Chapter 5 - HOUSING

HOUSING - GENERAL

Retention of the Housing Stock

5.1 Given the overall demand for housing in this area and strategic planning policies which restrain future provision, it is important to retain the existing and proposed stock of dwellings as a vital resource in themselves. In the countryside there is a strong presumption against new buildings, and existing dwellings should be retained for those who need to live and work there. It is a requirement that new housing provision makes a net addition to the housing stock. The demolition or loss of existing dwellings through a change of use therefore means replacement dwellings will need to be found elsewhere. Given all these factors, the retention of the housing stock underlies the operation of the majority of policies contained within this Local Plan.

5. 2 The type of dwellings, the subject of applications for change of use or demolition, are often flats above commercial uses, or large houses potentially suitable for conversion. In both cases, the loss of these types of property reduces the opportunities for renting or buying lower priced housing. New dwellings have usually been owner occupied family housing in less convenient locations. Generally, therefore, special consideration will be given to the retention of these types of dwellings.

5. 3 The loss of residential units within, or in close proximity to, town centres deprives them of a level of vitality, particularly outside normal business hours. In any case, a stock of dwellings is required for persons who require to live within or in close proximity to their work and who are essential to the functioning of a centre. In addition, other persons wish to take advantage of a central location and, where possible, their needs should be considered, particularly for single or two person households.

5. 4 There is also a need to maintain a range of dwelling types to meet housing needs, and retention of the stock of small dwellings and small family houses is particularly important (see also Policies Ho 18 Ho 24, and Ho 24A).

Policy Ho 1

Planning permission will not normally be granted for a change of use or redevelopment which results in a loss of existing or proposed residential accommodation or land. Where redevelopment is necessary and involves the loss of residential accommodation or land, replacement residential accommodation will normally be required.

Amplification

(1) For the purposes of this policy, existing residential accommodation or land includes vacant accommodation or land last occupied for residential use, and proposed residential accommodation or land includes land allocated for residential purposes in this Plan or the subject of an extant planning permission.
(2) This policy will not normally apply in the Areas for Small Businesses, as shown on Proposals Map, where the provisions of Policy Em 6 are met in full. Loss of housing accommodation refers to all the existing residential floorspace in a building, but this criteria may be relaxed in the case of a change of use appropriate to a residential area where separate accommodation for the owner is retained (see Policies Ho 22, Re 13, Cf 3 and Cf 5).
(3) In exceptional circumstances, if a satisfactory residential environment cannot be achieved, the loss of existing or potential housing stock may be accepted under this Policy. In considering applications which propose the loss of residential accommodation, the type of factors to be examined will include the availability of independent access, whether a garden or sitting out space is provided appropriate to the size and type of accommodation, and the level of noise from road traffic or other sources.

Housing Needs

5. 5 PPG 3: Housing (2000) states that where there is a demonstrable lack of affordable housing to meet local needs, authorities may indicate targets for specific sites based on evidence of need and site suitability. They may negotiate with developers for the inclusion of an element of affordable housing in such schemes, both on allocated sites and on other sites. PPG 3 is supplemented by advice contained in Circular 6/98: Planning and Affordable Housing.

5. 6 Housing need is made up of those households in the Borough living in unsuitable housing who cannot afford to move to another suitable property, plus those concealed households needing to move but unable to afford private sector housing. A small allowance is also made for those who are homeless. The suggested number of additional new build affordable units that would be required to satisfy the projected need is 543 units per annum (2002 Housing Needs Survey). A new Housing Needs Survey was completed in 2005 and this, along with other relevant information, will inform future decisions.

5. 7 The Housing Needs Survey 2002 also demonstrated that the majority of housing need can only be met by the provision of socially rented housing. As a result it will be the aim of the Council in negotiation to secure mostly social housing with a smaller element of low cost or shared ownership housing. Within the socially rented sector there is a need for a range of dwelling sizes including a significant number of one and two bedroom units. Definitions of social and low cost and shared ownership housing are contained in the Glossary.

5. 8 PPG 3:Housing (2000) requests that authorities should define affordability in terms of the relationship between local income and house prices. This relationship is not static, as the last 3-5 years demonstrate, with house prices rising significantly faster than income/salaries. It will therefore need to be kept under review. Analysis undertaken as part of the Housing Needs Survey (2002) was based on the average income of all Council tenants and all Registered Social Landlord tenant households not receiving benefit and assumed that it was reasonable to expect 30% of net income to be spent on housing. In order to make property affordable to those in need, the required rent levels would need to be between 30%-40% below those prevailing on the open market, and for shared ownership the monthly housing costs to be 30% below market costs, for a similar sized unit.

5. 9 It is considered that the sites allocated in this Plan are suitable for the inclusion of a significant element of affordable housing, taking into account the nature and characteristics of the sites and their surroundings and proximity to local facilities and the public transport network. The proportion of social and low cost housing on the individual sites will be a matter for negotiation with the developers. However, it will be the Borough Council’s aim in negotiations to secure those types of affordable housing at a ratio reflecting the findings of the Housing Needs Survey (2002), as referred to above. The division of sites or a reduction in number in order to qualify for exemption from the affordable housing requirement will not be acceptable. Policies will be applied on the basis of a comprehensive scheme for the whole site, even if it is developed in a piecemeal way.

5. 10 Small dwellings (i.e. studio, one and two bed units) should also be included, in appropriate cases, for a number of reasons, including the growth of one and two person households; the emphasis on mixed and balanced communities avoiding areas of social exclusion; the need to accommodate a larger number of new dwellings within existing urban areas and attempts to increase densities especially close to existing centres.

5. 11 It would, however, be inappropriate to only provide small dwellings. Over 40% of households within the Borough comprise 3 or more persons and not all one or two person households would choose to live in a small dwelling. There is also the issue of maintenance of character to consider. The development of a variety of sizes of dwellings is more likely to be better integrated into existing residential areas in terms of design and character than a development of solely small units.

Affordable Housing

5. 12 Introduction: The provision of affordable housing has a key role in creating sustainable and balanced communities by providing for a varied mix of housing and opportunities. One of the objectives of PPG 3 is to meet the housing requirements of the whole community, including those in need of affordable and special needs housing.

5. 13 Purpose: To negotiate for affordable housing on both allocated and ‘windfall’ sites in line with Circular 6/98 to satisfy identified local housing need.

Policy Ho 2

In addition to the specific requirements on allocated sites, on unallocated housing sites of one hectare or more or 25 units or more, an element of affordable housing will be expected to be provided, taking into account:

(i) the nature and characteristics of the site and its surroundings;
(ii) the proximity of the site to local services and facilities and access to public transport;
(iii) the particular costs associated with the development of the site; and
(iv) the specific housing needs within the area.

The proportion of social and low cost housing to be secured on individual sites will be a matter for negotiation with the developers. This requirement should be provided on site unless the Borough Council and the developer both consider it is preferable that a financial or other contribution be made towards the provision of the element of affordable housing on another site within the Borough.

