consultation Draft March 2022

Life Prospects

Policy DP42: Affordable housing (including rural exception schemes)

The affordable housing target for North Somerset 2023-2038 will be 4,802 dwellings.

Affordable housing provision will be expected to be met on site unless off-site provision or an appropriate financial contribution can be robustly justified and the agreed approach contributes to the creation of mixed and balanced communities.

Affordable housing provision will be sought to meet local needs on alldevelopments of 10 dwellings or more (or on sites of 0.5 hectare or above), and 5 dwellings or more within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Council will seek a minimum 40% affordable housing from eligible developments. A minimum of 25% of all affordable housing units secured through developer contributions should be First Homes. The remaining affordable housing will be provided as 90% social rented and 10% shared ownership.

The precise size and type of affordable housing to be provided on individual sites will be determined through negotiation, guided by the Local Housing Needs Assessment, data from the housing needs register, and local housing needs surveys. Where a site is unable to deliver the affordable housing required by the policy, it will be subject to detailed financial viability assessment.

Proposals for rural exceptions schemes for 100% affordable housing to meet local needs will be supported where:

  • The development meets an identified local need demonstrated by an up-to-date needs survey or other evidence;
  • The development is supported or initiated by the local community;
  • The site search has followed a sequential approach with priority given to sites within settlement boundaries, sustainability principles, and avoiding sensitive locations;
  • The scale of development is appropriate for the location; and
  • The affordable housing is provided in perpetuity.

Justification

Affordable housing is defined as housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market (including hosing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers) and which complies with one or more of the following definitions:

a) Affordable housing for rent.

b) Starter homes.

c) Discounted market sales housing.

d) Other affordable routes to home ownership.

The West of England Local Housing Needs Assessment (ORS June 2021) provides the evidence for North Somerset relating to the plan period 2023-2038. The figures are 2020 based and the study will need to be refreshed as the government's housing need calculation is adjusted on an annual basis.

In 2020 the standard method calculation identified a minimum local housing need figure of 20,475 over the plan period (this reduced to 20,085 in 2021). The population projected need identified in the study was 13,295 dwellings. This means that the minimum housing need figure in effect provides 7,180 dwellings for additional inward migration.

The components of need are summarised as follows:

 

Affordable housing need

Total affordable housing

Total market housing

Total housing

 

Unable to afford market rent

Affordable home ownership

     
 

Social rent

Affordable rent

       

Local housing need

2,445

925

1,553

4,923

15,551

20,475

% local housing need

11.9%

4.5%

7.6%

24.0%

76.0%

100%

% total affordable

49.7%

18.8%

31.5%

100%

-

-

Based on the evidence provided by the LHNA the Council will seek affordable housing contributions of 40% from development sites. This is expected to address current affordable housing need (1151 dwellings) and housing needs expected over the plan period (2,203 dwellings).

The threshold for contributions is taken from government guidance in relation to 'major development' of 10 or more dwellings or site areas of 0.5ha or more. Within designated rural areas the Council may set a lower threshold of 5 units or fewer. Within North Somerset this relates to the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where there are affordability issues, very few larger development opportunities. Within this area the threshold will be 5 dwellings.

All sites will be subject to a viability assessment. This analysis will take into consideration existing use values, as well as other site-specific factors. The assessment will be made having regard to the residual land value once the cost of development has been deducted. Where appropriate the Council will consider the introduction of market recovery mechanisms where viability is constrained by current market conditions.

The government requires that a minimum of 25% of all affordable housing units should be First Homes. First Homes are included within the definition of affordable housing and must be discounted by a minimum of 30% against the market value and subsequently, the first sale of the home must be at a price no higher than £250,000.

The proposed tenure split between social rented and shared ownership reflects the LHNA evidence. Many affordable homes are available for families and local school places are key to ensuring that families do not need to travel to secure a local education.

Detailed delivery of the policy will be set out in a new Affordable Housing SPD.

