Emerging Bristol Affordable Housing Policy VS Adopted

The current Bristol Core Strategy was adopted back in June 2011. A recent draft local plan was released (November 2023) with formative policies for the future.


There are some notable differences in approach which may have implications for your development in the near future.

Current Adopted Policy

Policy BCS17 of the current Core Strategy sets out the expectations for Affordable Housing in the area, this can be seen below:

The above identifies that depending on the location of the development, the percentage of affordable housing requested will be different. However, the threshold of 15+ dwellings remains the same.


In North West, Inner West and Inner East Bristol, 40% of the total number of dwellings will be sought and in all other locations, only 30% will be. Ideally, this provision should be on-site.

The map below shows the specific areas and the percentage requirements:

However, there are separate requirements for schemes of 10-14 dwellings – this is shown in the Site Allocations & Development Management Policies (July 2014).


For sites in Inner West, Inner East and South Bristol, the sought amount is 20%, whereas those in North West, East and North Bristol seek only 10%. This can be provided as either on-site or as a financial contribution in lieu.

The map below shows the specific areas and the percentage requirements:

All of the above percentages are subject to viability.

What's changed?

The adopted Affordable Housing policy is noticeably different to what is proposed in the publication Bristol Local Plan (November 2023).

Policy AH1: Affordable Housing Delivery can be seen below:

The proposed policy has a very different approach to secure affordable dwellings in the City. There are a variety of delivery mechanisms that can be used to ensure that the minimum percentage requirement is met.

This policy starts at 10+ dwellings rather than splitting up into different thresholds in the adopted policy. At least 35% affordable housing will be sought on residential developments of 10 units or more and developers will be expected to identify the maximum amount that can be delivered viably.

If 35% cannot be delivered without public subsidy, the developer is expected to work with the Council to deliver the difference through other mechanisms. However, if the 35% can be met without any public subsidy, the developer is then expected to work with the Council to increase the percentage of affordable housing provided through the other delivery mechanisms.

However, viability can be looked at in the planning stage and demonstrated through an FVA.

The proposed tenure mix would be as below:

75% = Social Rent

25%= Affordable Home Ownership (can  include First Homes)

The preferred provision for all of the above is on-site; however, if it can be robustly justified, an off-site provision or financial contribution in lieu may be considered.

Main Differences

The main changes are summarised below:

S106 Management would recommend a site-specific viability assessment on all developments of 10+ dwellings should the proposed policy be accepted as above.

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