Amplification

(1) Supplementary Planning Guidance on Affordable Housing Provision was produced by the Borough Council in 1996 and amended in 1998. A review of this document will give further guidance on the level and types of need identified, define affordability in the local context and outline the mechanisms for delivering the affordable units including the likely heads of agreement for a Section 106 agreement.
(2) A housing needs survey was undertaken in late 2002 in order to assess the level of housing need within the Borough. The findings of the survey will be used to inform the type and quantity of affordable housing units that can be secured on suitable sites with reference to the above criteria. It is the Council’s intention in negotiations to secure 25% affordable housing with the majority consisting of social housing for rent and the rest low cost or shared ownership in line with the findings of the 2002 Housing Needs Survey. A new Housing Needs survey was completed in 2005 and this, along with other relevant information, will inform future decisions.
(3) Separation of a site into smaller development parcels will not be seen as a legitimate reason for exempting a suitable site from an affordable housing requirement.
(4) Abnormal costs associated with a particular development may reduce the developer’s ability to provide affordable housing and to make the whole proposal financially viable. The onus will be on the applicant to demonstrate why abnormal costs should be taken into account for the purposes of affordable housing negotiations.

Housing Mix

5. 14 Introduction: PPG3: Housing (2000) places the emphasis on ensuring that new housing development contributes towards a mix of dwelling types and sizes catering for a range of housing needs (bearing in mind the changing composition of future households) and encourages mixed communities, avoiding areas of social exclusion. Issues of sustainability and reducing the need to travel are also served by developing small units in appropriate locations. They increase density and make better use of urban land, thus reducing the need for greenfield development.

5. 15 Purpose: To ensure there is a mix of dwelling types and sizes to cater for a range of housing needs on both allocated and ‘windfall’ sites.

Policy Ho 3

In addition to the specific requirements on allocated sites, on unidentified housing sites (of more than 0.4 hectares or 10 units) a mix of dwelling sizes will be required, incorporating a proportion of one and two bedroom units.

The provision of small dwelling units will be permitted on suitable smaller sites (0.4 hectares or 10 units or less), especially within or adjacent to Town Centres and other appropriate locations close to shops, public transport and other amenities where a higher density may be achieved.

Amplification

(1) Whilst, as with all proposals for residential development, the maintenance of existing character is a primary consideration, the above Policy is not seen as inconsistent with the appropriate development of a proportion of small dwellings within lower density areas. Within Residential Areas of Special Character (RASCs) however there is unlikely to be scope for providing small dwellings whilst maintaining the existing character of these special areas.
(2) Small dwellings including rented housing will be particularly encouraged on the Integrated Mixed Use Scheme sites identified in this Plan.

Phasing of Unidentified Sites

5. 16 Introduction: The orderly release of housing land to avoid prematurely exhausting the finite supply of housing land and not to exacerbate pressures on infrastructure, services and the environment is advocated by Policy DP 5 in the Surrey Structure Plan 1994. The aim is to control the speed with which housing land is released, to prevent a mismatch between the requirements of the Structure Plan and the market forces at work within the Borough and the County as a whole.

5. 17 Purpose: To prevent large windfall sites being developed before those sites that have been allocated through the Local Plan process.

Policy Ho 3A

Development on unallocated sites of more than 0.4 ha will not be permitted if the current land supply exceeds the housing provision requirement as set out in the Surrey Structure Plan 1994 by more than 20%, except in the case of previously developed land where there may be specific overriding reasons which justify the grant of permission.

Amplification

(1) The housing provision requirement as set out in the Surrey Structure Plan 1994 refers to a total Borough wide requirement and a specific requirement at Horley. The issue of excessive supply will be assessed against the relevant requirement. Permission may exceptionally be granted on previously developed land where justified by factors such as dereliction, amenity and the opportunity to provide affordable housing.

Residential Caravans and Mobile Homes

5. 18 Residential caravans and mobile homes form part of the housing stock. They meet a need for those requiring a smaller or cheaper dwelling either through choice or economic necessity. They make similar demands on services and require similar facilities to residential development and, in general, can be accepted only in areas where residential development would normally be acceptable.

Policy Ho 4

The Borough Council will apply, to proposals for residential caravans and mobile homes, the same policies as apply to other forms of housing. There will normally be a presumption in favour of the retention of the existing permanent sites.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council recognizes the contribution to meeting housing needs made by the existing residential caravan sites and will seek to ensure their retention. However, the extension of existing sites in the countryside will be resisted. Similarly, the establishment of new sites in the countryside will also be resisted.

Gypsy Sites

5. 19 There are three private family sites in the Borough, two in Rectory Lane, Woodmansterne and one in Lonesome Lane, Reigate, comprising 8 mobile homes, 3 caravans and 2 caravans respectively (2005).

5. 20 No locations have been identified as suitable for gypsy sites and the following criteria based policy is included as a basis for site provision.

Policy Ho 5

Subject to the other Policies of this Plan, proposals for gypsy sites will be considered on their merits, their suitability for gypsies and their impact on the locality. In addition the following criteria will be taken into account:-

(i) proximity of shops, schools, medical facilities, employment, and public transport;
(ii) access to mains water and electricity supply;
(iii) the need to minimise their environmental effects;
(iv) the optimum size to meet gypsy requirements, normally less than 16 pitches; and
(v) potential for future improvements in accordance with the needs of site dwellers.

Sites will normally be laid out with facilities appropriate to gypsy needs.

Amplification

(1) In furtherance of this policy, sites will initially have the following facilities: (i) mains water and electricity supplies; (ii) sanitary facilities, sewage and refuse disposal arrangements; (iii) standings and access for caravans and vehicles; (iv) where suitable, storage and work areas. Additional on-site facilities may be provided in the future to accommodate changing gypsy needs, depending on the suitability of individual sites and the availability of finance.

Travelling Showpeople

5. 21 Showpeople are specifically excluded from the definition of gypsies under the Caravan Sites Act 1968. Circular 22/91 says that local planning authorities should consider their needs when preparing their local plans. They should identify existing sites and make specific proposals for sites where a local need has been demonstrated. A personal and seasonal planning permission was granted in 1990 to use land at Axes Lane, Salfords, as a yard for members in the Showmen's Guild. There is no evidence of need to provide anything more for travelling showpeople in the Borough.

Housing Provision

5. 22 Introduction: Policy DP4 in the Surrey Structure Plan 1994 requires provision to be made in the Borough for 6300 additional dwellings from 1991 to 2006. This provision is in two phases, 4300 units (of which 900 are to be in Horley) between 1991 and 2001, and 2000 units (of which 1300 are to be in Horley) between 2001 and 2006. The provisions made in the two phasing periods are cumulative. Any surplus or shortfall from the first phasing period will be carried forward to the second phasing period. Provision for a further 1300 dwellings is to be made in Horley post 2006. Provision in Horley is dealt with separately in Chapter 14.

5. 23 Of the rest of the Borough requirement of 4100, 4164 units have been completed giving a surplus of 64 units (2004). There are, therefore, no additional allocations made for the rest of the Borough to 2006.

5. 24 The housing requirements and the supply for the whole Borough is summarised in Table 1 below.