Given the affordable housing problems facing rural communities and the lack of sustainable opportunities to develop, the Council will support the delivery of rural exceptions sites for 100% affordable housing to meet identified local community needs. When assessing potential sites, it is important to balance the need for affordable housing with sustainability principles and other planning considerations. This may mean that the site assessment may conclude that affordable housing is best provided in a higher order settlement to meet the needs of the surrounding rural areas. Rural exceptions sites will be acceptable adjacent to settlement boundaries or elsewhere adjacent to the main body of the settlement.

Policy DP43: Gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople.

Suitable sites will be identified to meet the needs of Gypsies, travellers and

travelling showpeople as set out in the North Somerset Gypsy and Travellers

Accommodation Assessment and any subsequent reviews.

The following considerations will be taken into account in the determination of proposals:

  • Preference given to brownfield sites; and
  • Adequate provision for storage and maintenance where needed for Travelling Show people;
  • Safe pedestrian and vehicular access into and out of the site;
  • Impact on the character and amenities of adjacent property and the local area;
  • Proximity of the site to local services and facilities;
  • Screening of the site, visual and landscape impact;
  • Provision of appropriate services and infrastructure;
  • Adequate provision for parking, turning and servicing;
  • Easy access to the major road network, particularly accessibility to M5 junctions for transit sites;
  • Sites are inappropriate in the Green Belt.

Justification

National planning policy for Gypsy, travellers and travelling showpeople is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Policy for Traveller Sites and all new sites will be expected to meet the requirements of national policy. New pitches and plots should have adequate utility services and amenity space, safe turning space and parking and be in areas with reasonable access to schools, health services and local services. Travelling Showpeople sites may also need space for related business storage.

Government guidance requires local authorities to consider the accommodation needs of Gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople. The North Somerset Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) (2017) identified the need for 22 additional residential pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and 2 additional plots for Travelling Showpeople within North Somerset up to 2036.

An update to the GTAA due to be published in 2022 will identify the need for additional residential pitches for Gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople. These will be guided by the criteria-based policy and may take the form of either extensions to existing site, or new sites.

While Gypsy and travellers are different to travelling showpeople, their site requirements raise similar issues, so the locational requirements are addressed in the same policy. The criteria set out in the policy will be used to guide the approach.

The policy will apply throughout the district and planning applications from the Gypsy community will be encouraged. Future needs for Gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople will be assessed through need assessments and will be used to justify future provision. If sufficient finances are available and suitable sites available, the Council will seek to provide pitches.

Policy DP44: Accessible and adaptable homes

On residential development sites of 10 dwellings or more the following proportions of accessible and adaptable homes will be required:

  • For market housing within a scheme 50% of homes will be required to meet Building Regulations M4 (2) category 2 standard (to be ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’) and a further 10% will be required to meet Building Regulations M4 (3) category 3 (‘wheelchair user dwellings’)
  • For affordable housing within a scheme 80% of homes will be required to meet Building Regulations M4 (2) category 2 standard (to be ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’) and a further 20% will be required to meet Building Regulations M4 (3) category 3 (‘wheelchair user dwellings’).

These targets reflect the standards set out in Building Regulations 2010 Approved Document Part M: Access to and use of buildings and will apply to any subsequent legislation on making homes accessible and adaptable.

Justification

The Government’s reform of Health and Adult Social Care is underpinned by a principle of sustaining people at home for as long as possible. This was reflected in the recent changes to building regulations relating to adaptations and wheelchair accessible homes that were published in the Building Regulations 2010 Approved Document Part M: Access to and use of buildings (2015 edition incorporating 2016 amendments – for use in England).

Three standards are covered:

  • M4(1) Category 1: Visitable dwellings – Mandatory, broadly about accessibility to ALL properties
  • M4(2) Category 2: Accessible and adaptable dwellings – Optional, similar to Lifetime Homes
  • M4(3) Category 3: Wheelchair user dwellings – Optional, equivalent to wheelchair accessible standard.

In terms of new developments, Part M states that: ‘Where no condition is imposed, dwellings only need to meet requirements M4(1) (paragraph 0.3). Local authorities should identify the proportion of dwellings in new developments that should comply with the requirements for M4(2) Category 2 and M4(3) Category 3 as part of the Local Plan, based on the likely future need for housing for older and disabled people (including wheelchair user dwellings) and taking account of the overall impact on viability.’

