All Local Planning Authority development plans include policies which require new residential development to make a contribution to the provision of affordable housing. Typically this is specified within a policy which
requires a percentage of the new homes built to be ‘affordable’, with definitions of what constitutes affordable
housing contained within these local policies and National Planning Policy Guidance. Changes in National
Planning Policy Guidance effective as of November 2014 have provided new guidelines as to when
contributions for affordable housing and tariff style contributions such as Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
can be required. This new guidance will require many Local Planning Authorities to change their approach to
requests for affordable housing and CIL contributions on schemes of less than ten houses.
Background: The requirement to provide affordable housing.
Local planning polices often identify a trigger point (number of units and/or size of application site) beyond
which affordable housing will be required. The level of affordable housing required is often incremental,
depending on the size and sometimes the location of the scheme proposed. So, for example, a policy may
state that a small scheme for two houses does not need to provide any affordable housing, a scheme for five
houses may need to provide 15% and a scheme for ten or more may require 20% affordable provision.
It is also common for different locations within Local Planning Authority areas to have different trigger points; a
scheme of five houses in a rural location may be required to provide 20% affordable housing, whereas the
same scheme in an urban part of the same district might have a lower requirement of 10%.
In order to demonstrate that the policy is viable (i.e. does not render any future development unviable due to
the demands placed on proposals) policies must be read with the caveat that the affordable requirements set
out in the policy are subject to an assessment of viability any particular site – i.e. if it can be demonstrated that
the standard policy requirements would render development of the site unviable in prevailing market
conditions, then the standard policy provision can be adjusted to reflect the particular circumstances of the
Changes announced in November 2014
Notwithstanding the above, in a move designed to reduce the financial burdens placed on small and mediumsized
development, in November 2014 the Government announced a new, national planning policy approach
which limits when contributions for affordable housing (and also tariff style contributions, such as CIL) can be
This new approach is set out at Paragraph 012 (Reference ID: 23b-012-20150227) of the National Planning
Practice Guidance document (NPPG). The paragraph states:
contributions towards affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought from
developments of 10-units or less, and which have a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than
1000sqmin designated rural areas, local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5-units or
less. No affordable housing or tariff-style contributions should then be sought from these developments. In
addition, in a rural area where the lower 5-unit or less threshold is applied, affordable housing and tariff
style contributions should be sought from developments of between 6 and 10-units in the form of cash
payments which are commuted until after completion of units within the development.
affordable housing and tariff-style contributions should not be sought from any development consisting
only of the construction of a residential annex or extension to an existing home.
The NPPG defines ‘rural areas’ as those locations identified in section 157(1) of the Housing Act 1985 as
rural. This includes:
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Any area designated by order of the Secretary of State as a rural area
This latter category includes significant areas within Norfolk, including the whole of North Norfolk district (with
the exception of several larger parishes) and many parishes within the borough of King’s Lynn. A full list of
those areas designated as ‘rural’ has been issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government
and is appended to this note (source: Planning Advisory Service website).
Exceptions to the general rule
It should be noted that the exclusions from s106 affordable housing contributions and CIL contributions set out
in the NPPG do not apply on rural exceptions sites.
These notes are for general information only. They do not cover every aspect of the subject. They do not cover all of the other subjects that may bear
on the decision to act. Professional advice should be taken in every case. La Ronde Wright Ltd does not give any warranty for reliance upon these
Please contact us if you would like to discuss how this advice affects you.
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