Table 1 Housing Allocation Summary Table at 31 March 2004

 

 

Horley

Rest of Borough

Total

1

SSP Allocation

1991-2006

2200

4100

6300

2

Less Net Completions

847

4164

5011

3

Residual allocation

1353

-64

1289

4

SSP Allocation

Post 2006

1300

N/A

1300

5

REQUIREMENT

2653

-64

2589

 

 

 

Local Plan Housing Provision

To 2006

7

Proposed sites

N/A

0

0

8

Large sites with permission

N/A

1637

1637

9

Small Site Estimate

N/A

94*

94

 

 

Sub Total

N/A

1731

1731

 

Local Plan Housing Provision

From 2004

10

Proposed sites

2445

N/A

2445

11

Large sites with permission

91

N/A

91

12

Small Site Estimate

98**

N/A

98

 

 

Sub Total

2634

N/A

2634

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

SUPPLY

2634

1731

4365

* Small Site Estimate assumes 47 units per annum on unidentified sites for 2 years using a threshold of less than 10 units.
** Small Site Estimate assumes 14 units per annum on unidentified sites for 7 years using a threshold of less than 10 units.

1993 – 1996

5. 25 PolicyHo 6 deleted (2005) as sites 1-9 completed.

Post 1996

5. 26 Policy Ho 7 deleted (2005) as sites 10-28 completed.

Safeguarded Sites

5. 27 In order to control the level of development taking place and to provide permanence to the Green Belt boundary some sites are safeguarded for possible long term housing development.

Policy Ho 8

The following sites are identified on the Proposals Map. Proposals which would prejudice the use of these sites for possible long term housing development will not normally be permitted unless a review of the Structure Plan establishes a need for such development.

Site No.

Location

29.

Former De Burgh CSS Site, Merefield Gardens, Tadworth.

30.

Netherne Hospital, Coulsdon (Phase II). Deleted (2005)

31.

Part Lee Street Sewage Treatment Works, Horley. Deleted (2005)

Amplification

(1) De Burgh CSS has a site area of 7.93 ha (19.6 ac). It closed in 1990 and was declared surplus by the County Council in 1991. 1.8Ha (4.42ac) was developed for housing in 2001.

Design and Layout

5. 28 Introduction: While wishing to make the best use of land in the urban areas, and to meet priority housing needs, the Borough Council is mindful of its responsibilities to create an acceptable environment for both existing and future households. In order to maintain the character of the Borough and to meet normal development control criteria, development will be expected to meet high standards of design, layout and construction. Above all, proposals should not detract from the overall character of an area and should enhance that character, wherever possible. The 1994policy has been updated to include biodiversity and local distinctiveness criteria and to amend the existing criteria relating to outdoor playing space provision.

5. 29 Purpose: To maintain and enhance the natural and built environment of the Borough through the achievement of high standards of design and layout.

Policy Ho 9

In order to maintain and enhance the natural and built environment of the Borough, all residential development will be required to satisfy the following criteria:-

(i) the development must be laid out and designed to make the best use of the site and its physical characteristics, views into and out of the site and aspect. Existing trees, vegetation, watercourses and other interesting features will be expected to be retained;
(ii) conserve and promote nature conservation interests;
(iii) promote or reinforce local distinctiveness;
(iv) the scale of development should not be detrimental to the character of the surrounding area. High rise development will not be permitted;
(v) the layout and design should not seriously affect the amenities of adjoining properties;
(vi) be designed to a high standard incorporating elevational treatments, roofscape and building materials and complement the character of the area;
(vii) the layout and density of development on the edge of the urban areas should be such as to achieve the appropriate transition to the countryside beyond;
(viii) additional landscaping proposals will be required and should be considered at an early stage as an integral part of the overall design;
(ix) the environment created for the residents of the proposed development must be satisfactory, in terms of outlook, privacy and adequacy of garden space;
(x) in addition to landscaping and other incidental amenity open space, the developer shall provide and arrange for the maintenance of appropriately sited areas of formal outdoor playing space, either as an integral part of the development or in the form of a commuted sum in accordance with Policy Re 6;
(xi) proposals will be expected to comply with the current highway design standards, and parking provision must be made to the currently adopted standards;
(xii) take into account the requirements of energy conservation.

Amplification

(1) Applications should be supported by a thorough site survey assessing the quality of and effect of the proposed development on existing features. The survey should include reference to levels, aspect, views into and out of the site, neighbouring properties, and to existing fauna and features including trees, woodlands, grasslands, hedgerows, ponds, ditches and streams which contribute to the nature conservation interest of the area.. Applicants will, where appropriate, be expected to undertake a comprehensive tree survey identifying the location, species and condition of all trees on the site. Trees not only form a natural feature which is impossible to replace immediately, but can also be used to reduce the visual impact of new development. Developers will be required to observe a strict code of tree protection during the construction period (see Policy Pc 4). The retention of trees and other natural features can usefully form the basis of incidental amenity open spaces and children’s play areas in estate development.
(2) The Borough Council has prepared Boroughwide Supplementary Planning Guidance(SPG) on Local Distinctiveness. The Horley Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) also covers the Horley Central, Horley East and West Wards.
(3) Unless a large scale redevelopment is contemplated sudden contrasts should be avoided. As a general rule, development should not normally exceed the height of other domestic buildings in the surrounding area, in order to avoid overlooking, interference with established views, or having an adverse effect on the character of the area. In any situation development should not normally exceed 4 storeys.
(4) A characteristic of development in the Borough is that generally residential densities decrease towards the edge of the built-up areas and are screened from view from the surrounding countryside. It is considered that these features should be perpetuated as far as possible so as to safeguard the visual amenities of the countryside. Particular attention will be given to the retention and reinforcing of the natural screening in such locations.
(5) Landscaping means the treatment of land for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated, and includes screening by fences, walls or other means, planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass, formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks, layout of gardens or courts, and other amenity features. Plans of proposed additional landscaping will be required at the detailed planning application stage so as to assess the quality of the proposed built environment in its finished form.
(6) The Borough Council attaches importance to the creation of a satisfactory environment, but recognises that matters such as outlook, daylighting and sunlighting, privacy and adequacy of garden space, are influenced by other requirements, such as economy in the use of land, levels, aspect, views, the presence of trees, and architectural considerations, which may sometimes be difficult to reconcile.
(7) The Borough Council will pay particular regard to privacy, aspect, views and the character of the area. It will have regard to the type of dwelling and its garden space and to functional requirements, to spacing between dwellings, and between dwellings and boundaries, both of the development and the surrounding land.
(8) For the purposes of this Policy and of Policy Re 6, family dwelling means any dwelling not being designed specifically for the elderly, or comprising studio or one bedroom accommodation.
(9) Estate development should incorporate sitting out areas and safe playing areas for children away from main streets and with suitable pedestrian access arrangements. A scheme for the management of these and other incidental amenity open spaces will be required at the detailed planning application stage, e.g. the establishment of a management trust, unless they form part of an agreed scheme to meet a general outdoor playing space need in accordance with Policy Re 6, in which case arrangements appropriate to that policy will apply. The smaller children’s play space (LAPs and LEAPs) will be required on site, however, commuted payments for other playing space provision to be made off site may be acceptable. For details see the published SPG relating to outdoor playing space provision.
(10) Traffic aspects will be evaluated in relation to the internal layout meeting approved standards and the effect of the completed development on the existing highway network. Proposals will need to demonstrate that a satisfactory means of access can be provided to approved standards, without causing an increase in danger to road users and pedestrians, and without giving rise to undesirable visual impact upon the street scene, e.g. loss of important trees or hedges. The internal site layout will need to comply with the requirements of “Surrey Design”, including sufficient provision for the parking of vehicles to accord with current standards, for safe manoeuvring of vehicles (including service vehicles), minimising noise and disturbance from traffic to existing neighbouring properties, by careful layout and screening, and in the choice of materials for hard surfaces. Developers should particularly avoid poor design features, e.g. unsightly views of garages and refuse facilities, large unrelieved parking areas, etc. Provision for footpaths linking new development with existing development, shops, schools and bus stops, etc. should normally be made. In Horley the Borough Council's Horley Design Guide SPD complements “Surrey Design”. The currently adopted parking standards are at Appendix 3.
(11) To accord with sustainability principles new housing should aim to achieve best practice levels of thermal insulation, heating efficiency and water conservation. The latest advances in renewable energy technology will be encouraged. In relation to heating and power, the Borough Council will welcome proposals to incorporate systems which improve upon the efficiency of the normal gas fuelled condensing boiler. In this respect contact with the Renewable Energy Enquiries Bureau may also be beneficial.