Planning Practice Guidance for Housing explains that local authorities are expected to plan for households with specific needs and therefore need to be able to quantify the volume of demand.

The Local Housing Need Assessment identifies that the number of households over the plan period where an existing illness or disability affects their housing need will be 16,647 households of which 960 are households likely to need wheelchair adapted housing.

Furthermore, the LHNA identifies that the population of North Somerset aged 75+ is likely to increase by around 10,092 between 2023 and 2038 and there is already a shortfall in the provision of housing for elderly people over just over 4,500 in North Somerset.  The provision of more accessible and adaptable homes ensures more choice for older people to live independently for longer which reduces the pressure on the care system.

The proportions set out in the policy reflect the potential need for accessible and adaptable homes over the plan period. The higher requirement for affordable homes reflects the LHNA conclusion that ‘the rates of limiting long-term illness or disability affecting housing needs are much higher in the affordable tenures (affordable tenures are more than three times more likely to need an adapted home), the evidence supports consideration of a high proportion of affordable homes being built to at least M4(2) standards where viability allows, perhaps as much as 100%.’

Policy DP45: Residential space standards

Planning applications for new residential development (including residential extensions, residential conversions and residential accommodation falling outside Use Class C3) should meet the Nationally Described Space Standards. All rooms which are additional to the main living space will be regarding as having the potential to serve as a bedroom and as such will be required to meet the NDSS regardless of the description on the planning application.

Residential conversions should meet the NDSS. However, where it is genuinely not practical to fully meet the standards due to limitations caused by the existing structure of the building, and where the overall design and standard of accommodation provided by the scheme is of a high quality, this will be taken into consideration when determining the application.

Justification

It is important to ensure that new homes are of an adequate size and layout to provide high quality, functional homes that meet the needs of a wide range of people and take into account how those needs might change over time. This should apply to development at all scales, from large strategic sites down to infill development.

The increasing pressure to deliver homes leads to increased pressure to deliver smaller homes. This could result in housing that is unacceptable in terms of internal space because it doesn't offer appropriate living standards or meet the national aim that everyone should have access to a decent home. The pressure to make efficient use of land, and the fact that higher density development is to be encouraged, makes it particularly necessary to ensure that the internal living environment of new homes is acceptable.

The government introduced a nationally described space standard in March 2015. Local authorities had the option to adopt the nationally described space standards or have no space standard at all; space standards cannot be set locally. The Council carefully considered the local need for space standards and the viability impact of taking such an approach and decided to adopt the nationally described standards in the previous Local Plan. It is felt that this approach should be continued but the wording of the policy has been made more specific to ensure space standards are being properly met.

This will ensure that new developments are designed and built to provide adequate, flexible space for occupants. It will be important to ensure that designs maximise the useable space within housing, through functional layout, and provide scope to adapt and modify housing to meet future requirements.

The policy has also been extended to include conversions to ensure that any new homes provided as a result of the conversions of existing buildings are also of an adequate size and provide a decent quality of accommodation and standard of living for the future occupiers.

Policy DP46: Homes for all

Housing mix

New residential development is required to deliver a wide choice of homes to meet a range of accommodation needs as set out in the Local Housing Needs Assessment. New development should provide a mix of housing tenures, types and sizes appropriate to the site size, characteristics and location.

Developments of 100 dwellings or more will be required to include provision for older persons accommodation such as in the form of retirement accommodation or supported independent living.

Within Nailseaon major development schemes no more than 20% of the proposed dwellings should be4 bedrooms or more (after taking account of the affordable housing requirements).

Self-build and custom build housing

Proposals for self-build and custom housebuilding will be supported. On development sites of 100 homes or more 5% of the total homes should be made available for sale as serviced self-build and custom housebuilding plots. For phased developments, self-build plots must be delivered and serviced at the earliest stage possible.

