Development Management DPD - Revised Proposed Submission

Ended on the 16 May 2014
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Section 5: Housing


DM7 – Dwelling Mix, Size and Type

5.1 To create balanced and sustainable communities in the long term, it is important that future housing delivery seeks to meet the needs of households that demand private market housing and also those who require access to affordable housing. Providing dwellings of different types (including tenure) and sizes will help to promote social inclusion by meeting the needs of people with a variety of different lifestyles and incomes. A range of dwelling types will provide greater choice for people seeking to live and work in Southend and will therefore also support economic growth. The Southend on Sea Housing Strategy 2011 recognises that in order to create a sustainable balanced community, well-planned quality housing developments, with a range of tenures and sizes of dwelling, will need to be located across the Borough and well served by public transport and wider supporting infrastructure.

5.2 Government policy actively encourages local planning authorities to provide wider opportunities for housing, as well as seeking a better mix in the size, type and location of housing. Local planning authorities should aim for a mix of housing based on current demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community. Most importantly, local planning authorities should identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in different locations within a housing market area.

5.3 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is a key part of the evidence base which provides an assessment of the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that a local population is likely to need over the plan period. It addresses the need for all types of housing and the needs of different groups in the community. Nevertheless, it should not be considered in isolation as it does not set housing or planning policy but is an important tool for policy development. The SHMA (2013) provides a commentary on Southend’s housing stock and updates and replaces the previous 2010 version of the SHMA.

5.4 The Southend-on-Sea Community Plan 2011 – 2021 states that providing good quality housing and a well-integrated blend of different housing types and tenures is a vital part of achieving the strategic vision of the ‘Southend Together’ Partnership; creating a community where people work together in partnership and understanding to improve quality, for all. The Council also recognises that housing needs to be flexible so that it can continue to meet the changing needs of resident’s as well as cater for the diverse needs of the community.

Dwelling Mix within Developments

5.5 The Council will seek to ensure that new housing reflects the needs and demands of Southend’s existing and future resident’s and improves the quality and mix of new market and affordable housing in the Borough.

5.6 In order to sustain balanced communities it is recognised that a mix of housing is required within each development, and this should be agreed with the Council during pre-application discussions. The SHMA identified a shortage of family accommodation in Southend despite an acute demand for this type of dwelling. This is reflected by the lower level of dwelling stock of three and four bedroom properties illustrated in the SHMA (2013) compared to other locations in the market area. The SHMA also identified that Southend had a higher percentage of flats/ maisonettes and one bedroom properties compared to the wider TGSE housing market area and national average.

5.7 Consequently, to address this shortfall and meet demand, residential development proposals will be expected to incorporate suitable family accommodation. The provision of high quality, affordable family homes is an important strategic housing priority in Southend and the Core Strategy highlights a need to retain a stock of larger family housing.

5.8 The SHMA (2013) undertook an assessment of dwelling need and consequently set out a recommended dwelling mix for affordable as well as private market housing in Southend. The preferred dwelling mix outlined in Policy Table 2 and 3 reflects the recommendations set out in the SHMA (2013) and is intended to provide a flexible target to take account of any changes to the preferred mix in any SHMA updates (or equivalent successor). The preferred dwelling mix should not be treated as a definitive mix but be used during negotiations. The Council will take account of the latest available evidence from the SHMA (or its equivalent successor); the site context; and for affordable housing any pressing short term housing need as identified by the Southend affordable housing waiting list.

Affordable Tenure

5.9 The Core Strategy Policy CP8 ‘Dwelling Provision’ sets the thresholds that trigger the need for affordable housing provision within a proposed development. The Tenure mix guidelines outlined by Policy DM7 are intended to be borough-wide targets, and as such for development proposals the mix will be determined through negotiation based on site specific characteristics and circumstances.

5.10 There are three main types of affordable housing which may be delivered to meet the Core Strategy affordable housing target: social rented; intermediate affordable housing; and more recently, affordable rent.

