Hastings Local Development Framework - Core Strategy Informal Consultaton 27 June - 8 August 2011

Ended on the 8 August 2011

(1)4.0 Significant Policy Changes

Affordable housing - What has changed?

4.1 The ongoing provision of affordable housing is a priority in the town. Affordable housing is defined as housing available to those who are unable to access accommodation suitable for their families’ needs, at a price that they can reasonably afford on the open market, whether for rent or home ownership. It should be available at a cost low enough to be afforded by eligible households, and is determined with regard to local incomes and house prices

4.2 The 2008 Preferred Approaches document included a development threshold (15 or more dwellings) at which the proposed affordable housing policy would have been applied. Our latest research (Housing Sites Viability and the Impact of Affordable Housing Study, March 2011) however, shows that a lower threshold will allow the Council to secure affordable housing provision on a significant number of sites that at present escape any affordable housing contribution. Consequently it should result in more affordable housing being delivered. This study is available to view or download at www.hastings.gov.uk/ldf/evidence.aspx

4.3 Our revised policy approach now looks to smaller sites to make a contribution to affordable housing provision, and includes an option of financial contributions instead of on site provision in certain circumstances. The money from this will be ring fenced for additional affordable housing - providing a useful source of matched funding for partnership schemes.

4.4 In the current economic climate this will be a useful way of maximising housing delivery outcomes. However, it must be acknowledged that due to viability issues and the range of difficult to develop sites in the town, there will be a need to negotiate levels of affordable housing/ financial contributions on individual sites.

4.5 This is a complex planning issue and a Supplementary Planning Document will be prepared to provide advice and guidance to developers on how the policy will work in practice.

(14)B: Proposed Policy - Provision of Affordable Housing

(4)a) Housing developments on previously developed land (Brownfield) should make the following provision for affordable housing:

Site size range (number of net dwellings) Minimum percentage requirement On-site provision required? Yes/No Or, financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision? Yes/No


10% financial contribution







15+ or 0.5 ha or more in size (irrespective of the number of dwellings)




(6)b) Housing developments on Greenfield land should make the following provision for affordable housing:

Site size range (number of net dwellings) Minimum percentage requirement On-site provision required? Yes/No Or, financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision? Yes/No


20% financial contribution















(1)c) Affordable housing will be provided on the application site, except where the development involves 4 or less units where, a financial contribution will be required. However, where the Council determines that off-site provision can provide an equivalent or better housing solution, off-site provision or a financial contribution in lieu of on-site provision (of at least equivalent value) may be invited. This will only be done where the agreed approach contributes to the creation of mixed communities elsewhere in Hastings. This may be particularly relevant in situations referred to in paragraph (d) where a better tenure or housing mix can be achieved

d) The type and level of provision on individual sites will be determined through negotiations – taking into account market conditions. The Council’s preferred approach is for the greater part of affordable housing to be for affordable rent, although other forms may be acceptable where they would complement wider strategic priorities for tenure diversification. Schemes should enable the provision of different forms of affordable housing where necessary, avoiding the over concentration of any one tenure.

(4)e) The Council will work with the private sector and registered social providers to achieve the required level of affordable housing. If it can be demonstrated, by transparent financial evidence, that the full affordable housing contribution makes a site unviable, developers and the Council will work through a cascade3 approach until a site is made viable, whilst still retaining an element of affordable housing.

(1)f) Due to the on-going level of need in the Borough, affordable housing will normally take precedence over other types of planning contributions.

(2)g) If an allocated site comes forward as two or more separate development schemes, the Council will seek a level of affordable housing on each part to match, in total, the provision that would have been required for the site as a whole.

(5)h) Affordable homes must be well integrated within the development scheme and be indistinguishable from other tenures in terms of style, location and build quality, small clusters of affordable housing would be preferred.

(1)i) Homes should remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or if these restrictions are lifted, for the development subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

(2)j) Reflecting the targets in a) and b) as a guide, the proportion, size and form of affordable housing will, where appropriate, be indicated for each housing site proposed in the Site Allocations and Development Management Plan.