Plots must be made available and priced and marketed appropriately as self-build or custom build plots for at least 18 months.

Community-led housing

Proposals for community-led housing will be supported because of the benefits they are expected to bring in terms of community cohesion, permanent affordability and sustainable development.

Supported Accommodation:

The Council will seek to ensure there is an appropriate range and supply of residential accommodation for people with specialist and vulnerable needs.

Separate detailed policies within this plan cover older persons accommodation, gypsy, traveller and travelling showpeople, accessible homes and space standards.

Justification

The types, sizes and tenures of homes required to meet needs are identified through the West of England Local Housing Needs Assessment (LHNA). This includes accommodation needs of families, older people, people with disabilities, service families, people wishing to build their own home and students. The Council will have regard to the findings of the LHNA when determining the right balance of homes in new developments and applicants are encourage to discuss housing mix at an early stage.

From the Local Housing Needs Assessment we know that in our district over the 15-year period 2023-38 there will be:

  • An overall growth of 12,000 households.
  • Single person households are just over a third of the overall household growth (3,800) with the majority (2,140) being single people aged over 75.
  • Couples without dependent children represent almost a tenth of the growth (1,100) and are comprised of 4,510 households over 65, offset against a reduction of 3,450 in younger age groups.
  • Families with dependent children comprise two fifths of the overall household growth (4,900).
  • Other types of household contribute a further 2,200 households.
  • Overall, 82% of the household growth is for households aged over 65, suggesting homes meeting older persons requirements are a priority.

The LHNA states that provision of homes to meet older person requirement should be a priority and this policy requires residential developments of over 100 dwellings to contribute towards meeting that need.

A flexible housing stock will help meet the wide range of accommodation needs so we will expect new homes to be flexible, accessible, adaptable and age friendly and have included relevant policies within this plan to ensure the delivery of this mix of homes. New homes should support the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life.

In most cases the accommodation needs of different groups will be met as part of the general housing supply within the overall assessed housing need (use class C3 dwelling houses) through a mixture of different tenure, size and designed homes. Exceptions to this include residential care or nursing homes and traveller accommodation.

Self-build and custom housebuilding is a key element of the government's agenda to increase supply and tackle the housing crisis. Self-build and custom housebuilding is defined in the Housing and Planning Act as '...the building or completion by (a) individuals, (b) associations of individuals, or (c) persons working with or for individuals or associations of individuals of houses to be occupied as homes by those individuals. But it does not include the building of a house on a plot acquired from a person who builds the house wholly or mainly to plans or specifications decided or offered by that person.'

As required by the Self Build and Custom House Building Act 2015, a register is kept of individuals and associations who have expressed an interest in acquiring serviced plots for self and custom build. The intention of the Act is that local planning authorities grant suitable development permission for serviced plots to match demand on their register, although there is no mechanism for ensuring applications come forward.

Community-led housing projects can be delivered through a number of approaches, including group self-build and cohousing. Community led housing requires that meaningful community engagement occurs throughout the process, with the local community group or organisation ultimately owning or managing the homes to the benefit of the local area/ specified community group. It can provide many benefits, for example enabling communities to deliver projects that meet local needs, giving greater social benefits including community support for older people.

Some of our community need accommodation that caters for their specific needs. This is often for more vulnerable members of our society, such as those who are homeless, people with physical or mental health issues, people with learning difficulties, people with substance misuse problems, young people at risk, ex-offenders and those at risk of domestic violence. These groups often needing specialist housing which offers on site support. This includes hostels, refuges, residential institutions and other supported or specialist housing.

In determining the appropriate use class for self-contained facilities, the Council will consider whether the development will be a registered location with the Care Quality Commission, the degree of care, and the proportion of units for which care is likely to be available. In some cases a development may be deemed to provide units within both the C2 and C3 Use Classes and some may be deemed to be 'sui generis'.

To create inclusive communities, this type of accommodation should be located in accessible areas with links to public transport and local facilities.

Where a proposal for supported residential accommodation involves the conversion of an existing dwelling, regard should be given to Policy DP4: HMOs and residential subdivisions. Other relevant policies will be taken into account when considering if a proposal is appropriately located, for example impacts upon transport, local amenity and the character of an area.

