5.3 Strategic Housing Allocation Strategy

Closeddate_range16 Oct, 2019, 9:30am - 11 Dec, 2019, 5:00pm

Strategic Housing Allocation

Introduction

5.3.1Planning for future housing growth across the Borough is one of the core functions of the Local Development Plan as the provision of housing is key to population growth which in turn provides the critical mass to support the provision of infrastructure and services such as health, education and community facilities.

5.3.2The RDS sets out broad policy directions for the provision of housing development in a sustainable manner. While the emphasis in the RDS is on directing most housing growth to the larger urban areas (or hubs), it also recognises the importance of supporting rural communities so that they remain vibrant and sustainable. In accordance with its objective to manage housing growth so as to achieve sustainable patterns of residential development, the RDS sets a regional target of 60% of new housing to be located in appropriate ‘brownfield’ sites (see Glossary) within the urban footprints (see Glossary) of settlements greater than 5,000 population (RG8). In Mid and East Antrim, there are four settlements which have a population greater than 5,000 – Ballymena (29,467), Carrickfergus (27,903), Larne (18,705) and Greenisland (5,484).

5.3.3The SPPS underpins the regional guidelines in the RDS by promoting sustainable housing development. This includes encouraging more housing within existing urban areas, promoting good design and achieving balanced communities. Policies intended to deliver on these areas are set out in Part 2 of the draft Plan Strategy. The amount of housing growth considered appropriate and its allocation to specific locations within the district is a matter for decision through the development plan process, via the strategic housing allocation.

5.3.4The proposed strategic housing allocation is considered to align with the RDS and LDP Spatial Growth Strategy. It also takes account of the relevant housing allocation guidelines set out in paragraph 6.139 of the SPPS. The strategic housing allocation for the period 2018-2030 is presented in Table 5.4 Strategic Allocation of Housing to Settlements. This sets out an allocation figure over this period for each of the main towns, small towns and villages. It also sets out a collective allocation for the small settlements and also for the countryside.

5.3.5This allocation is based on the prevailing Housing Growth Indicator (HGI) for Mid and East Antrim at April 2019, which for the period 2012-2030 constitutes 7,477 dwellings. Whilst acknowledging that the HGI is an estimate of the new dwelling requirement for the Council area over most of the Plan period; Council accepts that the figure is nevertheless based on the best available evidence, largely related to anticipated household formation and finds no sound reason for departing from it.

5.3.6The broad methodology used for the Strategic Housing Allocation (SHA) and for aiming at the figures contained in Table 5.4, is set out in Appendix A. Further details are also contained in Technical Supplement 3 Housing.

Proposal / Policy Aim

5.3.7The LDP approach to the strategic allocation of housing is set out in the aim below.

  • To achieve sustainable patterns of residential development.

SGS3 Strategic Allocation of Housing to Settlements

The draft Plan Strategy will make provision for 4,256 dwellings within our settlements for the period 2018-2030 and 350-400 new dwellings in the countryside over the same period, as detailed in the table below in order to ensure the HGI is met.

Table 5.4 Strategic Allocation of Housing to Settlements 2018-2030

Tier

Settlement

Housing Allocation 2018-2030
(2012-2030 HGI adjusted with HEF* and minus Completions 2012-2018)

Main Towns

Carrickfergus

1,239

Ballymena

991

Larne

879

Total

3,109

Small Towns

Whitehead

218

Cullybackey

110

Greenisland

96

Ahoghill

94

Broughshane

67

Total

584

Villages

Carnlough

83

Kells/Connor

72

Ballycarry

58

Portglenone

45

Ballystrudder

40

Glynn

39

Ballygalley

38

Glenarm

34

Cargan

16

Clough

12

Martinstown

-16**

Total

421

Small Settlements*

Total

142

 

Settlement total

4,256

Countryside total

358

Mid and East Antrim Total

4,614

*HEF not applied to Small Settlements
**Completions have already exceeded allocation

Justification and Amplification

5.3.8This strategic proposal sets out a notional allocation figure for settlements in the top three tiers of the settlement hierarchy and grouped figures for small settlements and the countryside, all for the remainder of the Plan period 2018-2030. The methodology underpinning the strategic housing allocation is set out in Appendix A. The main determining factor for the distribution of dwellings across the settlement hierarchy was the allocation of the HGI figure to the settlement tiers in accordance with RDS direction and the Spatial Growth Strategy. This means the majority of dwellings were allocated to the main towns tier. Within each tier, its allocation was split among individual settlements taking account of the distribution of households between those settlements at the time of the 2011 Census, followed by application of the RDS Housing Evaluation Framework. Dwellings completed in individual settlements since 2012 were then subtracted to determine the remaining notional allocation for the settlement until the end of the Plan period.

