Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036

Comment ID /2274
Document Section Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 Housing (Key Questions) Policy 17 - Meeting Local Housing Needs Policy 17 - Meeting Local Housing Needs View all on this section
Respondent Mr Elliott Fielding View all by this respondent
Response Date 24 Mar 2020
What is the nature of this comment?
  • Object
Summary
It is wonderful that HDC have recognised the registered need for self and custom build homes and are now considering how to meet it. Sadly the aim to only build your own home on a large strategic site will not meet specific needs as detailed on the HDC Self and Custom Build Register.
HDC should enable those on the self and custom build register to meet their needs by widening the opportunities for such ventures beyond Strategic sites or allocations in Neighbourhood Plans.
Comment

Paragraph 6.43 does not show if Self and custom build needs have been included in this paragraph.  The known needs of an increasingly elderly population have been set out but not other known needs.  HDC hold a register of Self and Custom Build needs and charge those on it to manage the data, this should facilitate this data to be used pro-actively when seeking possible solutions to meet these known and registered needs.

Paragraph 6.47 set out how HDC envisage how Self and Custom build needs will be met, it is wonderful that HDC have recognised this registered need and are now considering how to meet it.  Sadly the aim to satisfy this demand through strategic allocations will not enable those on the register to meet their needs with regards to required location and to maintain their local connections.  If you can only build your own home on a large strategic site it may not meet specific needs of those on the Self and Custom Build Register.   Having spoken with one of the largest proposed sites development company at one of the recent exhibitions it was clear that Self and Custom Build was not going to be on their plans for at least another 4+ years and then the plots would be small with little opportunity for any self builder to influence what they would be allowed to build and there would be  no opportunity to select where on the development the plots would be allocated.  This will leave those on the self and custom build register unable to meet registered needs or to meet their daily requirements including being able to build a dedicated home office to meet work demands, have a sufficiently sized house or garden for their needs or be located in a place that meets individual, work or family needs.  It is a note of point that many of those wishing to build their own homes or to live in a custom built house are looking to do this so that specific needs and requirements can be met, some for their work, others for their and their families lives which may include features such that individual requirements can be designed and built in to the home and not thought of as an retro fit.  For example my family require a dedicated secure home office located in a space with an air gaped dedicated space that is not part of the family living environment (work has to be kept separate from family life for security reasons), space for our parents i.e. multi generational living, not all in one building/space since our parents wish to maintain optimum independence whilst they can and to increase the level of support as their health or age catches up which we can accommodate if they live in specially designed accommodation within our plot without causing us to all have to negatively impact elements of our lives or put their well-being at risk by not being able to adapt to changing needs.  Multigenerational living does not have to be all in one main dwelling and often independence a much sought after commodity of those in their senior years is greatly valued and fought for and by careful design changing and increasing needs can be met in a sympathetic way that is of benefit to all including the hard pushed care system.   This has been highlighted during the current Corona Virus Pandemic and restriction placed on what we do and how we live.  The plots on a strategic site will not be able to accommodate these specialised requirements hence why I for example am seeking to design and build my own home.

In addition another driver is the desire to build true home for life so that I can remain in my home when I or my parents/family become less able and it will be fit for any family when I move without requiring massive refit that may compromise its ability to be enjoyed. I wish to plan to be able to adapt to meet changing needs of my family and to optimise independence and quality of life for all of us and reduce the burden on the Care system and maintain independence and choice for as long as possible.

The drive for sustainability and carbon reduction is also not captured on a strategic site, I wish to include many features such as the ability to harness renewable energy and this takes space and design consideration to ensure maximised gain from things such as orientation of the building, a fabric first approach, the ability to truly specify the building so that it can exceed current building regulations, water reduction and reuse measures, and biodiversity gains.  I can’t see how I could achieve this on a small and fixed plot within a strategic development.

Biodiversity and environmental gains are easier to achieve when a larger plot is brought forwards and less feasible or achievable in a higher density situation.

Although admirable that HDC would like self and custom build opportunities to come forwards in Neighbourhood Plans this will not enable those who have a plot to meet their needs since Neighbourhood Plans have set a minimum number of houses to warrant consideration within their plans, e.g. Lower Beeding have set the minimum number of houses at 5 for allocation within their draft plan.

Neighbourhood Plans have given no attention to self or custom build needs and I do not know if HDC even gave them the known registered needs when they drafted their plans.

Legislation and needs have changed during the life of the Neighbourhood Plans, this included much greater housing figures within Horsham District, NPPF changes, Self and Custom build legislation and the national “Standard Methodology” to calculate housing needs.  Due to the nature of Neighbourhood Plans some of these things (and in those at a more advanced stage all of the above and more) have yet to be addressed.  To correct this position it will be vital that all Neighbourhood Plans are required to be reviewed once the Local Plan is live or there will be conflicts in different approached across the District.

Proposed Change i) Encourage and enable those on the self and custom build register to meet their needs by widening the opportunities for such ventures. If a site is sustainable and the proposal is low carbon and has a net bio-diversity gain, has been designed to meet a specific self or custom builder’s needs it would seem to be a waste to exclude it from consideration due to its location. A BUAB or location within a secondary settlement may be less sustainable than one that does not meet these rigid criteria that are not reflective of the NPPF.
ii) Widen the choice so that self and custom build registered needs can be met by judging them on their sustainability and ability to meet known and registered needs, as per NPPF paragraph 8, access to services and facilities and the enhancements the proposals will make to the environment, biodiversity and the housing stock of the district.
iii) Remove the restrictions placed on Self and Custom Build by removing the need for them to be delivered through strategic allocations or Neighbourhood Plans. This will enable more to come to a planning application and HDC planning Officers can use their expertise to work with applicants to make HDC the leading local authority on the delivery of sustainable self and custom build.
iv) Consider sites not in a BUAB or secondary settlement and assess their suitability to meet specific needs of self and custom builders on a case by case basis. If sustainability and quality is controlled then HDC can maintain control and ensure a balance between registered needs vs delivery against these registered needs.
v) Ensure HDC have provided Neighbourhood Plans the known registered needs when they draft or review their plans.
vi) Require Neighbourhood Plans be reviewed once the Local Plan is live or there will be conflicts in different approached across the District and ensure changes to Legislation are reflected in revised Neighbourhood Plans. This included much greater housing figures within Horsham District, NPPF changes, Self and Custom build legislation and the national “Standard Methodology” to calculate housing needs.
vii) Remove the minimum number of houses to warrant consideration within Neighbourhood Plans to enable the admirable approach HDC would like them to take with regards to self and custom build. The arbitrary minimum number of houses required by Neighbourhood Plans to be considered within the plan rules out those who have a plot to meet their needs before even considering how a need could be met.
viii) Consider treating Self and Custom Build as Windfall sites to enable a possible route they could come to completion and needs be met without needing to be allocated via Neighbourhood Plans or strategic allocations.
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