The Three Rivers Core Strategy was adopted in October 2011, it is said to “provide the overarching strategy and policies and the long-term vision for Three Rivers”.
Policy CP4 of the Core Strategy sets out the affordable housing expectations, this can be seen below for reference:
As seen above, there are different requirements regarding on-site or off-site provisions.
There will be an overall target across the borough of 45% affordable housing; however, depending on the location or density of development, it could be more appropriate to strive for 50% AH on allocated sites.
All development involving a net gain of even 1 unit is expected to make a provision towards affordable housing, subject to viability. This often comes as a surprise to applicants, particularly given national guidance that such contributions should only be sought on major (10+) developments.
S106 Management have completed many successful viability challenges in Three Rivers, both during applications and appeals. The council’s policy is based on data over a decade out of date.
Therefore, we advise that a site-specific viability assessment is completed on all developments of 1 dwelling or more in Three Rivers to avoid unviable costs.
Previous Work in Three Rivers
Proposed development = Demolish the existing building and erect 2 x detached houses. In total, the development will provide 549m2 of residential accommodation.
Policy implications/requirements = CP4 of the Three Rivers Core Strategy asks for an off-site commuted payment.
Expectation on Affordable Housing = Commuted payment requirement of £686,250.
Result = The site was not viable if the expected commuted payment was given; this was reduced to an off-site contribution of £261,250, delivering a saving of £420,000.