The public consultation on the Draft Housing Strategy of Bassetlaw District Council resulted in 44 responses over the 11-week public consultation period. This document includes the feedback received, and the Council’s response to the themes identified.
Q1: Do you agree that the Strategic Priorities of the Housing Strategy gives a fair reflection of the most important issues for Housing in Bassetlaw?
- 31 answered YES
- 16 answered NO
Comments provided where the respondent did not agree:
- Planning rules will supersede the wishes of local people.
- It fails to mention Gypsies and Travellers and the fact that there is no social housing provision for this group.
- I agree that the strategies are the right ones highlighting affordable housing.However, the present planning practice appears to favour 4 bedroom detached houses.
- Agree that we need to look after our vulnerable, deservingaged and unwell residents.
- What gets presented to the public initially and basis of plans do not hold developers accoutable who change their plans and this allowed just like what's happening at Gateford development!
Q2: Are you confident that the Housing Strategy Delivery Plan, found at section 3.2, is achievable?
- 26 answered YES
- 18 answered NO
Comments provided where the respondent was not confident:
- Planning rules and regulations take precedence.
- The public sector equality duty and the equalities act 2010 has been disregarded in relation to GRT need.
- Developers do not appear to be interested.
- Council never do what people get told they going to do, .i.e build affordable homes.
- Changing government priorities keep moving the goalposts.
- Use more brown land - Regenerate stop allowing developers to take easy pickings and green land!! As a result the area is left with unused space and derelict areas.
- Bassetlaw has consistently failed to deliver its affordable housing targets and I can’t see much in this policy to change this. Particularly in rural areas it is next to impossible in the present planning environment to secure an exception site for affordable housing and many developments are too small to have to provide this on site. The reason that it is very difficult to find a site is that if a site is sustainable it is likely to be able to gain permission for commercial housing, multiplying the value of the site by many times.
- I am undecided.
- No, due to benefit restriction, there appears to be no provision for under 25’s.
- How can you enforce standards in private rented sector? No evidence of effective Empty Homes work at Bassetlaw since last dedicated EH officer left.
- Private landlords won’t like to be told what to do.
- You have no rights or control over private rented market & risk turning landlords off. You can’t force developers to build particular houses.
Q3: Is the language used plain and understandable?
- 39 answered YES
- 6 answered NO
Further comments on the Draft Housing Strategy:
- We would encourage social housing as a cost effective way of delivering housing quickly without compromising on quality or design. - We would support opportunities and their commitment to providing social housing for rent. - Would like to see inclusion.
- Difficult to see what this means for individual communities.
- Do your best with what you have.
- I am a retiree and own my own home which is a 17 years old 4 bed house. I wish to move into more suitable accommodation due to age and ill health, such as a bungalow, but there is none available and developers have admitted that they prefer to build houses because they have a smaller plot size and can build more on sites.
- Important to continue supply of new affordable (to rent) homes as stock is sold through right to buy.
- Minor grammatical error in 2.2 on the “how we will do it” section.
- No homelessness stats. This is one of the cheapest areas in the country surely your issue must be one of lack of volume rather than high rents?
- People need to be kept up-to-date on what the plans are. 2 years ago it was decided you would build 2, 3, and 4 bed homes. Nothing has been said since.
- Please Bassetlaw don’t just turn Worksop into a Gateford estate with no soul. We normal people like trees and wildlife. LEAVE THE GREEN SPACES ALONE-THEY ARE GOOD FOR THE MINDS OF THE COMMUNITY-----> Start closing some of the shops down and turn them into..
- We believe that contributions to affordable housing should not be related to a threshold of a specific number of dwellings, which encourages developments just under the threshold and “incremental” development: they should start at a single dwelling.
- Would be nice if couples could have 2 bed houses as well as flats and maisonettes. Also check if people in right band when applying for properties in Bassetlaw
- You have adapted a GTAA which shows no need which will fail the test in an appeal. There seems to be a complete ignorance to Gypsy and Traveller need for social housing.
