Meeting with the Minister
29th July 2013The Society hosted Planning Minister Nick Boles earlier this summer. Society members,colleagues from other groups and Housing Associations expressed their concerns about Bradford’s plans for housebuilding in Wharfedale. The case made is set out here……………..
Briefing Document and Question Set for 18th April 2013--
The meeting Facilitated By Kris Hopkins MP
At the invitation of Kris Hopkinsrepresenting Glenn Miller Ben Rhydding Action Group Neil Varley Ben Rhydding Action Group Helen Kidman Ilkley Civic Society David Blackburn Ilkley Civic Society Chris Battersby Unknown At the invitation of Addingham Civic Society Tony Reeves Chief Executive Bradford MDC Julian Jackson Asst Director Planning Bradford MDC Cllr Adrian Naylor Member of Addingham PC Group Leader BMDC Executive Member BMDC for Regeneration Economy and Skills 2008-10 Geraldine Howley Chief Executive In-Communities Cllr Paul Kitching Ilkley Parish Council Alan Taylor Special Advisor (Planning) Members of the Executive Committee Addingham Civic Society Keith Appleyard Mike Bolton Pam Drury Paul Henderson Malcolm Keeble Peter Mirfin Jim Robinson Peter Wilkinson Maureen Woods
Context1. Bradford is a post Industrial City; with large areas of brownfield mainly in and around the city centre. BMDC have been unable to tell Elected Members exactly how much brownfield land there is and its potential for new housing. We are concerned --- and question how land for new development can be prioritised correctly in this situation. 2. Developers categorise a large number of Brownfield sites as “unviable” – Bradford MDC state that , with this land taken out of the market, the sheer volume of housing required will necessitate greenbelt deletions & up to one third of the housing in the area will be on greenbelt.
The Minister has identified the contrasting “value” of different parts of the Green Belt. The value differential in the District is displayed by “lower value” greenbelt close to emerging jobs and in proximity to the existing motorway network & HS2. and the High Landscape/ recreational value Green Belt in Wharfedale and elsewhere. These areas which sustain tourism as a major economic activity are arguably “more valuable”.
3. Central Bradford has low income/ high unemployment levels and continues to lose mass employers, recent examples are Thomas Cook and Grattan etc. Mass employment is now focussed in the south of the District 4. The Bradford housing market, and area incomes data display extreme polarisation, -hence Affordability is exponentially separated between different parts of the District 5. Census data shows high levels of immigration 2001-2011 (Eastern European and Asian) yet contradictory low levels of household formation 6. Data supporting estimates of the “Need for New Housing” is proving to be wildly variable 45,000 Dwellings (Nov 2011 ---RSS) 36,000 (Feb 2013 GVA Report) , Household formation projections reduced by 13000 -Census data released April 2013) 7. All Councils in the Region collectively appear to be ignoring the planned impact of the Government’s plans for HS2. On a macro-economic scale we would anticipate concentration of investment and growth around and along the planned route. It is difficult to envision the outcome without a New Town on the route. This would be close to the existing motorway network (the M606, M62 & M1 and the A1) . It would also be close to the proposed HS2 terminus in South Leeds. The motorway network provides ready access to major centres such as Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool and Hull. It also provides ready access to the infrastructure of high quality roads that were laid out during the boom around Barnsley in South Yorkshire. This was designated an economic development area in earlier plans but has stalled because of the downturn. There is space allocated in the Barnsley district for large warehouse complexes as well as industrial plants. Developing south east Bradford would potentially stimulate recovery not only in Bradford itself but also in South Yorkshire. It is also worth noting that Kirklees is focussing housing and industrial/commercial development around the motorway area next to the boundary with Bradford. Bradford's development should seek to complement this and development in the South East of Bradford district would help to create synergy. New housing has a key role in supporting economic development, hence housing should be located near to future employment areas – such as Wakefield , on the Bradford boundary. There may also be spin-offs for South Yorks/Barnsley, and particularly Leeds – with the Region's only official Enterprise Zone (Aire Valley Leeds) which has very large sites for warehouse/industrial development plus financial and planning incentives to attract inward investment to the Zone. And Leeds is next door, with existing transport links with Bradford and, crucially, proposed improvements 8. The foregoing suggests that south/east Bradford should be a major focus for new housing development. 9 Attached, as an Appendix, is an analysis of successes and current issues facing Housing Associations bringing forward difficult/derelict sites, By Catherine Ellis PFI & New Business Support Chevin Housing Association Ltd (Charitable) A member of the Together Housing Group The analysis indicates a number of ways in which Government and LPAs can unlock brownfield Sites.