Policy DP47: Older Persons Accommodation

The Council will seek to ensure there is a sufficient supply and range of housing and accommodation suitable for older people.

Development proposals to meet the specific accommodation needs of older people will be supported where the development:

  • Demonstrates that it will contribute towards meeting an identified need within the area and is targeted towards the needs of local residents;
  • Is accessible to public transport, shops, services, community facilities, and social networks appropriate to the needs of the intended occupiers;
  • Will be suitable for the intended occupiers in terms of the standard of facilities, the level of independence and the provision of support and/or care;
  • Provides appropriate facilities for carers and visitors; and
  • Provides internal and external communal space as appropriate, including space that gives residents the ability to grow plants and food.

The Council will seek an element of affordable housing provision for older persons as part of appropriate market-led developments for older people.

Proposals that will result in the loss of residential accommodation for older people will be resisted unless:

  • The existing provision is surplus to identified needs within the district;
  • The existing provision is incapable of meeting contemporary standards for the support and/or care required and appropriate alternative provision is available and has been secured for the occupants; or
  • The loss is necessary to enable the provision of accommodation for older people which is better able to foster independent living and meet changes in the support and care needs of the occupants.

Where the Council is satisfied that development involving the loss of accommodation for older persons is justified, the priority will be for an alternative form of supported housing or general housing (Use Class C3) including an appropriate amount of affordable housing.

Justification

The Local Housing Needs Assessment identifies that for North Somerset the number of over 75s in North Somerset is projected to increase by approximately 10,100 with 5,700 of those over 85 over the period 2020-2035. The assessment states that ‘overall, 82% of the household growth is for households aged over 65, suggesting homes meeting older persons requirements are a priority.’

The Local Housing Need Assessment also identifies that there is already a shortfall in the provision of housing for elderly people with an unmet need of just over 4,500 homes currently in the district. 

As a result of these findings North Somerset has commissioned an Older Persons Housing Needs Assessment to provide more detailed evidence of the accommodation needs of older people in the district over the plan period and this policy will be updated to reflect the findings of this study.

It is likely that there will need to be a wider mix of housing and accommodation options for older people aged 55 or over. This will include supporting people to live well in their own homes, but also requires the provision of a mix of purpose-built housing types and tenures that will facilitate ‘downsizing’/’rightsizing’, creating a climate where moving in later life becomes a realistic and positive choice. The availability of a range of suitable accommodation options for older people can help release family accommodation, improve quality of life and reduce the need for residential care. In addition, some older people require levels of care not normally provided at home (such as a result of a fall or a hospital admission). More specialist forms of housing for older people, including extra care housing, have the potential to provide the level of support needed to help people to remain part of the community and maintain independence for longer through the integration of accommodation and care. The availability of such housing can help reduce hospital admissions and enables discharge of older people from acute hospital beds.

From a land use planning perspective, specialist housing/accommodation for older people will include development falling within both Use Classes C3 and C2. Examples of the types of housing and accommodation that will be covered by this policy include:

  • Age restricted occupancy housing commonly known as retirement housing (Use Class C3) - accommodation where an age restriction is placed on occupants who live independently in self-contained homes.
  • Warden assisted housing (Use Class C3) - clusters of accommodation where people live independently in self-contained homes where a warden is contactable between specified times to manage communal areas and may check on residents. Sometimes a communal meeting lounge and gardens are provided.
  • Sheltered housing - clusters of accommodation where people live independently in self-contained homes where low intensity support is available, sometimes on site (usually within Use Class C3). Often with a communal meeting lounge, guest room and gardens.
  • Extra-care/assisted living homes (also known as close care, very sheltered or continuing care housing) - independent living in purpose built self-contained homes but designed to enable a range of care needs to be provided as occupiers’ needs increase, with on-site care facilities available (up to 24 hours). On-site facilities may also provide support for older people in the wider community. Shared lounges, dining areas and other social and leisure facilities are sometimes provided. Extra-care/assisted living homes normally fall either within Use Class C2 or C3, this varies depending on the level of care provided and whether overnight care is available.
  • Residential/nursing homes (including end of life/hospice care and dementia care) where higher intensity care is available 24 hours - commonly bedsit rooms with shared lounges and eating - this may involve residential care only, nursing homes staffed by qualified nursing staff, or dual-registered care homes where medical assistance is provided to occupiers that need it (care homes are usually within Use Class C2).

