New Homes

In accordance with national policy, the Plan must seek to meet the District’s identified housing need based upon the government approved calculation methodology. This work concluded that the new Plan needs to deliver 11,920 new homes across the plan period (596 a year). The preferred option for housing growth is to meet this need in full.

The Local Plan proposes that this housing requirement is met through existing planning permissions, suitable windfall sites and site allocations.

Draft New Homes Policies Map

What are the key issues to consider?

From initial consultation, and the evidence we have collected so far, we have identified the following key issues in respect to the delivery of new homes:

How much housing should be planned for and where should it be located?

The NPPF (2019) requires Local Authorities to plan for the minimum number of homes needed, based on the Standard Method calculation set out in national planning guidance. For Dover, this equates to delivering 596 dpa or a minimum of 11,920 new homes over a 20 year period. This figure is potentially subject to change, as new data is published.

The NPPF (2019) states that any housing need that cannot be met within neighbouring areas should also be taken account of when establishing the amount of housing to be planned for.

The Plan needs to allocate a sufficient amount and variety of land for housing in the District to deliver a continuous supply of housing across the Plan period and ensure that the Council maintains a five year housing land supply. In accordance with the NPPF (2019) the Plan (in conjunction with the Brownfield Register) will also need to identify land to accommodate at least 10% of the housing requirement on small sites no larger than one hectare.

To date, the existing housing growth strategy set out in the Core Strategy (2010) has never been fully realised, with rates of housing delivery on average falling below target on a year on year basis. The proportion of housing development in Dover Town has been significantly less than the 70% envisaged in the Core Strategy. This is primarily due to the nature of the sites that were allocated in Dover (i.e. more constrained brownfield sites), low land values and as the progress on the delivery of 5,750 new homes at Whitfield has been much slower than originally expected.

The issues highlighted with the existing housing growth strategy have led to higher levels of market led windfall development in the District, rather than Plan led development. This development has tended to be in areas with high market demand, and on less constrained and more economically viable greenfield sites, predominantly in Deal and the rural settlements.

Housing delivery in the District continues to be constrained by a number of factors including: flood risk, wildlife sites, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), heritage, infrastructure capacity and highways. Given this, the challenge for the Council's future housing growth strategy will be to identify the most sustainable locations for new housing development, taking into account existing constraints, particularly around the District's three main towns of Dover, Deal and Sandwich. Furthermore, the Council will need to consider the role that the District's villages can play in delivering housing growth, to meet local housing need and deliver a more diverse housing mix to sustain rural communities and support rural services.

New housing development will also need to make as much use of previously developed or 'brownfield' land as possible. Whilst the use of brownfield sites will need to form part of the housing growth strategy, due to their constrained nature, issues with viability, deliverability and limited supply, it will also be necessary to identify greenfield sites to deliver the District's housing need.

What type of new homes are needed?

The NPPF (2019) states that the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community should be assessed and reflected in planning policies (including, but not limited to, those who require affordable housing, families with children, older people, students, people with disabilities, service families, gypsies and travellers, people who rent their homes and people wishing to commission or build their own homes). The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017, updated 2019) sets out the overall mix of accommodation required in the District over the Plan period, and the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment identifies the number of pitches that are required to be delivered in the District over the Plan period. It will therefore be important that any development in the District meets this identified need, to provide flexibility and choice in the housing market, meet the needs of the District's population, and create more sustainable settlements.

In addition to the provision of new homes, another key issue is the ageing population, with people living longer and the cost of care rising, this may lead to more demand for home adaptations and annexes which enable families of different generations to live together. Furthermore, families are out-growing their homes but unable to move to larger properties due to the shortage of housing, high house prices and the slow turn-over of housing stock, which leads to more demand for residential extensions.

In some areas of the District concerns have been raised regarding the over-concentration of particular forms of housing, such as Houses in Multiple of Occupation, and the impact these have on the amenity and living environment in those areas.

View our Evidence Base

How could these be addressed through planning policy and what is our preferred approach?

The policy options for addressing the key issues identified are set out below:

How many new homes should be planned for?

A key principle of sustainable development is the provision of a sufficient number and range of homes to create strong, vibrant and healthy communities, that meet the needs of present and future generations.