How we’ve brought difficult/derelict sites forward before.Ings & Preston Road, Hull Chevin has developed over 300 new homes on sites in the former Gateway Pathfinder area in Hull. This was made possible through the provision of area based funding targeted at the regeneration of specific areas of the city. This funding was administered by dedicated regeneration Pathfinder teams who could ensure that it went to the areas where it would have maximum impact on both the housing market and people’s perceptions of an area. The funding allowed Pathfinders to acquire and demolish large numbers of properties and other sites (e.g. derelict former industrial sites) in order to assemble and create sizeable sites ready for redevelopment with new housing. The Pathfinder teams went through a selection process to identify preferred Registered Providers (RPs) to work with thus guaranteeing that RP a forward programme of work and ensuring their long term investment commitment to the area. Sites were made available at either nil value or £5,000 per plot, depending on the scheme viability. The construction of new housing was funded with grant from the then Housing Corporation, now the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA). The original intention was to generate cross subsidy for the affordable housing by developing market housing but the housing market crash in 2007/8 meant that the level of cross subsidy generated by this means was minimal and the market sale programme was drastically reduced. Shared ownership properties, however, remained popular with the only difficulty being the level of deposit that lenders required in order to secure a mortgage. We are starting to see signs of this becoming less of an issue, but are aware that some households still struggle to raise the money needed for the start up costs of home ownership. Dspite difficulties with the market and lending, the schemes have been a considerable success, providing not only much needed, quality affordable housing and public realm improvements but also a training and apprenticeship programme targeted at local people that has achieved national recognition. Further knock on benefits are that all construction work has carried a requirement to achieve at least 80% local labour, thus boosting the local economy in terms of activity and skills building. The guarantee of future work over a number of years also gave Chevin the confidence to invest in more than just bricks and mortar in the area. We have set up a variety of community initiatives from driving lessons for young unemployed people, to DIY and skills training for residents, to organising community and children’s fun days South East Wakefield We are working with Wakefield MDC which is in receipt of Regional Growth Funding to deliver an older persons housing scheme in south east Wakefield. This funding stream is available because of the employment opportunities that will be generated, not only through the construction of the development, but also in the staffing and running of the extra care facility. Bidding for RGF funding may be a possibility for Bradford, should there be a need for housing which includes an element of on-site employment (RGF Round 4 has just closed though and not sure if there is any money still to allocate). AFFORDABLE HOUSING---- Definitions Affordable housing is defined in the governments Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3) as: social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing should: – Meet the needs of eligible households including availability at a cost low enough for them to afford, determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices – Include provision for the home to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision. Social rented housing is housing generally owned by local authorities or housing associations that is rented out to people in housing need. Social rents are set at levels in accordance with the National Rent Regime which reflects local incomes as well as local house prices. Affordable rented housing is generally owned by housing associations and rents are set at a level which cannot exceed 80% of the market rent for a comparable property. This is a new definition which came into force in April 2011. Intermediate affordable housing is housing at prices above social rents, but below market rent/value. Intermediate housing can include housing for rent and housing for sale. Housing for sale options include: Shared ownership. The buyer purchases a share in the property ranging from between 25% and 75% of the equity and pays a rent on the remainder of the property, based on a % of the unsold equity. Further shares may be purchased up to 100% of the equity. One exception to this is on rural exception sites (see later for definition) where a maximum of 80% of the equity can be purchased. Discounted sale. The buyer purchases the property outright at a discount. The value of that discount must be preserved when the property is sold. For example, if the buyer pays £75,000 for a property worth £100,000 (25% discount) and then subsequently has it valued at £200,000, they would only be able to sell it for a maximum of £150,000. This ensures the property remains at below market prices (although not necessarily “affordable”, depending on local incomes vs house prices) Shared equity. Similar to shared ownership, but the buyer purchases 100% of the property using an equity loan from a specialist provider (sometimes a housing association) to make up the shortfall between the cost of the property and the maximum mortgage the buyer can secure. Repayment terms for the loan may differ but it is generally only repaid when the property is sold. Intermediate rent. A try before you buy