Waveney Local Plan

Housing Mix

8.4 The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to identify the size, type and range of housing required. The National Planning Practice Guidance states that once identified, the objectively assessed need should be broken down by household size and type.

8.5 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017) applies a model to provide this break down of sizes and types of housing. A key finding was the need for smaller units across the district in the form of 1 and 2 bedroom properties. The assessment identified that across all tenures at least 35-40% of new housing should be 1 or 2 bed properties. This is consistent with the findings of the previous Strategic Housing Market Assessment which confirms a long term need for more smaller properties. Previous Local Plan policies have required between 30% and 40% of new units to be 1 or 2 bed and monitoring through the Annual Monitoring Report suggests this approach has been successful. Provision of smaller properties in rural areas is particularly important given affordability problems and under-occupancy of existing properties.

185 Lowestoft Housing

8.6 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017) provides a useful starting point for the consideration of the size and types of dwellings to be provided. However, needs can change and vary from site to site as local requirements change. There also may be a particular market demand for certain types of property in a specific location. Therefore, some flexibility is required. It is therefore advisable for developers to have pre-application discussions with the local planning authority to help determine the exact mix of properties on a development site.

8.7 Policy WLP8.1 below sets out the Council's approach to securing a mix of dwellings on development sites. It requires at least 35% of dwellings to be 1 or 2 bed dwellings, and requires consideration of the findings of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

8.8 Waveney has an ageing population. The number of people over the age of 70 is projected to increase by nearly 12,000. Waveney also has a high proportion of households with a disabled resident with 40% of households in the District having at least one resident with a disability. National planning policy allows local planning authorities to set optional technical standards for new housing. One of these standards relates to accessibility and wheelchair housing standards. The optional technical standards for accessibility in dwellings are set out in Document M of the Building Regulations 2010. This includes both M4(2), accessible and adaptable dwellings and M4(3), wheelchair user dwellings categories. Policy WLP8.2 applies the M4(2) standard to 5% of new properties. Exceptionally, due to the topography of the site or flood risk where it is not possible to achieve step-free access, these requirements will not be imposed.

8.9 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment also identified the need for different types of specialist housing including, sheltered housing and extra care housing. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017) identified a potential need for 1197 sheltered and extra care housing. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment also identifies a need for 905 additional spaces in care homes and nursing homes over the plan period. Larger sites, which are often developed by a number of developers, provide an opportunity to help deliver this need through the provision of a retirement community. The affordable housing policy (Policy WLP8.2) below requires a proportion of affordable housing to be of this type. Given the growing market for this type of product it is likely that the market will deliver this type of housing on some of the other sites allocated in this Local Plan.

8.10 Neighbourhood Plans may identify specific localised needs for certain types of dwellings. Where local evidence has been prepared, Neighbourhood Plans can take a different and more detailed approach to housing mix and type to that set out in Policy WLP8.1 below. 

Policy WLP8.1 - Housing Mix

The mix of sizes and types of units on any particular site should be based on evidence of local needs including the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and in consultation with the local planning authority.

Proposals for new residential developments will be permitted where at least 35% of new dwellings on the site are 1 or 2 bedroom properties.

All new housing developments on sites with a capacity of 20 dwellings or more must make provision for 5% of all dwellings to meet Requirement M4(2) of Part M of the Building Regulations for accessible and adaptable dwellings. Dwellings that meet Requirement M4(3) of Part M of the Building Regulations will be supported and can count towards the requirement above.

Neighbourhood Plans can set out a different approach to housing type and mix which reflects local circumstances.