Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title

Document Sample
Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title Policy Title Powered By Docstoc
					Housing

Introduction
               Future housing provision within Ceredigion should reflect the housing needs
               of the County’s population. The housing needs of the County are diverse
               and continually changing. In providing for future housing needs it is
               therefore important to ensure that all needs are catered for and that there is
               adequate flexibility to meet these changing needs over the plan period. The
               UDP has an important role to play in ensuring that the appropriate level of
               land is safeguarded to meet those needs and that the type and rate housing
               provided is appropriate to the needs of the community for which it is
               proposed. A well planned approach will ensure that everyone has access to
               a decent home.

               The number of households that exist within the County will increase during
               the plan period. Although this increase is partially due to the projected
               increase in population, a large proportion of the new households created are
               likely to be as a result of continuing changes in the composition of existing
               households. The average household size is expected to reduce from around
               2.4 persons to 2.24 persons between 1998-2021. These changes are mainly
               as a result of people living longer, higher divorce rates and lower marriage
               rates, all of which have contributed to a general increase in the number of
               people living alone and an increase in the number of households. Much of
               the projected growth in households will therefore be accounted for by this
               continuing increase in single person households.

               Based on household projections approximately 4988 new homes will be
               needed between 2001 and 2016. The UDP ensures that adequate land is
               made available to meet that need. The provision will be met by outstanding
               residential consents and the residual through a combination of allocated
               sites, windfall or unknown sites, infill, redevelopments and conversions. As
               at July 2001, there were 1690 outstanding residential consents this leaves a
               residual of 3298:

               Total housing provision (2001-2016)      4988
                  Existing consents                     1690
                  Additional provision through UDP      3298

               The plan seeks to promote, as far as possible the re-use of existing premises
               and sites before permitting development on new sites. Some opportunity
               exists within the towns to re-use, for example, large residential properties of
               obsolete office accommodation as residential flats. Outside of the towns,
               the opportunity for re-use of premises and sites is limited. Although re-use
               and redevelopment will have an important contribution to make, it does not
               preclude the need to identify new sites to meet future housing needs.

               The UDP makes provision of land for residential development across the
               whole of the County, in both town and rural settlements. The level of
               provision does however vary between settlements. The distribution of future
               housing provision is based both on the principle of providing appropriate
               opportunity for housing development in order to support and sustain
               existing communities whilst also ensuring that the scale of development
               proposed reflects the ability of the settlement and community to
               accommodate further growth. On this basis, a large proportion of the
               provision of land to accommodate future housing will be located in and
               around the main towns and larger settlements (and along main transport
               corridors). These settlements are considered best suited in sustainable
               terms to accommodate further housing based on the capacity of the existing
               community and local environment to absorb further growth, the accessibility
               and proximity of these locations, and the opportunities (employment,
               facilities, services, infrastructure etc.) that they provide.

               This provision within the towns and larger settlements does not preclude the
               housing needs of the smaller villages. The UDP recognises that in order to
               ensure that rural communities are sustained, it is crucial that a small amount
of growth is permitted to maintain the fabric of the community, its facilities
(including rural schools), its language, culture and the rural way of life. The
aim in smaller settlements is to meet the changing needs of these
communities without causing harm to the very composition of these
communities which makes them rural. The acceptable level of development
in rural settlements is therefore likely to be far lower than in towns and larger
settlements, but should be sufficient to meet the needs of the local
community.

The County has a diverse range of housing needs, all of which should be
recognised. For example the ability of an individual or a household to
compete on the open market for housing will vary; for example, some will
require rented accommodation or low cost housing. Other individuals have
specific accommodation needs such as: the elderly or people with
disabilities or learning difficulties. The UDP aims to ensure that everyone
has access to decent housing which meets their needs and is appropriately
located with accessibility in mind. In order to ensure that the diverse range
of needs which exist are catered for a balanced approach will need to be
taken for the provision of all types of homes, including flats and houses of
all sizes. Future housing development should therefore aim to widen the
range of housing opportunities that are available, by providing a mix of
housing types, both within the existing stock and new build.

New developments can potentially incur all kinds of impacts on the existing
community (including culture and language), infrastructure, facilities,
services and the physical environment. Therefore just as it is important to
ensure that future housing needs of the County are met, it is equally
important to ensure that it is provided for in a sympathetic manner. Many of
the potential impacts or constraints which arise can be avoided or minimised
provided that the development is of an appropriate rate, scale, mix, type and
size in relation to the community for which it is proposed. Other policies in
the plan, such as CER1.1 Community Impact Assessment, H4.2 Phasing,
ENVU1.2 Development within Sewered Areas, may need to be applied to
ensure that the proposed development is acceptable.

Ceredigion has an existing population of just over 71,000. Based on past trends of
population growth, it is likely that the County will have a population of between
80,000 and 85,000 by 2016. More people mean that more homes will be required.
Based on household projection figures, approximately 5,000 to 6,500 extra homes
would be needed by 2016. According to previous demand over half of these new
homes (2,500 – 3,500) will need to be provided in the Aberystwyth area.