(1)k) Windfall sites4 will also be subject to this policy, as will planning applications for conversions and/or change of use which result in additional units of accommodation.

This policy will be supported by a Supplementary Planning Document giving further information together with details of Section 106 requirements

Accommodation for travelling communities - What has changed?

4.6 This is a new policy that has been included in the Plan. It sets the criteria that will be used to assess planning applications for accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople. Any proposals for individual residential plots will be assessed against this policy.

(7)C: Proposed Policy - Accommodation for travelling communities

(1)In assessing the suitability of sites for allocation for permanent residential sites for Gypsies and Travellers, and for the purposes of considering planning applications for sites for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople, proposals will be supported where the following criteria are met, the site should:

  1. respect areas of high conservation or ecological value
  2. be acceptable in respect of vehicular access and parking
  3. achieve a reasonable level of visual and acoustic privacy for both people living on the site and for those living nearby
  4. be accessible to local shops, services, schools and healthcare facilities, by walking, cycling, and public transport
  5. avoid locations where there is a risk of flooding, and is not adjacent to a potentially incompatible neighbouring use

In the case of sites for Travelling Showpeople, site suitability assessment will also take account of the nature and scale of the Showpeople’s business in terms of the land required for storage and/or the exercising of animals

4.7 In April 2011, the Government published draft guidance on “Planning for Traveller Sites”. This makes it clear that local planning authorities should set pitch and plot targets that address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of travellers in the light of historic demand and through consultation with travellers and their representative bodies.

4.8 We will undertake this type of assessment and set any targets as part of the preparation of the Site Allocations and Development Management Plan.

Housing in multiple occupation - What has changed?

4.9 We need a new policy on Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to support the council’s licensing schemes for HMOs, and to provide a basis for planning decisions. This will also support the Council’s recent decision to take away permitted development rights for dwelling houses to change to small HMOs.

What is a HMO?

4.10 In planning terms, a HMO is defined according to size. It could be a shared dwelling house occupied by between 3 and 6 unrelated people who share basic amenities such as a bathroom and/or kitchen (this is known in planning terms as Use Class C4). Larger shared houses occupied by 7 or more unrelated people are considered to be “sui-generis” use, a term given to the uses of land or buildings, not falling into any of the other use classes identified by the Use Classes Order.

4.11 There are already high numbers of HMOs in the town. The 2007 Private Sector Housing Condition Survey noted that HMOs represent 8.1% of the private sector housing stock, compared with 2% or less in the other East Sussex Districts and 2% nationally. Further 85% of HMOs are concentrated in Braybrooke, Gensing, Central St Leonards and Castle wards.

4.12 It is likely that the number of HMOs in the town as a whole will increase, driven by increasing student numbers as a result of the new University campus, changes to housing benefit and the increase need for smaller affordable units of accommodation.

4.13 While we recognise that shared housing is important in meeting the needs of some residents, we also recognise the negative effects that high concentrations of this type of housing may have on local communities.

4.14 We want to make sure that in the future, local communities are mixed and balanced in terms of both the type of housing available, tenure, and the people that live there. We do not want to see situations where more neighbourhoods become dominated by shared housing.

(11)D: Proposed Policy - Houses in multiple occupation

(1)In order to support mixed and balanced communities and maintain an appropriate housing mix within the Borough, applications for changes of use from:

  • a Class C3 (dwelling house) to a Class C4 (House in Multiple Occupation), or;
  • a Class C3 (dwelling house) to a House in Multiple Occupation in a sui generis use (more than six people sharing)

will not be permitted where:

  • more than 10% of the total numbers of properties within a 100m radius of the application property are already in use as either Class C4, mixed C3/C4 use or other types of HMO in a sui generis use.