Development that attracts additional care users into the district is likely to have a significant impact on Council resources. The Council will therefore expect development proposals for housing and accommodation for older people to be supported by evidence demonstrating that they are targeted towards and will contribute towards meeting the district’s identified needs. The Council will require, as a minimum, that the accommodation is marketed and made available for sale or rent within the district for a period of at least 6 months before it is marketed more widely.

Policy DP48: Residential annexes

Proposals for residential annexes will be permitted within settlement boundaries provided that they are of a good quality design and do not cause significant adverse impacts on the living conditions of adjoining occupiers.

Outside settlement boundaries annexes will only be permitted where:       

  • They have a functional link with and be ancillary to the principal dwelling. This means that the occupants of the annexe would rely on facilities within the main dwelling or would require the support of its occupants or vice versa; 
  • They are in the same ownership as the principal dwelling and remain as such;
  • They are within the curtilage of the principal dwelling and share its vehicular access;
  • They are well related to the principal dwelling. Annexes should be a physical extension to the principal dwelling wherever possible. If it is not possible to extend the dwelling then clear justification must be provided to demonstrate why the annexe needs to be within a separate building;
  • It does not exceed 50% of the footprint of the existing dwelling and it should be demonstrated how it can be incorporated into the main dwelling when there is no longer a need for the annexe;
  • Have no boundary demarcation or sub division of garden areas between a curtilage annexe and principal dwelling; and
  • Be of a scale subservient to the principal dwelling and comply with the Council’s normal design standards.

Parking for residential annexes should meet the Council’s parking standards.

Justification

Residential annexes provide a way of supporting older people or other family members who need limited support to live relatively independently but with relatives on hand to provide care as required.

Within settlement boundaries, subject to other policies in the plan, in particular those regarding design and ‘garden grabbing’, annexes will be permitted as conversions, extensions or in the form of new detached buildings within the grounds of existing dwellings.

However, there is concern that the promotion of residential annexes in the countryside could lead to unsustainable development in isolated or rural locations if annexes are subsequently sold or let as separate residential dwellings. In order to address these concerns applicants must demonstrate that the proposed use is for a family member who needs ongoing support.  

Proposals for residential annexes in the countryside should not exceed 50% of the size of the existing dwelling at the time the application is submitted. Stricter controls are likely to apply regarding the size of proposed extensions in the Green Belt.All annexes both in the towns, villages and countryside would need to comply with design standards set out in the plan and North Somerset Council’s residential design guides.

Policy DP49: Healthy Places

To ensure the creation of healthy places and facilitate healthy living a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) will be required for residential developments of 200 dwellings or more or sites of 4ha or more and for non-residential developments sites with a floor space of 10,000m2 or more and for other developments where the proposal is likely to have a significant impact on health and well-being.  

The type of HIA required will be confirmed by North Somerset Council in consultation with the developer. The selected type will be appropriate to the scale of the development and the potential impact on health and wellbeing. 

Where significant impacts are identified, measures to mitigate the adverse impact of the development will be secured through planning conditions and/or planning obligations.  

Justification

The impact of development on human health and wellbeing is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. The National Planning Policy Framework (2021) recognises that planning policies and decisions should aim to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places.

National Planning Policy Guidance (005 Reference ID:53-005-20190722) states that 'it is helpful if the Director of Public Health is consulted on any planning applications (including at the pre-application stage) that are likely to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the local population or particular groups within it. This would allow them to work together on any necessary mitigation measures. A health impact assessment is a useful tool to use where there are expected to be significant impacts. Information gathered from this engagement will assist local planning authorities in considering whether the identified impact(s) could be addressed through planning conditions or obligations.'

