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New housing is needed to help address current and future housing needs, support the local economy and ensure the sustainability of the area, as set out in the Vision for Central Lancashire.
The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to meet the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the area, including identifying key sites which are critical to the delivery of the housing strategy over the plan period (which ideally should be 15 years).
Policy 4 of the Central Lancashire Core Strategy sets out the number of new houses required in Preston. These are in line with the Regional Strategy, which equates to 507 dwellings per annum to 2026 and a total of 6,084 dwellings across the remainder of the plan period (2014-2026).
At April 2014 there was an undersupply of 1217 units which has been factored into the housing requirement and brings the total requirement to 7,301 units across the period 2014-2026. Even though the Regional Strategy is now revoked, the evidence on which the housing requirement is based remains the most robust available and has been subject to independent examination.
The Local Plan identifies sufficient land for housing to meet the requirement set out in the Core Strategy for market and affordable housing over the plan period, taking into account past undersupply.
Information relating to the Council’s 5 year land supply will be provided in Annual Housing Position Papers, which will also include the likely delivery rates of identified sites. In addition, the Council’s Housing Implementation Strategy sets out how the delivery of a five-year supply of housing land will be maintained over the plan period.
It reflects the provisions of the Core Strategy Performance Monitoring Framework, whereby steps will be taken to address housing delivery issues identified as a result of the annual monitoring of house building activity.
It is not necessary to find new sites to meet all of the housing requirements over the plan period. Some sites already have planning permission for housing and will provide land for a significant proportion of the total. New housing sites are required to meet the remainder of the housing requirement.
The Council has assessed all the housing sites that were put forward and consulted on during the earlier stages of this Plan’s preparation. This assessment included measuring the sustainability, location, delivery and infrastructure needs of each site.
The assessment concentrated on two key factors; firstly, the representations the Council received on each site during consultation, and secondly, the need to identify sufficient land to meet the Council’s housing supply requirement set out in the Central Lancashire Core Strategy.
In accordance with the development distribution principles included within the Central Lancashire Core Strategy, this Plan aims to focus development within and adjacent to the Preston Urban Area to maximise access to services, facilities, employment and to increase travel choices.
The priority is to encourage the use and re-development of previously developed land and other sites in sustainable locations that are not of high environmental value.
The Council has allocated land for 8,637 houses, as set out in Policy HS1. This includes new allocations and major sites for development that will be led by housing development. This includes land that has been identified for about 2,837 dwellings which are expected to come forward after 2026 but come forward sooner if required.
The sites listed within Policy HS1 are in locations that accord with the Central Lancashire Core Strategy and have a reasonable prospect of being available and developed within the timescale envisaged.
To meet the remaining requirement, there are existing housing commitments established through planning permissions totalling 1043 on unallocated sites at April 2014. The Council would also expect to see some windfall developments on sites that have not yet been identified, to add some flexibility.
In accordance with the spatial distribution of development set out in the Central Lancashire Core Strategy, the City Centre Plan will identify land to deliver 600 new housing units over the plan period. This will be sourced from deliverable extant planning permissions and, where required, new allocations.
Finally, an allowance of 375 is made during the period 2014-19 for bringing back into use of long-term empty homes within the existing urban area. Thereafter, such an allowance will only apply should the overall vacancy rate within the existing stock remain above 3%.
As at 1 April 2014 there were 1142 long-term empty properties in Preston, representing 1.99% of the housing stock. At April 2014 the wards with the highest numbers of long-term empty properties are Town Centre (118), St Matthews (105) and Riversway (85).
Empty properties in both the Town Centre and St Matthews wards account for over 3% of their total housing stock.
This positive approach to the re-use of empty homes is fully endorsed by the National Planning Policy Framework, in terms of making effective use of existing housing stock, as an important source of new housing.
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