«Issue | 19 February 2016 This report takes into account the particular instructions and requirements of our client. It is not intended for and should ...»
Building and Development Control
Land Use Plan Review
Issue | 19 February 2016
This report takes into account the particular
instructions and requirements of our client.
It is not intended for and should not be relied
upon by any third party and no responsibility
is undertaken to any third party.
Job number 232870-01
Ove Arup & Partners Ltd
13 Fitzroy Street
Building and Development Control Committee Land Use Plan Review Housing Strategy Contents Page 1 Introduction 4 1.1 Purpose of the Housing Strategy 4 1.2 Implications of the Housing Strategy for the Land Use Plan 4 1.3 Approach 5 1.4 Structure of the Housing Strategy 6 2 Who Needs Housing on Alderney 7 2.1 What is Housing Need 7 2.2 Different Housing Needs on Alderney 7 3 How Should Housing be Delivered on Alderney 11 3.1 Private Sector Housing 11 3.2 State Provided or Supported Housing 12 4 Where Should New Housing be Located 14 4.1 Identifying Locations for Development 14 4.2 Building Area 14 4.3
Executive Summary In recent years, Alderney’s population has been characterised as ageing and transient with the number of families with children on the Island halving between 2001 and 2013 and relatively high immigration and emigration. In response to a declining population, which is placing strain the sustainable operation of the Island, the States of Alderney (SoA) is seeking to increase the population.
Housing has a fundamental role in creating a sustainable island. There needs to be the right number, type and quality of housing to meet the needs of existing and future residents. This Housing Strategy explores the existing challenges within Alderney’s housing market and identifies a series of recommendations to address them around the following themes.
Who Needs Housing on Alderney Different groups of people need different types of housing, and this need may change over time. This includes for the different life stages of residents and the variety of housing needed to support businesses and wealth creators attracted to the Island. ‘Housing need’ therefore refers to the housing that is required to create and maintain a sustainable and diverse population. It refers to both the absolute number of houses and the type, characteristics and mix of houses including size, tenure, typology and affordability.
Existing data and discussions with stakeholders indicate that not everyone in Alderney is living in a home which meets their needs and that there may be a lack of homes to support incoming businesses etc. A better understanding of future housing needs is also required. Based on existing data and discussions with stakeholders specific housing needs have been identified for first time buyers, homes for families, homes for older people, professional service workers and temporary workers.
How Should Housing be Delivered on Alderney The key to a functioning housing market is for the private sector to provide the majority of rental and for sale housing on the Island. An unintended consequence of the C Permit system is that is has stifled and limited the ability of the market to respond to demand and provide the appropriate housing.
Market Sale: The C Permit system has resulted in a strong culture of selfdevelopment and an associated view that a home is a home for life. There is a preference for building ones’ own home rather than buying an existing house, which has resulted in a less transitional housing market than in other similar economies. Where there are homes for sale, the pool of suitable stock is quite limited. Discussions with stakeholders have also indicated that there is a need for improved information on properties being purchased.
Market Rent: Currently there is a relatively limited demand for rented accommodation with supply meeting demand. However, ambitions to attract new residents to the Island are likely to increase demand for rented accommodation in the future. Discussions with stakeholders have indicated that the quality of rented accommodation varies significantly across the existing stock and that average low gross rental yields can make it challenging for landlords to make improvements.
C Permit: Alderney currently operates a ‘C Permit’ system, whereby the right to build a new dwelling is restricted to residency and ‘need’ (i.e. not owning another house either on Alderney or elsewhere). Residential planning permissions are therefore ‘personal’ to the applicant and do not run with the land or site. This system was introduced, in essence, as an affordable housing policy, as it was designed to allow residents to be able to access housing by building their own.
However, the C Permit system is no longer fit-for-purpose and has resulted in a series of unintended consequences. A new replacement system is therefore required.
Where Should New Housing be Located Alderney is a small island state; land is a finite resource that must be thoughtfully and efficiently used. The historic use of land and associated pattern of development have resulted in Alderney’s distinctive character, with a compact urban centre surrounded by open countryside. The current Land Use Plan (LUP) reflects and supports the continuation of this development pattern through the designation of the Building Area and Designated Area.
Discussions with stakeholders have confirmed that development should continue to be focussed in the Building Area and specifically the General Building Area.
Such an approach will support the creation of vibrant places, the critical mass for service provision, reduce the likelihood of sprawl, and minimise the impact on the environment. However, the use of the General Building Area and multiple zones in the LUP creates a complex patchwork of designations which provides a lack of certainty about what forms of residential development might be suitable where.
The Building and Development Control (Alderney) Act (2002) and the LUP establish a presumption against development in the Designated Area, with development only permitted where it is deemed ‘essential’. Stakeholders confirmed that retaining the openness of the Designated Area is important.
However, they raised concerns about the current restrictions on existing dwellings and called for a more flexible approach which ensures that these buildings remain in active use.
Ensuring Good Quality Housing Design quality: Alderney has a rich and varied architectural style reflecting its long period of habitation. However, in relation to new buildings discussions with stakeholders concluded that there lacks agreement on a contemporary interpretation of ‘Alderney vernacular’. Stakeholders also felt that more guidance is required to support improvements in the quality of new development.