As part of the preparation of the Local Plan the Council has identified and appraised a range of growth and spatial options through the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) process:

  • Growth options - range of potential scales of housing and economic growth that could be planned for;
  • Spatial options - range of potential locational distributions for the growth options.

By appraising the reasonable alternative options the SA provides an assessment of how different options perform in environmental, social and economic terms, which help inform which option should be taken forward. It should be noted, however, that the SA does not decide which spatial strategy should be adopted. Other factors, such as the views of stakeholders and the public, and other evidence base studies, also help to inform the decision.

The housing growth options considered are:

  • Baseline Housing Growth - meeting the objectively assessed need (OAN) established through the standard methodology (currently 596 dwelling a year; 11,920 across the Plan Period)
  • Higher housing growth - (of 16,519 dwellings), based upon delivering existing commitments (4408 dwellings) and all the suitable and potentially suitable housing sites identified through the HELAA (12,111 dwellings).

The new Local Plan should, as a minimum, provide for the objectively assessed needs for housing within the District (NPPF para 11). It is considered that to deliver less than the OAN would be contrary to the NPPF (2019) and Planning Practice Guidance, and no overriding negative impacts or constraints have been identified in evidence so far that would justify providing for less housing than the baseline housing growth.

In terms of considering whether we should plan for more than the baseline housing growth, there are a number of factors to consider.

Housing delivery in the District continues to be constrained by a number factors:

  • 11.6% of the District is in flood zone 3, with areas of particular flood risk around Dover Town, Deal and Sandwich;
  • There are five international wildlife sites within the district, the Kent Downs AONB, five SSSIs, two NNRs, two stretches of Heritage Coastline and two Marine Conservation Zones;
  • There are 57 conservation areas, 39 Grade 1 listed buildings, 1,781 Grade II and 110 Grade II* listed buildings, 50 Scheduled ancient monuments, and, 5 Registered parks and gardens.
  • The local and strategic highways network requires upgrading to improve capacity and functionality;
  • The capacity of existing infrastructure for example schools and the sewerage network to accommodate further growth is limited in places and will require upgrading; and
  • Land values and the viability of development varies greatly across the District, with brownfield sites being particularly challenging to deliver. The delivery of the necessary infrastructure needed to support new housing is also challenging for reason.

The Sustainability Appraisal of the draft local Plan states that while a higher level of housing growth in the District would make a positive contribution to SA objective 1 (housing), delivering a lower scale of growth (i.e the baseline) would provide greater scope to preserve the District’s natural resources, the capacity of the existing infrastructure network, and protect the significance and sensitivities of its natural and historic environments.

Furthermore, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017, Part 1, Chapter 7) considers whether the OAN (529 at the time) should be increased to ensure there is sufficient labour supply available to meet the future job growth expected in the area. Although this is no longer a requirement of the Planning Practice Guidance due to the use of the Governments standard methodology, the analysis provided is still useful, and concludes that there is no need to increase the OAN in order to meet the need for economic growth in the District. Furthermore, the SHMA states that a cautious approach is needed to the housing target unless significant economic interventions are secured (i.e. regeneration and other economic interventions), which are in excess of that seen in the past.

The NPPF also places great emphasis on the delivery of homes where they are needed. However, if a Council can clearly and robustly demonstrate that it is unable to meet its own growth requirements, then it can come to an agreement with neighbouring Council(s) under the Duty to Co-operate to meet some, or all, of its shortfall. The Council has fully engaged neighbouring authorities in the preparation of this Plan. At the time of publishing this draft Local Plan there have been no requests for the District to accommodate growth from neighbouring or other authorities.

For these reasons the delivery of baseline housing growth is the Council's preferred option.

Where should the new homes be located?

The growth options identified above could be distributed across the District in many different ways. The identification and selection of spatial options for distributing development needs to be guided by:

  • Compliance with national planning policy, as set out in the NPPF.
  • The current distribution of development in the District such as; where the location of the main towns and transport links are; how urban or rural the area is; and the role and function of settlements, including the relationships between them and with settlements in neighbouring authorities.
  • Development that is already planned, such as where planning consent has been granted but not yet implemented.
  • The environmental assets and constraints in the District, in order to ensure that the most important environmental assets are safeguarded, and where possible the environment is improved.
  • The objectives of the Council, insofar as they relate to the Local Plan, such as ensuring there are enough of the right type of homes and employment land to meet people’s needs, supporting economic development and jobs, addressing the needs of more disadvantaged communities, minimising carbon emissions and dealing with air quality issues that can affect human health.