(4)In all cases regard shall be had to the following factors:

  1. Whether the proposals would lead to a level of car-parking that would exceed the capacity of the street;
  2. Whether the proposals could provide acceptable arrangements for bin storage and other shared facilities; and
  3. Whether the design of any extension would be appropriate in terms of the property itself or the character of the area.

(2)This policy will not apply to applications for social housing, care homes, children’s homes, bail hostels and properties occupied by students that will be managed by an educational establishment.

This policy will not apply to households who have foreign students staying as guests for a set period of time.

Creating Sustainable Communities - What has changed?

4.15 Our earlier consultation grouped several environmental policies under one heading – Environmental Sustainability and Design. This has now been more appropriately re-named “Creating Sustainable Communities”, and is supported by an overall strategy policy for the management of change in a sustainable way.

4.16 Flood risk, open space and landscape protection policies have not changed to such an extent that further consultation is required.

(10)E: Proposed Policy - Strategy for managing change in a sustainable way

(2)Growth and change will be managed so that development meets sustainability objectives, avoids significant vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, supports the diverse needs of communities and provides vibrant, safe, healthy and inclusive places where existing and future residents want to live and work. This will be achieved through:

  1. (1)meeting housing needs of all sectors of the community, including the provision of affordable housing
  2. providing access to education, training and jobs and supporting the creation of new enterprises to bring economic prosperity and greater self-sufficiency
  3. supporting the social, economic and environmental regeneration of disadvantaged areas and communities
  4. enhancing the cohesion and vitality of communities, providing neighbourhoods with a vibrant mix of flexible and compatible uses, services and community facilities
  5. (3)providing accessible forms of development that reduce the need to travel by car and are integrated with public transport and other sustainable modes of travel to allow for ease of movement and provide safe environments
  6. (2)managing flood risk and reducing the potential effects of climate change on future communities
  7. (3)requiring high quality architecture and urban design which adds to local character and sense of place
  8. reducing opportunities for crime and disorder through innovative design and the clear distinction of public and private space
  9. (1)the provision of an accessible greenspace network and protection and enhancement of biodiversity
  10. (1)protecting against light, air, water, land and noise pollution.
  11. supporting the move to a low carbon economy

Green Infrastructure and Open Space – What has changed?

4.17 This is a new policy, developed to take on board best practice advised by Natural England.

4.18 The network of green spaces (also known as the green infrastructure network) which includes open spaces, woodlands, wildlife habitats, parks, recreation areas, beach and other natural areas that provide multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. The protection, management and enhancement of this network is especially important in a dense urban area like Hastings.

(15)F: Proposed Policy - Green Infrastructure

In recognition of the multifunctional role of our greenspaces, a green network comprising open space and nature conservation areas will be established to conserve and enhance priority natural areas, and the connections between them.

The network will ensure that everyone has access to natural open space, and will maximise opportunity to conserve and enhance biodiversity. New development will contribute to this network

The extent of the network will be established in the Site Allocations and Development Management Plan, and will be clearly shown on the Local Development Framework Proposals Map.

Nature conservation and biodiversity – What has changed?

4.19 The proposed policy has been amended in light of the responses received through our last consultation. It is now more relevant to local circumstances, and is clearer and more focused.

(9)G: Proposed Policy - Nature conservation and improvement of biodiversity

The town’s biodiversity and geological resources will be protected and enhanced. Priority will be given to:

  1. Protection of the integrity of the Hastings Cliffs Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and other European sites near the town
  2. (3)Conserving and enhancing protected biodiversity and geodiversity sites and features including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Local Nature Reserves, and Local Wildlife Sites, ensuring that unavoidable damage to biodiversity is minimised through mitigation, that any damage is compensated for, and that such measures are monitored.
  3. (2)Improving the integrity and biodiversity of the green infrastructure network,
  4. (1)Minimising potential impacts of new development on the Hastings Cliffs SAC through the delivery of new greenspace and through appropriate recreation management of Hastings Country Park to meet the European regulations
  5. (1)Meeting the objectives and targets in the Hastings Local Biodiversity Action Plan and habitat restoration and creation in Biodiversity Opportunity Areas
  6. (4)Protecting ancient woodland and veteran trees
  7. (4)Strengthening populations of protected and target species
  8. (3)Improving site management and increasing public access to wildlife
  9. (2)Influencing and applying agri-environment schemes, forestry, flood defence and other land management practices to deliver biodiversity targets

Promoting good design – What has changed?