5.11 Social rented housing includes housing rented from registered affordable housing providers. Intermediate affordable housing, where a percentage of the property is purchased, generally costs residents more than social rented housing, but significantly less than market housing. It caters for occupiers who are unable to afford market housing, such as key-workers and first-time buyers.

5.12 Affordable Rent is intended to provide an alternative to, but not replace, social rent. This approach allows registered providers and local authorities to offer rents at 80% of the rents charged for similar sized and located properties in the private sector.

5.13 There is a need for affordable housing in Southend and there is also a potential market for intermediate (affordable) home ownership. The SHMA 2013 suggests a split between rented (social and affordable rent) and intermediate housing for the TGSE housing market area that is balanced in favour of the later. However, the Council’s housing register indicates continued demand for rented affordable accommodation and an appreciation of past affordable housing delivery in the Borough suggests that a higher proportion of rented affordable housing accommodation is appropriate for meeting this demand in Southend.

5.14 The Council will therefore seek a flexible mix of 60:40 between rented (social and affordable) housing and intermediate housing. In accordance with the findings of the Southend on Sea Combined Policy Viability Study (September 2013), which recommends that the Council applies a flexible approach to tenure split to ensure that the viability of developments is not adversely affected over the economic cycle, this proportion may be negotiated between developer/provider and local authority housing officers as part of a proposal. This decision will take account of the viability of specific sites, the findings of the latest SHMA (or its equivalent successor), a consideration of the Council’s housing register and the availability of public subsidy.

5.15 The Combined Policy Viability Study (2013) outlines that:

“viability is seen to improve when allowing for Affordable Rent in place of Social Rent, and in fact it is identified that in the lower value areas of the Central Area, Affordable Rented units, given their lower risk and therefore profit requirement add more value to schemes than private units. It is also identified in the study that viability is seen to improve when the tenure split is amended from 70% social rented 30% intermediate to 60% social rented and 40% intermediate…and it would be expected that viability would be further enhanced as the proportion of Intermediate Housing increased relative to Social Rent. However, the reverse is true when considering a split between Affordable Rent and Intermediate Housing, reflecting that at current sales values, Affordable Rented Accommodation is identified as being more viable than intermediate accommodation”.

5.16 Notwithstanding the above, the Combined Policy Viability Study (2013) outlines that many developments could viably provide all or a large proportion of the policy requirements in the adopted Core Strategy and as set out in this Development Management DPD. Particularly, in most cases, schemes can accommodate the Council’s affordable housing requirement (Core Strategy Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision) at a level somewhere between 15% to 30% without grant. The Council will therefore seek a mix of affordable tenure to meet the needs of the local housing market, which reflects site specific circumstances grounded in an understanding of development viability.

(4) Policy DM7 – Dwelling Mix, Size and Type

1. All residential development is expected to provide a dwelling mix that incorporates a range of dwelling types and bedroom sizes, including family housing on appropriate sites, to reflect the Borough’s housing need and housing demand.

The Council will promote the mix of dwellings types and sizes, taking account of those outlined in the SHMA, illustrated in Policy Table 2, in all new residential development proposals. Where a proposal significantly deviates from this mix the reasons must be justified and demonstrated to the Council.

2. Where affordable housing is provided:

  1. The affordable dwelling mix set out in Policy Table 3 is sought; and
  2. An indicative tenure mix of 60:40 between social and/ or affordable rented accommodation and intermediate housing is sought respectively.

Where it is considered that the affordable housing dwelling mix and/or tenure mix is not appropriate, applicants will be required to justify to the satisfaction of the Council, a more appropriate mix. The Council will take into consideration factors such as the latest available affordable housing evidence, the site context and viability amongst other things.

Policy Table 2: Preferred Private Market Dwelling Mix

Dwelling size:
No. Bedrooms
1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4-bed

Proportion of dwellings

9%

22%

49%*

20%**

Policy Table 3: Preferred Affordable Dwelling Mix

Dwelling size:
No. Bedrooms
1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4-bed
Proportion of affordable housing total

16%

43%

37%*

4%**

*/** - These percentages will seek to address the under supply of family accommodation that has been identified in the SHMA.

Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 7

Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision

Strategic Objective 14

Policy DM8 – Residential Standards

5.17 The size of a home is a key factor in defining who can live there and how it can be used by them. Good residential design and creative use of space can provide high quality homes at a mix of densities, regardless of tenure, catering for a range of all circumstances and needs. Research by English Partnerships1 has highlighted however that new housing in England provides some of the poorest internal space standards in Europe, as well as the smallest average room sizes.

5.18 It is therefore the Council’s aim to deliver good quality housing, ensuring that new developments contribute to a suitable and sustainable living environment now and for future generations. To achieve this, it is necessary to ensure that new housing developments provide the highest quality internal environment that will contribute to a good quality of life and meet the requirements of all the Borough’s residents.

5.19 Minimum space standards are intended to encourage provision of enough space in dwellings to ensure that they can be used flexibly by residents, according to their needs, and that sufficient storage can be integrated. Housing that exceeds the indicative residential space standards (Policy Table 4) will, of course, always be encouraged. It is recognised that in order to achieve certain design configurations, work within site constraints, or to deliver units for a particular segment of the housing market, designers and developers will need to make early allowances to meet the minimum gross internal area for that dwelling type as set out in Policy Table 4.

Residential Standards

5.20 The requirement for high quality residential standards is supported by national planning policy which imbeds sustainable development into the planning system. One key driver for the setting of residential space standards locally is the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which requires local authorities to have due regard to the nature of local housing development in relation to current and future demand.

5.21 Proponents of space standards emphasise that they are necessary to ensure that homes provide adequate space to undertake typical day to day activities, and to avoid the health and social costs that arise where space is inadequate. In particular, space standards are seen as a way of ensuring that there is sufficient room to carry out normal daily activities, socialise with family and friends, work from home or study in private and provide storage for general household goods and personal belongings.

5.22 Good quality, flexible and useable homes which have longevity, therefore, need to be at the heart of a sustainable community. Applying residential standards must be a key component of sustainable development in Southend, as they will help contribute towards:

  • delivering a better quality of life;
  • ensuring decent homes for all;
  • providing high quality residential environments;
  • delivering sustainable design and construction;
  • increased personal space and privacy; and
  • improving health and well-being within a home.

5.23 Southend’s ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ and its 2014 addendum indicates that the minimum amount of space needed per person is not considered to vary by tenure and that there is an increasing need for more indoor and outdoor space across all tenure groups and household types, especially for family accommodation.

5.24 The Council has, therefore, set out indicative minimum residential standards that will apply to all housing types and tenures. These standards reflect the Housing Corporation’s occupancy and Housing Quality Indicator space standards that are used to form the basis for their funding system, and are considered a best practice example. It is expected that these standards will be met if not exceeded for all residential development within the Borough.

Flexibility and Lifetime Homes

5.25 For homes to be sustainable, they need to be capable of adaptation to meet the changing lifestyle needs of residents during different stages of their life, including families with young children through to older people, as well as those with temporary or permanent disabilities.

5.26 The ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ identifies the need for new dwellings to be flexible over the lifetime of the building. Flexibility is the potential for rooms in a home to be used in a variety of ways without altering the building fabric.

5.27 The Review highlights that households do not always want, nor are they always able, to move home as their circumstances change. Therefore, every home should be flexible enough to accommodate a range of possible changes in circumstances. The inherent inclusivity provided by flexibly designed homes that have space to respond to occupiers changing physical and social requirements over their lifetimes has the knock-on benefit of creating more balanced and stable neighbourhoods.

5.28 There is a need to ensure some rooms are multi-functional, for example, the modern use of a home results in bedrooms not only being used for sleeping but for work and study, or to relax in privacy. The research studies identified in the ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ demonstrated that there is a correlation between education attainment and where there are opportunities for children to study in private.