Population growth alone, however, does not reflect the likely future demand for
housing within the County. A large proportion of the new households created are
likely to be as a result of continuing changes in the composition of existing
households. These changes are mainly as a result of people living longer, higher
divorce rates and lower marriage rates, all of which have contributed to a general
increase in the number of people living alone. Much of the projected growth in
households will therefore be accounted for by this continuing increase in single
person households.

Future housing provision should reflect the change in housing needs that are
apparent within the County. It is therefore more important to ensure that the scale,
location and type of housing is appropriate to meet these changing needs in
society than to be concerned about the absolute number of new houses that may
be required. The majority of new housing should be located within the six main
settlements (Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Lampeter, Aberaeron, Tregaron and
Llandysul), and within the larger settlements that are located along the main
transport routes. Providing housing at these locations will help ensure that people
do not need to travel far for opportunities such as employment, leisure and
community facilities, all of which contribute to securing a decent quality of life.
There will also be a need for some new housing within the smaller, more rural,
settlements. Providing the occasional new house within these settlements in order
to meet the needs of the local community will help sustain the community, its
character and its services.
             The County has a diverse range of housing needs, all of which should be
             recognised. In recent years house prices within Ceredigion have been increasing
             at an alarming rate. This has resulted in many people, especially young people
             and those on low incomes, not being able to afford their own home. Also, a large
             proportion of people within the County have requirements for special needs
             housing. The specific accommodation needs of groups of people such as: the
             elderly, people with disabilities or learning difficulties; along with a number of other
             specific adult and childcare needs, will need to be appropriately met. The UDP
             aims to ensure that everyone has access to decent housing which is appropriately
             located with accessibility in mind.

             In order to ensure that the diverse range of needs which exist are catered for, a
             variety of housing types must be provided. A balanced approach will need to be
             taken for the provision of all types of homes, including flats and houses of all sizes.
             What needs to be avoided in the future is a proliferation of one type of housing,
             such as happened in Aberystwyth with a shift to houses in shared occupation,
             which restricts the appeal of a large proportion of the housing stock within that
             town to the general population. Future housing development should therefore aim
             to widen the range of housing opportunities that are available, by providing a mix
             of housing types, both within the existing stock and new build.

             Everyone has the right to a good quality residential environment. It is important,
             therefore, that new housing should relate to what‟s already there in terms of
             design, scale and appearance. A well-designed new housing development will not
             only ensure that the visual amenity or character of the settlement is maintained but
             it should also help address issues such crime reduction, through increasing natural
             surveillance It is also important that new residential development contributes,
             where appropriate, to the provision of any necessary associated facilities, such as
             play areas, traffic or services improvements. The demand for new housing should
             be met without compromising the quality of the environment for either existing or
             new residents.

Objectives
             Objective H1
             To make adequate provision for housing during the plan period that is
             appropriately located and which helps sustain rural communities.           The
             development should reflect the scale, design and physical, characteristics and
             cultural and linguistic character of the area.

             Objective H2
             To ensure that a balanced mix of housing types are provided for in order to meet
             the range of housing needs that exist within the County.

             Objective H3
             To make better use of the existing housing stock by promoting conversion and re-
             use of existing buildings, and by bringing empty properties back into use.

             Objective H4
             To improve the overall quality of life of residential areas in both urban and rural
             environments. (UDP Housing Principle 4)

Location of New Residential Development
             Objective H1
             To make adequate provision for housing during the plan period that is
             appropriately located and which helps sustain rural communities.            The
             development should reflect the scale, design, and physical, characteristics and
             cultural and linguistic character of the area.

             H1.1 New Residential Development
             The majority of new residential development should be focussed on the six main
             centres and their surrounding larger settlements, and within the larger settlements
             which are located along the main transport corridors.
Elsewhere, residential development should be of a smaller-scale, appropriate to
the locality location and should generally relate to the needs of the local
community local need.

Residential growth should relate to, and be appropriate to the character of the
settlement and should not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the physical
character of the locality or the social fabric of the community.

Residential development which is proposed outside of the settlement
boundary, or does not relate to a hamlet or cluster of dwellings, will only be
permitted in exceptional circumstances (see policies H2.2 and H2.4).

Reasons for Policy H1.1
The demand for housing within the County has traditionally focused on the main
centres, and their surrounding settlements.         In 1997/98 Aberystwyth town
accounted for 40% of all housing completions, with Aberystwyth and the
surrounding communities together (Faenor, Borth, Tirmynach, Llanfarian, Melindwr
and Trefeurig) accounting for almost 60% of all residential completions. During the
same year Cardigan and Lampeter only accounted for 6.8% and 5.2% of the
County‟s total residential completions. The majority of the County‟s remaining
settlements averaged 1 or less completions per year. This pattern of demand is
likely to continue for the foreseeable future, with pressure for new housing being
heavily concentrated around Aberystwyth (will need to be updated).