Housing Density and Making the Best Use of Land

5. 30 Introduction: PPG3 Housing (2000) emphasises the need to avoid the inefficient use of land. Surrey is faced with major pressures for residential development and at the same time has one of the most densely populated urban areas in the country outside London. A design-led approach is therefore essential to create opportunities for good quality residential development, including higher densities, which maintain or enhance the character of the urban areas, while reducing the pressure for the development of “greenfield” land.

5. 31 Purpose: To ensure proposals demonstrate that a design-led approach has been taken that avoids the inefficient use of land and maintains or enhances the character of the area.

Policy Ho 9A

To avoid the inefficient use of land, residential development will be permitted only if:

(i) the proposal is accompanied by a design statement that shows that the principles of good layout and design as set out in Policy Ho 9, have been taken into account;
(ii) a density of at least 30 dwellings per hectare (dph) net is achieved, except where lower density proposals are necessary to respect the character of the surrounding area;
(iii) a density of at least 50 dph net is achieved at locations with good public transport accessibility, such as Town Centres;
(iv) the proposal would not prejudice the efficient use of adjoining land and would not constitute or lead to piecemeal development.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council has prepared advice on the preparation of design statements.
(2) Proposals for lower density development will need to demonstrate that alternative, higher density options have been thoroughly explored and that other planning considerations (including topography, access, highway capacity, context, amenity and impact on the Green Belt) clearly outweigh the benefits of higher density development. The designated Residential Areas of Special Character and the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Local Distinctiveness will be material considerations in assessing proposals for new residential development and will assist in identifying areas where lower density development may, as an exception, be appropriate.
(3) The requirement to achieve at least 30 dph will not apply to proposals for sites of less than 0.4ha. Policy Ho 16 deals with the sub-division of an existing single plot.
(4) Good public transport accessibility will be assessed by the frequency and capacity of the available services and by the range of destinations available. Further, regard will be had to the movement characteristics of a locality, for example, the destinations where people are likely to work and shop. The Borough Council considers that, currently, only Reigate, Redhill and Horley town centres and Banstead Village centre have good public transport accessibility, as they act as local transport hubs with a range of destinations.
(5) Proposals for infill or back garden development will be acceptable only if they help create or maintain a high quality urban form and avoid the inefficient use of land (subject also to the requirements of Policy Ho 14). This often depends on the amount of land assembled being sufficient to achieve the design objectives as set out in “Surrey Design”. Proposals that do not demonstrate this or that would otherwise result in piecemeal or sporadic development will be resisted. Matters such as the viability of the land assembly and the developer’s attempts at comprehensive land assembly will be taken into consideration.
(6) Net site density is calculated using the definition contained in Annex C of PPG 3 (2000); see Glossary, and also excludes land identified on the Proposals Map as being subject to flood risk. The density standards will be applied to developable land, which will exclude land identified on the Proposals Map as being subject to flood risk.

Noise

5. 32 It is important that new noise-sensitive development like housing should not be permitted if it would - now or in the foreseeable future - be exposed to unacceptable levels of noise, whether it be noise from road traffic, railways, from industrial or other premises. However in view of countryside restraint policies, and the location of many potential housing sites in the urban areas, it would normally be impracticable to resist new development in the urban areas for noise reasons alone. Therefore, the Borough Council will ensure by appropriate conditions that buildings are sited and designed so as to minimise the effect of noise on them.

Policy Ho 10

Development will not normally be permitted in areas subject to noise and/or vibration unless measures are undertaken as part of such development to reduce to an acceptable level the effect of such noise and/or vibration upon the intended occupiers of such development.

In furtherance of this policy, the Borough Council will have regard to the Guidelines on Noise Control published by Surrey County Council.

Amplification

(1) The policy for dealing with development affected by aircraft noise in the areas adjacent to Gatwick Airport is now policy Hr 19 in Chapter 14.

Satellite T.V. Receiving Dishes

5. 33 The use of satellite T.V. is increasing and, as government policy is to facilitate the growth of telecommunications, it considers that the planning system should encourage and not hinder this growth while continuing to protect the environment. The installation of a satellite dish may require planning permission. However, there are three broad areas where, if the dish meets certain criteria, it is considered to be "permitted development" by the General Permitted Development Order 1995 (as amended 2005) and does not, therefore, require planning permission. These three areas relate to dwelling houses, flats less than 15 metres in height and flats more than 15 metres in height. The criteria concern the location of the property as well as the size, location and number of dishes involved. The Government provides information on the installation of satellite dishes and this is available from the Borough Council. The provisions of the GPDO do not override the need for Listed Building consent for any works affecting the character of a Listed Building. Thus, whilst most dishes will be "permitted development" there is a need for policy guidance for those larger installations which will need permission.

Policy Ho 11

Proposals for satellite T.V. receiving dishes will only be acceptable where they are of the smallest practicable size and are sited and designed so as not to adversely affect either the visual appearance of the building and area to which it relates, or the amenities which neighbouring properties might reasonably expect to enjoy.

Amplification

(1) The colour of the receiver dish and antennae should blend with the building to which they relate. The supporting mount should be designed to be as unobtrusive as possible and be painted the same colour as the dish and antennae.
(2) Siting on main roofs of dwelling houses, particularly where any part of the antennae or attached fixing structure extends higher than the ridge line of the roof will normally be resisted, although behind roof parapets, within roof slopes, on rear extension roofs, on lower roofs or garages, or where the dish is shielded from public view by chimney stacks or other projections may be appropriate.
(3) There will be a presumption against dishes being installed on the front walls and front roofs of buildings. Apparatus on side or rear walls will be more acceptable if those parts of the building are not prominent in the street scene, or from neighbouring property.
(4) Siting within front gardens will normally be unacceptable unless no alternative location can be found, in which case apparatus should be screened from the street and adjoining properties by appropriate landscaping or walls.
(5) Siting on or adjacent to statutory or locally listed buildings will not normally be acceptable, and in Conservation Areas dishes will not normally be acceptable where they are in front of the main house wall facing the street or where they are visually prominent from the street or other public areas.

Improvement and Housing Environment

5. 34 For the most part, the residential environments within the Plan Area are of a high quality reflecting the pleasant character of the Borough. Even within the older areas of the major settlements, the high demand for housing and high property prices have encouraged improvements to the housing stock. There are no areas within the Borough that can be described as suffering from housing stress. However, there are individual dwellings well below recognised standards of fitness and which lack a basic amenity. In addition, there are areas which suffer from the effects of through-traffic, where off-street parking provision is limited or generally have poorer environments.