With this in mind, the Council carried out the following exercises:

  • Review of existing plans and strategies at a national, regional and local level – including the existing growth strategy set out in the Core Strategy and Land Allocations Local Plan.
  • Review of the existing evidence base to identify key issues to be addressed as part of the growth strategy.
  • Review of existing environmental constraints, for example landscape designations, flood risk, historic assets.
  • Initial stakeholder and community engagement workshops to discuss issues and opportunities to be addressed in the new Local Plan, and options to manage them.

To date, this has led to the definition of five reasonable spatial options for growth (i.e. the pattern and extent of growth in different locations), set out below, which have been subject to Sustainability Appraisal.

  • Spatial Option A: Distributing growth to the District’s suitable and potentially suitable housing and employment site options (informed by the HELAA and ELR).
  • Spatial Option B: Distributing growth proportionately amongst the District’s existing settlements based on their population.
  • Spatial Option C: Distributing growth proportionately amongst the District’s existing settlements based on the District’s defined settlement hierarchy (informed by the Settlement Hierarchy Topic Paper).
  • Spatial Option D: Distributing growth in the same way as the adopted Local Plan, focussing most growth in and around Dover.
  • Spatial Option E: Distributing growth more equally across the District’s settlements: Dover, Deal, Sandwich and Aylesham, as well as the rural villages.

These identified spatial options may need to be supplemented with other reasonable options at a later stage in the plan-making process, in light of new evidence.

Spatial options including the allocation of a new settlement have been raised and discussed during the Council’s early Local Plan workshops. Options to allocate a new settlement in the Local Plan have been discounted at this stage for the following reasons:

  • The Council has enough suitable and potentially suitable promoted site options to meet needs and aspirations of the Local Plan period, without the need for a new settlement.
  • No sites have been promoted through the Council’s ‘call for sites’ exercises and assessed through the HELAA that are large enough to be considered new settlements in their own right.
  • In the absence of suitable new settlement site options, the process of identifying reasonable and sustainable locations for a new settlements is time consuming and resource intensive. Proceeding with such an option would require a longer plan programme. In addition, due the likely lead in times for actual delivery of a new settlement, this would not deliver housing in the short term, and would be likely to cause difficulties with short term supply of land.

Consideration of the need for a new settlement will be explored in more detail when planning for the next plan period.

The conclusion of the SA was that Spatial Options C (settlement hierarchy) and D (adopted Plan Dover focus) generally perform the most strongly against the SA objectives, particularly when delivering the baseline growth scenario.

Spatial Option C (settlement hierarchy) focuses growth in line with the District’s settlement hierarchy, directing more growth to the settlements with the best range and access to services, facilities and job opportunities. This could have benefits in terms of reducing the need to travel by car, encouraging more active healthy lifestyles and limiting air pollution and carbon emissions.

Spatial Option D (adopted Plan Dover focus) focuses the vast majority of growth in and around Dover Town, and only distributes the remaining need to the most accessible service centres in the smaller, more rural settlements. This approach also helps to address the pockets of higher deprivation within Dover, but would be less effective at making positive use of the other larger settlements beyond Dover, such as Aylesham, Deal and Sandwich. Conversely, focusing growth in and around Dover Town helps to maximise the use of the District’s brownfield land, protecting the natural environment elsewhere in the District. However, concentrating such a significant scale of growth at a single settlement increases the likelihood of adversely affecting known congestion and air quality issues in the town, for example, along the A2/A20.

With regards to the other options, Spatial Option A (suitable sites) focusses growth on identified sites in the HELAA, the majority of which are in and around Dover Town. Relatively few suitable and potentially suitable sites have currently been identified at Deal and Sandwich, protecting natural resources, ecological and historic assets in and around these settlements. The remaining growth under this option is dispersed amongst sites identified in the District’s rural villages. Developing all suitable and potentially suitable sites in the rural villages would result in a higher number of residents having to travel regularly to access services, facilities and jobs, which is likely to adversely affect congestion and air quality. It is also likely to result in greater greenfield land take and a greater potential for adverse effects on the historic environment, given the character of many of the District's rural settlements.

