Self-build house required to contribute to meeting affordable housing need

An inspector rejected plans for a self-build roof-top dwelling in a London borough after being satisfied that an affordable housing contribution was justified both in terms of scheme viability and local circumstances.

The appellant argued that affordable housing should not be provided having regard to the policy context and need for affordable housing contributions from small sites, their self-build status, and the viability of the proposed development.

In terms of policy context, the inspector acknowledged the appellant’s point that core strategy policy and supplementary guidance conflicted with paragraph 63 of the NPPF, which stated that affordable housing provision should not be sought for non-major residential developments of less than 10 dwellings, to avoid a disproportionate burden of developer contributions on small-scale developers. However, the inspector recorded that the legal starting point for decisions is the development plan and statements of national policy are materials considerations and the council provided clear evidence to justify a policy for small sites contributions toward affordable housing in the borough, confirmed in recent appeal decisions.

Recording that there is no distinction in national policy between small-scale development and self-builders in terms of affordable housing provision, the inspector rejected this claim to an exemption. Moreover, based on the evidence relating to viability, the inspector was satisfied that the contribution would not place a disproportionate burden on the appellant and decided that without making appropriate provision for affordable housing, planning permission should not be granted and he dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Tom Gilbert-Wooldridge; Hearing

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