The location of future demand for housing along with consideration of which
areas can accommodate further growth (both in terms of capacity of the
environment and the community) and proximity to opportunities (including
employment, transport, social facilities) provide a basis for where the
provision of land to meet future housing needs should be located in
sustainable terms. Therefore, although some opportunity for residential
development will exist throughout the County, the scale of development will
vary. On this basis the majority of the County‟s demand for housing needs over
the period of the UDP, will therefore be met within the existing six main centres
and their surrounding settlements, along with the larger settlements that are
located along the major transport routes – in line with sustainability (see policy
H1.2 for list of settlements). These settlements generally either provide, or are
in close proximity to a range of employment opportunities, shopping or
recreational activities, and are well served by choice means of transport. It is
also recognised that there will be a continued demand for housing within the more
rural settlements. The level of growth appropriate is likely to be on a lower
scale due to the limited facilities available; many of these settlements have
no facilities at all. Allowing for small-scale growth within these smaller
settlements is however considered to be sustainable in that it is aimed at meeting
continued local need which will help to ensure the survival of rural communities
within Ceredigion. Although it is recognised that much of the residential
development that will occur during the plan period will be to meet local need,
no occupancy restrictions will be applied.

Where large employment allocations are proposed within the County, additional
land for housing may be provided within these settlements to support the
development.

To help define where residential development may be considered appropriate,
settlement boundaries have been drawn around the six main centres, the larger
settlements, and some of the smaller settlements (see Inset Maps). The
settlement boundary indicates the extreme limits to where residential
development may be considered acceptable. This does not mean to say that all
the land within the boundary will be suitable for residential or any other form of
development. Settlement boundaries encompass areas of land which either
cannot be developed, such as scheduled ancient monument sites or
floodplains, or sites and sites which it is not desirable to develop such as
recreation ground or sites that have local nature conservation or amenity
value.    The acceptability of a development is also subject to other
constraints and considerations such as access and ground conditions. The
purpose/definition/meaning of the settlement boundary will be interpreted
slightly differently between main town and key settlements (policy H1.2) to
its interpretation for the smaller settlements (policy H1.3). In general it is
considered that the majority of land allocated or included within the
settlement boundary for the towns and key settlements (as defined in policy
H1.2), that can be developed, will come forward over the plan period. For the
smaller settlements (policy H1.3), provision has been made to include
enough land within the boundary to provide for a choice of plots for small-
scale development. It is not desirable or appropriate that all the sites
included in these smaller settlements be developed during the plan period.
Policy H1.3 aims to ensure that development which occurs within the smaller
settlements is appropriate and will be subject to monitoring to ensure that
development does not result in the take up of all the land provided.
Development should generally be located close to the existing built form so that it
relates to, and maintains the character and form of the existing settlement. As the
majority of new residential development, including large scale developments, will
be focused on the main centres and the larger settlements, sites have been
allocated specifically for residential development within these settlements.
Proposed residential developments should therefore primarily relate to these
allocated sites. Although settlement boundaries have also been drawn for a
number of other settlements, no allocations have been made within these
generally smaller settlements. Adequate provision has been made to include
enough land within the boundary to provide for a choice of plots for small-scale
development. For the very smallest settlements and hamlets, or where groups of
houses exist, no boundary has been drawn. Any residential development
proposed for these locations should be limited and should be for the infill of
individual dwellings adjacent to the existing built form.

Land outside of settlement boundaries is generally referred to as open
countryside. The development of new dwellings in the open countryside is
generally only permitted in exceptional circumstances; the need for
affordable housing or agricultural workers dwellings may constitute
exceptional circumstances (see policies H2.2 and H2.4). Ceredigion, by
virtue of its rural nature, is characterised by a number of hamlets, small
settlements and groups of houses scattered throughout the County; none of
which have settlement boundaries. The location, size and character of these
hamlets render them inappropriate to cater for residential growth in general.
It is recognised, however, that the development of a single dwelling or two
over the plan period, within these established groups, in accordance with
policy H1.4, may have an important contribution to make in sustaining rural
communities.

Development should generally be located close to the existing built form so
that it relates to, and maintains the character and form of the existing
settlement. As a large proportion of new residential development, will be
focused on the main towns, sites have been allocated specifically for
residential development within these settlements. Within towns, proposed
residential developments should primarily relate to those allocated sites.
For the remainder of settlements which have settlement boundaries, no
allocations have been made. This is to allow flexibility with regard to the
type of development that can come forward.

Policies H1.2 to H1.4 below set out the criteria against which proposed
residential development will be considered across the County.