- You need to crack down on Tenants that wreck property and abuse the system.
Respondents could contact the team via email or by telephone, or complete a feedback leaflet. Furthermore, the Strategic Housing team also attended the Bassetlaw Rural Forum to consult with members
The following shows the profile of respondent by type of respondent.
- A member of the public - 67
- A private landlord - 2
- An elected member (Local Councillor, Member of Parliament, etc) - 18
- On behalf of a Housing Provider (Housing Assocuiation, ALMO, Registered Social Landlord) - 13
Further comments were received directly from some Parish Councils, and from the Bassetlaw Rural Forum.
People who took part in the consultation asked questions on the below areas:
Strategic Housing and Planning
A number respondents expressed frustrations with planning decisions. This can be a sensitive area as Planning Policy is borne from quite material considerations set-out in the National Planning Policy Framework, which is the government’s planning policies for England. One of such considerations is the need for affordable housing for which requirements are taken from the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document, complemented with housing need information from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment, and demand for social rented housing. The Housing Strategy sets the Council’s priorities for addressing housing need in Bassetlaw, across all markets.
The Council has recently completed a Call for Sites exercise which has identified 370 sites across the District that are available for new development. Of those 370 sites 7% were entirely brownfield sites. As a rural authority much of the land available for development will not have previously been used, and developers do prefer to develop land in attractive areas as market intelligence tells them that this is where people want to live. Many brownfield sites already have valid planning permissions, and the Council is currently developing a brownfield land register and strategy to encourage development on brownfield sites.
Gypsies & Travellers
The Bassetlaw Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2015 (GTAA) sets out current accommodation requirements up to 2029. Based on existing pitch provision the GTAA identifies no immediate need up to 2019 and beyond this identifies need for at least a further eight pitches. This matter will be addressed in the emerging Bassetlaw Plan which, proposes a combination of allocated sites and a criteria-based policy to support delivery of pitches where unmet need is demonstrated.
The Bassetlaw Plan is in it’s early stages of development and is expected to be published in 2019.
Rural Exception Sites
This is as much a market problem as a planning problem, insofar as delivery of exception sites relies on a landowner’s willingness to accept less than market value for development of their land. Given that Bassetlaw currently has no allocated land for housing there is currently no mechanism for safeguarding in perpetuity.
Affordable Housing Requirements
The Draft Housing Strategy does not determine the number of affordable homes required on each site. This is set within planning Policy, currently the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document, and the Core Strategy, with proposed replacement policy set-out in the emerging Bassetlaw Plan. However, the Draft Housing Strategy strengthens planning policy by making it clear that Affordable Housing is a priority, and that we will provide advice at pre-application and full application that clearly reinforces the Policy ask.
The emerging Bassetlaw Plan recognises that: ‘Recent changes in National Planning Policy Guidance which has introduced a threshold of 11 units, below which tariff-style planning obligations, including those aimed at providing affordable housing, should not be sought. However, for Rural Bassetlaw, the Authority has the option to set a threshold of 5 dwellings, where contributions made on developments of between 5 and 10 dwellings will be in the form of cash payments. These cash payments will only be collected where the Council has a clear strategy for how such contributions can be used to deliver affordable housing.’
Right to Buy and New Council Housing
Each year the number of Council homes sold through the Right to Buy increases. This is a concern for the Council process as it reduces our ability to meet the demand for affordable, quality social rented homes in Bassetlaw. Although we have to give an amount from all sales to the Government, we are exploring opportunities to use the income that we can retain from Right to Buy sales to invest in new social rented homes.
Welfare Reform and Housing Provision for Young People
Intended changes to housing benefit entitlement for under 25’s is expected to increase hardship for young tenants. As such we expect to see an increase in demand for shared accommodation, such as houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s) for singles and couples. Our first Strategic Priority is to provide Affordable and Social Rented Homes, for which we aim to consult the market to better understand demand to inform and inspire the confidence of developers to deliver the types of dwellings needed.