scheme. Potential purchasers can rent a property at 80% of market rent for up to 5 years. During this time they are expected to save for a deposit and to purchase the property on a shared ownership basis at the end of the 5 year tenancy. There are a number of ways in which affordable housing can be delivered: By a private developer as part of a larger scheme including market housing for sale. Depending on the local authority’s planning policiy, housing schemes on sites over a specified size or number of units may only be granted planning consent if the developer signs a legal agreement (known as a Section 106 Agreement) committing to deliver a specified number of homes as affordable housing – typically between 20% and 50% of the number of homes on the site. The exact requirements vary between local authorities and are set using information from comprehensive housing needs surveys which are undertaken every few years. Generally, the developer builds the affordable homes and sells them to a housing association that will then rent them or sell them in accordance with the requirements of the Section 106 Agreement. These properties are generally popular as they tend to be in desirable areas and well integrated with the market housing. By a housing association on land within the development limits. The development limits is a line drawn around the edge of a settlement in the local plan. Land within this line can be developed with market or affordable housing (subject to obtaining planning consent). However it is relatively rare for a housing association to be able to afford to acquire sites within development limits, unless these sites can be acquired at a discount. This is because the cost of the land is so high it makes the provision of affordable housing (even with grant subsidy) unviable. By a housing association on land outside the development limits (a rural exception site). Occasionally, where there is an identified local housing need which cannot be met any other way, planning consent may be given for a small development of affordable, local needs housing outside but adjacent to the development limits of a rural settlement. A Section 106 Agreement would normally be required to ensure that the housing remains affordable in perpetuity and priority is given to people who have a strong local connection. A local connection is generally defined as one or more of the following: currently living in the parish for at least 1 year, previous resident of the parish for 5 of the last 10 years, have full time, permanent employment in the parish or have a close family member living in the parish. If no occupants come forward who meet these criteria then the search for applicants is expanded to the surrounding parishes and finally to the whole District/Borough. As the housing would only be provided to meet an identified local need, however, it is rare for properties to be let/sold to applicants without a local connection to the parish in which they are situated. In terms of getting affordable housing in the Wharf Valley without any additional market housing, if the land in question is outside the development limits, the rural exception policy described in the paragraph above is probably the most likely means of provision.
If the land in question has already been allocated for housing, the most likely way of securing some affordable housing is through a Section 106 Agreement with a developer, although this would also mean market housing as well.
Questions1. What can the Minister do to kick-start unimplemented planning approvals for housing development in the District totalling some 10,000 units” ---will the Minister ensure that these approvals and unadopted RUDP allocations are counted towards the 5 year supply requirements of of the NPPF 2. High quality greenbelt in Wharfedale and parts of the Worth Valley is a major source of tourist revenue what can the Minister do to help protect those areas from detrimental development and the jobs in them? 3 The constraints which we have identified are distorting the prioritisation and allocation of brownfield, greenfield and Green belt. Will the Minister consider establishing a group, with representation from his Department, LPAs, Housing Associations and Residents to explore these regional housing issues, suggestions and proposals outlined in this document ?. In particular—
- Chevin show that
- The problem slowing housebuilding in this region is not land supply, it is Money
- land was acquired and put into builders portfolios for between nil pounds and £5K per house plot This is important because it happened BEFORE the property crash and Balance Sheet write downs, so in principle it can happen now for even less money.
- the calculation of £80-£100K to build a decent home (excluding the land price) put forward by Alex Morton of the Policy exchange is feasible and all that is needed to be added add is £5k per house for the land.
- The model of affordable housing for sale works because money is recycled into the next project. The key is to obtain money for the first tranche & get building and add in the Social Value elements as demonstrated.. Purchasers can then get their 20% deposits from the Government funds & their state backed mortgages and buy a new house that isn't necessarily tagged as 'affordable' but is actually better value than the housing that is built on greenfields and is labelled 'affordable' because it's sold on a part ownership
- the planned infrastructure developments for HS2 the economic development work of the LEP and the Enterprise Zone together with the existing transport networks.
- maximise the potential job growth and also
- grasp the opportiunity of creating a new town in a n area where builders want to build and people want to buy