HIAs give valuable information not only about potential effects of proposed development on health, but also how to manage them. It therefore provides the opportunity to change the design or other elements of a proposed development to protect and improve health. Changing a proposal as a result of a HIA means that not only is its implementation more likely to promote healthy lifestyles, but it is also less likely to cause ill-health in the community, with the consequential benefits for individuals and the wider economy and the longer-term savings to health and social care budgets.

It is important that health and a proposal's impacts on health are considered at an early stage in the planning process. HIAs should be undertaken as part of the pre-application process so as to inform and influence the proposal that is finally submitted as a planning application.

This means that adjustments can be made at the planning stage to maximise positive health impacts and to minimise the adverse effects. HIA should be seen as an iterative process rather than a one-off event. It will normally include the stages which should be set out with a timeline in any Planning Performance Agreement that has been entered into with the local planning authority.

When determining the health impacts of a development regard should be had to the information contained in the North Somerset Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and the North Somerset Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  

A Health Impact Assessment SPD will be prepared which will provide further guidance in terms of the types of HIA that may be requested and how this policy will be implemented.

Policy DP50: New educational, sporting, leisure, health and community uses

Proposals for educational, sporting, leisure, cultural, health or community facilities within settlement boundaries will be permitted provided:

  • The site is well related to the community it is intended to serve;
  • The site is in a sustainable location, with safe and convenient access including for those with disabilities;
  • The layout and design include features to facilitate combining other community needs within the same site unless this is agreed to be inappropriate; and
  • The proposal would not prejudice the living conditions of neighbouring properties.

In all cases proposals for main town centre uses will need to demonstrate that a sequential test has been applied, giving priority to sites within town or district/local centres, or failing this sites on the edge of these centres. Proposals for out-of-centre sites will only be acceptable where the above criteria are met and there is no significant adverse effect on the vitality and viability of the relevant centres. An exception to this are uses such as schools which require a specific location within a catchment area.

Facilities will only be permitted outside settlement boundaries where it is demonstrated that the scale, character or potential impact of the facility would be appropriate taking into account the above principles and that there would be no unacceptable impact on local roads.

Justification

Towns and villages are generally suitable locations for most cultural and community facilities, but it is important that the best use is made of the limited supply of land. Applicants should therefore demonstrate that they have considered the possibilities for site-sharing and optimising the use of buildings and facilities. In some cases it may be possible to successfully combine two or more compatible uses within one facility, achieving cost savings to the provider as well as a more effective use of facilities. Such possibilities should be explored.

Proposal for additional facilities should be well-related to proposed users and accessible by a choice of transport modes. Some facilities may not be appropriate within settlements given the character of the development or the impacts which may be generated such as traffic movements. Where appropriate the Council will have regard to the sequential test approach as set out in NPPF.

Policy DP51: Provision of educational, sporting, leisure, cultural, health or community facilities to meet the needs of new development

Where the local provision for education and youth provision (including school, pre-school, children and family centres, youth, further and higher educational provision), sport, recreation and children's play, health and other community facilities will be inadequate to meet the projected needs and standards of new residential development, additional provision will be sought to meet any identified shortfall.

Facilities will be provided in tandem with population growth and in safe and accessible locations that will facilitate safe routes to the venue and be directly accessible to a pedestrian and cycle network.

Justification

This plan aims to deliver 20,085 new homes in North Somerset over the next 15 years and it is vital that along with those homes the appropriate community facilities are also delivered to ensure we are creating vibrant, cohesive, sustainable places.

New housing development can increase the number of children in an area and place greater demand for pupil places in local schools and other children focused services, including children and family centres. This is particularly true at the large new strategic development areas where provision of new schools and other facilities will be included in the master planning of these areas, but smaller developments can also cause significant impacts on local facilities.

Developer contributions will be sought to meet the children and young people's educational and play needs of new developments. Depending on the extent of the shortfall and the scale of development proposed contributions could be required for secondary, primary and special schools as well as early years/preschools, youth centres, play needs and children and family centres. As well as built accommodation contributions towards improving safe routes to school or home to school transport may be required.