5.3.9It is acknowledged that in some settlements the existing live planning permission commitments (including those under construction and those approved but not developed) are already greater than their remaining allocation figure (see Appendix A Broad methodology for Strategic Housing Allocation – Existing Commitments). The status of some of these sites may change prior to the Local Policies Plan e.g. permission for some of the undeveloped sites may lapse. This will be reviewed at that stage.

5.3.10The delivery of the Strategic Housing Allocation in the main towns and small towns will be assisted by protecting zoned housing land and by striving to manage the housing supply in a sustainable manner, refer to Polices SGS4 and SGS5 respectively. However, it is not feasible to adopt the same approach in lower tier settlements. This is partly because land is not zoned in such settlements in order to afford reasonable flexibility in meeting local development needs. The open countryside also presents challenges in this regard. The strategic subject policies for residential development in the countryside (refer to Part 2) have been designed to provide opportunities for the sustainable development, of mainly single dwellings. However, it is not possible to predict or control the number of such opportunities likely to come forward over the Plan period.

SGS4 Protection of Zoned Housing Land

Development of non-residential uses on land zoned for housing in settlements will only be permitted where:

  • it forms part of a major housing development and remains ancillary and integral to it; or
  • it meets an identified community need and it is demonstrated that no other sites are available.

Justification and Amplification

5.3.11Land use zoning is one way the LDP can help provide the right amount of land for housing in the right location to meet housing need. Sites will be selected for zoning in the LPP because of their sustainability, including proximity to the town centre, and accessibility to community facilities/services and public transport. It is therefore important that these sustainable sites for housing are not lost to competing landuses.

5.3.12However, it is important that any community infrastructure needs arising from major4 housing developments are met, for example a new community facility or local shop to serve the new residents. Where this is the case the loss of part of a housing zoning to make provision for such uses will normally be acceptable where the facility or service is ancillary and integral to the residential development.

5.3.13Whilst the need for a new education, health, community or recreation facility may arise during the lifetime of the LDP, zoned housing land should only be considered for such non-residential uses in limited instances in order to protect land identified through the LDP to meet housing need.

Management of Housing Supply

Introduction

5.3.14The SPPS requires the LDP to identify and zone sites in larger settlements that are sufficient to meet general and special housing need over the Plan period. LDPs are also required to provide for a managed release of housing land, in line with a ‘plan, monitor and manage’ approach to ensure that, as a minimum, a five year supply of available land for housing is maintained. This includes the adoption of a sequential approach for the release of housing land within settlements over 5,000 population in the interest of sustainable development and achieving compact urban forms.

5.3.15Having arrived at the notional housing allocation figures for each settlement as set out in proposal SGS3 Strategic Housing Allocation, it was necessary to consider these figures in the context of live residential planning permission commitments (Appendix A: Table A3 Housing Allocation 2018-2030 and Live Residential Planning Permission in Settlements April 2018). At April 2018 these included permissions for approximately 4,000 dwellings. In some settlements the existing live permissions are already greater than their remaining notional housing allocation figure, including in the towns of Ballymena, Greenisland, Broughshane, Cullybackey. It is likely this will also be the case soon in Larne and Carrickfergus (see Appendix A Broad methodology for Strategic Housing Allocation – Existing housing commitments).

5.3.16An initial urban capacity study has revealed a high level of additional housing land potential within the urban footprint of our three main towns (see Appendix A Section on Urban capacity Study) and substantial potential for further housing units within the urban fringe (see Glossary and Appendix A Section on Additional potential from Urban Fringe).