H1.2 Development Within the Six Main Centres and the Larger
Settlements
The majority of new residential development should be located within the
settlement boundary of the six main centres and larger settlements (see list in
appendix) on allocated sites (see Inset maps). The settlement boundary reflects
the widest limits of the settlement. Where development is proposed on a site that
has not been allocated for housing, then the acceptability of development will
depend on the following criteria. Residential development will be permitted
provided it is in accordance with the following criteria:

   1. Consideration is given to use of sites allocated for residential
      development, where they exist
   2. The need to retain the site for the existing use if the development is
      proposed on a site that is not specifically allocated for residential
      development
   3. The potential to re-use a vacant or underused site, where they exist
   4. The proximity to the existing built form. New residential development
      should be located adjacent to the existing built form
   5. The availability of utility provision. The development should not overload
      the existing essential services or infrastructure
   6. The development should be of a design which respects the qualities of the
      area where it is located
   7. The development does should not have any unacceptable adverse impacts
      on the surrounding environment and amenity of the area.
   8. The development should be of an appropriate type, mix and rate (see
      policy H4.1 and CER1.1).

Reasons for Policy H1.2
In an attempt to secure sustainable residential environments, the majority of new
residential housing developments, including large scale developments, should be
located within the six main centres, their surrounding larger settlements and within
the larger settlements which are located along the main transport corridors (a list of
all the settlements to which this policy applies to, will be is included in the
appendix to the UDP).

These main centres and larger settlements provide the best opportunities in
terms of employment, leisure, shopping and community services. The
settlements are also well served (or are capable of being) by public
transport, and thus reduce the need for travel by car. These settlements are
therefore capable of catering for the wider needs of the County in addition to
the needs of the local community, and therefore no local occupancy
conditions will be applied.

Residential development within the main towns should first and foremost be
located on sites allocated for residential development as illustrated on the
Inset Maps. These sites have been identified as most appropriate for large
scale residential development, thus providing for a planned approach to
provision of large scale residential development within the towns. This does
not however preclude the opportunity to develop on sites other than those
identified. Smaller, unallocated sites have an important contribution to make
to the overall new residential provision within the towns.

The availability of land for further residential development is becoming increasingly
limited within some of the main towns major settlements; this is especially the
case in Aberystwyth. The larger settlements surrounding these main centres will
can have an important role to play in meeting the housing demand for that area. It
is the larger settlements only that have been identified as being capable of
accommodating such growth. The smaller settlements surrounding the main
centres will be protected from large scale development, with proposals being
considered in accordance with Policy H1.3 and H1.4 as appropriate.

These main centres and larger settlements provide the best opportunities in terms
of employment, leisure, shopping and community services. These settlements are
well served (or are capable of being) by public transport, and thus reduce the need
for travel by car.

Residential development within these main settlements should first and foremost
be located on sites allocated for residential development as illustrated on the inset
maps.

Additional information is set out in the Proposals Schedule with regard to individual
allocated sites. The schedule provides information with regard to the type and
density of development that may be sought on each site, along with details of any
phasing requirements. Any restrictions which may exist in terms of for example
access or utilities, which are known at the time of producing this plan, have also
been noted in the schedule. Special requirements that may be sought with regard
to a specific site, such as the need for a new footpath, playground or contributions
to educational facilities will also be noted in the schedule, where they are known.
It should be noted that suggested requirements set out in the proposal schedule
act as a guideline, and that the specifications could change in response to
changing circumstances and needs.

In addition, proposals will be subject to a Community Impact assessment
(see CER1.1). The Community Impact Assessment will help identify any
impacts that the development may have, along with any constraints that may
infringe on the development.       The role that the Community Impact
Assessment has in terms of this particular housing policy is to identify any
issues that may need addressing in order that the appropriate measures can
be secured to address those issues. It is feasible that all the sites identified
within these settlements may be developed during the plan period; the role
of the Community Impact Assessment will therefore be to ensure that they
are developed appropriately.

All proposed residential development, on allocated or non-allocated sites
will be Proposals for new residential development on sites that have not been
specifically allocated for housing will be determined in accordance with the above
criteria, and should be located within the defined settlement boundary. Residential
development will not be allowed if the site has been allocated for another use, or
where the existing use, such as employment, should be protected. Where
possible, such development should make re-use of vacant or underused buildings
or sites. Any new development should be located close to the existing built form
so that it consolidates the form and character of the settlement and that the
connection to the necessary infrastructure provisions can be easily facilitated.
Care should be taken that the proposal does should not result in over
development which would compromise the character of the location and amenity of
the occupiers and adjoining properties.

Additional information is set out in the Proposals Schedule with regard to
individual allocated sites. The Schedule provides information with regard to
the type of development that may be sought or that is acceptable on each
site, along with details of any restrictions which may exist in terms of, for
example, access or utilities, and special requirements that may be sought,
such as the need for a new footpath, playground or contributions to
educational facilities. It should be noted that suggested requirements set
out in the Proposal Schedule act as a guideline, and that the specifications
could change in response to changing circumstances and needs.

