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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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Chapter 11

Housing

Relevant Strategic Aims

b. Social and welfare, d. Community identity, h. Resources, k. Culture and language

Policy Objectives
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Policy List
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  1. HOUSING REQUIREMENT - to ensure that the number of new houses built in the plan period meets the needs of the existing population without exceeding the environmental limits of individual settlements to absorb further growth

  2. DISTRIBUTION - to ensure that most new housing is located close to employment areas and existing community facilities and services

  3. SUSTAINABLE USE OF LAND - to ensure that the amount of greenfield land developed for new housing is kept to a minimum and the best use of brownfield sites is made

  4. CHOICE - to ensure a range of house types and tenure which meets the needs of the local population including affordable housing

HSG1 New Housing Development Proposals

HSG2 Housing at Croes Atti, Flint

HSG2A Strategic Mixed Use Development: Land North West of Garden City

HSG2B Former Holywell Textile Mill

HSG3 Housing on Unallocated Sites Within
Settlement Boundaries

HSG4 New Dwellings in the Open Countryside

HSG5 Limited Infill Development Outside Settlement Boundaries

HSG6 Replacement Dwellings Outside Settlement Boundaries

HSG7 Change of Use to Residential Outside Settlement Boundaries

HSG8 Density of Development

HSG9 Housing Mix and Type

HSG10 Affordable Housing Within Settlement Boundaries

HSG11 Affordable Housing in Rural Areas

HSG12 House Extensions and Alterations

HSG13 Annex Accommodation

HSG14 Gypsy Sites

HSG15 Re-use/Conversion of Large Houses/Former Residential Institutional Buildings Outside Settlement Boundaries

Indicators of Policy Performance

Targets

  1. Amount and proportion of new housing built on brownfield land
  2. Completions on windfall sites
  3. Average density of development
  4. Amount and proportion of affordable housing on large housing sites
  5. Overall need for affordable housing assessed through County housing needs survey
  6. 5 year supply/completions
  7. % affordable housing provided on all large development sites
  8. % growth in defined settlements through dwelling completions and permissions since the 2000 baseline relative to the indicative growth band
  9. Number of homes approved on unallocated sites
  10. Number of homes approved on infill sites and in small villages
  11. Updated urban/rural capacity study
  12. Average house prices/rents relative to average income levels

TARGET 6: Achieve a minimum of 30 houses/ha on all allocated sites

TARGET 7: Achieve 30% affordable housing on all large housing sites

 

11 Housing

Introduction

11.1 Planning Policy Wales (2011) states that “the planning system must provide for an adequate and continuous supply of land, available and suitable for development to meet society’s needs. It must do this in a way that is consistent with overall sustainability principles and objectives” (1.2.2).

11.2 It is one of the core functions of the UDP to assess and meet this need, and housing provision represents one of the most intensive and contentious uses of land that the Plan has to cater for. The Plan has a duty to ensure an adequate supply of land for housing, but it must do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that maintains the viability and character of settlements, communities, and the countryside.

11.3 This chapter deals with the quantity, location and quality of housing to meet future needs in Flintshire. Sites are identified to accommodate new housing development, commitments in the form of sites with planning permission and/or carried forward from existing plans are taken into account, and assumptions are made about the likely contribution to supply from windfall and small sites. Policies also highlight the limited circumstances in which housing development is permitted outside settlement boundaries, and others give weight to social considerations and in particular the provision of affordable housing. Other related policies in the Plan provide guidance on related issues such as design, environmental and transportation issues, the provision of infrastructure and community and leisure facilities, and developer contributions.

11.4 The UDP’s strategy for housing provision has been expressed through its Part I policy STR4 Housing, which outlines the key aims for the detailed policies within this chapter:

 

National and Regional Planning Policy

11.5 UDP’s are required to take account of the Welsh Government’s latest household projections when making future provision for housing, but projections are only one input into the process. The Government has indicated that the traditional ‘predict and provide’ approach to future housing provision is no longer appropriate, and that Local Authorities should take account of various social, economic, and environmental capacity issues in making their housing assessments. Linked to this is the need to ensure effective monitoring of these issues to ensure adequate supply of land (and buildings) is maintained and to ensure the management of their release. As Planning Policy Wales states “local planning authorities must ensure that sufficient land is genuinely available or will become available to provide a five year supply of land for housing”.

11.6 National Planning Guidance emphasises the need to provide for as much new housing as possible within urban areas. This includes the use of derelict, unused or waste land (brownfield land) as well as the reuse of buildings. The aim is to promote regeneration and reduce the pressure for development on greenfield sites and the open countryside.

11.7 National Planning Guidance also requires local authorities to apply a search sequence in identifying sites to be allocated for housing in the UDP. This means that previously developed land or under-used buildings, including surplus employment land, should be allocated for housing before new greenfield sites.

11.8 The promotion of mixed use developments, reduced car parking requirements, the encouragement of higher densities and quality design, providing for a choice of housing (including affordable), and protecting cultural and community identity, are also National Policy objectives.

11.9 The Plan’s preparation and progression has also taken into account the Wales Spatial Plan, particularly in respect of North East Wales.

 

Flintshire Context

11.10 Flintshire’s population was estimated to be 147,100 in 2000 and is projected to increase to 153,200 by 2015 according to the Council’s own projections. These figures represent the best available information at the time of the Plan’s preparation, and have been used due to the lack of availability of reliable household projections from the National Assembly. It is clear from these figures that Flintshire’s population is likely to generate a significant need for new dwellings over the Plan period, a projected demand of 7,400 dwellings over the life of the Plan. This will cover predominantly the needs of local people, but also allows for the needs of those who move into the area. Flintshire has a history of net in-migration which is a reflection of its border location, relative economic prosperity and attractive environment. The Plan’s projections have assumed an average level of in-migration that is consistent with the average annual trend experienced through much of the 1990s.

11.11 Projections are not the only consideration however, in arriving at Flintshire’s UDP housing requirement. However, in taking into account various factors such as the availability and choice of sustainable housing sites, house building rates, house prices, and the external pressure for development due to Flintshire’s border location, the forecast requirement of 7,400 new homes is considered to be appropriate. The amount of new housing that can be allocated in Flintshire has ultimately been informed by the ability of its towns and main villages to sustainably accommodate new housing development, with projections used as a benchmark against which this assessment has been compared.

11.12 A broad brush assessment of Flintshire’s settlements has been undertaken in terms of the amount of new development that could be sensibly and sustainably accommodated. A wide range of factors such as the availability of community facilities and services, the suitability of road access and infrastructure, public transport, and environmental constraints, have been taken into account in making this assessment.