5.29 The Southend Older People’s Accommodation Strategy 2008 – 2011 highlights the need to provide flexible accommodation. It outlines a desire to design lifetime homes within lifetime neighbourhoods where older and vulnerable residents have access to transport services, housing, public services, civic space and amenities, so they have a full life and take part in the community around them. This is particulalrly important as the TGSE SHMA (2013) acknowledges that the population in the housing market area is likely to become older in the period up to 2031. In particular, the number of people aged 65 years and above is expected to grow considerably and this need should be reflected in delivery of development.

5.30 ‘Lifetime Homes’ involve design features that have been tailored to foster accessible living, helping to accommodate old age, injury, disability, pregnancy and pushchairs and therefore support the changing needs of a family’s lifecycle, allowing people to live in their home for as much of their life as possible. The Lifetimes Homes Standard represents the most commonly required standard above Building Regulations Part M and seeks to enable ‘general needs’ housing to provide, either from the outset or through simple and cost-effective adaptation, design solutions that meet the existing and changing needs of diverse households.

5.31 The Council will expect all new homes to meet Lifetime Homes standards unless it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council that this requirement is not viable and feasible. This flexible approach is supported by the findings of the Southend Combined Policy Viability Study (2013).

Wheelchair Adaptability

5.32 Lifetime Homes standards do not necessarily include those additional spatial requirements needed to allow wheelchair users to live in their home easily and comfortably. The needs of wheelchair users are often difficult to meet in general needs housing and invariably require increased circulation and activity spaces within and between rooms, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens.

5.33 According to the Census 2011, Southend has a higher percentage (8.8%) than England (8.3%), the East of England (8.3%) and London (6.7%) for those whose day to day activities are ‘limited a lot’. Furthermore, Southend also has a higher percentage (9.7%) of whose day to day activities are ‘limited a little’. The SHMA (2013), in modelling a range of population projections, outlines that for Southend the amount of residents classified as disabled with a physical impairment is likely to remain broadly constant. However, the SHMA (2013) outlines that the population across the housing market area is likely to become older in the period up to 2031. On this basis, adaptive housing will be all the more vital so that people can remain in their homes if they wish to do so.

5.34 In recognition of this, the Council will require at least 10% of new housing in major development to be wheelchair accessible, or easily adaptable2 for a wheelchair user. The Southend Combined Policy Viaibility Study suggest that the costs of making units wheelchair accessible is broadly neutral and is more of a design and unit size issue. The 10% wheelchair requirement will be accommodated within schemes by varying unit sizes to accommodate the additional floorspace required for turning circles.

Working from Home

5.35 Changing economic conditions and technological advances have allowed more people to work from home whether it is full-time, part time or periodically. This working arrangement has allowed for a greater work-life balance and sense of well-being and as such will help to create more sustainable communities now and in the future. As working patterns and business needs change there is likely to be a significantly greater demand for additional workspace within the home than has previously been necessary. Sufficient office space and good internet and telephone connections within a dwelling are essential to enable flexible working patterns and thereby contribute to improving work-life balance.

Storage Space

5.36 Lack of storage space can be a particular problem in many new homes. Without adequate storage space, resident’s belongings will often take space away from the living accommodation and have an adverse impact on amenity. The lack of storage space within a home may, therefore, have a restrictive effect upon the way a home is used. There is, therefore, a need to ensure that dwellings contain sufficient space both internally and externally (where applicable).

5.37 The evidence cited in ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ suggests the inclusion of dedicated built-in storage cupboards of 1.25m2 for 2 bedspace dwellings and 0.5m2 for each additional bedspace, to provide adequate storage. The storage provision should also take account of the nature of household items. For example, cleaning equipment needs to be readily accessible whilst other belongings such as suitcases or decorating equipment are only in seasonal use or occasional use.