H1.3 Development Within Other Settlements which have
Settlement Boundaries
Within the other settlements which have settlement boundaries, land will not be
specifically allocated for residential purposes. Residential development proposed
within these generally smaller settlements should be located within the settlement
boundary and will be permitted provided that:

   1. The individual and cumulative rate and scale of The development is of
      an appropriate scale that appropriately reflects the needs of the local
      community (see policy CER1.1); and
   2. The development is located adjacent to the existing built form; and
   3. Consideration has been given to the potential to re-use vacant or
      underused sites, where they exist; and
   4. The layout and design of the proposal is appropriate to the character of the
      settlement, and does not adversely affect the form and character of the
      settlement; and
   5. There is an appropriate range of public services and facilities available
      either within the settlement or within close proximity; and
   6. The availability of utility provision. The development should not
      overload the existing essential services or infrastructure; and There is
      adequate capacity within the utility infrastructure to cater for the new
      development
   7. The development does not have an adverse impact on the quality of the
      surrounding landscape, nature conservation interests, and amenity of
      adjoining occupiers; and
   8. That vehicular access, roads leading to the site and parking provision are
      adequate.
Reasons for Policy H1.3
In recent years, housing demand within the smaller settlements has been minimal.
On average, less than one dwelling a year has been built in recent years in many
of the County‟s settlements and has mainly been to meet the needs of the local
community. Future housing development is also likely to be in response to
local need, however no restrictions will be applied to their occupancy.
Considerable variation exists between the type and number of facilities and
services offered by these settlements, which may include a village shop, a post
office, places of worship and village or community halls.

In the smaller settlements growth should relate to, and be appropriate to, the
character of the settlement, the social fabric of the community and also the
housing needs of the local community. Allowing for appropriate growth on a
smaller scale within the smaller settlements is considered necessary to ensure the
survival of these communities and their facilities. The development of one or two
houses over the period of a few years is considered to be a sustainable form of
development, as it will help to support the survival of existing facilities such as
schools or village shops. Allowing small scale residential development within
these settlements therefore has an important contribution to make to the survival
of rural communities within Ceredigion.

Due to the small scale nature of the future development that is likely to be
appropriate within these settlements it is not considered necessary to allocate
specific sites for residential development. Instead, the settlement boundary has
been drawn wide enough to allow scope for an element of choice as to where
housing can be located. Again the settlement boundary reflects the widest limits of
the settlement, that is not all sites may be appropriate for development and an
individual proposal will need to be considered against the criteria set out above.
The Community Impact Assessment, policy CER1.1, will have an important
role to play in determining whether the rate, scale and timing of proposed
new development is acceptable within these settlements. The Community
Impact Assessment has a slightly different role to play in relation to this
policy in comparison with the previous. In an attempt to introduce an
element of choice, more land has been included overall than is desirable to
develop. The Community Impact Assessment has an important role to play
therefore in ensuring that an appropriate scale of development occurs which
does not lead to over development. The application of the policy within each
settlement will need to be monitored to ensure that the scale of development
which occurs is appropriate and that the provision of choice does not result
in misuse of the policy.

It is considered that large-scale housing development could contribute to the loss
of identity of these small rural settlements, as well as increasing the demand for
travel to urban areas. Such development will generally not be allowed in these
settlements. The layout, density and design of the proposed development will
have an important contribution to make in ensuring that new housing is appropriate
to the location, and that it does not adversely affect the character of the settlement.
Estates are unlikely to be an acceptable form of development in many settlements,
and where they are proposed a phased approach may be required to help maintain
the character and identity of the rural settlement.

Rural villages within Ceredigion vary considerably in their form and character.
Many settlements are fragmented in form and are not traditional nucleated
settlements. These settlements are often characterised by a number of small
groups of houses, with large gaps between each group. The area between each
group is considered to be open countryside and should be protected. Care needs
to be taken to ensure that these gaps do not become excessively developed to the
extent that ribbon development leads to a loss of the fragmented character of the
settlement.

H1.4 Development Within Settlements, Hamlets or Groups of
Houses that do not have a Settlement Boundary
Proposals for the infilling of small gaps within small settlements, hamlets or
groups of houses, that do not have a settlement boundary, by single dwellings may
be acceptable, provided that the development:
               1. Is of an appropriate scale that reflects the needs of the local community;
                  and
               2. Does not materially harm the traditional social and physical character
                  (form) and the appearance of the locality; and
               3. Is of a high standard of design which respects the vernacular qualities
                  of the locality; and
               4. Is located immediately adjacent to or within or immediately adjacent to
                  the existing built form; and
               5. Does not result in ribboning which extends the settlement into the open
                  countryside.
               6. Includes appropriate provisions to deal with sewerage treatment
                  and/or disposal.