11.13 This assessment helped inform the categorisation of settlements into a three tier classification. In drawing up the Plan, each settlement has been given an indicative growth band, reflecting their relative growth potential based on an assessment of capacity (see table 1). Flintshire’s main urban settlements contain a range of services and facilities, with town centres comprising significant concentrations of retail and commercial premises. Their proposed growth band is between 10% - 20%. The second category includes the larger villages (all over 200 dwellings) with a good nucleus of facilities, easily accessible by public transport and which have some potential for growth (8% - 15%). Policy HSG3 requires that any development proposals resulting in a growth of more than 15% will need to be justified on the gounds of housing need. The small villages category includes the smallest settlements which generally have poor accessibility to public transport, poor facilities, and many are constrained by environmental designations. Any growth in this band will generally be restricted to a maximum of 10% of the existing housing stock where possible and new development will also need meet proven local needs.

Table 1 - growth bands for settlements

Category A - urban (10 - 20% growth)

Buckley

Holywell

Shotton/Aston

Connah’s Quay

Queensferry

 

Flint

Mold

 

Category B - semi-urban / main villages (8 - 15% growth)

Ewloe

Mancot

Northop

Broughton

Garden City

Carmel

Saltney

Leeswood

Caerwys

Mynydd Isa

Sychdyn

Treuddyn

Hope/Caergwle/ Abermorddu/Cefn-y-Bedd

Northop Hall

Gwernymynydd

Bagillt

Sandycroft

New Brighton

Penyffordd/ Penymynydd

Drury & Burntwood

Ffynnongroyw

Hawarden

Gronant

Pentre

Greenfield

Mostyn (Maes Pennant)

 

Category C - small villages (0 - 10% growth)

Higher Kinnerton

Rhosesmor

Afonwen

Pentre Halkyn

Coed Talon/Pontybodkin

Pontblyddyn

Gwernaffield

Cymau

Cadole

Pantymwyn

Gwaenysgor

Alltami

Penyffordd

Gorsedd

Whitford

Trelawnyd

Nercwys

Bretton

Trelogan/ Berthengam

Nannerch

Dobshill

Rhydymwyn

Halkyn

Llanfynydd

Flint Mountain

Ffrith

Ysceifiog

Rhewl Mostyn

Rhes y Cae

Cilcain

Lixwm

Llanasa

Brynford

Talacre
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Gwespyr
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11.14 This classification recognises that settlements have differing opportunities and constraints for development, and allows a sustainable basis on which to distribute and control the rate of housing development within the Plan period, whilst at the same time maintaining the environmental, social, and cultural qualities of Flintshire’s settlements, particularly the smaller villages.

11.15 Due to individual constraints that include the availability of suitable sites, access, and the capacity of the highway network, it has proved difficult to find appropriate new sites in some settlements, and the suggested growth band level has not been achieved. In others it has been exceeded, particularly as a result of existing housing commitments.

 

Housing Requirement

11.16 The settlement strategy of the UDP sets out a framework to allow for a sustainable level of growth in Flintshire. Arising from this, a key concern expressed in the preparation of the UDP, has been the desire to reduce house building rates in Flintshire in order to avoid perpetuating past high levels of housing development, which are regarded as being unsustainable. This would complement the reassessment of the supply of employment land in the UDP, reflecting the relative consolidation of Flintshire's economy which seems likely to occur over the next few years. The Plan therefore seeks to provide primarily for local need, and a reasonable amount of in-migration. The issue of house price increases and social exclusion are to be addressed through a firm approach to securing affordable housing.

11.17 The approach to housing should also give consideration to the need to avoid overdevelopment in villages, and to protect against providing for displaced housing demand from Cheshire, especially in the border areas around Chester. In the past such demand has led to excessive growth in some villages which cannot be sustained.

11.18 Taking these factors together, a housing need of 7,400 dwellings is proposed for the Plan period. This provides for the needs of local people, but also allows for some net in-migration, reducing past trend levels which have been shown to produce unsustainable housing growth. As an annual average, this figure represents 493 new dwellings per year throughout the Plan period, 16% below Flintshire's average housing completion rate for the five year period up to the start date of the Plan. This approach is wholly consistent with that set out in the adopted Regional Planning Guidance for North Wales (para. 7.3 Housing Provision in UDPs...) and which has been followed by other Local Planing Authorities in North Wales.

11.19 The Plan, in its first 5 years has ‘underperformed’ in that it has underprovided for around 500 houses. This element of the supply still needs to be provided for in the remaining Plan period if the Plan is to achieve its objectives. Additional capacity has arisen in the form of a large mixed use part brownfield site at Garden City. The combined effect of these two elements is that it is now possible to achieve the Plan’s original projected need of 7,400 in a sustainable manner. This approach represents a move away from the traditional ‘predict and provide’, and towards the ‘plan, monitor, manage’ method, in which the Plan has taken a more cautious approach to the provision of housing land on the basis that the implementation of the Plan will be more closely monitored through its monitoring framework and any trends or performance issues identified will be addressed through regular reviews of the Plan.

 

Housing Supply

11.20 There are many factors and assumptions which need to be taken into account in considering how the requirement for 7,400 new houses will be met within the Flintshire UDP. Whilst a significant proportion of the provision will involve identifying sites to accommodate new housing, there are also other considerations such as existing commitments and development of the existing housing stock through conversion, empty/derelict homes, and changes of use.

11.21 This section presents the housing ‘balance sheet’, taking the identified need of 7,400, and explaining how this has been met from existing known or anticipated supply, and the residual which the UDP will have to provide as new sites. The key elements in the balance sheet are:

11.22 The following table (2) quantifies the above supply elements and deducts them from the housing need figure to leave the number of new houses that need to be allocated on new sites in the UDP. The table has been amended to reflect the position set out in the 2010 Housing Land Availability Study. This will enable the changes that have occurred in the first ten years of the Plan period, since the base date (2000) to be taken into account in determining the residual requirement to be met through new housing allocations.

Table 2: UDP Housing Requirement ‘Balance Sheet’

As at Apr 2010 with revised requirement

 

Requirement (2000-2015)

 7,400

 

Less completions:

2000-2001

474

2001-2002

239

2002-2004

621

2004-2005

347

2005-2006

318

2006-2007

317

2007-2008

494

2008-2010

478

 

3,288

 

Revised requirement:

4,112

 

Less commitments and allowances:

 

Sites with PP & in Adopted Plans

1,938

Sites allocated in Unadopted Plans (dNFLP only)

0

Small Sites Allowance (9 units or less) 60/annum

0*

Windfall Allowance (10 units or more) 50/annum

250

 

2,188

 

Residual requirement:

1,924

 

New allocations remaining in UDP**

2879

 'Over' allocation

955

For which a 10% flexibility allowance accounts for

740

Further flexibility

215

Actual Flexibility Allowance

13%

N.B. Includes strategic mixed use development Land North West of Garden City (HSG2A)

* An allowance for small sites is already included within the 1,938 figure

** UDP allocations without planning permission and including 650 units at North West of Garden City

 

11.23 The revised balance sheet shows that at 2010, taking into account the completions in the first ten years of the Plan period, there is a revised requirement of 4,112 units. Existing commitments (planning permissions and existing allocations) together with allowances for the development of small sites and windfall sites over the remaining Plan period, already account for 2,188 units or 53% of the revised requirement. This is sufficient to ensure that land is genuinely available or will become available to provide a 5 year supply of land for housing.