Policy Ho 12

The Borough Council will encourage the improvement of the existing stock and the enhancement of those housing areas with environmental problems, and will encourage property owners and interested parties in this process.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council will examine the possibility of implementing small scale improvements which could include planting schemes, the provision of car parking spaces, children's play areas, sitting out areas, and traffic management measures.

HOUSING IN URBAN AREAS

Maintenance of Character and Amenity

5. 35 The Borough Council recognises the growing concerns with the quality of the environment. Aspects of town cramming are readily apparent in a densely populated Green Belt county like Surrey. Continuous pressures for development, particularly those experienced during the mid and late 1980s, produced housing infill and redevelopment proposals of increasing densities and with increasing frequency, irrevocably changing the character of many areas. The established character of a residential area is much appreciated by local residents and may well have been the fundamental reason for moving into the area. The Borough Council therefore intends to restrain and guide development so that the quality of all residential areas is not allowed to deteriorate, nor is destroyed, to the detriment of the amenities of local residents.

Policy Ho 13

Maintenance of the character of the area will normally be the prime consideration when residential development is contemplated and is of particular relevance for infill development and redevelopment. Only those proposals which conform to the pattern of development in the surrounding area and would not unreasonably affect the amenities of adjoining properties will be permitted.

Amplification

(1) Where sites fall within designated Conservation Areas or other special areas, there will be an additional need for any new development to be sympathetic to and harmonious with the special local characteristics and to demonstrate that it contributes to and does not harm the character of such areas.
(2) In other areas not recognised in this formal manner, the Borough Council will examine the particular characteristics of the area which constitute its attractiveness, e.g. quality of existing buildings (form, materials, mass and scale of buildings), wooded/landscape setting, spacing of buildings etc., and the contribution the site (including the natural and amenity value of existing garden land) makes to that character at the present time. It will then assess whether the proposed development would be complementary to, or materially detrimental to the acknowledged character and amenity of the area. The intention is to protect existing housing from unacceptable loss of privacy, overlooking or obtrusive development.
(3) The surrounding area will normally be taken to relate to the broad locality within which a site is situated, and not just the immediate vicinity. However, it is recognised that it will be important to understand the relationship of the site to all its surroundings and the area with which it is seen, and understood to relate, in order to determine the character which should be maintained. Development involving back garden land

5. 36 The Borough Council attaches great importance to the protection of the existing high standards of residential amenity in the Borough and is concerned to prevent the loss of such amenities through the development of back garden land. In the past, some developments of this type have resulted in significant changes to the character of parts of the Borough and have had an obtrusive impact on the outlook of existing dwellings. Widespread concern over this issue has led to changes in central government advice which is now more sympathetic to the control of development and the maintenance of existing character.

5. 37 In considering applications for development, involving back garden land, the Borough Council will seek a particularly high standard of development and ensure that any such development which is permitted complies with the requirements of the following policy.

Policy Ho 14

Proposals for housing developments involving back garden land will normally be required to comply with the following criteria:-

(i) the general pattern and form of development in the area is maintained;
(ii) the proposed plot sizes and spacings between buildings reflects that predominating in the surrounding area;
(iii) the proposal does not seriously affect the amenity of existing properties by overlooking, loss of privacy, or obtrusiveness;
(iv) existing landscape features are retained and additional planting included as an integral part of the scheme;
(v) any access road into the proposed development does not create an undue disruption to the character and appearance of an existing road frontage;
(vi) the development is serviced from an access road constructed to the currently approved highway standards;
(vii) the proposal can be fully implemented by the developer in a single phase or as approved by the Borough Council, and
(viii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policy Ho 9 are met in full.

Amplification

(1) The general pattern and form of development relates to house types predominating in the area, e.g. detached, bungalow, terraced, flatted, etc., and the street pattern, grain of development, and overall level of landscaping, will also be considered.
(2) Any proposal involving back garden land will reduce the plot sizes of remaining properties. However, proposals will only be acceptable to the Borough Council where existing back gardens are excessively long and the back gardens created for the new dwellings and those left for the existing properties would still conform to that prevalent in the general area. In addition, the proposed layout should provide spacings between each of the new dwellings to complement the existing pattern of development in the area.
(3) The proposed new dwellings must not be of a height or sited in such a way as to create problems of overlooking, appear obtrusive or decrease the level of privacy currently enjoyed by the existing dwellings surrounding the proposed site. In many cases a development comprising bungalows is least likely to cause such problems.
(4) The design criteria in Policy Ho 9 and its amplification set out requirements in respect of site surveys and landscape features. For this type of development landscape issues are of critical importance and the retention of all significant features will be a requirement in order to assist in the maintenance of existing character. Substantial additional planting will normally be required.
(5) The development of back garden land is often dependent on the purchase of a full plot within an existing residential frontage and the demolition of the dwelling in order to form a road access into the site. Where the creation of an access road would visually disrupt the character and appearance of an existing street frontage, the proposal will normally be refused. This will particularly be the case where the form and rhythm of development along a street is uniform, or where the street is tree lined and such trees comprise a formal pattern or represents an attractive amenity feature.
(6) Any acceptable access road into the proposed development will need to be properly constructed in terms of its geometry and sight lines and be of a width, including footpaths, to the currently adopted standards. The junction of the access road with the existing street pattern must be sited so as not to cause danger to other vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
(7) To avoid partial implementation of a proposal because the developer has been unable to acquire all the back garden land necessary, the Borough Council will normally condition any planning permission to ensure the proposal is fully implemented in a single phase, or in accordance with an approved phasing programme. This will prevent "dog-toothed" forms of development which often lead to problems of overlooking and loss of privacy in existing back gardens which would not occur if the proposal were fully implemented.

Residential Areas of Special Character

5. 38 There are a number of areas of mainly low density development in the Borough which still retain a special and cohesive character of substantial dwellings in spacious grounds, although some infilling and redevelopment has already taken place. Often these were planned, high quality estates where landscaping was an integral part of the design, and where the existing predominance of tree cover over buildings has been maintained. The Borough Council intends to limit any new development in the main to two storey detached dwellings in generous plots, in order to maintain the open and spacious character of the areas concerned.

Policy Ho 15

Within Residential Areas of Special Character, as shown on the Proposals Map, redevelopment will not normally be permitted. Proposals for residential development including infilling, replacement, rebuilding and extensions will normally only be permitted if the proposal:-

(i) respects and is compatible with the existing character of the residential area;
(ii) maintains the existing visual predominance of tree cover and spacious gardens;
(iii) maintains generous spacing between buildings;
(iv) does not result in the removal of trees and other features that make a significant contribution to the area's character;
(v) results in plot sizes not significantly smaller than those prevailing within the surrounding area;
(vi) maintains the high level of privacy and residential amenity associated with such areas; and
(vii) meets the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policies Ho 9 and Ho 16.

Amplification

(1) These areas have been selected for their attractive character which is dependent on the relationship between the buildings and their surroundings. An important factor that contributes to their character is the visual predominance of trees and hedges over buildings and the policy seeks to retain that relationship. The proposed and existing plot(s) should normally be regular in shape and possess a reasonable road frontage.
(2) The surrounding area will be taken to relate to the area identified on the Proposals Map, and not just the immediate vicinity of the development site. Guidance on average plot sizes for each individual R.A.S.C. in 1989 (the date of the forerunner to the Policy) can be found in Appendix 4. For this purpose the gross residential areas have been measured i.e. including the roads and incidental open spaces. Exceptionally there may be occasions where a smaller or larger plot size may be appropriate because of the particular circumstances of the plot and the proposal.