            Reasons for Policy H1.4
            The provision of new dwellings to meet the future housing needs of the
            County should primarily be met within the towns and settlements that have
            been attributed settlement boundaries (see policy H1.1 and Inset Maps). In
            exceptional circumstances it may be appropriate to permit a new dwelling
            within one of the This policy applies to the smaller settlements, hamlets or groups
            of houses which do not have settlement boundaries some of which may
            comprise of no more than 5 or 6 dwellings. A group or cluster of dwellings
            should be located immediately adjacent to each other; the presence of a
            number of dwellings along a road/lane at intervals (such as a couple of fields
            or more), which is characteristic of rural areas, does not constitute a cluster.
            Clusters have traditionally formed, for example, adjacent to a chapel or at
            crossroads or T junctions. some of which may comprise of no more than 5 or 6
            dwellings. The majority of these settlements have limited or no public services,
            and can be remote in location. The policy is aimed at allowing, where the
            appropriate, the development of one or two new dwellings at the most a small
            number of houses within these settlements during the plan period to meet the
            needs of the local community. Although such development is likely to be for
            the needs of the local community, no occupancy restrictions will be applied.

            Infilling and minor extensions to settlements may considered to be acceptable
            where they are sensitively related to existing clusters of dwellings and settlement
            patterns, and where it does not create dispersed or fragmented development in the
            open countryside. Permissions for new dwellings in these smaller settlements
            provide for additional choice in catering for the needs of rural communities. Infill is
            defined as one or two dwellings within an existing gap of built up frontages. The
            application of the policy will need to be monitored to ensure that it does not
            result in unacceptable levels of development in the open countryside.

            Where these smaller settlements are fragmented in nature, that is characterised by
            a number of small groups of houses, care should be taken to ensure that this
            fragmented character is maintained and that the groups are not joined as a result
            of excessive development resulting in ribbon development.

Providing for a Range of Housing Needs
            Objective H2
            To ensure that a balanced mix of housing types are provided for in order to meet
            the range of housing needs that exist within the County

            H2.1 Affordable Housing
            Where larger housing development (around 10 units in the main towns and 5 units
            elsewhere) is proposed, the Council will seek to negotiate require the inclusion of
            an element of affordable housing, where there is a demonstrated need for
            affordable housing. Adequate planning conditions or obligations will be used to
            ensure that the benefits of such housing will be passed on to future occupiers.

            Reasons for Policy H2.1
            General market housing alone will not fully meet the range of housing needs
            that is likely to exist throughout the County over the next 15 years. Although
            by ensuring that an appropriate mix or balance of housing types and sizes
            exist throughout the County (in accordance with policy H4.1) will, to a large
            extent, meet a range of needs. There will be some people however, who
cannot compete in the open market and who depend on the provision of
public housing for their accommodation needs. The purpose of this policy is
to help ensure that the housing requirements of those people with affordable
housing needs are met during the plan period.

Affordable housing includes the provision of both low cost market and
subsidised housing (irrespective of tenure, exclusive or shared ownership,
or financial arrangement) which is available for people who cannot afford to
occupy houses that are generally available on the open market. Such people
may include, for example, first time buyers and people on low incomes. The
definition should however be broadened to include other groups such as key
workers. In addition there are areas where demand for housing is high, such
as Aberystwyth, where more people are likely to face problems of
affordability as house prices are pushed up in response to demand.

There are a number of contributing factors to the issue of affordability within
Ceredigion. House prices within the County have risen to a level that many
people cannot afford. This is a widespread problem that is common to both
urban and rural areas throughout the County. Factors such as high level of
second home ownership or in migration can also impact on house prices,
especially along the coast. An increase in house prices coupled with
generally low average income makes it difficult for many local people to
compete for housing in the open market. In addition access to existing
affordable housing has been affected by the ‘Right to Buy’; which has
reduced the Council Housing stock by half. The provision of affordable
housing for rent is now the responsibility of Housing Associations (such as
Tai Cantref and Mid Wales Housing Association); the provision made by
Housing Associations (HA) has not however made up for the shortfall
created by the ‘Right to Buy’. At the end of 2001, HA accounted for only 3%
of total housing stock, with Council housing accounting for just over 8%.
The right to buy has therefore reduced the level of low cost housing stock
available to local people to rent. All these factors combined affect the ability
of local people to access the housing market which in turn affects the fabric
of communities (i.e. access to appropriate housing has an important role to
play in sustaining communities).

The issue of affordability will vary across the County (geographically) and
also over time (15 year plan). The exact details and precise scale of housing
to be provided at an affordable level can therefore only be determined at the
application stage. The plan recognises however that there is likely to be a
need for affordable housing within the towns throughout the period. The
need to consider providing an element of affordable housing has therefore
been identified for allocated residential sites within towns (see Proposals
Schedules). For development other than on sites allocated for residential
development, consideration will be given to whether there is a need for
affordable provision on all sites of 10 units or more within the main towns
and for all sites of 5 units or more elsewhere. Policy H2.2 will have an
important role in aiding the development of affordable housing where
provision through large scale development is unlikely to be achieved.