5.3.17Given these circumstances and in light of the above mentioned requirements in the SPPS; the LDP policy approach will be to phase housing land in our three main towns and Greenisland at LPP stage. Land with a live residential planning permission at LPP stage will be identified as phase 1 housing land because it is already committed. Also at LPP stage, land with a current application for a residential development proposal that is likely to be approved will also be considered as phase 1 housing land, depending on how far the application has been processed. Driven by the regional policy direction to locate the majority of new housing in appropriate brownfield sites within the urban footprint of larger towns, suitable sites within the existing urban footprint of our main towns and Greenisland will also be identified as phase 1 housing land.

5.3.18The SPPS also highlights that windfall housing potential and Housing Needs Assessment and Housing Market Analysis should inform housing allocations. Both will be taken into account when zoning and phasing housing land in individual settlements (see Appendix A Section on Windfall and Housing Needs Assessment and Housing Market Analysis). In settlements with a population over 5,000, other phase 1 housing land outside the urban footprint of settlements will generally only be identified at LPP or review stage if the settlement requires further land to meet its notional housing allocation figure or to meet an affordable housing need identified by NIHE. This step will only be taken where it is necessary and sustainable to do so.

5.3.19Currently, housing zonings are not phased within our extant area plans. Undeveloped and uncommitted housing zonings extend to approximately 132 hectares in main towns, with the majority located outside the urban footprint (see Appendix A Section on Undeveloped Zoned Housing sites from current extant area plans). In order to actively manage the release of this legacy of housing zonings outside the urban footprint, such land in the urban fringe will be held in reserve as phase 2 housing land at LPP stage in settlements with a population over 5,000. This will apply where the strategic housing allocation figure can be met by existing commitments, urban capacity sites and windfall potential. Phase 2 land potentially will include undeveloped and uncommitted existing housing zonings and/or whiteland, beyond the urban footprint.

5.3.20In the remaining four smaller towns, Ahoghill, Broughshane, Cullybackey and Whitehead the policy approach will be to zone land for housing but not to phase it. Land will be zoned for housing where at the time of the LPP it benefits from a live residential planning permission or has a current application for a residential development proposal that is likely to be approved, depending on how far the application has been processed. Suitable sites within the existing urban footprint will also be zoned for housing. In addition, in certain circumstances land may be zoned for housing in the urban fringe or within extended settlement limits in order for a settlement to meet its notional housing allocation or an identified affordable housing need.

5.3.21Appendix A Figures A4 – A5 compare the notional housing allocation figure for settlements with the level of existing live residential planning permissions and initial estimates of potential from urban capacity sites and windfall. It also details current additional potential in the urban fringe. It should be noted some of this land in the urban fringe may be developed for other uses.

5.3.22Taking account of all these factors, SGS5 Management of Housing Supply is introduced with a view to securing the managed release of housing land in the three main towns and Greenisland and identifying and zoning housing land in the remaining small towns.

Policy Aims

5.3.23The LDP strategic approach to the management of housing supply is set out in our policy aims below.

  • To ensure an appropriate supply of land to accommodate the new homes required to meet the full range of housing needs; and
  • To promote sustainable housing development within the urban footprint of our largest towns to achieve a compact urban form and more sustainable development patterns.

SGS5 Management of Housing Supply

To provide a managed release of housing land in settlements, the following sequential approaches will be applied:

Main towns and Greenisland

Land for housing will be zoned within the three main towns and in the small town of Greenisland at Local Polices Plan stage and phased.

  1. It is intended that phase 1 housing land will be zoned in the following circumstances:
    1. Sites with live residential planning permissions/residential development proposals likely to be approved (for sites of 0.2 hectares or above or 10 dwelling units+);
    2. Previously developed and undeveloped land within the urban footprint (i.e. suitable urban capacity sites of 0.2 hectares or above or 10 dwelling units+);
  2. It is intended that phase 2 housing land will be zoned and held in reserve in the following circumstance:
    1. In settlements where the LDP strategic housing allocation would be met by live planning permissions, urban capacity sites and windfall potential, phase 2 housing land will be zoned in the existing urban fringe.