The distribution of development set out through Spatial Option E (more even settlement focus) and Spatial Option B (population based) are similar. These spatial options result in the lowest scales of growth at Dover, in favour of greater growth at Deal and the wider network of small settlements. Both spatial options direct growth to the more flood prone and ecologically sensitive north eastern part of the District. The growth accommodated by the District’s smaller rural settlements would generate the same notably significant negative effects identified for Spatial Option A above.

Given this, the Council's preferred option for the distribution of housing growth will comprise a combination of options A (HELAA sites), C (settlement hierarchy) and D (Dover focus). The distribution of housing growth in the District will therefore primarily be based on the settlement hierarchy, and influenced by site availability, environmental constraints and factors of delivery.

Housing Site Options

The NPPF (2019) requires Local Authorities to allocate a sufficient amount and variety of land for housing in the District to deliver a continuous supply of housing across the Plan period.

The Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) identifies a future supply of land in the District which is suitable, available and achievable for housing and economic development uses over the Plan period to 2040. The HELAA is a technical piece of evidence to support the Local Plan making process and is a requirement of the NPPF (2019). It should however be noted that the HELAA does not in itself determine whether a site should be allocated for development, as that is the role of the Local Plan.

The draft Local Plan makes a number of strategic and non-strategic site allocations for housing development, based on the findings of the HELAA, the Sustainability Appraisal of the HELAA sites, further evidence (for example Highways modelling) and engagement with ward members and town and parish councillors. Sites have been selected in accordance with the council's preferred option for the distribution of housing growth (as set out above), based on their suitability, availability, and achievability. Further explanation of this process is provided in the Draft Local Plan Housing Allocations - Site Selection Process Topic Paper.

Residential Windfall Development

Residential windfall development can make a significant contribution to the supply of homes coming forward during the plan period. Such development tends to be small scale and to come forward on previously developed land or vacant areas within or adjoining existing settlement boundaries. For such proposals, policies are needed to clarify which locations and circumstances would be considered acceptable and the criteria against which such applications will be assessed.

Where should residential windfall development be supported?

The current adopted policy in relation to windfall proposals restricts such development to locations within designated settlement areas (those with defined settlement boundaries as shown on the Local Plan Proposals Map), and the principle of development in settlements without defined boundaries is generally not supported. This policy approach was developed under previous national policy and is now considered overly restrictive having regard to the guidance set down in the NPPF and NPPG.

The option of continuing with the current policy approach is therefore not considered appropriate.

As part of the evidence base for the Regulation 18 Draft Dover Local Plan 2040 the Rural Settlement Hierarchy Study has been updated. This demonstrates that the settlement pattern of the District continues to be dominated by a large number of small villages and hamlets. Such small settlements have a wide range of educational, public transport, retail and community facilities provision. The NPPF advises that windfall development is directed to those villages which are the most sustainable. It also requires that policies reflect the reality that where there are groups of smaller settlements, such as is the case with the settlement pattern in this District, development in one village can support services in, and therefore the vitality of, nearby villages. The Settlement Hierarchy makes clear that Dover District has a number of larger villages with a good range of key sustainability indicators and a larger number of smaller villages and hamlets which have less facilities but which can be reasonably considered to be located near to, and supportive of, the sustainability and vitality of larger ones. The Council's preferred option therefore when considering suitable locations for residential windfall development is to support in principle windfall development at existing settlements which can support existing services and facilities, and where the scale of the development proposed is appropriate to the capacity of such services and facilities to accommodate the additional development. It is important such a policy includes clear criteria to ensure there are no unacceptable impacts and that the design of such windfall developments is of a particularly high standard reflective of the character and setting of the settlement.

In taking this approach there is the option of allowing windfall development within and immediately adjoining settlement boundaries, or merely within such defined limits. Given the wide range of scale of settlements that the preferred option includes, it is considered appropriate that a different approach is taken to protect the character of the smaller villages and hamlets. Windfall development will therefore be considered acceptable in principle within and immediately adjoining existing settlement boundaries in the larger most sustainable settlements. In the case of the smaller, less sustainable villages and hamlets only windfall development within the existing confines would be acceptable in principle in the interest of protecting the character of such settlements, and to limit the amount of development given the limited level of services and facilities those settlements provide.

