Houses and cottages in Hesket Newmarket copyright David James

Housing Provision Supplementary Planning Document consultation

Consultation Information

We have for many years produced additional housing guidance in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to explain:

  • The Authority’s requirements for all new housing development;
  • How housing policies will be applied in the determination of planning applications, and
  • The range of planning controls we will use.

The Authority is developing a new Local Plan, this is in the final stages of examination and we anticipate adopting it in early 2021. It is important we have a process in place to ensure we have an up to date Supplementary Planning Document in place to coincide with the adoption of the Living Lakes Local Plan. This consultation is a crucial part of that process.

Period of consultation

We are inviting comments of the draft Housing Supplementary Planning Document. In accordance with our Statement of Community Involvement, the statutory period for making representations is six weeks starting from Monday 11 January to 5pm 19 February 2021.

Inspection of Documents

From Monday 11 January 2021 the draft SPD will be available to view on  our website and copies of the SPD can be provided on request by phoning 01539 724555 or email localplan@lakedistrict.gov.uk

Representations

Please use the Housing Supplementary Planning Document questionnaire

Representations can be made throughout the consultation period, but must be made before 5pm on Firday 19 February 2021.

Completed questionnaires should be submitted online. If this is not possible then they can be sent by email to localplan@lakedistrict.gov.uk or returned to:

Strategy and Partnerships, Lake District National Park Authority, Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road. Kendal, LA8 7RL

All representations will be considered and the SPD reviewed accordingly. We intend to take the final version of the Housing Supplementary Planning Document though our committee cycles to coincide with the adoption of the Local Plan.

Consultation summary

Follow the link to the draft Housing Supplementary Planning Document

Introduction to the proposed changes

Policy 15: Housing in the draft Local Plan will be applied to all applications for new dwellings. It includes details on local connection criteria, how eligibility is restricted to a geography (Locality) and how planning controls work.
Much of the detail in this Supplementary Planning Document is the same as previous versions, so the focus of this consultation is on these proposed changes:

  • Changes to the local connection criteria in relation to employment
  • Amending the geography (Locality)
  • New homes on farms
  • Guidance on dwelling sizes

1. Local connection criteria

We propose to amend the local connection criteria in relation to employment. The current criterion in the existing SPD states:
“The person has been in continuous employment in the Locality defined for at least the last 9 months and for a minimum of 16 hours per week immediately prior to occupation”

We suggest the following amendment to the local connection criterion: “The person can demonstrate a permanent job contract or a valid self-employment business in the County of Cumbria for a minimum of 16 hours per week”

Through the new housing policy we want to encourage a stable and balanced demographic to help our communities remain vibrant and resilient. The Lake District is the second most populated National Park in England (after the South Downs). The mid-year 2017 statistics estimates the population of the Lake District to be approximately 40,297, a -1,783 reduction (4.2%) since 2001. Since 2007, the population of the Lake District has been subject to an annual decline. The annual impact of natural change (the balance between births and deaths) since 2001/02 has averaged at -141 per annum, whereas net migration has averaged at +29 per annum. This has resulted in a population profile where the population has aged, with the proportion of the population in the older age groups increasing relative to the younger age groups.

With the proportion of working age people also decreasing this causes the age structure of the local community to become unbalanced which in turn challenges the future vibrancy and resilience of our communities, and could threaten the future of local facilities such as local schools.

In the past some communities have been critical of our current local occupancy criteria as it prevents young families from returning to the Lake District. We believe by amending the employment criterion this will enable and encourage people of working age to live in our communities which will help to sustain local services, support community cohesion and help local businesses with the retention and recruitment of staff. In practise, anyone working or running a business within Cumbria would be eligible to live in a house with the new local occupancy condition in the Lake District, including returnees.

Whilst the proposal is designed to have positive outcomes, we do recognise there may be unintended consequences as a result.

We have done a SWOT analysis on the suggested change to consider the consequences of the amendment.

Strengths

  1. Addresses a community need identified through Local Plan engagement
  2. Gives confidence to mortgage lenders and developers by increasing the pool of eligible people
  3. Will help to increase the number of working age people within the Lake District, therefore helping to rebalance the age structure of communities and improving community vibrancy and resilience
  4. Will enable returnees – including younger people and families who have moved away but wish to return
  5. Recognises that many residents may have to travel outside their community for work.
  6. Still requires people to be employed for at least 16 hours per week

Weaknesses

  1. Based on a Cumbria wide geography  which we have previously resisted through policy
  2. No restriction on age or length of service left, so people close to retirement age would qualify
  3. Unclear at this stage what information would be required to demonstrate the requirements

Opportunities

  1. Raise community confidence in the planning system
  2. Increase housing stock
  3. Alignment with recovery/economic aspirations for Cumbria and the Lake District
  4. To improve the population profile
  5. Slow (and potentially halt) the reduction of the resident population
  6. May increase the provision of more affordable housing through increased viability

Threats

  1. Increasing the pool of eligible people may increase competition for available properties which in turn would raise the house values of properties with local occupancy clauses
  2. Could facilitate an increase in variation of condition applications from existing local occupancy properties to benefit from this greater flexibility
  3. Travel to work patterns may increase from the Lake District to other parts of Cumbria

2. Amending the ‘Locality’ criteria

Our starting point will always be to restrict occupancy to a specified geography referred to as a ‘Locality’. These ‘Localities’ are defined in the SPD and are based on the Distinctive Areas established in the Local Plan. Where there is reasonable justification to extend the Locality, the SPD sets out how the geography could be extended. The current SPD sets these out as:

  • “The inclusion of whole parish areas where the parish is bisected by the National Park boundary.
  • Inclusion of parishes immediately adjacent to but outside the National Park, where the parish looks towards the National Park to meet their housing needs rather than to settlements or areas outside the National Park
  • A combination of Parishes wholly within the National Park which do not relate to a single Distinctive Are as set out in the Localities defined.”

We propose to simplify this approach by replacing the three bullets with a single bullet as follows:

  • “a geography based on a combination of parishes both inside and outside the National Park which demonstrate an affinity to the location proposed.”

3. New homes on farms

The draft Policy 15: Housing, includes a specific reference to new permanent homes on farm holdings, acknowledging that new homes may be needed on farms to help facilitate generational transition within families. Whilst our planning policies have always facilitated this type of accommodation, we have previously relied on national planning guidance to help in the assessment. We propose to bring the guidance under the umbrella of the SPD making it clear what the requirements are for this type of accommodation to be acceptable. The requirements are set out in paragraphs 3.22 – 3.30 of the draft SPD.

4. Guidance on dwelling sizes

The SPD establishes internal space sizes for new homes, to ensure new homes have sufficient space and amenity to support the needs of the person or persons who will ultimately live there. It refers to the Governments housing standards which were amended in May 2016. Given the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown where those that could work from home were advised to do so, we are aware home working will become the new normal going forward, so new homes will need to enable this.

Questionnaire

Give us your views on the consultation

Housing Provision Supplementary Planning Document

Read the full Housing Provision Supplementary Planning Document - PDF