Climate Change

5.38 Improving the quality of a dwelling in terms of space standards and addressing functionality contributes towards the mitigation of climate change by increasing the lifespan of the building before significant remodelling or complete redevelopment is required. Poorly designed buildings will quickly become functionally obsolete or unsuitable for occupants. Unnecessary redevelopment wastes energy, depletes natural resources, and increases carbon cost, thereby often making it harder to achieve sustainability targets. Environmental sustainability is best achieved by constructing buildings that have a reasonably long lifespan, with in-built flexibility, allowing them to adapt to changing needs over their lifetime.

5.39 In addition to space-related issues, the Council also emphasises the importance of sustainable, high quality design and construction, and the conservation of energy and resources to tackle climate change. Developers should therefore seek to comply with criteria set out in Policy DM2 and Lifetime Homes Standards, as set out within this policy.

Amenity Space

5.40 Private outdoor space is an important amenity asset and provides adults and children with external, secure recreational areas. It is considered that this space must be useable and functional to cater for the needs of the intended occupants. All new residential units will be expected to have direct access to an area of private amenity space. The type of amenity space will be dependent on the form of housing.

5.41 In the case of non-flatted developments, generally this can most easily be provided in the form of a private enclosed garden. The provision of a garden also makes it easier to include outside covered storage for items such as bicycles and garden furniture. In the case of flats, balconies may take the place of a garden, although easily accessible semi-private communal areas will also be beneficial.

Planning Application Drawings

5.42 As highlighted herein, the design of the internal layout of a dwelling should accommodate the furniture and activity space required for the intended number of bedspaces. Room sizes must be large enough to accommodate the furniture requirements needed for modern living. Planning applications should therefore depict on the submitted plans how furniture and storage arrangements may be accommodated to assist with an assessment of whether the development meet the requirements and direction of the policy.

Non Self-Contained Accommodation

5.43 Non self-contained accommodation refers to campus-style living arrangements and may include, for example, student and hospital staff accommodation. It is recognised that campus accommodation has a useful purpose and may reduce pressure on other elements of the housing stock currently occupied by students, especially in the private rented sector. The University of Essex, which has a campus in Southend, has an accreditation scheme that all approved private landlords must meet. This accreditation scheme provides a measure which ensures that student accommodation is of a high quality and meets the needs of students. The non self-contained standards seek to reflect the minimum requirements set out in the accreditation scheme.

5.44 The licensing and management of Houses in Multiple Occupation, including space standards, is set out in relevant housing legislation.

(2) Policy DM8 – Residential Standards

1. The internal environment of all new dwellings must be high quality and flexible to meet the changing needs of residents. To achieve this all new dwellings should:

  1. Provide convenient, useable and effective room layouts; and
  2. Meet, if not exceed, the residential space standards set out in Policy Table 4 and must meet the requirements of residential bedroom and amenity standards set out in Policy Table 5; and
  3. Meet the Lifetime Homes Standards, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that it is not viable and feasible to do so; and
  4. Ensure that at least 10% of new dwellings on major development sites are wheelchair accessible, or easily adaptable for residents who are wheelchair users; and
  5. Make provision for usable private outdoor amenity space for the enjoyment of intended occupiers. Residential schemes with no private outdoor amenity space will only be considered acceptable in exceptional circumstances, the reasons for which will need to be fully justified and clearly demonstrated.

All planning applications for residential development should include plans that provide indicative furniture and storage arrangements within the proposed rooms to demonstrate clearly that all proposed spaces are of a suitable size for the intended number of bedspaces, and allow for an effective and functional internal layout and circulation, and have useable amenity space.

2. All proposals for non self-contained accommodation (such as student and hospital staff accommodation) will be required to meet the internal space standards set out in Policy Table 6.