Cross Boundary Development
Communities in the more rural areas rely on crossboundary markets and services for their day to day needs, which should be taken into account when considering new development applications. The Localism Act 2011 prescribes that the authority is subject to the Duty-to-Cooperate in order to address strategic cross-boundary issues. Addressing the Duty-to-Cooperate is set-out in the emerging Bassetlaw Plan, Appendix 2, page 96.
5 Year Supply
Addressing the Five Year Housing Land Supply shortfall is a priority for the Council and is being addressed by the Council’s planning service. This includes the granting of appropriate housing applications under national planning policy requirements, along with the development of a new Local Plan (Bassetlaw Plan) for the district that will allocate sufficient sites to provide the required housing land supply. The allocation of new housing sites and the granting of planning permissions in line with national housing supply policies are done to ensure the objectively assessed housing need for the district can be met. (Response provided by the Council’s Planning Policy team)
Private Rented Sector
Generally, the quality of private rented accommodation in Bassetlaw is good. However, there are a small handful of neighbourhoods having many privately rented homes, and amongst which multi-agencies are attempting to tackle issues of anti-social behaviour and low-level criminality. These issues impact on environmental standards, quality of life for residents, and will reduce the demand for, and value of homes in those areas. Tackling these issues is in all of our interest, and the Council want to ensure residents can enjoy a good quality of life free from the fear of crime, in neighbourhoods that are attractive with good quality housing. We are committed to exploring all options, including Selective Licensing, to find the best solution for residents.
Home Energy Efficiency Funding
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. There are a number of Government schemes that can help you improve your home energy efficiency and usage. You can find out more and check your eligibility here: https://www. gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator.
‘Independent Living for our Aging and Vulnerable Population’ is a Strategic Priority (Priority 3) for the Council. Ensuring residents can continue to live independently in their own homes means providing the right kinds of properties to the market. Not only will this increase the diversity of housing in Bassetlaw, but will also free-up family accommodation which will being balance to the market. To achieve this we must first find out what kinds of properties people want, which is a commitment made in the Action Plan. We can then start to influence developers to deliver, and explore investment options for providing social rented homes. Although we cannot force developers to provide specific dwelling types, if we can prove a strong demand for a type of property, this will build sales confidence which reduces risk for developers.
There are many issues which affect a person or households’ risk of becoming homeless. The Council is currently developing a new Homeless Prevention Strategy to replace the existing Homeless Strategy. This will focus solely on the issues, setting out our commitment to tackling and reducing homelessness in Bassetlaw.
Council Housing Allocations and Waiting List
Qualifying criteria for acceptance onto the Council housing register, and the types of dwellings a household (a single person, couple or family) will be eligible for, is set-out in the Allocations Policy.
Data supporting the priorities of the Draft Housing Strategy
The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is the primary source of information underpinning the Draft Housing Strategy. This is a comprehensive statistical document from which we have identified the key concerns which form the basis of the Strategic Housing Priorities. To ensure there is a focus on action we have eliminated technical statistical analysis; however, we will review all references to ensure appropriate supporting data is provided.
While the Draft Housing Strategy recognises the need to see a reduction in the number of empty homes, the Council’s approach is set-out in full in the Empty Homes Strategy 2011-2016. This document is due for review this year and for which consultation will be undertaken.
Self & Custom-Build
The Council holds a Self and Custom Build Register from which we can determine the demand for serviced plots, as required by the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, and Selfbuild and Custom Housebuilding (Register) Regulations 2016.
Equality Impact Assessment
In-line with Council Policy all Strategies and Policies must undergo a full assessment to identify any negative impacts on groups recognised within the Equalities Act 2010, and seek to mitigate them. The Draft Housing Strategy will be fully assessed and if necessary an action plan put in place to address any inequalities prior to publication.
Bassetlaw District Council and the Strategic Housing team offer their thanks for all feedback received.
We will consider fully all feedback received and produce a final version of the Housing Strategy for consideration and approval by members of the Council later in the year.
Last Updated on Thursday, August 13, 2020