4.20 Our approach to ensuring good design was previously set out under the heading “Sense of Place and Local Identity”. Whilst still requiring design quality to be assessed through the “Building for Life Standards”5, we are now proposing a revised policy that takes account of the broader issues associated with good design and the need to mitigate against, and adapt to, climate change.

(10)H: Proposed Policy - Promoting good design

All development must be designed to:

  1. (3)respect or enhance the character and street layout of the local area to contribute to the sense of place and local distinctiveness
  2. (3)incorporate high quality design features and layouts that will reduce crime and the fear of crime and support inclusive communities, particularly in terms of accessibility and functionality. This includes creating opportunities for street play as part of residential developments
  3. (1)incorporate appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation measures such as green roofs and walls, sustainable drainage systems, multi-functional green space, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, waste reduction, recycling facilities and flood risk management
  4. enable a low carbon future in a changing climate by supporting proposals involving micro-generation technologies such as domestic wind turbines and solar panels and for retro-fitting existing properties to make them more energy efficient
  5. be adaptable and accessible to all

(1)Design and access statements accompanying planning applications should demonstrate the evolution of the design prior to submission, the rationale behind the scheme, and how it meets the above criteria.

(3)To assess design quality in major planning proposals for new homes (10 or more dwellings), the Council will require the applicant to address the 20 questions that make up the Commission for Architecture & the Building Environment (CABE) and the Home Builders Federation “Building for Life”6 standard. We will expect schemes to score 14 and above. Planning permission will normally be refused for schemes that score less than 10 out of 20 in the assessment.

Low carbon development – What has changed?

4.21 Low carbon development and renewable energy policies have been separated out from the new “Sustainable Communities” chapter in order to make our approach clearer and easier to understand.

4.22 The revised policy has removed the requirement to adopt a London Borough of Merton approach in new development, where all new commercial development over 1000m2, or residential development of 10 or more dwellings, was expected to provide at least 10% of the energy requirements from onsite renewable energy generation. The requirement for all large scale development to meet at least Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, or equivalent BREEAM standards7, subject to viability has also been removed.

4.23 These changes have come about as a result of changing Government Guidance, and recommendations in the Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study (2009), available at www.hastings.gov.uk/ldf/evidence.aspx. The study did not identify any sites as being suitable for exceeding national standards for sustainable building set by either the Building Regulations or the Code for Sustainable Homes. Our revised policy therefore, concentrates on how best to achieve low carbon development in line with requirements set by the Code for Sustainable Homes and the step-by-step tightening of the Building Regulations. The national timetable for this is as follows:

Year Target Private Sector Public Sector
2008 The Code became mandatory 1 May 2008 Rating now mandatory Level 3 mandatory
2010 Code Level 3 - A 25% improvement in energy efficiency compared to Part L of the Building Regulations 2006 Level 3 mandatory Level 4 mandatory
2013 Code Level 4 – A 44% improvement in energy efficiency compared to Part L of the Building Regulations 2006 Level 4 mandatory Level 6 mandatory
2016 Code Level 6 – Zero Carbon homes Level 6 mandatory Level 6 mandatory

(4)I: Proposed Policy - Low Carbon Development

The energy hierarchy sets out the most suitable and cost effective method of achieving low carbon development. Developers are required to follow the hierarchical approach in achieving the energy and carbon dioxide emission requirements of the Building Regulations, for all new residential development. New non-residential development is encouraged to follow the same approach8

  1. To improve energy efficiency through thermal and fabric performance improvement measures, then:-

  2. Provide on site renewable energy generation or onsite connected heating, or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technologies, then:-
  3. The remainder of the CO2 reduction targets to meet the Building Regulations targets should be met through suitable additional measures such as larger CHP or district heating systems or Mega Watt (MW) scale wind offsetting.