Regarding development elsewhere in the wider countryside, the NPPF sets out clearly the limited exceptional circumstances whereby isolated new dwellings would be acceptable. . The Plan could set out such national criteria within policy. However, as national guidance is that Local Plans do not repeat national policy, the preferred option is to make clear in the supporting text that the limited circumstances where isolated new dwellings can be acceptable are set out at national policy level and that applications coming forward for such development in this District will be assessed using such criteria. Wording is included in the policy to confirm this.


What type and mix of new homes are needed?

The following options have been considered in relation to providing for a type and mix of housing:

  • policy requiring the type and mix of housing delivered meets the local need identified through the latest evidence;
  • use nationally produced age and type of household projections from the Office for National Statistics to determine the appropriate type and mix of homes to be built with the District; or,
  • allow the type and mix of homes to be determined by the housing market and have no specific policy requirement.

Providing the right type and mix of housing will ensure that the local needs of the District's demographics will be provided for over the plan period. Specifically, the National Planning Policy Framework requires that the needs of the differing community groups in the community should be assessed and reflected in planning policy. Given this and having considering the evidence, the opportunities and policy context within Dover, the preferred approach is to include a policy on the type and mix of housing that should be built based on the latest evidence of demographic need within the District. This is considered the most appropriate approach to ensuring the housing needs of the various demographics of the District are met. The preferred approach aligns most appropriately with national legislation and most effectively addresses the issues outlined above.

Provision of Affordable Housing

In order to meet the District's needs for affordable housing the plan will include a policy which sets out specific requirements for the amount and types of affordable housing required on sites proposed for housing. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA 2017, updated 2019) indicates that of the overall housing requirement, 73.1% should be market housing, 5.1% Starter homes, 5.8% shared ownership and 16.0% affordable rent. At the time of writing MHCLG are consulting on proposals to introduce 'First Homes' as a proportion of the overall affordable housing secured on development, which is expected to replace the policy in relation to starter homes.

The NPPF states (para 34) that plans should set out the contributions expected from development, including affordable housing requirements, and that such policies should not undermine the deliverability of the plan. The draft Local Plan has therefore been informed by a Local Plan Whole Viability Study which assesses the impact of proposed policy choices on the deliverability of the plan, and considers various options for the levels and types of affordable housing, balanced against other policy requirements.

The Local Plan Whole Viability Study has concluded that within the Dover Urban Area (as identified in Figure 6.3), through a number of scenarios, it is not viable to provide affordable housing, including the minimum requirement in the NPPF for 10% affordable home ownership. It is therefore the Council's preferred option that for Dover Urban Area there will be no affordable housing to be provided. This will also assist with the delivery of brownfield sites in the town, contributing to the regeneration of the area.

In terms of the rest of the district, there are three different values areas which impact upon the ability of development to delivery affordable housing. Within the higher and medium values areas the viability evidence demonstrates that development can support a requirement for 30% affordable housing. Within the lower value areas the delivery of 30% is more marginal and would depend upon the level of developer contribution being sought for infrastructure. Further work is needed to determine the level of developer contributions likely to be required and more detailed work is required in relation to the viability and deliverability of the proposed strategic allocations. This work will take place following the regulation 18 consultation, prior to the Regulation 19 consultation, and has the potential to impact upon the level of affordable housing to be required in the lower value area. At this stage, given the need identified in the SHMA, it is considered that to divert away from this would not work towards meeting the demonstrated housing need.

The preferred option is therefore to have a 30% requirement for the rest of the district outside of the Dover Urban Area. This would be the starting point and any schemes not able to meet these requirements would need to demonstrate through an independently assessed viability study to support any non-compliance with the 30%. It is also considered suitable and proactive for a criteria based policy to outline where flexibility could be made if viability is demonstrated to be an issue for delivery of the 30% affordable housing requirement.

The NPPF allows affordable housing to be secured on sites of 10 dwellings or more (or sites larger than 0.5ha). In addition, in AONBs and designated rural areas, the threshold can be reduced to 6 dwellings. The viability work demonstrates that sites of these thresholds within those areas are able to accommodate affordable housing, and given the overall need for affordable housing in the District, it is considered that these thresholds are the most appropriate in order to maximise delivery of affordable housing.