 

Remaining Small towns

Within the remaining small towns land for housing will be zoned at Local Polices Plan stage in the following circumstances:

  1. Sites with live residential planning permissions/residential development proposals likely to be approved (for sites of 0.2 hectares or above or 10 dwelling units+);
  2. Previously developed and undeveloped land within the urban footprint (i.e. suitable urban capacity sites of 0.2 hectares or above or 10 dwelling units+);
  3. In settlements where there remains a potential future deficit in regard to the LDP strategic housing allocation after completions, live permissions, urban capacity sites and windfall potential have been considered, additional land will be zoned for housing if it is sustainable to do so. This potentially may include land in the urban fringe or where necessary and sustainable, extending settlement limits; and
  4. In settlements where urban capacity sites or windfall potential would not meet the affordable housing need identified by NIHE, additional land may be zoned for housing if it is sustainable to do so and it is not reasonable for the need to be met in a nearby settlement. This potentially may include land in the urban fringe or where necessary and sustainable, extending settlement limits.

In selecting land to be zoned for housing in cases c) and d), priority will be given to sites which are accessible to community facilities/services and public transport, can avail of existing infrastructure, avoid flood risk and do not adversely impact on townscape character or natural or built heritage.

Windfall housing within the urban footprint will be granted planning permission provided it meets the General Policy and accords with other provisions of the LDP.

Justification and Amplification

5.3.24Whilst the new Spatial Growth Strategy and Strategic Housing Allocation for the Borough take account of the RDS, the LDP also has to deal with the legacy of existing extant plans that defined settlement limits and designated housing zonings to meet much higher population/ household formation projection figures.

Main towns and Greenisland

5.3.25As our larger towns are the most sustainable locations for new housing development, where possible in light of this legacy, this policy aims to create compact towns, through a sequential approach to the phasing of land, in order to avoid urban sprawl. This means in the first instance focusing the growth of the residential population within the existing urban footprint of our towns with a population over 5,000, namely Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Greenisland. This will be delivered by zoning suitable sites of an appropriate size within the urban footprint of these towns as phase 1 housing land. In addition, land benefitting from a live planning permission commitment for a residential development and those with a current application likely to be approved, which will also be zoned as phase 1 housing land. In the latter case this will depend on how far the application has been processed at the time of the Local Policies Plan. It should be noted that currently there are issues in Larne with the capacity of the waste water treatment works and this may restrict development on phase 1 housing land.

5.3.26Phase 2 lands, located outside the urban footprint but within the settlement development limits, will be held as a land bank to meet future need. This approach provides a vision for the long term expansion of our largest towns within existing settlement limits, where that town has already met or has the potential to meet their notional strategic housing figure through existing commitments, urban capacity sites and windfall potential.

5.3.27Phase 2 lands will not be released for housing development until its designation changes to phase 1 as a consequence of an LDP amendment following a Plan review. When releasing phase 2 land, account will be taken of the latest Housing Growth Indicators, the strategic housing allocation, current land availability, housing building rates and infrastructure capacity. To ensure a sequential approach to development, when determining which land should be released to phase 1, account will be taken of its accessibility to the town centre and core services and also the availability of infrastructure.

5.3.28During reviews of the LDP, consideration will be given to the level of commitment and investment made by landowners to release and progress delivery of phase 1 housing land. Where no demonstrable progress has been made, consideration will be given to re-designating the land at review stage.

5.3.29The release of phase 2 housing land may also be considered where it has been demonstrated that there is insufficient uncommitted phase 1 housing land to meet affordable housing needs. Such a need should be supported by NIHE and should be selected taking into account the sequential approach above.

Remaining Small towns

5.3.30In the remaining four smaller towns, land will be zoned for housing but not phased as the extent of undeveloped and uncommitted lands in the urban fringe is significantly less than that in the larger towns. Land will be zoned for housing where at the time of the LPP it benefits from a live residential planning permission or has a current application for a residential development proposal that is likely to be approved, depending on how far the application has been processed. Suitable sites of an appropriate size within the urban footprint will also be zoned for housing. In addition, to ensure a settlement meets its notional housing allocation or identified affordable housing need, land may be zoned for housing in the urban fringe or within extended settlement limits when the other potential sources of housing referred to above have been deemed to be insufficient.

Villages and Small Settlements

5.3.31To retain flexibility for meeting various local needs, land will not be zoned for housing in villages and small settlements. Instead, where necessary, land will be identified as Housing Policy Areas (HPAs) in villages to indicate where it is anticipated that most new housing should be located. In order to meet the Spatial Growth Strategy, this may require amendments to the existing settlement limits defining our villages. This will be reviewed at Local Policies Plan stage.

  • 4 - Defined as 50 dwellings or more under the Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (Statutory rules 2015 No. 71)

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