Frontage Plots and Extensions

5. 39 In the urban areas where a gap exists in a built-up frontage or where the sub-division of an existing plot is proposed, suitable infilling may be considered appropriate. The principal objectives will be to ensure that such proposals do not result in a cramped form of development or adversely affect the privacy or outlook of the adjoining properties.

5. 40 Many applications are made to extend existing dwellings, and similar considerations apply. Badly designed and unsympathetic extensions can either singly or cumulatively alter the original character of a street and adversely affect the amenities of future and adjoining residents. Control is important where the extension of small family dwellings is proposed, in order that the stock of these dwellings is not unduly diminished, and to guard against environmental damage through over-development, particularly where terraced houses are involved. Special consideration will be given on new estates, many of which are likely to have been built at relatively high densities, and in the Residential Areas of Special Character.

Policy Ho 16

Where frontage plots or extensions to dwellings in the urban areas are proposed, the Borough Council will seek to minimise the effects on the character of the surrounding area and on adjoining properties by requiring:-

(i) that consideration is given to the type, design and size of dwelling or extension proposed, in relation to the plot size and shape and to the relationship with existing properties; and
(ii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policies Ho 9 and Ho 15 are met in full.

Amplification

(1) Extensions should be properly integrated with the existing dwelling and should generally respect the character of adjoining properties, where appropriate. Particular attention should be paid to the size and location of windows, doors and to other architectural features, all of which should reflect that of the existing building. For both single and two-storey extensions, the Borough Council will normally require a pitched roof which respects the design of the existing roof in terms of angle of pitch and style. External materials should match those used on the existing building.
(2) Two storey side extensions to semi and small detached properties often cause problems, in terms of maintaining the character of the street, and the effects on adjoining houses. To avoid a terracing effect in such cases a minimum one metre gap between the extended building and the boundary of the curtilage will normally be required. In other cases, a gap appropriate to the plot size and the character of the surrounding area will normally be required.
(3) No side or rear extension will normally be permitted where the depth of garden remaining after the completion of the extension becomes too small for the size of dwelling. Adequate garden space will be assessed separately from areas required for car parking provision. Any major trees should be retained, where possible.
(4) The privacy and outlook of adjoining properties must be safeguarded, and great care should be taken with regard to the siting of windows (and balconies). Windows should not overlook adjoining properties, but if these are located within flank walls obscured glazing should be used. Daylighting should be maintained to adjoining properties and extensions should be so arranged that sufficient daylighting is available for the purposes for which they are designed. In relation to the depth of a rear addition, it should, as a general rule, not extend beyond a line drawn at 45° from the face of an existing adjoining building, measured from a point at the centre of the lowest window nearest the proposed new addition.
(5) Except where a proposal for an additional separate dwelling would be acceptable on a site, proposals for "granny flat" extensions that are in effect new dwellings or designed to achieve the eventual sub-division of the building, thereby creating an additional dwelling, will not normally be permitted. Such extensions should, therefore, be fully integrated with the existing dwelling and capable of future use as additional living rooms or bedrooms.
(6) Supplementary planning guidance (SPG) on Householder Extensions and Alterations has been produced.

Curtilage Buildings including Stables and Loose Boxes

5. 41 Curtilage buildings including stables and loose boxes are permitted in residential curtilages without the need for a planning application, if certain criteria are met. Where the criteria are not met this Policy will apply and the principal will be to ensure good neighbourliness and avoid obtrusive development. While the majority of horses are grazed and stabled in the countryside, some are stabled in domestic gardens, particularly where these are close to the countryside and the bridleway network. Problems can arise when there is insufficient garden land available to exercise a horse, and the access to be used by the horse before and after exercise elsewhere and for the provision of feedstuffs and the removal of manure is close to adjoining houses. Noise and smell generally can disturb the occupants of the nearest dwellings.

Policy Ho 17

Proposals for the erection of ancillary buildings including stables and loose boxes within the curtilage of dwellings in the urban areas will normally be permitted only where such development would not result in any detriment to the amenities enjoyed by the occupants of any adjoining residential property, or detract from the character and appearance of the area.

Amplification

(1) The Borough Council would need to be satisfied as to the availability of associated land to be used for exercise and grazing in connection with proposals for stables and loose boxes, and the means of access thereto, and will have regard to the Code of Practice for owners and riders “Horse Riding” produced by the Countryside Agency. (See also Policy Co 7).

Conversions

5. 42 A small yet important amount of new housing is provided each year through the conversion of existing dwellings. It is recognised that in appropriate locations the conversion of suitable properties can provide a lower priced and an additional supply of smaller units of accommodation. Often such units make better use of the existing housing stock, particularly where under occupation exists. In addition, the improvements and maintenance associated with the actual conversion itself can assist in prolonging the life of the houses concerned. Proposals which result in the creation of additional dwellings through change of use of non-residential buildings will normally be encouraged where this would not conflict with other policies of this Plan.

Policy Ho 18

Proposals for the conversion of a dwelling to two or more dwellings in the urban areas will normally be permitted where all the following requirements are met:-

(i) the proposed dwellings are self-contained and have a satisfactory internal layout;
(ii) the arrangement of proposed dwellings minimises any impact on adjoining properties;
(iii) each of the proposed dwellings has access to a garden/amenity area incorporating an area for the storage of refuse and the drying of clothes;
(iv) the dwelling to be converted is not a small family dwelling;
(v) the proposed dwellings do not unreasonably affect the character of the surrounding area and that of the building itself; and
(vi) parking provision and access is made to the currently adopted standards.

In defining the overall character of an area and the effect a proposed conversion would have, it is necessary to consider the type and size of house, the size of the curtilage, the number of existing converted houses within the street, and the implications of traffic generation and the possible increase in activity and car parking.

Similar considerations will apply in the case of the conversion of non-residential buildings.

Amplification

(1) The internal arrangements of rooms should provide a satisfactory level of privacy, both visually and in terms of noise for the new dwellings and for any adjoining dwellings. Noisy areas such as shared staircases, landings, etc. should be isolated and, generally, living areas should not be directly above or below or adjoining bedrooms in other new dwellings or any adjoining dwellings. The outlook for habitable rooms should be as pleasant as the site allows.
(2) It is also important to preserve the privacy of adjoining properties and to avoid overlooking by the creation of new window openings, external stairs or the incorporation of a terrace or balcony, each of which will require careful siting.
(3) Each new dwelling should be provided with garden or amenity area which may be personal to that dwelling, or shared with other residents. This area must, however, be separate from any car parking provision and should incorporate an area for the drying of clothes. For the purposes of refuse disposal there should be a properly screened enclosure, preferably sited behind the building line.
(4) Small family dwellings will not normally be suitable for conversion because of difficulties with internal arrangements and the likely affect on the character of the surrounding residential area. The Borough Council is also anxious to maintain its stock of small family dwellings.
(5) Car parking standards are as set out in Appendix 3.Where front garden areas are used to make car parking provision, a degree of planting and walling will be required to minimise the visual impact on the street scene. In cases where provision is made behind the building line, the area should not be a source of disturbance to adjoining properties or to the newly created dwellings, and priority should be given to clothes drying, play facilities, dustbin enclosures and for the retention of trees.