 

New Housing Sites Provision

11.24 The County Council has adopted a sequential approach to the assessment of potential new housing sites as set out in Planning Policy Wales, which has included a reassessment of existing employment sites. Surveys have been undertaken to assess the availability of suitable brownfield land for housing development, and whilst potentially significant areas of former or underused industrial land exists within Flintshire, these sites are not suitable for housing development due to the combined constraints of highways access and flood risk. Where possible, suitable brownfield sites have been allocated, and of the new sites allocated in the Plan, brownfield (or part brownfield) sites account for 37% of the total.

11.25 The sites identified in policy HSG1 and HSG2A are sufficient to provide 2,879 units based on the working densities applied to each site (30/ha in category A, B and C settlements. Clearly this exceeds the housing residual figure (1,924) by 955 which equates to an 13% ‘overprovision’ or flexibility on the residual figure sought. Whilst it is not the intention of the Council to deliberately provide an oversupply of sites, the flexibility in the new sites provision is necessary to account for any unforeseen issues or constraints that may arise with certain sites resulting in slippage in some sites coming forward for development. The level of flexibility allowed for equates with standard practice in most development plans.

 

Policies

HSG1 New Housing Development Proposals

Land has been allocated for new housing development on the following sites, as shown on the proposals map:

Ref.

Settlement

Site

Area (ha)

Total units

Brown-field

 Category A settlements

1

Buckley

Mount Pool

0.8

15

b/f

2

Buckley

Whitley’s depot, Padeswood Road

0.89

27

-

3

Buckley

Well Street

5.4

162

-

4

Buckley

Somerfields

0.4

30

-

5

Connah's Quay

Highmere Drive

5.4

162

-

6

Connah's Quay

Llwyni Drive

4.6

138

-

7

Connah's Quay

Adj. Fairoaks Drive, Mold Road

2.9

87

-

8

Connah's Quay

Ffordd Llanarth

0.67

20

-

9

Flint

North West of Cornist School

1.0

30

-

10

Flint

Halkyn Road

1.6

48

-

11

Holywell

Lluesty Hospital

1.7

70

b/f

12

Holywell

East of Halkyn Road

1.5

45

-

13

Mold

Taylor's Tiles

0.1

18

b/f

14

Mold

Queens Park, Hendy Road

1.7

51

-

15

Mold

West of St. Mary's Park, Ruthin Road

1.5

45

-

16

Mold

Upper Bryn Coch Lane

1.0

15

-

Category B settlements

17

Bagillt

Wern Farm

1.5

 45

-

18

Broughton

South of Retail Park

9.4

235

-

19

Broughton

Compound Site

1.8

54

b/f

20

Caerwys

Summerhill Farm, Drovers Lane

1.8

54

b/f

21

Drury & Burntwood

South of Clydesdale Road, Drury

1.7

51

-

22

Ewloe

West of Ewloe Green Primary School

0.8

24

-

23

Ewloe

South of The Larches

1.2

14

-

24

Ewloe

Rear of Bon Accord, Holywell Road

1.1

27

-

25

Greenfield

Greenfield School

0.4

12

b/f

26

Gronant

East of Gronant Hill

0.9

27

-

27

Hawarden

Overlea Drive

1.9

48

-

28

Hope

Bridge Farm, Fagl Lane

1.9

57

-

29

Hope

West of Abermorddu School

1.3

39

-

30

Leeswood

Former Laura Ashley site

1.0

30

b/f

31

Mostyn

Ffordd Pennant West

1.8

 54

b/f part

32

Mynydd Isa

Rose Lane

1.9

57

-

33

New Brighton

Rear of/ including New Brighton Service Station

1.1

33

b/f part

34

Northop

Connahs Quay Road

1.8

45

-

35

Northop Hall

Cae Eithin Farm

3.1

93

-

36

Penyffordd

White Lion

4.4

132

-

37

Penyffordd

Wood Lane Farm

7.1

213

-

38

Sychdyn

Former sewage works, Wats Dyke Way

2.1

63

-

Category C settlements

39

Coed Talon

Station Yard/Depot

1.9

57

b/f

40

Higher Kinnerton

Main Road

1.2

36

-

41

Pen-y-Ffordd

Llys Dewi

0.5

15

-

 

11.26 The majority of new sites allocated are sustainable extensions to existing settlements and urban areas, where the sites are within category A or B settlements, are within or abut settlement boundaries and adjoin existing development which can facilitate access and provide connections to essential infrastructure. These sites also have good access to other facilities and services and are well served by public transport. The remaining sites allocated are on greenfield sites on the edges of existing settlements.

11.27 Of all the new sites allocated in the UDP, six large brownfield/urban extension sites (99 or more houses) account for 36% (1,042) of the total new site allocations. Three of these sites provide 462 dwellings, and are located in the main settlements of Buckley and Connah’s Quay. The remaining sites are located in sustainable category B settlements (Broughton and Penyffordd/Penymynydd).

11.28 Overall, 31% of new sites are allocated in the category A main settlements and 66% in the category B settlements (including Land NW of Garden City – HSG2A). The remaining 3% are allocations in category C rural villages, and represent three sites in three separate villages, three of which are brownfield site opportunities.

11.29 This distribution reflects the desire to control the rate and distribution of development in the County, ensuring that the level of proposed development is appropriate to the scale and character of each settlement. There are only a few instances where rural villages make any significant contribution to the overall housing requirement, and there are specific and sustainable reasons for each of these. Policy HSG3 seeks to monitor and control the distribution and level of growth in category B and C settlements by requiring, in certain circumstances, new housing to be justified on the basis of local needs.

11.30 On large sites and on sites where there are particular development requirements to take into account, a development brief will be prepared by the Council outlining the issues involved and the requirements for dealing with those issues as part of any development proposals. These will form part of supplementary planning guidance produced to support the Plan and will be material considerations in determining applications relating to the development of the sites in question. It is recognised that several of the sites are adjacent to Natura 2000 sites. Detailed development proposals on such sites will be rigorously assessed as to their impacts on international nature conservation designations and are likely to require Appropriate Assessment.

 

Other key policies:

 

HSG2 Housing at Croes Atti, Flint

New housing will be permitted as part of the mixed use development at Croes Atti, provided that:

  1. it provides a mix of house types, including an appropriate proportion of affordable housing;
  2. it is developed in phases during the Plan period; and
  3. it represents an exemplar development in terms of its quality and the innovative nature of its design, layout, form and function.

11.31 This is a large mixed use development site originally allocated in the North Flintshire Local Plan and carried forward into the UDP. Outline planning permission for the development of the site has been granted, and so this policy is designed specifically to establish the requirement for a clear development framework for the site.

11.32 The Council will ensure that complementary recreational, social, retail, and community facilities are provided simultaneously with the development of new houses by planning and agreeing the development from the outset. The Council is seeking an exemplary development on this site that will set new standards relating to the concept, design, form, layout and function of the development, which will be applied where appropriate on other development sites in Flintshire.