Developers will be required to demonstrate compliance with this policy approach through design and access statements submitted with a planning application.

Heat density opportunity areas – What has changed?

4.24 This is a new policy area, resulting from the recommendations in the Hastings Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study (2009).

(1)J: Proposed Policy - District heating networks and combined heat and power systems

To help meet the Government’s timetable to deliver zero carbon homes and buildings, Hastings Borough Council will explore opportunities for Combined Heat and Power systems connected to district heating networks in the vicinity of the Conquest Hospital, Summerfields Sports Centre, and Hastings town centre. Opportunity areas will be identified in the Site Allocations and Development Management Plan.

Community Infrastructure – What has changed?

4.25 We have introduced a more comprehensive infrastructure policy, based on extensive consultation with key service providers and information in our Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This is to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place at the right time to meet the needs of the town, and that providers are clear as to their role in implementing the proposed policies.

4.26 The Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Infrastructure Delivery Schedule are set out in sections 6.0 and 7.0 of this document.

(8)K: Proposed Policy - Infrastructure and developer contributions

The Council will seek to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place at the right time to meet the needs of Hastings and will secure developer contributions from new development towards the necessary provision of environmental and social infrastructure. This will be achieved through the following:-

  1. Preparing, regularly updating and facilitating the implementation of an Infrastructure Delivery Plan for the town. This will set out the infrastructure to be provided in Hastings by infrastructure partners, including the public sector and utilities, to meet future needs.

  2. Mitigating inadequacies in infrastructure arising from proposed development through development contributions that will provide towards sufficient and appropriate improvement through upgrade, enhancement or new infrastructure.

  3. Contributions will relate to all aspects of land use, community infrastructure and services that may be directly related to the development proposed and which accord with the council’s identified local priorities and objectives for delivering sustainable communities.

Further detailed guidance on the circumstances and range of developer contributions that may be sought from development will be set out in an Infrastructure Delivery Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will establish a sound basis and methodology for agreeing the level and type of infrastructure requirements necessary from developer contributions.

Town Centre Retail Strategy – What has changed?

4.27 The 2010 retail needs assessment update, available from www.hastings.gov.uk/ldf/evidence.aspx identified a requirement for an additional 30,000m2 of comparison goods floorspace in the town up to 2026 (comparison goods are non- food items like books, clothes, shoes etc). This study is now being updated to reflect new population forecasts, and to take into account the impact of the current economic downturn.

4.28 In 2010 an assessment was made of the potential within the town centre to accommodate this level of growth. This revealed only a small number of infill sites which could potentially provide additional floorspace, but not on the scale required by the study.

4.29 Given that the indications are that the new study is likely to revise the forecasted need downwards, and further into the future, the Council intends to deal with this uncertainty by drawing a clear boundary round the town centre, within which development for additional comparison goods floorspace will be encouraged. It will then be down to market forces to determine when, and if, the economic situation is right for such a development, and at the same time the boundary will give developers a clear steer about the area where such development would be encouraged.

4.30 St Andrews Square will not be included in the area where we will be looking to accommodate this additional retail development, based on previous research and consultation with the community.

(14)L: Proposed Policy - Retail boundary

The following plan shows the proposed town centre retail boundary.

Retail Boundary

3 Through reductions in other planning contributions, changes to the mix, tenure or number of affordable dwellings or by the payment of commuted sums in lieu of provision, the site becomes viable. 4 Windfall sites are those that have not previously been identified as available for development 5 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110107165544/http:/www.buildingforlife.org/ 6 www.designcouncil.org.uk and search for ‘Building for Life’ 7 www.breeam.org/ 8 Developers are referred to the Government’s timetable for non-domestic zero carbon development, and are encouraged to follow the same hierarchical approach www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/newnondomesticconsult
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