Policy Table 4: Indicative Residential Space Standards

Type of Dwelling (number of bed spaces)* Number of Storeys Minimum Internal Floor Area (m2)**

(a)

Studio (1 bed space)

Flats or other dwellings on one floor

30

(b)

1 bedroom (2 bed spaces)

45

(c)

2 bedroom (3 bed spaces)

57

(d)

2 bedroom (4 bed spaces)

67

(e)

3 bedroom (5 bed spaces)

75

(f)

3 bedroom (6 bed spaces)

85

(g)

2 bedroom (3 bed spaces)

Two storey houses or other dwellings on two floors

66

(h)

2 bedroom (4 bed spaces)

77

(i)

3 bedroom (5 bed spaces)

82

(j)

3 bedroom (6 bed spaces)

95

(k)

4 bedroom (7 bed spaces)

108

(l)

3 bedroom (5 bed spaces)

Three Storey Houses or Other Dwellings on three floors
Three Storeys +

85

(k)

3 bedroom (6 bed spaces)

100

* For dwellings designed for more than the number of bed spaces outlined in Table 1 at least 10m2 should be added for each additional bed space

**Effective Internal Floor areas (EFA) will be measured in line with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ ‘Code of Measuring Practice: a guide for Property Professionals’ (Sept 2007) and included in Design and Assessment statements, where these required

The number of bed spaces represents the number of occupants the dwelling was designed to accommodate. For example, a three bedroom house with one double bedroom, one twin bedroom and a single bedroom has 5 bedspaces.

(1) Policy Table 5: Residential Bedroom and Amenity Standards

Internal Storage Areas

Provision of a storage cupboard with a minimum floor area of 1.25m2 should be provided for 1-2 person dwellings. A minimum of 0.5m2 storage area should be provided for each additional bedspace.

Amenity

Suitable space should be provided for a washing machine and for drying clothes, as well as private outdoor amenity, where feasible and appropriate to the scheme.

Bedroom Sizes

The minimum floor area for bedrooms to be no less than 7m2 for a single bedroom with a minimum width of 2.15m2; and 12m2 for a double/twin bedroom with a minimum width of 2.55m2.

Storage

Suitable, safe cycle storage with convenient access to the street frontage.

Refuse Facilities

Non-recyclable waste storage facilities should be provided in new residential development in accordance with the Code for Sustainable Homes Technical Guide and any local standards.

Suitable space should be provided for and recycling bins within the home.

Refuse stores should be located to limit the nuisance caused by noise and smells and should be provided with a means for cleaning, such as a water supply.

Working from Home

Provide suitable space which provides occupiers with the opportunity to work from home. This space must be able to accommodate a desk and filling/storage cupboards.

Policy Table 6: Standards for Non Self-Contained Accommodation (such as student and hospital staff accommodation)

Location*

Proposals for this type accommodation will be directed to either locations in close proximity to the establishment that needs the accommodation, the Southend Central Area or places with good access to appropriate public transport services.

Bedroom Sizes

Accommodation must have a minimum bedroom size of 6.5m2 for single bedrooms and 10.2m2 for double bedrooms. Each bedroom must have a convenient layout that provides: appropriate hanging storage space for clothes; a study desk and chair; and shelving storage for books.

Communal Areas

Accommodation must contain either a living room, dining room or kitchen diner of a suitable size for all the occupants. The layout of this room must enable all the occupants to be able to use the room simultaneously in a comfortable manner.

Broadband

Accommodation must have connection to broadband.

Waste

Accommodation must provide appropriate waste and recycling bins. Refuse stores within buildings should be located to limit the nuisance caused by noise and smells and should be provided with a means for cleaning.

Storage

Accommodation must have a kitchen that has sufficient food storage space for each occupant and has sufficient work surface space for food preparation.

Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 7

Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision

Strategic Objective 14

Policy DM9 – Specialist Residential Accommodation

5.45 A compassionate, strong and sustainable community responds to the needs of all residents, including those who are considered to be most vulnerable. Vulnerability can be a temporary or permanent condition or state, and the needs of older people and vulnerable people should be addressed in a number of ways, depending on individual circumstances. It is also recognised that services which provide community care have changed significantly over the past decade, with an increasing number of residents now receiving intensive support in their own home.