11.33 The location and extent of land uses within the site and the means of delivering them in the future, including the protection of landscape features, have been set out in a detailed development brief for the site, which has been agreed between the Council and the developers as a basis on which to develop this site. Whilst developers must be guided by the requirements of this brief, the Council are prepared to consider alternative and complementary proposals in the form of a detailed design statement based on the latest available design guidance such as that found in TAN12 and best practice elsewhere.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG2A Strategic Mixed Use Development: Land North West of Garden City

Land to the North West of Garden City, as shown on the Proposals Map, is allocated as a Strategic Mixed Use Development site. Development will be phased over the Plan period and should comprise the following key elements:

  1. 20-25 hectares of housing land (at least 650 dwellings), 30% of which will be sought as affordable housing;
  2. 98 hectares of employment land predominantly for B8 uses, supported by B1 and B2 uses;
  3. The provision of enhanced and/or new school facilities, health facilities, a community building, convenience retail provision, civic space and other related community requirements;
  4. 40 hectares of parkland area comprising informal, formal and equipped public open space with appropriate pedestrian and cycle linkages to the housing, employment and surrounding areas;
  5. Improved points of vehicular access to the site including the potential upgrading of the Drome Corner interchange to provide for afull grade separated interchange;
  6. Other improvements necessary to the highway infrastructure and local highway network to accommodate the likely traffic generated by the development;
  7. Incorporation of a SUDS drainage system and improvements necessary to the existing drainage infrastructure to accommodate the development;
  8. Enhanced public transport provision and linkages to the site.

Detailed proposals will need to demonstrate that the proposed development incorporates appropriate and acceptable flood risk mitigation measures, in accordance with the development solution identified and agreed with the Environment Agency Wales in the flood consequences assessment carried out to support the allocation of this site.

A detailed development brief will need to be produced and agreed, which will contain a master plan for the overall development, a design statement, and a schedule identifying the phasing of development and associated infrastructure improvements required at each stage.

Detailed development proposals will be required to demonstrate that the proposed development will not have a significant adverse effect on water resources through the submission of a water abstraction / resources assessment.

11.34 The land North West of Garden City occupies a strategic location, not only within Flintshire, but also in a national and sub-regional spatial context. Located adjacent to one of the region’s principal centres of employment (Deeside Industrial Park), the site sits strategically within the wider Deeside area, and is well served by both public transport and the local and trunk road network.

11.35 The site comprises significant areas of both brownfield and under utilised land, which is sequentially preferable for the development of a range of uses. Given these sustainable advantages the site is well placed to accommodate a mix of uses, subject to overcoming the impacts of two key issues, the risk from flooding given the site’s C1 flood zone designation, and the volume of traffic likely to be generated by the development and the capacity of the network to accommodate this.

11.36 Comprehensive studies have shown that both of these issues have been assessed and are capable of being overcome to the satisfaction of the responsible agencies, to allow the Local Planning Authority to fully justify the allocation of the site for a mixed use development. Comprehensive reports are available as background documents to fully support the allocation of the site for mixed use development.

11.37 It is only on the basis that the consequences of flooding have been robustly assessed and can be managed down to a level which poses minimal risk to life, minimal impact and disruption to people, property and flood risk generally, that residential development is considered acceptable on this site. This is based on the Environment Agency’s advice and acceptance of the flood consequences assessment and the measures it proposes.

11.38 The promotion of the site for mixed use development is seen as the best and most sustainable way to bring forward economic development opportunities to sustain the development of Flintshire’s economy and that of the wider sub-region, whilst at the same time achieving other sustainability objectives of locating housing close to employment, minimising the need to travel by car, using previously developed land, and building a cohesive community.

11.39 The relative balance of employment uses should be established as part of the process of producing a development brief for the site, and will take into account factors that include the Council’s economic aspirations for the site, market demand, compatibility with other uses, traffic generation and impact, and the phasing of employment development relative to other uses and infrastructure improvement.

11.40 In terms of the mixed uses for the site the policy sets out the main component uses that will be described in more detail via the development brief, master plan and design statement. Any proposals for uses not specified in the policy, will need to be linked to the development in terms of the need for them, and also justified in terms of their appropriateness relative to relevant national and local planning policies. Whilst policy HSG2A is intended to identify and guide the provision of the key requirements for the development of the site, this will also be guided by the production of a comprehensive development brief, master plan and design statement, which will draw on key information already prepared as part of a detailed planning appraisal of the site, and will support the submission and determination of subsequent planning applications.

11.41 It is recognised that the site is adjacent to Natura 2000 sites. Detailed development proposals on the site will be rigorously assessed as to their impacts on international nature conservation designations and are likely to require Appropriate Assessment.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG2B Former Holywell Textile Mill

Land at the former Holywell Textile Mill, as shown on the Proposals Map, is allocated as a mixed use development site. Development should comprise the following key elements:

  1. high quality, high density housing development;
  2. tourism development;
  3. other commercial development.

provided that development:

  1. enhances the tourism potential of the Greenfield Valley;
  2. does not harm and where possible enhances areas or features of landscape, townscape, nature conservation and historic value;
  3. incorporates pedestrian and cycling links with the surrounding area; and
  4. incorporates high quality hard and soft landscaping.

A detailed development brief will be required to be produced and agreed which will contain a master plan and detailed design statement.

11.42 The former Textile Mill site represents an opportunity for a high quality, high density mixed use scheme which can make a contribution to the housing needs of both the locality and the County whilst, at the same time, helping to facilitate tourism or other commercial development which would enhance both the tourism attraction of the Greenfield Valley and its unique heritage value. At the present time the site comprises derelict and under used land and buildings some of which have heritage value. Studies have been carried out which show that the best and most sustainable way to promote the site and attract a high quality development which will protect the heritage value of the area, is through a mixed use scheme. In essence, it has the potential not only to bring about the development of the site but also to bring about the wider regeneration of the locality.

11.43 However, in the absence of detailed proposals or a development brief at this time, it is difficult to quantify either the overall mix of development which might be attracted to the site or to quantify the individual elements given the character of the site and its surroundings and the mix of constraints present. The policy therefore allocates the site as a mixed use development site and gives an indication of the range of likely acceptable uses on it. Such an allocation will enable a higher profile to be achieved by the site in terms of attracting developer interest whilst ensuring that the Council retains control over the exact scale and nature of development proposals. Whilst policy HSG2B is intended to identify and guide the provision of the key requirements for the development of the site, this will need to be supplemented by the production of a comprehensive development brief and design statement focusing on the heritage value of the site and setting out the manner in which the development of the site should come about. This will form the basis of any subsequent planning applications.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG3 Housing on Unallocated Sites Within Settlement Boundaries

On unallocated sites within settlement boundaries, new housing, the change of use of non-residential buildings to dwellings, the renovation or replacement of existing dwellings, and infill development will be permitted provided that:

  1. in category C settlements it is the renovation or replacement of an existing dwelling or it is to meet proven local needs and cumulatively does not result in over 10% growth since 2000.
  2. in category B settlements it is the renovation or replacement of an existing dwelling or where it would cumulatively result in more than 15% growth since 2000 the development is justified on the grounds of housing need, and
  3. where a housing development is acceptable in principle in category A, B and C settlements:
  1. it does not result in tandem development or overdevelopment in relation to the character of the site and surrounding area;
  2. it does not conflict with the UDP housing provision for the County over the Plan period; and
  3. the proposal complies with policy GEN1.