Bedsitters and Hostels

5. 43 Properly managed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and hostel accommodation with adequate amenities can provide immediate access housing for single young people and other small households. The former normally involves the use of a house as bed-sitters with shared kitchen and/or bathroom and toilet facilities. The latter may be provided by employers or other organisations. There are around 600 HMOs in the Borough concentrated in the older parts of Redhill and Reigate (2005).

5. 44 However, this type of provision often causes planning problems due to the change in the character of the dwelling resulting from the intensity of occupation which can spill over and affect the locality, and due to the standards provided internally for residents. The latter is more a matter for housing legislation and the enforcement of standards in existing HMOs currently has a high priority, both in terms of safety and the provision of adequate amenities. Multiple occupation is not appropriate where the households concerned are families with children.

5. 45 The number of HMOs appears to be increasing due to changes in economic circumstances and an increase in the number of shared houses. While the Borough Council does not wish to encourage conversions that are not self-contained, it does recognise their value to small households because of the lower costs involved, and that not all property is suitable for full conversion. HMOs and hostels may therefore be permitted in certain circumstances.

Policy Ho 19

The Borough Council will only permit the change of use of houses in the urban areas to multiple occupation as bedsitters or hostels if adequate standards of accommodation can be met and there will be no significant adverse impact on adjacent properties or on the neighbourhood generally.

Amplification

(1) For hostels where a significant degree of care and maintenance is provided for the occupants see Policies Ho 21 and Ho 22.

Sheltered accommodation for the elderly

5. 46 The private sector in particular has actively pursued the development of such schemes, giving significant gains in terms of number of units on sites, and in some cases existing houses, often under-occupied, are being released as a result. The Borough Council will support proposals for sheltered housing schemes if they meet certain criteria and conditions.

Policy Ho 20

New dwellings designed for the elderly will be encouraged in the urban areas if:-

(i) they are suitably located, including good access to public transport and other facilities, and where they will not detract from the character and amenities of the surrounding area; and
(ii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policies Ho 9 and Ho 13 are met in full.
In considering whether a particular site is suitable, regard will also be had to the size of the proposal, and the nature of the neighbouring properties.

Amplification

(1) Sites should be reasonably level, and access to roads and public transport and to the usual amenities like shops, post offices, churches and places of entertainment should be easy and distances short. Sites suffering from noise, particularly from traffic should be avoided. Safe access for the parking of cars, ambulances and space for parking, turning and delivery will be required.
(2) The principles of good neighbourliness and the needs of the occupants should go hand in hand with the concessions on normal density, on-site parking and outdoor space standards for this type of development. New development should not, for example, be too deep to be a good neighbour to adjoining property, alien in design, or too dominant in the street scene. An interesting aspect is important (backland sites should be avoided) and stores, drying areas and adequate garden areas, etc. provided.

New Nursing Homes and Other Similar Institutions

5. 47 Use Class C2 covers all residential institutions, including nursing homes and the like, hospitals, residential schools/colleges and training centres. In the case of the former a significant degree of care and maintenance is provided to the occupants. The Use Classes Order defines care as including care by reason of old age, disablement, alcohol, drugs and mental disorders.

5. 48 There is evidence of demand for new purpose built facilities such as nursing homes, sometimes combined with sheltered accommodation, in addition to the more traditional use of larger houses no longer retained as single family dwellings. The planning implications are somewhat different. The impact in terms of size, design and layout and intensity of use is likely to be greater than with a conversion, particularly in a low density area. Those receiving care also require all their needs to be supplied on site rather than travelling out for some of them. Applications will therefore be considered on their merits, subject to certain criteria and conditions.

Policy Ho 21

Proposals for purpose built nursing homes and other similar institutional accommodation in the urban areas will normally be permitted only if the Borough Council is satisfied that:-

(i) the development will not detract from the character and amenities of the surrounding area;
(ii) the site is suitably located in relation to access to the secondary road network, public transport and other facilities; and
(iii) the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policies Ho 9 and Ho 13 are met in full.

In considering whether a particular site is suitable, regard will also be had to the size of the proposal, and the nature of the neighbouring properties.

Extensions will normally be subject to the general principles of Policy Ho 16.

Amplification

(1) Some new uses within this category will have less impact on adjacent properties and on the neighbourhood generally than others and this will be taken into account in considering each proposal.
(2) The principles of good neighbourliness and the needs of the occupants should go hand in hand with the concessions on normal density, on-site parking and outdoor space standards for this type of development. New development should not, for example, be too deep to be a good neighbour to adjoining property, alien in design, or too dominant in the street scene. An interesting aspect is important (backland sites should be avoided) and stores, drying areas and adequate garden areas, etc. provided. Safe access for the parking of cars, ambulances and space for parking, turning and delivery will be required.

Conversion to Homes or Flats for the Elderly or to Nursing Homes and other similar Institutions

5. 49 These have traditionally been converted from large houses, often in large grounds, no longer suitable for single family occupation. Such houses may be in the urban areas, or in the countryside (see Policy Ho 26). In view of the continuing need to make provision and the encouragement given to the private sector to provide additional accommodation, proposals will continue to be considered on their individual merits, particularly in those locations where there are a number of such homes already in existence, subject to certain criteria and conditions.

Policy Ho 22

The conversion of large houses or redundant non-residential institutions in the urban areas into homes or flats for the elderly or to nursing homes and other similar institutions, will normally be permitted in suitable locations if they will not detract from the character and amenities of the surrounding area.

In considering whether a particular site is suitable, regard will also be had to the size of the proposal and the nature of the neighbouring properties.

Extensions will normally be subject to the general principles of Policy Ho 16.

Amplification

(1) For the purposes of this policy large houses suitable for conversion are those which by reason of the size of their accommodation and grounds, age, condition, or location, are no longer suitable for single family occupation. Non-residential institutions are as defined in class D1 of the Use Classes Order, and other similar institutions covers all class C2 uses defined in that Order (see Glossary).
(2) The planning requirements are similar to those for new sheltered accommodation, although the locational requirements for nursing homes need not be so strict, as residents are unlikely to make regular visits to the local shops, community and recreational facilities. However, accessibility for visitors, staff, ambulances, etc., must be taken into account.
(3) Sites should be reasonably level, and access to roads and public transport and to the usual amenities like shops, post offices, churches and places of entertainment should be easy and distances short. Sites suffering from noise, particularly from traffic, should be avoided. Safe access for the parking of cars, ambulances and space for parking, turning and delivery will be required.

HOUSING OUTSIDE URBAN AREAS

Agricultural and Service Dwellings

5. 50 There is a strict presumption against all but essential new development in the countryside. The Borough Council considers that a need for new agricultural dwellings in the Borough will only arise in exceptional circumstances because of the contraction of farming activities, the proximity of existing settlements and the use of contract labour. Proposals for service accommodation in association with existing large houses, or other establishments, will be considered on their merits, subject to a strong presumption against such development, unless there is a proven long term need which cannot be met in a nearby settlement.

Policy Ho 23

There will be a strong presumption against new dwellings outside the urban areas. In those exceptional circumstances where dwellings for agricultural workers or for other essential staff are justified to the satisfaction of the Borough Council, appropriate controls over occupancy will be imposed and the appropriate design criteria, as set out in Policy Ho 9, should be met in full. Normally, such accommodation should be located within an appropriate existing building.