Whether an element of affordable housing is required will depend on the
existence of need and the feasibility of meeting the provision. Issues which
may be considered when determining affordable housing need may include:
    Local market housing prices/rents
    Local incomes
    Supply and suitability (size and type) of existing stock (rent/buy)
    Nature of proposed development (type of housing proposed)
    Other factors which may affect/restrict access to housing within the
       community for example the proportion of houses that are second
       homes.
    Housing waiting list
    Community surveys and/or local needs surveys (such as
       Llandysul/Pontweli Community survey 1994
    Census data
    Welsh House Condition Survey Information
    Housing circumstance in Ceredigion, Rural Surveys Research Unit
       (RSRU) Aberystwyth 1996
    Information from the housing section of the Council
    Other relevant information at the time.
Where need is identified it will then be necessary to determine whether it is
feasible to require a provision of affordable housing. Consideration will
include:
    Size of site, suitability and economics of provision (e.g. if the site is
       located at far end of settlement it may be least appropriate in terms of
       access to bus services etc)
    Other costs associated with the development if the site (such as
       physical constraints which may need to be overcome which would
       make it uneconomic to develop affordable housing)
    Whether the provision of affordable housing would prejudice the
       provision of other planning objectives that need to be given priority in
       developing the site.

Where the provision of affordable housing is required, the Council will,
where necessary, use planning conditions and/or obligations to ensure that
the initial and subsequent occupiers benefit from the affordable status of the
dwelling. Further guidance on the application of conditions and obligations
is contained in TAN(W)2. It is recognised that, in general, the provision of
housing through Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) or HAs, provides the
most effective means of ensuring that housing remains affordable in the long
term. Developers will therefore be encouraged to work in partnership with
RSLs in providing for affordable housing as part of an overall residential
proposal.

Other mechanisms exist within the planning system which can contribute to
achieving affordable housing. The type of housing available (size, layout,
associated facilities etc.) will to a large extent influence the affordability of a
property. If, for example, a village is predominately characterised by large 4
bedroom properties with large gardens and double garages, it is unlikely that
first time buyers or even key workers will be able to access property on the
open market. Ensuring that an appropriate balance or mix of housing types
exists within each settlement or community therefore has an important
contribution to make in ensuring that the needs of the whole community can
be met. The council will therefore seek to ensure that a balanced approach
is taken with regard to size, scale and type of housing permitted in relation
to the needs of the community (see policy H1.4).

Planning alone cannot tackle the affordability issues which exist within the
County. The Council’s Housing Section and Housing Associations have a
large role to play in ensuring that an adequate provision of affordable
housing exists within the County. The Council’s housing strategy has
regard to the UDP and has an influence on The National Assembly for
Wales’s allocation of social housing grant for development of affordable
housing within the County by RSLs. Initiatives such as the ‘homebuy’
option, ‘low cost housing’ or similar subsidised schemes which help people
acquire their own property will increasingly have an important role to play
and should be promoted through the Council’s housing strategy and council
programme. Accessibility to low cost housing for local people is further
enhanced by the Council’s power to restrict the re-sale of properties bought
through the ‘right to buy’ scheme to local people only; this restriction
applies to a substantial part of the County. However, such financial
provisions are aimed at owner occupation. These provisions must therefore
be accompanied by a sufficient stock of affordable housing for rent because
many people will not be able to afford to buy their own property even with
the assistance such schemes as the ‘homebuy’ option; hence there is an
important role for RSLs. There is also a role for the private rented sector
where grant aided conversions into flats are conditioned upon nomination
rights for the council and rent restrictions for those on Housing Benefits.
The key to meeting the future affordable housing needs of the County is to
ensure that a balanced provision of housing exists so that everyone has
access to a decent home.
House prices within the County have risen to a level that many local people cannot
afford. This is a widespread problem that is common to both urban and rural areas
throughout the County.

Peoples housing needs and wants are very diverse. There is an increasing need
to move towards creating mixed communities where people can live side by side
whether they are buying or renting. The aim is to move away from the „zoning‟
concept, where affordable housing was provided separate to other housing
development, and look at integrating an element of affordable housing into all
large-scale housing schemes.

Affordable housing is not about providing cheaper quality or smaller sized housing.
Everyone deserves access to high quality housing. Although small one bedroom
accommodation has a role to play within the housing market, the majority of people
want additional space, to have people to stay, or to work from. Affordability should
not be about providing small two bedroom houses; what about a family with three
children who may not be able to afford to buy a house on the open market, it would
appear unreasonable to expect them to live in a house which is of a size
substandard to their needs. In towns, such as Aberystwyth, even modest two
bedroom houses can be out of the reach of many people. Many housing
associations now generally build 3 bedroom houses because they allow for greater
flexibility than smaller houses. The type and amount of housing provided for will
have to relate to the need in that area.

Affordable housing includes the provision of both low cost market and subsidised
housing (irrespective of tenure, exclusive or shared ownership, or financial
arrangement) which is available for people who cannot afford to occupy houses
that are generally available on the open market. Such people may include, for
example, first time buyers and people on low incomes. The use of a Housing
Association or other Registered Social Landlord (RSL) is the best way of ensuring
that affordable housing remains affordable in the long term. Where a RSL is not
involved, permission is likely to be subject to a condition or section 106 which will
ensure that the initial and subsequent occupiers benefit from the affordable status
of the dwelling. Existing schemes which assist people on modest incomes to
acquire their own homes include a part buying part-renting option from RSL and an
interest free equity loan such as the homebuy, again operated by RSLs. It is
recognised that, in general, the provision of housing through RSLs, provides the
most effective means of ensuring that housing remains affordable, this is
especially true of rented accommodation more so than houses to buy because
house prices have a tendency to increase.