11.44 Settlement boundaries define the outer limit and form of the main built up areas of a town or village. They have been defined to enclose the main concentration of dwellings which forms the nucleus of a settlement. Sporadic groups of houses and ribbons of development in most cases have not been included within settlement boundaries.

11.45 In most circumstances it will be appropriate to allow residential development within towns and villages that have identified settlement boundaries. Any proposal should be proportional to the size of settlement and should not overwhelm smaller villages or represent overdevelopment due to the proximity of one dwelling to another. Proposals to develop large windfall sites will be considered in relation to the availability of allocated sites and their impact on the overall UDP housing provision.

11.46 The Plan is generally permissive of housing development within settlement boundaries subject to ensuring that there is no oversupply of housing in the County in the context of the housing requirement figure of 7,400 for the County for the plan period, as detailed in policy STR4. The Plan’s strategy seeks to direct new development to those settlements, having regard to the settlement categorization and the ability of each settlement to sustainably accommodate new growth. Levels of growth significantly in excess of the indicative bands, weakens the spatial strategy and its aim of concentration of development in the larger more accessible areas. In order to promote sustainable development and control the location of development, the policy incorporates a robust regulatory mechanism to constrain growth in the smaller settlements.

11.47 In category C settlements, criterion c. makes it clear that additional housing will only be permitted if it is to meet proven local housing needs and that this cumulatively should generally result in less than 10% growth. In some instances there may be arguments for a higher rate of growth to enable social inclusion, but such cases should be treated as an exception to the policy. The approach is in line with national policy which recognises that whilst there is a particular problem with housing affordability in the rural areas, there is also a need for development to embody sustainable principles.

11.48 In category B settlements, where there are more services and facilities, criterion b. is clear that additional development which would cumulatively result in more than 15% growth, would need to be justified on the grounds of housing need. Justification in terms of meeting housing need would include both local housing need and/or an explanation of why the development needs to take place in a category B rather than a category A settlement, perhaps it would include the redevelopment of a brownfield site. Again this approach is in line with national policy and would direct development to the larger villages in the rural areas where the local community, its economy and services could be supported by additional growth.

11.49 Where a housing proposal is made to address identified local housing needs it will be required that the applicant specify what the housing need is that they are seeking to address. If the proposal seeks to provide a home for an essential worker whose employment requires that they live in a specific locality then it will be necessary that the applicant submits details of their employment in support of their application. The LPA will consider the need for a functional and financial test to establish that the need is genuine and whether a person engaged in the enterprise is required to live at or very close to the place of work. If the proposal seeks to provide a home or homes to satisfy the affordable housing needs then it will be necessary for the applicant to provide the following information to support development proposals as follows: the number of dwellings; the size of dwellings; an estimated sale/rental cost for dwellings; indication of measures to put in place to retain the affordability of the property; and justification for the proposed sale/rental costs by way of a summarised financial appraisal of the proposed development. In both cases where the LPA resolve to grant planning permission the LPA will seek to apply conditions and where appropriate legal requirements to ensure that any subsequent local needs housing delivered is retained for as long as required by the community.

11.50 To act as a safeguard and to monitor the success of the policy the percentage growth for each settlement from the 2000 base line will be monitored on a yearly basis having regard to the factual findings in the annual Joint Housing Land Availability Study.

11.51 Tandem development, consisting of one house immediately behind another and sharing the same access, is considered unsatisfactory because of the difficulties of access to the house at the back and the disturbance and lack of privacy suffered by the house at the front.

11.52 New development outside settlement boundaries will be resisted except in certain specific cases outlined in policies that follow.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG4 New Dwellings Outside Settlement Boundaries

New dwellings outside settlement boundaries will only be permitted where it is essential to house a farm or forestry worker who must live at or very close to their place of work and not in a nearby dwelling or settlement, provided that:

  1. the proposal is accompanied by an appropriately completed questionnaire, which will be the subject of an independent assessment of the functional and financial need for the dwelling in relation to the enterprise;
  2. the need cannot be met through the economic conversion and reuse of existing buildings on site;
  3. there has been no prior disposal of a dwelling or existing building suitable for conversion on the farm unit which could have been used to meet this need;
  4. the dwelling is sited so as to relate to buildings on the existing farm or forestry complex and that its design, scale, and appearance takes into consideration the landscape setting of the surrounding area; and
  5. the size, floorspace and type of proposed dwelling should be appropriate to that which the farm/forestry enterprise can sustain.

An occupancy condition will be imposed on the new dwelling, and the time period for an outline permission will be limited to two years, with approval of reserved matters required within two years and commencement within three years of the decision date.

Where other dwellings exist within a farm or forestry complex, the Council may seek to utilise legal agreements to control their occupancy.

Dwellings permitted as part of new farm or forestry enterprises where the case is not completely proven will, for a period of three years (or until the enterprise is fully established), be required to be of a temporary construction, and removed from site if the enterprise ceases.

11.53 Planning Policy Wales places a strong emphasis on strictly controlling the development of new dwellings in the countryside away from existing settlements identified in the UDP. Sporadic uncontrolled housing development in the open countryside would destroy its rural character, and therefore only limited exceptions will be permitted, which mainly includes essential worker housing.

11.54 This type of housing will usually apply to farm or forestry workers, who by the nature of their jobs, require a dwelling at or close to their place of work, in the absence of nearby suitable accommodation. Agricultural/forestry needs alone however, cannot justify the provision of new dwellings as retirement homes for farmers/forestry workers.

11.55 In all cases, applicants will be required to pass a strict functional and financial test to establish that the stated aims to engage in a farm/forestry enterprise are genuine and that a person engaged in the enterprise is required to live at or very close to the place of work, rather than in a nearby settlement. The Council will require the submission of a completed questionnaire to accompany a planning application, which will assist both the applicant in supplying the information in a logical manner and the Council in assessing the proposal. The information supplied will be assessed by independent consultants employed by the Council. In certain situations new dwellings could be avoided if an opportunity arises to purchase a house in a nearby village, or to convert a redundant building on site to provide suitable accommodation. Applicants will need to demonstrate that these options have been explored prior to proposing a new dwelling. The Council may undertake a full investigation into the history of the holding, where it is concerned about a possible abuse of the planning system and lack of need for the proposed dwelling. This will look at the recent pattern of use of land and buildings, and whether any dwellings have been recently sold from the holding.

