There are few opportunities for local people in Alderholt to access new homes that are affordable. In 2019 the Government introduced new planning rules to allow new housing that is affordable to be built on the edge of existing towns and villages across the country.
Many towns across England are now promoting sites using these planning rules to deliver much needed new housing. The planning application submitted by Sovereign Housing seeks permission to construct 34 new affordable dwellings accessed from Hillbury Road. The properties are all designed to be entry level homes.
The development of entry-level homes is in direct response to an identified need in the former Local Authority of East Dorset District Council for this type of property – this being, in the main, for local residents looking for their first home.
The proposed housing mix reflects the needs of entry-level occupants, with the plans showing a choice of 2 and 3 bedroom houses with private gardens and parking. We have detailed below how the layout of the development has been arrived at to ensure that the development works in harmony with the shape of the site and its relationship with neighbouring properties. A strong tree belt will be kept, thus enclosing the site. The existing path to the north would also be kept, ensuring continued use of this right of way.
Sovereign are a leading housing association, striving to provide quality, affordable homes in happy, successful places. We have deep roots in the south of England, with almost 60,000 homes focused in a core area covering Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, the West of England and the Isle of Wight.
We’re driven by our social purpose, with residents at the heart of everything we do. We build homes and provide great services, but our work doesn’t stop at the front door – we invest for the long-term, creating great places to live, working with residents and partners to support them in realising their potential. Our core mission is to be a leading landlord, providing great service to our residents and customers. But as well as quality housing services we offer a range of services, investing in communities, to help people and their neighbourhoods be the best they can be.
The scheme will provide 34 new homes consisting of a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom houses, 27 of the homes will be available for rent and 7 for Shared Ownership. These homes will be available for local people registered on Dorset Council housing waiting list and who have a housing need. Dorset use a choice-based lettings scheme, which means that available properties are advertised through their website.
Shared Ownership involves Sovereign partnering with you to share the cost of buying your own home – you pay for the part you can afford and we’ll pay for the part that’s left. It’s an opportunity to buy the home that’s right for you without needing the large deposit or the mortgage that goes with it. You buy a share in your home that’s right for you. That could be from 25% up to 75% initially. You’ll pay a reduced rent to us on the share we own as well as a monthly service charge.
Sovereign Housing Association will manage these homes once built, with residents having 24 hour access to the Housing Response team. All services will be provided by locally based housing staff with a proactive approach to managing our properties including addressing any potential neighbourhood issues.
Sovereign Housing builds new homes to the highest of modern standards with exceptional levels of insulation and renewable energy features resulting in homes that are very cheap to run and maintain.
These homes will meet the Governments minimum space standards and will be built in accordance with Sovereign’s Homes and Place Standard. This standard marks Sovereign’s commitment to building and maintaining good quality homes and better places to live. Whilst we have always striven for high standards in our developments, this new approach will underpin how we invest in our homes and how we build new homes.
The ‘entry-level exception sites’ policy (which is derived from National Planning Policy) is a mechanism to deliver housing schemes on non-allocated land on the edge of cities, towns and villages which is aimed at first-time buyers or first-time renters.
The policy provides an opportunity for properties for first time buyers and first time renters where the Council have been unable to deliver affordable housing on other schemes. In support of the planning application an analysis of the Council’s provision of affordable housing has been undertaken. Dorset Council is required to deliver, in the former area of East Dorset, 198 affordable homes a year. This target hasn’t been met – detailed below is the Council’s actual provision of affordable housing over the last 6 years;
If the 198 affordable homes target per annum had been met, the Council would have delivered around 1,188 affordable homes by the end of the last published monitoring year. However, just 372 have been delivered, representing less than a third of the target.
It is clear that there is an unmet need for affordable housing in the local area and this application will make a significant contribution to resolve this unmet need.
The planning application for an entry-level exceptions site will be considered in the same way as any application. However; the National Policy specifically allows for dwellings to be built outside the settlement boundary and as such applications must be judged on the same planning considerations as sites located within the town centre.
Already there have been appeal decisions that supported the provision of entry-level housing and recognised the importance of delivering affordable housing. A similar proposal to the Hillbury site in the Wiltshire Town of Semington recently received planning permission on Appeal where the Local Planning Authority refused the application. The Inspector considered that the harm associated with the proposal, which included entry-level housing in open countryside, outweighed the Local Plan policies that restricted development in that area. The decision sets out the importance of delivering homes for first-time buyers and first-time renters.
The project has been carefully designed to create an attractive environment for residents and neighbours. The dwellings have been arranged in a traditional way to address the street and thus ensure good surveillance of the public realm. Further surveillance would also be introduced over the public right of way to the north, thanks to the location of units 9-12 and 30-34.
Generous private gardens would further separate properties, with the rear gardens along the southwestern side of the site abutting the rear gardens of existing properties along Hillbury Road. This would lead to a wall-to-wall separation distance of c.32m at the closest point between units 3-5 and No.7 Hillbury Road. This is a very generous separation for a suburban environment that well exceeds the 21m standard and means a comfortable relationship would subsist.
The proposed dwellings are also shown to be arranged such that they would enjoy a comfortable relationship between each other. Sufficient separation and the positioning within plots would ensure a high level of mutual amenity. Windows have been arranged so as to not facilitate any harmful mutual overlooking.
Every house will have 2 allocated parking bays and there are many additional spaces in parking courts and road side across the development for larger households and visitors. Every house will be provided with a secure bicycle storage shed in their back garden.
The proposed main point of access to the site is via the existing vehicular access used by No. 17 Hillbury Road. This access will be improved to accommodate the vehicular movement rates associated with the development. A Transport Statement accompanies the planning application to demonstrate that safe access and egress from the site will be achievable.
For further information regarding this proposal, please contact Brett Spiller at Chapman Lily Planning on 01929 55 38 18.