5.46 It is important therefore that the local residents of Southend have access to housing that meets their specific needs. This may include specialist residential accommodation, comprising extra care and supported accommodation, as well as residential facilities for mental health, learning disabilities, dementia, physical and sensory impairment, and drugs and alcohol dependency. For the purposes of Policy DM9, ‘Specialist Accommodation’ does not include sheltered housing, which is assessed under general housing policies (see policies DM7 and DM8).

5.47 It is recognised that there is also a need to limit further growth of the residential care homes market in Southend, owing to modifications in the approach to national and local social care policy. Increasingly, social care policy now seeks to enhance the level of support available for older people, the vulnerable and those with disabilities, allowing them to remain in their own homes or live as independently as possible, rather than in residential care homes. It is the Council’s corporate policy to limit the further growth of residential care and instead to focus on promoting improvements to the existing facilities, as well as to support increased care within people’s homes.

5.48 The Council’s Older Peoples’ Accommodation Strategy (2008-2011) and Older Peoples’ Strategy (2007-2010) both support a continued reduction in the rate of admission of older people to residential care, whilst the Southend Health and Wellbeing Strategy (2013-2015) seeks to support independent living. These strategies seek to promote development of lifetime homes, which are flexible to people changing needs, and are located within neighbourhoods where older and vulnerable residents have access to transport services, public services, civic space and amenities. In summary, the promotion of independent living is therefore the policy focus of the Council rather than further expansion of residential care.

5.49 The Council will actively seek to discourage an overprovision of residential care homes that exceed identified local demand and encourages the often unsustainable inward migration of older populations into Southend from outside the Borough and the South Essex strategic housing market area. It has been identified that new residents tend to lack the family and social networks, which are local to Southend that support social interaction and quality of life, and as a result of this impose additional strains and costs on the local health and social care economy. Where there are existing facilities, the Council will continue to consult local people and work with local providers of care to develop a balanced market that is driven by quality and the principle of independent living.

5.50 All applications for new specialist housing or extensions to existing facilities should have regard to Policy DM9 in conjunction with the Council’s specific housing strategies3. Development Proposals that include the refurbishment or re-provision of existing residential care facilities will be supported where they do not increase net capacity. If a proposed specialist residential scheme results in a net increase in the overall number of units then a pre-application consultation with the Council’s Director for People will be essential. The proposed scheme will also not be acceptable without the agreement with the local Health and Wellbeing Board and Council’s Department for People that adequate health care is available.

5.51 A condition relating to a maximum number of residents that can be accommodated in the home will normally form part of any planning permission. The maximum number of residents will normally be calculated in relation to factors such as the level of need, site capacity, number of parking spaces and the amount of amenity space around the buildings.

Policy DM9 – Specialist Residential Accommodation

1. Development proposals for specialist residential accommodation, including new build and extensions, will be considered acceptable where each of the following criteria are addressed and it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council that:

  1. there is a clearly identified need in Southend; and
  2. there is no existing capacity for such facilities within Southend; and
  3. it will not lead to an over concentration of similar uses that would be detrimental to the character of a residential area, residential amenity or will impact on the capacity of public services e.g. health and social care; and
  4. it would not result in the loss of an existing use that makes an important contribution to other Council objectives, strategies and policies; and
  5. it is accessible to public transport, shops, services, community facilities, public open space and social networks appropriate to the needs of the intended occupiers.
Core Strategy Linkage:
Objectives Policies

Strategic Objective 7

Policy CP6: Community Infrastructure

Strategic Objective 14

Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision


1 English Partnerships’ Quality Standards, Delivering Quality Places Revised: from November 2007 2 Easily adaptable means without the need to do substantial alterations to the home such as moving walls to enlarge rooms, but would include smaller alterations such as the installation of grab rails, replacing a bath with a shower or changing kitchen units. 3 Including the Southend-on-Sea Housing Strategy 2011-21
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