Development Management - Proposed Submission

Ended on the 29 April 2011

Section 4: Housing

DM7 – Dwelling Mix

4.1 It is important that future housing delivery meets the needs and aspirations of those households that require market and affordable housing in Southend-on-Sea. 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 ‘Southend Together’. It is further stated that housing needs to be flexible so that it continues to meet people’s needs as they change and caters for the diverse needs of the community.

Dwelling Mix

4.2 To deliver sustainable communities, the Council seeks to ensure that new housing reflects the needs and demand of Southend-on-Sea’s existing and future communities and improves the quality and mix of new market and affordable housing in the Borough.

4.3 In order to sustain mixed communities it is considered that a mix of housing is required within each development and that the mix should be agreed with the Council during pre-applications discussion. The South Essex Thames Gateway Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) identified a shortage of family accommodation in Southend-on-Sea despite an acute demand for this type of dwelling. Consequently residential development proposals will be expected to incorporate family accommodation.

4.4 The affordable housing sector is more regulated in that housing is allocated in relation to the housing size required and as such this policy should be more detailed in terms of the proportion of housing size types. The SHMA undertook an assessment of affordable dwelling need and consequently set out a recommended affordable dwelling mix for Southend-on-Sea. The recommended affordable mix is incorporated into policy but this proportion should not be treated as a definitive mix but be used during negotiations.

Affordable Tenure

4.5 The Core Strategy DPD sets the thresholds that trigger the need for affordable housing provision within a development scheme. There are two main types of affordable home, social rented housing and intermediate affordable housing. Social rented housing includes housing rented from registered affordable housing providers such as registered providers. Intermediate affordable housing costs more than social rented housing, but substantially less than market housing. It caters for occupiers who are unable to afford market housing, such as key-workers and first-time buyers. The SHMA suggests there is a need for social rented housing in Southend-on-Sea and that there is a potential market for intermediate home ownership. The Borough Council will therefore seek a flexible mix of 70:30 between social rented housing and intermediate affordable housing.

(1)Policy DM7 – Dwelling Mix
1. All residential development is required 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.
2. Where affordable housing is provided:
  1. The affordable dwelling mix set out in Policy Table 2 is sought; and
  2. An indicative tenure mix of 70:30 between social rented accommodation and intermediate housing is sought.
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.

Policy Table 2: Affordable Dwelling Mix

Dwelling size: No.
1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4-bed
Proportion of affordable housing total 30% 25% 30% 15%


Core Strategy Linkage:  
Objectives Policies
Strategic Objective 7 Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision
Strategic Objective 14  

DM8 – Residential Standards

4.6 It is the Council’s aim to deliver good quality housing and ensure that new developments contribute to a suitable and sustainable living environment for now and 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 high quality of life and meet the modern needs for all the Borough’s residents.

Residential Standards

4.7 The requirement for high quality residential standards is supported by national planning policy which imbeds sustainable development into the planning system. The Government’s ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’ considers decent homes to be at the heart of a sustainable community. Residential standards are a key component of sustainable development in Southend-on-Sea as they will contribute towards: delivering a better quality of life; ensuring decent homes for all; providing high quality residential environments; delivering sustainable design and construction; providing personal privacy; reducing depression, anxiety and stress; and improving health and well-being within a home.

4.8 The evidence within ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ indicates that the minimum amount of space needed per person is not felt 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 families accommodation. The Council has set out minimum residential standards that will apply to all housing. These standards are based on the Housing Corporation’s occupancy space standards that are used to form the basis for their funding system. It is expected that these standards will be exceeded.

4.9 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 and allowing people to live in their home for as much of their life as possible. The Council will expect all new homes to meet the lifetime homes standards unless it can demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council that this requirement is not viable and feasible.


4.10 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.

4.11 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 inclusivity provided by 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.

4.12 There is a need to ensure some rooms are multi-functional for example the modern use of a home means that bedrooms are not just used for sleeping but are also used for work and study or to relax away in private from the social spaces of the home. The research studies identified in the ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ demonstrated that is a correlation between education attainment and where there are opportunities for children to study in private.

Working from Home

4.13 Changing economic conditions and technological advances has allowed more people to work from home whether it is full-time or just a day a week. This working arrangement has allowed for a greater live-work balance and sense of well-being and as such contributes to sustainable development. As the economy develops there is likely to be a significantly greater demand for additional workspace within the home than has previously been the case. Sufficient space and appropriate internet and telephone connections within a dwelling is essential to enable flexible working patterns and thereby contribute to improving life-work balance.

Storage Space

4.14 The lack of storage within a home causes a detrimental impact upon the way a home is used. The evidence cited in ‘Housing Quality Review 2011’ suggests the inclusion of dedicated built-in storage cupboards of 1.25 sq m for 2 person dwellings and 0.5 sq m for each additional occupant. The storage provision should 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. Without adequate storage space, people’s belongings will take space away from their rooms of the home and limit enjoyment of them.

