6. Other Forms of Residential Accommodation

Student housing

6.1 Policy 46: Development of student housing – the qualifying criteria for student housing includes criterion b. which states that the development must not result in the loss of existing market and affordable housing.

(3)6.2 A Student Accommodation – Affordable Housing Financial Contributions Viability Assessment was produced for the council in May 2013. Conclusions highlighted that the average surplus from the residual land value generated by student accommodation development is probably too low to confidently recommend that the council should include a policy for the collection of financial contributions from student accommodation, therefore the development of new student housing will not be required to contribute to the supply of affordable housing.

Employment related housing

(1)6.3 Paragraphs 6.7 and 6.8 of the emerging Cambridge Local Plan 2014 allow for the possibility of employers providing housing specifically for their employees, as part of schemes for employment development. This is to aid employers with the recruitment and retention of staff. Whilst not officially affordable housing in terms of the NPPF definition of affordable housing, this type of housing would assist in accommodating people who cannot easily access homes on the open market.

6.4 It is important to allow the possibility of employers providing housing specifically for their employees, as part of schemes for employment development, and on employment sites, as an exception to policy 41: Protection of business space of the emerging Cambridge Local Plan 2014. Any such employment related housing should be a limited number of dwellings (often only a single dwelling, rarely more than two or three) that do not detract from the general employment use of a site and do not harm the on-going use of the site for employment.

6.5 Examples of schemes which could qualify under employment related housing could be:

  • A caretaker’s or teacher’s flat within school premises;
  • An office block which requires one or two on-site caretaker premises either for facilities management purposes or for new employees.

(1)6.6 Onsite provision for highly paid executives and employees on employment related sites would not be acceptable.

(1)6.7 The provision of employment related housing will need to be justified and meet a demonstrable need. Survey work should be carried out to establish the demonstrable need through such issues as:

  • The level of staff turnover for a five year period;
  • The level of recruitment and retention problems experienced;
  • Any likelihood of the need for future expansion of the business in question;
  • Housing circumstances of employees;
  • Income of employees.

6.8 Other evidence which could be usefully provided could include:

  • Evidence of hard to fill posts;
  • Evidence of posts which have a requirement to live close to their place of employment and why;
  • Evidence of number of employees who cannot afford to live within Cambridge or the surrounding area and their salaries;
  • Evidence of average house prices in the area being considered for development by type and tenure.

6.9 Agreement would also have to be reached with the council on the following:

  • Managing transition of occupancy;
  • Conditions surrounding the occupancy of an employment related dwelling once an employee no longer works for the business;
  • Monitoring and review of employment related housing need;
  • What steps should be taken in the event of business closure/ take-over /merger or buy-out. For example: Should the status of the development be reassessed? Should employment related housing be maintained?

(1)6.10 Employment related housing should be managed and maintained as such in perpetuity. Occupancy of employment related housing will be secured through a Section 106 agreement.

(2)6.11 In order to manage employment related housing in the instance of a business closing down or leaving the area, a cascade mechanism will be included within the Section 106 agreement. This cascade mechanism will be implemented where employment related housing is no longer required. The mechanism will ensure that employment related housing will become affordable housing, subject to local circumstances and provided arrangements can be made for the management of the homes. This may be taken on by the council or a private registered provider. Transfer arrangements would need to be drawn up in consultation with the council’s housing development and legal services teams.

6.12 Although the policy refers to the emergence of new employment schemes, it is understood that need may arise for existing employers to provide employment related housing. As above, the provision of dwellings related to specific employers will need to be justified and managed indicated above.

6.13 Employment related housing will be subject to the provision of affordable housing as set out in Policy 45 and this SPD.

Other sites where Policy 45 is applicable

(1)6.14 Specialist housing developments (Policy 47 of the Local Plan) will be subject to Policy 45, as will sites that fall under Policy 77: Development and expansion of hotels, which notes that aparthotels and serviced apartments will be treated as residential uses and therefore affordable housing provision will be sought.

(1)6.15 Affordable housing in the form of Traveller pitches can be provided in lieu of bricks and mortar where required in order to meet identified need. One single pitch would be equivalent to one dwelling. The pitch must be provided on the same terms as an affordable housing unit.

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