Amplification

(1) When considering proposals for new agricultural worker's dwellings it will be necessary in all cases to establish whether it is essential for the proper functioning of the enterprise for one or more workers to be readily available at most times. Unless this is proven the Borough Council will expect such a worker to be housed in a nearby settlement. In cases where the above test is not conclusive, it may be appropriate also to apply a financial test to provide further evidence of the genuineness of stated intentions to engage in farming or forestry or the size of dwellings which the unit can sustain
(2) In the case of permission being granted a condition would be imposed limiting the occupation of the dwelling to a person solely or mainly working or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependents.
(3) It will not be appropriate to remove such a condition unless it is shown to have outlived its usefulness and the long-term need for dwellings for agricultural workers, both on the particular farm and in the locality, no longer warrants reserving the dwelling for that purpose.
(4) A condition tying the occupancy of service accommodation to another building is not satisfactory, and a legal agreement to ensure that the accommodation remains ancillary to the main building would be required.
(5) Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Borough Council that an agricultural worker's dwelling is necessary on a holding, the conversion of an existing building should be considered first. If this is not practicable, then the Borough Council will normally insist that the siting and design of any new dwelling is closely related to the existing buildings on the holding and is not conspicuous in the landscape. Special care will be necessary within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in the adjoining Areas of Great Landscape Value (see Policy Pc 1). Caravans or mobile homes will not normally be permitted on a permanent basis.
(6) Similar considerations apply to the provision of service accommodation. However, as it does not relate to the use of the land in the same way as an agricultural worker's dwelling, such accommodation should normally be integral with the main building so as to prevent its separate occupation.

Replacement of Dwellings and Extensions to Dwellings

5. 51 Introduction: For the first time Planning Policy Guidance Note 2 (PPG 2): Green Belts (1995) acknowledged that extensions to or replacement of dwellings in the Green Belt need not be inappropriate development but it is for development plans to make clear the approach local planning authorities will take, including the circumstances (if any) under which replacement dwellings are acceptable. Extensions are not inappropriate if they do not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original dwelling, which for the purposes of the policy for extensions to dwellings is taken to be that existing on 19 December 1968 or as built if after that date.

5. 52 The Borough Council has sought to control the scale of extensions to dwellings in the countryside and the size and siting of replacement dwellings through a policy first adopted in 1968. It is intended to continue this approach in the interests of protecting the open character of the countryside within the Green Belt and the Rural Surrounds of Horley. This will also help maintain the range of dwelling sizes which cater for the varying requirements of different groups in what is largely a fixed dwelling stock.

5. 53 To ensure that this approach is not undermined through successive additions to the original dwelling, if a dwelling has been extended since 1968 a proposal for a further extension will be judged together with any previous extensions after 1968. This may have the consequence that even small extensions could fail to satisfy this policy.Replacement of Dwellings

5. 54 Purpose: To protect the open character of the Green Belt and the Rural Surrounds of Horley from inappropriate and harmful development and to provide criteria against which proposals can be consistently assessed.

Policy Ho 24

Proposals for the replacement of dwellings outside the urban areas will be permitted if the existing building is a bona fide dwelling house, and it would not:-

(i) result in a materially larger dwelling than the one it replaces,
(ii) be situated in a position other than on or close to the position of that which it replaces unless siting elsewhere in the curtilage would result in an improvement to the appearance of the countryside,
(iii) appear more obtrusive in the landscape or otherwise detract from the character of the area

Amplification

(1) In assessing whether a replacement dwelling is materially larger than the dwelling it replaces, account will be taken of the relative increase in floorspace and volume together with the form, bulk and height of the proposal in comparison to the existing dwelling.
(2) Replacement dwellings will be expected to be sited on or close to the position of the dwelling it replaces. An alternative siting within the curtilage of the original dwelling may be acceptable if it would result in an improvement to the appearance of the countryside. The siting of a replacement dwelling beyond the existing curtilage will not be acceptable.
(3) Proposals will need to have regard to the advice contained within the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Local Distinctiveness and the Horley Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
(4) It may be necessary to remove by condition permitted development rights to extend replacement dwellings to restrict further building in the countryside.

Extensions to Dwellings

5. 55 Purpose: To protect the open character of the Green Belt and Rural Surrounds of Horley from singly or cumulatively inappropriate and harmful extensions and to provide criteria against which proposals can be assessed.

Policy Ho 24A

Proposals for the extension of dwellings outside the urban area will be permitted if the existing building is a bona fide dwelling, and it would not:-

(i) result in accommodation readily capable of conversion into more than one dwelling;
(ii) result in a disproportionate addition over and above the original dwelling ;
(iii) detract from the appearance and character of the existing dwelling or the character of the area

Proposals should also meet the appropriate design criteria as set out in Policy Ho 9 and Ho 16.

Amplification

(1) The assessment of whether an extension is a disproportionate addition over and above the original building will be based upon the form bulk and height of the proposal in comparison to the original dwelling. For the purposes of this policy the “original dwelling” is taken to mean the dwelling existing on 19 December 1968 or as built if after that date. Proportionate additions will be appropriate development in the Green Belt but their acceptability will be judged against their impact upon the openness of the Green Belt. (See Policy Co 1).
(2) Extensions are often required to meet comparatively transient needs, and the resulting additional building in the countryside remains long after those personal circumstances have ceased to exist. Those who contemplate buying a house in the countryside should carefully consider their foreseeable future accommodation requirements before doing so, in order to avoid the need for a subsequent extension for which planning permission may not be granted.
(3) Proposals for garages and outbuildings, within 5 metres of the main dwelling house, will be assessed against this Policy.
(4) Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Householder Extensions & Alterations has been produced.

Curtilage Buildings including Stables and Loose Boxes

5. 56 Policy Ho 25 deleted (2005) following Inspector’s recommendation.

Conversion of Large Dwellings

5. 57 The Borough Council may permit a sub-division or other residential use of larger than normal residential buildings in the countryside to secure their continued beneficial use, subject to certain criteria.

Policy Ho 26

Outside the urban areas, where a residential property is no longer suitable for occupation by a single family, or is otherwise surplus, the Borough Council will normally permit an appropriate alternative residential use of such a building, provided that the character of the property is maintained and the proposal does not result in a demand for extensions and additional buildings or in an intensification of activity inappropriate to the property or its location.

Amplification

(1) For the purposes of this policy large houses suitable for conversion are those which by reason of the size of their accommodation and grounds, age, condition, or location, are no longer suitable for single family occupation. It will apply to residential properties currently in that use or where another use has taken place and has now ceased, e.g. a school or nursing home.
(2) Appropriate residential uses may include conversion into a number of separate units or into accommodation for certain types of non-private households, for example, homes for the elderly or private nursing establishments. Where permission is granted the aim will be to ensure the retention of the character of the house and grounds as a whole.
(3) Any conversion should not normally involve extensions to facilitate additional accommodation, either initially or subsequently, or include existing ancillary buildings which can be used for garaging, or ancillary domestic uses.
(4) Extensions, rebuilding and/or additional buildings will need to be justified by very special circumstances under Policy Co1. It should be noted that the existence of a large house converted into flats is not a valid reason for the replacement of the building by an equivalent number of houses or flats at a later date.

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