11.56 The design of new dwellings should be of a good standard and take account of the setting and landscape, including the proximity of any adjacent older agricultural buildings. Dwellings should be of a size that is commensurate with the functional requirements of the enterprise. Dwellings that are unusually large in relation to the needs of the enterprise, or which are unusually expensive to build in relation to the income it can sustain in the long term, will not normally be permitted.

11.57 Where the proposed dwelling relates to a newly established farm or forestry enterprise, the Council will grant a temporary permission for the first three years for the use of a caravan or other form of temporary accommodation on the site, to allow time for the enterprise’s long term viability to become established. The granting of successive extensions to a temporary permission will generally not be acceptable.

11.58 Any permission granted under this policy will be the subject of an occupancy condition, which will require that the occupancy of the new dwelling, and if appropriate other dwellings on the holding, is restricted to essential workers and their dependants. The Council considers it reasonable for an essential worker dwelling to be commenced within three years of any outline permission. If not, the essential need will be called into question.

 

HSG5 Limited Infill Development Outside Settlement Boundaries

Outside settlement boundaries infill development for one or two housing unit(s) may be permitted, provided that the proposal is to meet a proven local housing need and:

  1. comprises a small gap which is not an important landscape, nature conservation, historic or other amenity feature within a clearly identifiable small group of houses within a continuously developed frontage;
  2. does not constitute, or extend existing, ribbon development which would be detrimental to the character and appearance of open countryside, and does not create fragmented development; and
  3. respects adjacent properties and the surrounding area in terms of its siting, form, design and scale, and does not represent overdevelopment of the site.

11.59 In the absence of significant housing allocations in the rural areas, and recognising the need to strictly control housing development outside settlement boundaries, there is also a need to ensure some opportunities exist for small-scale development to take place to meet the social and economic needs of rural areas. Any new development in rural areas should be well related to the existing pattern of settlements, reducing the pressure for sporadic and isolated development.

11.60 This policy provides limited and strictly controlled development opportunities in rural areas, by restricting new dwellings to single unit infill development within small groups of houses outside settlement boundaries. These groups of houses are not defined in the Plan and each development proposal under this policy will be considered on its own merits. In line with the requirements of HSG3 regarding new housing within category C settlements, any new houses permitted in the form of infill development in small groups of houses will be required to meet local housing needs. If the proposal seeks to provide a home for an essential worker whose employment requires that they live in a specific locality then it will be necessary that the applicant submits details of their employment in support of their application. The LPA will consider the need for a functional and financial test to establish that the need is genuine and whether a person engaged in the enterprise is required to live at or very close to the place of work. If the proposal seeks to provide a home or homes to satisfy the affordable housing needs then it will be necessary for the applicant to provide the following information to support development proposals as follows: the number of dwellings; the size of dwellings; an estimated sale/rental cost for dwellings; indication of measures to put in place to retain the affordability of the property; and justification for the proposed sale/rental costs by way of a summarised financial appraisal of the proposed development. In both cases where the LPA resolve to grant planning permission the LPA will seek to apply conditions and where appropriate legal requirements to ensure that any subsequent local needs housing delivered is retained for as long as required by the community.

11.61 In order to meet the requirements of this policy, a group of houses must form a continuous built-up frontage and/or a focus of dwellings for example on a cross roads, and should comprise six or more dwellings. A group of houses must not be interspersed by individual field parcels. Similarly, an infill housing plot is defined as a small gap capable of accommodating a single housing unit or two semi-detached units where this is the prevailing house type in the group or frontage, within a continuous line of built up frontages. The proposed infill dwelling must be of comparable scale, character and size to surrounding properties, and must not represent an overdevelopment of the infill plot.

11.62 Careful consideration will be given to the cumulative effect of any development proposals under this policy, on the form and character of the existing group of houses. Proposals that result in or perpetuate ribbon development will be refused.

 

HSG6 Replacement Dwellings Outside Settlement Boundaries

The replacement of a dwelling outside settlement boundaries will only be permitted if:

  1. the existing building has lawful use rights as a dwelling;
  2. the existing dwelling is habitable or capable of being made habitable without works which are tantamount to the construction of a new dwelling;
  3. the existing dwelling does not have significant local historical or architectural interest;
  4. the new dwelling is of a similar scale to that which it is intended to replace, and should reflect the character and traditional building style of the locality in terms of its siting, design, form, and the materials used; and
  5. the replacement dwelling should be located on the site of the existing dwelling. Exceptionally, an alternative location will be considered, where this is within the existing curtilage or if impractical due to physical conditions or environmental constraints on site, nearby, subject to bringing about an overall environmental improvement to both the existing and proposed site.

11.63 The replacement of derelict dwellings which have been abandoned for a long period of time and have become ruinous will not be permitted under this policy, nor will the replacement of dwellings that have been used as holiday accommodation, or other temporary uses. It is accepted that there may be occasions when an existing dwelling outside settlement boundaries is inappropriately sited or lacks facilities which makes it unsuited to modern living. In all circumstances, to satisfy the requirements of this policy an existing dwelling must have lawful use rights as a dwelling and habitable in its present state, or be capable of being made habitable according to modern standards without recourse to work amounting to substantial reconstruction.

11.64 The new dwelling should be positioned at least partly on the footprint of the previous structure unless there are good reasons to relocate the dwelling (such as subsidence). In such cases there will be a requirement that the original dwelling is demolished on occupation of the new dwelling. The replacement dwelling should not be significantly larger than the original and an increase in floorspace of greater than 50% will generally not be acceptable. The new dwelling should improve the appearance of the site and its surroundings by careful attention to scale and design appropriate for its rural setting.

11.65 Many houses, although not listed buildings, are of local historic interest and make a significant contribution to local distinctiveness by virtue of their age, use of traditional materials or vernacular design and past association with economic and cultural matters. Where such buildings are identified their demolition and replacement will be resisted.

 

HSG7 Change of Use to Residential Outside Settlement Boundaries

The change of use to a dwelling of an existing non-residential building outside settlement boundaries will only be permitted where:

  1. if suitable for employment use, the building has been advertised at a reasonable price for sale or lease for an employment generating use, for a period of at least one year without success; or
  2. residential conversion is a subordinate part of a scheme for business re-use;or
  3. the resultant housing would contribute to an identified need for affordable housing to meet local needs.

provided that:

  1. the building is structurally sound and capable of conversion without significant extension, extensive rebuilding, or external alteration. A detailed independent structural survey will be required as evidence in support of the application;
  2. the building has traditional architectural and historic features which merit retention and are retained as part of the scheme;
  3. the residential use of the building and curtilage provides adequate privacy and space around dwellings, and does not have an unacceptable effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, by virtue of its siting, scale, design, form, use of materials and landscaping; and
  4. reasonable standards of residential amenity are provided by the proposal.