Quality of new homes: Separate to design quality, stakeholders have identified the varied quality of construction work on the Island. Whilst the Island has a wealth of good quality tradesmen, build costs are comparatively high due to the cost of importing materials etc., which is placing pressure on quality. Alderney’s climate also causes more rapid aging emphasising the importance of good quality construction work from the outset and affordable, expedient and reliable tradesmen to undertaken repair works.
Heritage properties: Stakeholders have identified the need to introduce guidance on how to tackle ‘heritage properties’ which are integral to the character of the Island, but in poor condition and ill-suited to modern living. This includes further information on the significance of buildings included in the Register of Historic Buildings and the scale and scope of works likely to be appropriate for heritage assets.
Underutilised housing: Given that land is finite resource on Alderney it is important that existing assets are being well used since underutilised housing impacts the availability of homes for others. Underutilised housing refers to properties which are vacant or have a low occupancy whether that be let or owned properties. In Alderney, underutilised housing includes second homes, empty homes where ownership is unknown and empty homes where ownership is known. There is a need to put in place mechanisms to address these matters.
Servicing residential development: A growing population will place demands on a range of different types of infrastructure and associated services. Whilst concentrating development within the centre of the island will create the critical mass to support more efficient service provision, this alone will not obviate the need for infrastructure improvements. There also remain historic challenges in relation to infrastructure provision including land locked development sites within the Building Area which are currently unserviceable, which may need to be addressed.
Recommendations A series of recommendations have been identified to improve the housing stock on the Island. Some of these relate to the LUP, with others relating to the States of Alderney Building and Development Control Committee (BDCC). A limited number of recommendations extend outside the remit of BDCC. Further details on the recommendations are provided within the main body of the report.
1.1 Purpose of the Housing Strategy In recent years, Alderney’s population has been characterised as ageing and transient with the number of families with children on the Island halving between 2001 and 20131 and relatively high immigration and emigration. In response to a declining population, which is placing strain the sustainable operation of the Island, SoA is seeking to increase the population to 2,250 in five years and to approximately 3,000 by 2036.
This aspiration is reflected in the Vision for the LUP, which is:
Alderney – a welcoming, resilient and sustainable island with a buoyant economy and a happy and healthy community, which values and protects the island’s unique cultural and natural environment.
Housing has a fundamental role in creating a sustainable island. There needs to be the right number, type and quality of housing to meet the needs of existing and future residents.
In terms of the number of homes required, the increase in population means that:
100 new homes will be required over the next five years, with that figure reaching 410 new homes in total by 2036 (over the next 20 years). This represents a significant increase against current delivery rates. Existing data also suggests that the housing market is currently not functioning well2. The reasons for this and potential solutions are explored in this report.
This Housing Strategy therefore seeks to:
Understand the different housing needs of Islanders both now and in the future.
Identify how this housing can be provided e.g. the different roles of SoA (and associated bodies) and the private sector.
Explore strategic locations for accommodating the proposed levels of housing growth.
Identify matters which may need to be addressed to support realisation and delivery of homes.
1.2 Implications of the Housing Strategy for the Land Use Plan Within Alderney’s planning system, land is allocated for use or development through the LUP. The Building and Development Control (Alderney) Law (2002) states that the LUP must be reviewed at least every five years.
1 Draft Housing Strategy 2013 2 Further details the ‘existing conditions’ of housing on the Island is provided in Appendix A.
Arup’s Review of the Planning and Development Control Process on Alderney (2014) recommended that the LUP should be based on a long term vision for the future and informed by evidence. To support the forthcoming LUP review, the BDCC commissioned Arup to produce a Housing Strategy, which will form part of the LUP evidence base.
The BDCC are currently undertaking a dual review of the LUP. In mid-2016, the LUP will be updated to establish a long term 20 year vision for the island and its approach to housing. This report forms part of this review stage. This will be followed in 2017 by further updates to the LUP to take account of economic and natural and historic environmental aspirations.
The recommendations contained within the Housing Strategy will be used to inform the forthcoming review of the LUP. It also includes a number of recommendations which do not relate to the LUP review but should be considered by the BDCC and SoA to meet the current and future housing requirements for the island.
1.3 Approach The development of the Housing Strategy has drawn on a wide range of
information sources including:
A review of existing information and data Housing Strategy States Workshop, including both States’ Members and Officers.
Interviews with various stakeholders including:
Alderney Housing Association Alderney Society Alderney Wildlife Trust Chamber of Commerce Architects Builders Estate agents Law officer Past applicants Stakeholders’ Workshop, held on 24 November 2015.
We are grateful for all those who have contributed to the development of the Housing Strategy.
1.4 Structure of the Housing Strategy
The remainder of the Housing Strategy is structured in the following way:
Chapter 2 considers who needs housing on Alderney, both now and in the future.
Chapter 3 identifies the role of the public and private sectors in delivering housing.
Chapter 4 outlines where new housing development should be located on the Island.
Chapter 5 sets out those matters which may affect the delivery of high quality homes, Appendix A provides a summary of the existing conditions of housing on the Island.