The NPPF (para 77) requires local plans to include policies in relation to local needs housing. The existing development plan includes such a policy, which it is considered appropriate to roll forward, with the addition of criteria in relation to design, which is considered necessary to ensure development meets the design standards set out in the design policies, and to meet the requirements of the NPPF and national guidance in that respect.

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation

Gypsy and Traveller accommodation is a specialised type of dwelling type known as pitches that fall within the overall District need for new homes.  Whilst being part of the overall need for housing, this type of accommodation also has its own specific national Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS).  The PPTS sets out both how Local Authorities should identify and provide for the need, and provides definitions on whether persons are “gypsies and travellers” and what constitutes a pitch. 

How many Gypsy and Traveller pitches should be planned for?

The level of need for the District is set out within the latest Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) and includes both need as defined within PPTS and need based on a broader ‘cultural’ definition of Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople which identifies households as a Gypsy and Traveller /Travelling Showperson but do not meet the travelling clarification questions of the PPTS. The GTAA includes this second cultural need as it accords with the Housing and Planning Act 2016 section 124 which considers the needs of households living in caravans.

The latest update to the GTAA states that for the plan period 2020 to 2040 there is a cultural need for 26 pitches and a PPTS need for 16 pitches. Policy options for addressing these needs include:

  • The Council could plan to meet both Cultural and PPTS pitch needs as established in the GTAA; or,
  • Plan for a higher Cultural and PPTS pitch growth than the established in the GTAA; or,
  • Plan to deliver less Cultural and PPTS pitch growth than established in the GTAA; or,
  • Plan to meet only the PPTS need as established in the GTAA, or,
  • Rely on windfall planning consents to address the pitch needs as established in the GTAA.

The preferred option is to meet the cultural and pitch need as established in the GTAA. This option is considered the most appropriate when considering national planning policy and legislative requirement. Failure to identify and plan for a policy and legislative compliant Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation need, may increase the risk of unauthorized encampments and appeal challenges to planning applications for pitches in non-policy compliant locations within the District.

Where should the new pitches be located?

The Gypsy and Traveller site options investigation study (2020) identified that there were opportunities and locations for addressing the cultural and PPTS accommodation need for the district. The study stated that at January 2020 there were 10 vacant pitches on existing authorised sites; 22 potential pitches could be delivered through the intensification/expansion of existing sites (15 on authorised sites, 5 on tolerated sites, 2 on sites that are unauthorised); and, 28 pitches which could be delivered on new sites. Plan policy options include:

  • In planning for pitches in the district count and monitor vacant pitches, identify permitted and tolerated sites for prescribed levels of intensification, and to allocate sites to a level to meet any residual need after other sources of supply have been counted, or,
  • Require strategic and large allocations in areas where there are concentrations of Gypsy and Traveller sites, to take a proportion of the pitches need for the district; or,
  • Rely on windfall planning consents to address the need.

The Council's preferred option is to allocate sufficient sites to meet the need over the plan period, and not to rely on any windfall provision. In order to do this, it is proposed to identify pitches on existing sites which are considered appropriate for expansion/intensification, and identify additional specific sites for allocation to meet the remainder of the identified need.

A major constraint to the identification of new sites for allocation is that limited options have been put forward to the Council for this use. The Gypsy and Traveller site options study (2020) identified three potential sites for allocation. Two of the sites are considered in principle to be suitable for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, and are therefore proposed as draft allocations at the current time, as set out in Strategic Policy 6 and SA Policy 2 below. These sites would be required to provide 10 pitches each in order to meet the overall need. It is recognised that sites of such size are not always suitable or desirable, and may not meet the needs of some of the Gypsy and Traveller community. It is therefore the Council's preference that a larger number of smaller sites be identified and allocated within the Plan in order to meet this need. A call for sites specifically for Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation is therefore being carried out in order to identify further sites for allocation, and to minimise the likelihood for windfall sites to be needed.

Notwithstanding this, it is likely that planning applications for windfall proposals will still be submitted to the Council. The options for addressing this is either to include a policy which set out specific local criteria by which applications should be considered, or instead rely on the National Planning Policy Framework, and Planning Practice Guidance when providing planning advice and determining planning applications for development in the District. The preferred option is to include a specific policy which will allow local factors to be taken into account and enable the Council to only support those proposals which are in appropriate locations and would not have unacceptable impacts upon the local area.