11.66 The Council will give sympathetic consideration to the change of use of existing buildings of architectural or historic merit to residential uses rather than allow their deterioration. Due to the need to exercise strict control on new housing development outside settlement boundaries only buildings with worthy architectural or historic interest will be considered for conversion under this policy. If other buildings of no architectural or historic interest were considered it would lead to the proliferation of new dwellings in the open countryside which the Plan and National Planning Guidance seek to avoid. Many older traditional buildings are inherently attractive and because of the use of natural materials such as stone and slate they blend in with their natural surroundings.

11.67 National Planning Guidance gives preference to the conversion of rural buildings to employment related rather than residential uses except where residential conversion is a subordinate part of a scheme for business re-use, or is contributing to an identified need for affordable housing. This policy seeks to distinguish between rural buildings which have an existing economic use whose conversion to residential may have a detrimental effect on the local economy, and those buildings which have ceased to have an economic use. However, due to the need to diversify the rural economy, proposals must be supported by a statement from the applicant of the genuine efforts made to advertise the property for sale or lease as an employment related use, with recognised estate agents and/or in appropriate property journals, at a reasonable price, for a minimum period of one year. This will only be required when the building is considered suitable for employment generating uses having regard to the characteristics of the building, the site and surroundings, and the vehicular access and local highway network.

11.68 Not all buildings will be suitable for a change of use. Those radically altered since their original construction or of insufficient architectural merit may not be worthy of retention or too small to adapt without significant extension. The original building must be structurally sound, or capable of being made so, by works that are not tantamount to rebuilding. A structural survey will be required with all proposals to verify the condition of a building. It must also be capable of accommodating the new use without significant extensions which might destroy its character or lead to overdevelopment. The emphasis should be on retaining existing openings with only minor extensions which complement the scheme of conversion and do not detract from it. Division to more than one residential unit will depend on the size and available space around the building and its suitability for multiple adaptation. All schemes should conform to the Council’s “Space About Dwellings” standards to ensure adequate space between existing and proposed new dwellings.

11.69 In all cases, every effort must be made to ensure the stability of the building during conversion works. The full or partial collapse of the building, whatever the cause, will render the planning permission null and void.

 

Other Key Polcies

 

HSG8 Density of Development

New housing development will be permitted where the density of development:

  1. makes the most efficient use of available land;
  2. reflects the characteristics of the site and surrounding area;
  3. helps to meet the needs of Flintshire residents for a range of house types;
  4. uses high quality design principles to maximise the density of development without compromising the quality of the livingenvironment provided; and
  5. makes adequate provision for privacy and space about dwellings.

11.70 All land allocated for development should be regarded as a precious resource and used as efficiently as possible. Higher density developments can help to reduce the amount of land needed to meet future housing needs. On allocated sites a general minimum net housing density of 30 dwellings per hectare is required in category A, B and C. Developers should also aim to achieve 30 dwellings per ha on unallocated sites in category A and B settlements and 25 dwellings per ha on sites in category C settlements, but it is acknowledged that individual circumstances will vary according to the site location and the character of the surrounding area, but the Council will ensure that developers make the best use of land or buildings.

11.71 It is possible, through innovative design, to build higher density housing without compromising the overall quality of the scheme. In seeking to achieve higher densities developers must have regard to good design which maximises the use of land and creates a pleasant living environment which does not result in overdevelopment of the site, and makes adequate provision of open space.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG9 Housing Mix and Type

All new housing developments should provide an appropriate mix of dwelling size and type in order to create mixed and socially inclusive communities.

11.72 In order to meet the variety of needs in Flintshire, a range of housing must be provided on sites. The Council will expect developers to provide an appropriate mix of dwelling size and type to meet local housing needs. To ensure that mixed and balanced communities are created, new housing developments should avoid the creation of large areas of housing of similar characteristics. Through careful design and layout it should be possible to avoid a distinction between different types of housing and tenures. Further guidance on affordable housing is provided by policy HSG10.

 

HSG10 Affordable Housing within Settlement Boundaries

Where there is a demonstrable need for affordable housing to meet local needs, the Council will take account of this as a material consideration when assessing housing proposals. Where this need exists the Council will negotiate with developers to provide 30% affordable housing in suitable or appropriate schemes within settlement boundaries.

11.73 Where there is a demonstrable lack of affordable housing within a given locality the Council will enter into negotiations with the developer to secure appropriate mixes of affordable housing types and tenures as part of a new housing scheme. For the purposes of the plan Affordable Housing is defined as including both low cost market/discount housing and social housing for sale and/or rent, which is made available to people who could not otherwise afford housing available on the open market. Flintshire County Council has undertaken extensive work in assessing the Flintshire Housing Market to identify and plan for the County’s housing needs. In 2005 Flintshire launched its Housing Needs Assessment which was undertaken by the consultancy Fordhams. This study identified the need for 808 affordable dwellings each year, for a period of five years depending on the continued strength of the housing market. The housing market has changed significantly since 2004/05 and consequently the scale of demand indicated by the Fordhams study has changed.

11.74 In 2008 the draft North East Wales Market Housing Assessment (NEWHMA) was released. The North East Wales Market Housing Assessment is a joint study which has been undertaken in partnership with neighbouring Welsh authorities. The NEWHMA study concluded similarly to the Fordhams study that there are significant unmet housing needs in Flintshire. To meet identified housing needs the NEWHMA study recommended that 480 new homes be built within Flintshire every year up to the year 2021. NEWHMA recommends that 38% of all new housing built in Flintshire be dedicated affordable homes, and that there should be greater variation in the types and tenures of all homes provided to meet the needs of lower income households, single and two person households as well as elderly and disabled households.

11.75 Whilst the Council remain committed to increasing dedicated affordable housing, Policy HSG10 has been developed to cater for market changes which might otherwise make the provision of affordable housing economically unviable for a developer. In this respect the Policy seeks to provide at least 30% affordable housing on sites with a minimum size threshold of 1.0 hectare or 25 dwellings, this is significantly less than the recommendations contained within the Housing Needs Survey undertaken in 2005 but is justified by the need for a balanced policy which is considerate of inevitable and unforeseeable economic changes which can dramatically affect the viability of a development scheme.

11.76 On the basis of the identified need within the NEWHMA together with the capacity of the County to accommodate new housing development it is reasonably anticipated that the UDP could secure by way of planning condition or legal agreement some 1,000 affordable homes over the plan period.

11.77 Where schemes do not make provision for 30% affordable housing it will be required that developers ensure the proposal is sufficiently justified to the satisfaction of the Council as to why an exception to the policy should be made. The precise nature and scale of affordable housing provision will be the subject of early negotiations between the Council and the applicant.’

 

Other Key Policies:

 

HSG11 Affordable Housing in Rural Areas

Outside village settlement boundaries, proposals to develop affordable housing in rural areas will only be permitted, where:

  1. there is evidence of genuine local need for such provision;
  2. there are no suitable alternative sites or properties within settlement boundaries to meet the need;
  3. schemes abut settlement boundaries and form logical extensions to settlements, avoiding ribbon and fragmented development and incorporating suitable boundary treatment and landscaping measures;
  4. the scale, design, and layout of the proposed development are sympathetic and appropriate to the size and character of the settlement and its landscape setting, and reflect the scale of need identified; and
  5. houses will remain affordable in perpetuity for those in need, managed by a housing association, the County Council, a bone fide trust or similar organisation.

