Important changes to affordable housing requirements at East Devon

Five-year housing supply East Devon District Council is now in an even stronger position to defend the district from non-sustainable development. Changes arising from permissions granted since March 2014 and an up to date Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) means we can now clearly demonstrate a 5.45 year housing land supply including a required 20% buffer. This is a significant improvement on the previous position of between 3.51 and 3.83 years.

However, once the new Local Plan has been adopted, this new figure will rise again, due to the inclusion of proposed allocations that could not previously have been incorporated because of uncertainty over their delivery. Once this has happened, we will be in the position of having a housing land supply of almost six years.

The improved housing land supply figure will have a positive impact on housing restraint policies, which can now be fully implemented.  For example, policies relating to Built-up Area Boundaries (BUABs) will now carry greater weight and proposed developments that do not meet the necessary BUAB requirements can be resisted more strenuously.

Changes to affordable housing allocations

Up until now, East Devon has sought 40% affordable housing (Policy H4) provision on development schemes across the district. This was because we previously believed that the new Local Plan on affordable housing provision, until it was adopted, did not carry significant weight to change the provision. However, a recent resolution by the Secretary of State (in agreement with the inspector) to approve an application for a development of 430 dwellings, a local centre and a care home at Pinn Court Farm, Pinn Hill, Exeter, subject to it having a 25% affordable housing provision, has changed our approach.

On the basis of the Secretary of State’s decision (together with the Inspector), all future affordable housing requirements will be subject to two tiers of provision, depending on the location of the development:

  • 25% - This will apply to developments in Axminster, Exmouth, Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton and other major strategic developments within the growth point.
  • 50% - This will apply to all other parts of the district.

However, developments outside Built-up Area Boundaries, will need to be treated as an exception and will require an  affordable housing requirement of 66% under a previously adopted cross subsidy scheme designed to encourage the provision of affordable housing.

Affordable housing provision is still subject to thresholds set down recently in government guidance which dictate the scale of developments where affordable housing can be required, these are as follows:

Exmouth, Honiton, Seaton and Sidmouth

Number of dwellings 1-5: no affordable housing

Number of dwellings 6-10: no affordable housing

Number of dwellings 11+: affordable housing (on site provision)

Rest of Devon (rural areas)

Number of dwellings 1-5: no affordable housing

Number of dwellings 6-10: affordable housing (contribution only)

Number of dwellings 11+: affordable housing (on site provision)