Self Build and Custom House Building

Another type of specialised housing that falls within the overall housing need for the District is self build and custom house building .  This type of housing is supported by legislation and requires the Council to identify the level of need through the use of a register and places a duty on the Council to grant enough planning consents to meet the identified need.

How many self build and custom house building plots should be planned for?

At present, the Council has an identified need for 4 plots on part 1 of it register and 3 plots on part 2. Legislation only requires the Council to consider the need as identified on part 1 of the register. Plan policy options include:

  • allocating specific sites to meet the established need as reported on part 1 of the register;
  • go beyond meeting the statutory need and allocate specific sites to meet the identified need for part 1 and 2 of the register;
  • rely on windfall planning consents to address the plot need as established by part 1 and/or part 2 of the register

Due to the number of plots required on the register the Council's preferred option is to include a specific windfall policy for self build and custom house building to assist in the delivery of self and custom build housing. The Council's register is a process formulated through legislation and provides an accurate indication of local need and capability to carry out development. By not placing an undue requirement on site allocations to provide for a level of self build and custom house building need that is not established, those sites will be less constrained in delivering other types of identified housing need. This is considered to represent the most appropriate method for setting out a set of clear principles that each development will need to consider, and will assist in the effective management of development in the District. The preferred approach aligns most appropriately with national legislation and most effectively addresses the issues outlined above.

Where should the new plots be located?

The Self Build and Custom House building register poses a series of questions to applicants to help identify their preferred location for development and size of dwelling to be built. The information obtained from the register can help identify the locations and size of plots required when planning for this need. The options for considering where plots can be located include:

  • Allow the housing market to determine plot provision through windfall consented planning applications; or

  • Plan for plots as prescribed by the Self Build and Custom House building register; or,
  • Allocate site(s) where land has been made available to meet the plot need.

The Council's preferred approach is to allow the location and size of plots to be determined through the housing market and windfall planning applications. This approach is appropriate is considered the most appropriate due to the low level of need currently identified on the register, the limited amount of land required and that no sites for this need have been identified through the Councils Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment and deemed suitable allocation in the Plan.


Residential Extensions and Annexes

  • With regards to residential extensions and annexes in the District, the Council can either adopt a local approach to managing this issue and include a policy in the Plan to facilitate the delivery of residential extensions and annexes; or
  • Instead rely on the National Planning Policy Framework, and Planning Practice Guidance when providing planning advice and determining planning applications for development in the District.

Residential extensions and annexes can allow for homes to be adaptive to changing lifestyle and societal needs. It is identified that Dover has an ageing population, a trend that is expected to continue into the Plan period, these types of development offer the opportunity to support the living needs of mobile older persons whilst reducing the premature need to enter into care facilities. Further, given the changes in working place practices towards greater home working then there will be an increased need for this type of development. Given this and having considered the evidence, opportunities and policy context within Dover, the preferred approach is to include a policy to assist in the delivery of residential extensions and annexes. This is considered to represent the most appropriate method for setting out a set of clear principles that each development will need to consider, and will assist in the effective management of development in the District. The preferred approach aligns most appropriately with national legislation and most effectively addresses the issues outlined above.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

With regards to houses in multiple occupation, the Council can:

  • Include a specific criteria based policy in the Plan to manage HMOs and their impacts on communities;
  • Instead rely on the National Planning Policy Framework, and Planning Practice Guidance when providing planning advice and determining planning applications for development in the District.

At present, having considered the evidence (as set out in the housing topic paper), opportunities and policy context within Dover, the preferred approach is to include a criteria based policy to manage HMOs and their impacts. This is considered to represent the most appropriate method for setting out a set of clear principles that each application will need to consider, and will assist in the effective management of development in the District. In some cases the creation of HMO's does not require planning permission, if it is a change for an existing C3 dwelling housing to a small HMO (C4 - where between three and six unrelated people share communal facilities). It is possible for the Council to serve an Article 4 direction to require such changes of use to require planning permission. The Council will need to consider whether there is sufficient evidence that the impact of such changes of use warrant controlling through these means.

View the Draft Local Plan on our Consultation Portal