11.78 Affordable housing is particularly important in rural areas where building rates are lower and houses are generally more expensive. However, in these areas it is likely that there are insufficient housing sites available to provide an element of affordable housing within larger developments. This policy is an exception to the general principle that new housing will not be permitted outside settlement boundaries, and makes special provision to release small housing sites in rural areas outside village settlement boundaries, which would not otherwise be allocated in the UDP, and where there is a proven local need. For the purposes of this policy, “villages” are those category B and C settlements that lie within Flintshire’s rural area as defined by Flintshire’s Cadwyn Leader+ area and/or the area defined under the Article 33 Rural Areas Initiative maintained by the Welsh Government.

11.79 Sites must be located immediately adjacent to the edge of the village and respect the physical appearance and design characteristics of surrounding properties. It is not envisaged that the scale of provision on these sites will be large or out of balance with the character, form and function of the village or the existing pattern of settlements in Flintshire.

11.80 The definition of affordable housing outlined in para 11.69 applies equally to this policy, and proposals must demonstrate that there is a genuine need for this type of housing in the local area. Applicants must submit supporting evidence of need with any proposal.

11.81 This policy is intended to apply to housing schemes that can remain affordable in perpetuity, and does not apply to proposals by local people for individual self-build dwellings where satisfactory proposals cannot be made to ensure that the dwelling remains affordable in the same way. It is an essential part of the policy that occupation of the dwellings can be controlled in the long term so that successive occupants can benefit. The most practical way this can be achieved is by involving an organisation such as the County Council, a housing association or by the formation of a local trust. The organisation or the developer will be expected to enter into a section 106 agreement to ensure homes remain affordable.

 

HSG12 House Extensions and Alterations

Extensions or alterations to existing dwellings will be permitted provided that the proposal:

  1. is subsidiary in scale and form to the existing dwelling, and does not represent an overdevelopment of the site;
  2. respects the design and setting of the existing dwelling and surrounding area; and
  3. will not have an unacceptable impact on people living nearby.

11.82 A stock of varying sizes of dwellings is required to suit the needs of local people and extensions and improvements to dwellings are a legitimate means of achieving more space and functionality within dwellings. The aim of this policy is to ensure that extensions and alterations to existing dwellings, whether in the open countryside or built-up area, are designed to respect the local vernacular and enhance the existing property and surrounding area. As a general guide house extensions should not be more than 50% of the original floorspace, and extensions that are out of scale and character will not be permitted.

11.83 In considering applications the amenity considerations (of adjoining residents and of the application property) will be paramount. Whilst the planning system does not, for example, have the right to protect people’s views, this policy will prevent any detrimental impact on neighbouring properties and on the character of the property and its surroundings. Further detailed design guidance exists and will be updated by the Council as supplementary planning guidance to support this Plan.

 

HSG13 Annex Accommodation

Annex accommodation will only be permitted where:

  1. it is created by an extension to an existing dwelling;
  2. or, is a conversion of an existing building within the curtilage of a dwelling; and
  3. its usage is ancillary to the residential use of the existing dwelling.

11.84 A residential annex is accommodation linked and ancillary to a main dwelling within the residential curtilage and must be used for this purpose. Usually such annexes are used to augment the living or sleeping accommodation of the main house where the main residential rooms will remain. If the facilities in the annex become self contained from the original dwelling the Council will consider that a change of use has occurred because the accommodation is being used as a separate dwelling. There is a general presumption against new residential development outside settlement boundaries and this policy will be strictly applied in circumstances where change of use of annex accommodation is being sought.

 

HSG14 Gypsy Sites

Development of new permanent gypsy sites will only be permitted where:

  1. there is a demonstrable need;
  2. there are no suitable alternative sites either with planning permission or allocated for such uses;
  3. there is natural screening, or the site can be screened adequately;
  4. services can be provided at reasonable cost;
  5. there is no unacceptable impact on the amenity and character of surrounding areas due to noise, pollution, traffic or parking problems; and
  6. such sites should be within reasonable distance of main social and shopping facilities.

11.85 National Planning Guidance requires UDPs to make adequate provision for the accommodation needs of gypsy families. Flintshire has an existing residential site for gypsies on land adjacent to the Queensferry bypass and it is not proposed to allocate land for a further site at this time.

11.86 The need for a permanent gypsy caravan site in a particular location should be proven as the demand for such uses changes over time. This policy sets out the criteria against which any proposals for new gypsy sites in Flintshire will be assessed. The policy is concerned with a gypsy or traveller site which is intended for long term permanent residential accommodation. The Council is awaiting the outcome of an assessment of the needs of gypsies and travellers, carried out across North Wales on behalf of all North Wales Local Authorities. This information, when available, will be used as part of the evidence base against which to assess proposals for the development of new sites.

11.87 Sites should be located on or close to main gypsy travelling routes for ease of access, and should be capable of being serviced by new drainage and other necessary services without extensive new infrastructure works. Preferred locations for such sites should be near main towns where there is a nucleus of facilities capable of servicing gypsy sites.

 

HSG15 Re-use/Conversion of Large Houses/Former Residential Institutional Buildings Outside Settlement Boundaries

Proposals for the re-use/conversion of large houses/former residential institutional buildings outside settlement boundaries to dwellings will be allowed provided that:

  1. the proposal involves the conversion, renovation or change of use of a building or group of buildings within the same curtilage;
  2. the proposal retains any architectural and historic features of merit associated with the building(s);
  3. the building(s) should be capable of viable conversion without the need for substantial extension or associated new development;
  4. any new development associated with the proposal must be ancillary to the main scheme of conversion, subsidiary in scale and form to the existing building(s), does not represent an overdevelopment of the site, and respects the design and setting of the existing building(s) and surrounding area;
  5. the proposal will not have an unacceptable impact on people living nearby; and
  6. the proposal is supported by a detailed design statement.

Proposals must first demonstrate that, if suitable for employment uses, genuine attempts have been made to promote and market the building(s) for that use.

11.88 Some large country houses and former residential institutional buildings such as schools and convents may no longer have a viable existing use but nevertheless make a contribution to the setting and character of the surrounding area. This policy will allow these buildings to be converted to create several smaller dwellings, if the requirements set out in the policy are met.

11.89 These buildings are often located in rural areas and can make a contribution to the provision of affordable housing and the Council will encourage the inclusion of an element of affordable housing as part of a proposed conversion scheme.

11.90 It is recognised that many buildings falling within the remit of this policy are likely to be of historic and architectural interest. In such cases, development proposals will be assessed against the policies in the Historic Environment Chapter to ensure that the historic context of buildings is fully taken into account throughout the development process.

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