Climate Change

4.15 Improving the quality of a dwelling in terms of space standards and function 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 obsolescent or unsuitable for anyone. Unnecessary redevelopment involves a greater waste of energy and natural resources and increased carbon cost therefore makes it harder to achieve sustainability targets. Environmental sustainability is best served by providing buildings that have a reasonably long life, which requires them to have sufficient in-built flexibility for them to adapt to changing needs over their lifetime.

Amenity Space

4.16 Private outdoor space is an important amenity asset and allows for both adults and children to have external recreational areas in which they feel safe. It is considered that this space must be functional for needs of the intended occupants.

Planning Application Drawings

4.17 The design of the internal layout of a dwelling should accommodate the furniture and activity space required for the intended number of occupants. It is necessary that the room sizes are large enough to accommodate the furniture requirements needed for modern living. Planning application plans must indicate on the submitted plans how furniture will fit in a room a number of arrangements.

Non Self-Contained Accommodation

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

(2)Policy DM8 – Residential Standards
1. All new dwellings must be of the highest quality internal environment. To achieve this all new dwellings must:
  1. Provide convenient and efficient room layouts; and
  2. As a minimum meet the residential space standards set out in Policy Table 3 and must meet the requirements of Policy Table 4; and
  3. Meet the Lifetime Homes Standards; and
  4. Deliver at least 10% of new dwellings on major development sites to full wheelchair standards; 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 which will need to be fully justified.
All planning applications for residential development will be required to include plans that provide indicative furniture and storage arrangements within the proposed rooms to demonstrate that the proposed space is of an adequate size for the intended number of occupants and allows an efficient internal layout and circulation.
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 5.

Policy Table 3: Indicative Residential Space Standards

Number of Occupants No. of storeys Minimum Gross Internal Area (m2)
1 - 30
2 - 45
3 - 57
4 - 67
5 1 75
5 2 82
5 3 85
6 1 85
6 2 95
6 3 100
7 2+ 108
7+ - Add 10 m2 per occupant

Policy Table 4: Residential 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 0.25m2 storage area should be provided for each additional occupant.
Amenity Suitable space should be provided for a washing machine and for drying clothes.
Bedroom Sizes The minimum floor area for bedrooms to be no less than 7m2 for a single bedroom and 12m2 for a double/twin bedroom.
External 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 local requirements.
Suitable space should be provided for and recycling bins within the home.
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.
Working from Home Provide suitable space that allows the opportunity to work from home. This space will be required provide a high speed broadband connection, suitable number of electrical points and sufficient space to accommodate a computer desk and filling/storage cupboards.

Policy Table 5: 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 high speed 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 for each occupant and has sufficient work surface space.

Core Strategy Linkage:  
Objectives Policies
Strategic Objective 7 Policy CP8: Dwelling Provision
Strategic Objective 14  

Policy DM9 – Specialist Residential Accommodation

4.19 It is important that the local residents of Southend-on-Sea have access to housing that meets their specific needs. Specialist residential accommodation includes extra care and supported accommodation and residential facilities for mental health, learning disabilities, dementia, physical and sensory impairment, and drugs and alcohol dependency. Specialist housing does not include sheltered housing which is assessed under general housing policies.

4.20 There is a need to limit further growth in the residential care homes market in Southend-on-Sea, because national and local social care policy is to support older people and people with disabilities in their own homes, rather than expect them to live in residential care homes. The Borough Council’s Older Peoples’ Accommodation and Support Strategy and Older Peoples’ Strategy both support a continued reduction in the rate of admission to residential care. Promotion of independent living is the therefore policy focus of the Council rather than further expansion of residential care.

4.21 There is an over provision of residential care in Southend-on-Sea in proportion to the local population and consequently this sector need to avoid further over provision. Approximately 12 to 15% of residential care beds are vacant at any one time in Southend-on-Sea. This level of capacity encourages the inward migration of older populations into Southend-on-Sea from outside the Borough and the South Essex area. These new residents tend to lack the family and local social networks that support social interaction and quality of life, and impose strains and costs on the local health and social care economy. The Borough 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.

4.22 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. Proposals that include the refurbishment or re-provision of existing 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 Director of Adult and Community Services will be essential. The proposed scheme will also not be acceptable without the agreement with the local NHS commissioning body and Adult Social Care that adequate health care is available.

4.23 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 considered acceptable where:
  1. There is a clearly indentified need in Southend-on-Sea Borough that has been accepted by Council during pre-application discussions; and
  2. There is no existing capacity for such facilities within Southend-on-Sea; and
  3. The proposed development does not lead to a significant net increase in the overall capacity of the residential care sector; and
  4. 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 the capacity public services e.g. health and social care; and
  5. It would not result in the loss of an existing use that makes an important contribution to other Council objectives, strategies and policies; and
  6. 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
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