Schools are often focal points for communities and can provide a valuable community resource outside of school. They can act as a venue for clubs, societies and community groups as well as more active recreation and sport. The design and layout of new education facilities should therefore include features aimed at facilitating community use.

Sport, recreation and community facilities not only underpin people's quality of life but can help create diverse sustainable communities as well ensuring that biodiversity, learning and health targets are met. Community facilities are facilities that provide for the health, welfare, social, educational, spiritual, recreational, leisure and cultural needs of the community. Any lack of provision will result in future residents having to travel outside of their immediate area and the opportunity for a thriving and vibrant community will be lost.

This policy, which covers all indoor and outdoor sports facilities as well as libraries, community halls, and other community facilities, will ensure that for all residents there is safe and convenient access to these facilities, in particular those living within new development areas.

Flexible and imaginative design will create buildings and spaces which can be used for a variety of organisations, services and facilities. Facilities need to be accessible by public transport and located on cycleway/pedestrian networks and imaginative design of buildings structures and open spaces will be required so they can enhance the setting of any surrounding residential and commercial areas.

There is a strong need to support the improvement of the Public Rights of Way (PROW) network and to link facilities to the existing network.

Policy DP52: Protection of existing educational, sporting, leisure, cultural, health or community facilities

Land and buildings in existing use, last used for, or proposed for use for a  sporting, cultural, health or community facility, are protected for that purpose unless  the land is allocated for another purpose.

Development of such sites or buildings for other uses will only be permitted if  one of the following bullet points applies:

  • Where acceptable alternative provision of at least equivalent community benefit is made available in the same vicinity and capable of serving the same catchment In such cases, all of the following criteria must be met:
    1. The new site is at least as accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport;
    2. The replacement facility is at least equivalent in terms of size, usefulness, attractiveness and quality to the facility it replaces and is fit for purpose; and
    3. In the case of a replacement for an existing facility, the replacement will be available for use before use of the existing facility is
  • Where the site or building is genuinely redundant/surplus to requirements for its uses and does not comprise open space or undeveloped land with recreational or amenity A site will be deemed genuinely redundant/surplus if any of the following circumstances apply:
  1. The site is in an unsuitable location for alternative community use by reason of its distance from the local population or poor accessibility for non-car users;
  2. The space is unsuitable for appropriate alternative community use, bearing in mind the possibilities for subdivision and opportunities for shared and mixed uses, and it is not feasible or appropriate to redevelop the site for community use;
  3. Evidence is submitted that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Council, that attempts to rent/dispose of the property for community uses have failed (attempts being for at least 6 months, at normal market value for such uses). In addition, if the Council considers it appropriate, a business plan shall be produced identifying the extent and combination of usage and charges necessary to make the facility profitable;
  4. The Council, through consultation with relevant Council departments, town/parish councils, service providers and voluntary groups, is satisfied that there is no demand for any appropriate form of community facility in the vicinity.
  • Where the partial development of the site will secure the retention and improvement of the remainder of the site for community use;
  • Where proposals relate to the intensification of community use; or
  • In the case of school playing fields, where the development is for education purposes or the Department for Education is satisfied that the land is no longer required for school use and its loss would not result in a shortfall in recreational open space/playing pitches for the local

Designated community assets shall be retained in community use.

Justification

The policy reflects the importance of educational, sporting, leisure, cultural, health and community facilities and the need to protect them from development except where certain criteria apply. This approach supports paragraphs 93 c) and 99 of the NPPF.

Land or buildings will fall within the definition of this policy if they are a cultural/community leisure facility and fall under the following use classes: F1 such as schools, museum, library, places of worship; F2 such as community meeting places, local shop, community hall, park or sports pitch (whether or not provided on a commercial basis;) Ee) healthcare and childcare facilities; and pubs, cinemas, cemeteries and allotments. Utilities and other telecommunications infrastructure are also included. This definition also includes land or buildings listed as 'community assets' in accordance with the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.