Where need can be demonstrated the Council will seek to ensure that at least 25%
of the units being provided are affordable, though the actual amount sought will in
all cases relate to housing needs at that particular time. Planning agreements may
be required so that the benefit of the policy is passed on to future occupiers.

This UDP takes into account the Council‟s annual Housing Strategy and
Operational Plan (HSOP), which is a corporate document, led by the Housing
Section. The HSOP contains the Council‟s plans for wide range of housing issues,
including affordable housing priorities. The HSOP has regard to the UDP and has
an influence on The National Assembly for Wales‟s expenditure priorities for
allocating affordable housing grants to registered social landlords.

H2.2 Affordable Housing in Rural Areas
Proposals for affordable housing within settlements or In exceptional
circumstances the provision of housing to meet affordable housing needs
may be considered on sites adjoining existing settlements will be permitted
provided:

   1. No alternative feasible or suitable premises or sites exist within the
      community; and
   2. There is adequate evidence of need to require the provision of affordable
      housing within the local community and
   3. Adequate planning conditions or obligations exist to give effect to and to
      pass on the low cost benefits to future occupiers; and
   4. That the development is of a scale and design that is appropriate to the
      locality and that there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on the
      environment, amenity or highway issues; and
   5. The proposed development is adjacent to and forms a logical
      extension of the settlement boundary.

Reasons for Policy H2.2
Much of the development that occurs within the County is accounted for by
sites of less than 5 units, and more often than not by single build. It is
recognised therefore that affordable needs of the County, especially within
the smaller settlements and their surrounding communities may not
necessarily be met though policy H2.1. Ensuring that an appropriate mix of
house types and sizes will therefore have a crucial role to play in helping
meet housing needs in rural areas (see policy H4.1). Due to the scale of
development that is likely to come forward it is less feasible to negotiate an
element of affordable housing as part of an overall development. This
“exceptions” policy therefore relates specifically to the release of land to meet local
affordable housing needs outside of but adjoining existing settlement
boundaries where it can be demonstrated that the need for affordable
housing exists. The policy applies to sites which would not otherwise be
allocated for housing, or included within the settlement boundary.
Development that comes forward as a result of this policy is likely to be
small scale, and in the more rural settlements is likely to predominantly be
individual dwellings. By definition, the policy can only operate in those
settlement locations where there is a proven need for this type of housing. There
is no established formula for defining or measuring housing needs. The Council is
also keen to ensure that permissions are granted only where a need is justified,
and it is therefore intended that where such a claim is made in support of a
planning application, the Council‟s housing officers should make an assessment of
the extent of the claim.

As the policy operates on an exceptions basis, by definition, the policy only
applies in those settlement locations where there is a proven need for
affordable housing. When identifying need it should be demonstrated that
there are no alternative suitable premises or sites available either within the
settlement or neighbouring settlements. Need can be separated into several
categories, all of which contribute to the general overall aim which is to
maintain a balanced community.              An indication of the types of
circumstances which qualify under this policy are listed below; these are
based on definitions contained in PG(W) TAN2 and are generally accepted by
most other LAs:
     Existing residents needing separate residence (for example newly
        married)
     People whose work provides important services and who need to live
        closer to the local community
     People with longstanding links with the local community (people who
        need to move to be close to relatives)
     People who have been offered a job in the area, who cannot accept the
        offer due to lack of affordable housing.
The Council will ensure that permissions are granted only where a need is
justified, and it is therefore intended that where such a claim is made in
support of a planning application, that the Council’s housing officers will
make an assessment of the extent of the claim.

The purpose of the policy is to provide houses for people on low incomes who are
in housing need. Such needs can only be satisfied where costs are kept as low as
possible. It is important therefore that the houses themselves are inexpensive,
both to build and to rent or buy.

In circumstances where the Council is justified in granting planning permission for
dwellings on the basis of claimed housing need, it is necessary that the benefit of
the policy will be passed on to future occupiers. The use of planning conditions
and/or obligations will be used to ensure that such dwellings remain
affordable in perpetuity.
The issue of local affordable housing is primarily a housing resource, market value
and income matter, and the UDP exceptions policy can only be of limited value in
seeking to meet the affordable housing needs of the local community.

H2.3 Special Needs Housing
Proposals for the development of supported accommodation for people with
special needs (such as residential care homes, individual houses) will generally be
permitted within the main towns and larger villages. Where possible such
facilities should be integrated into proposed new housing schemes or make use of
existing buildings through appropriate conversion, and should be located with
accessibility and proximity to facilities in mind.

Reasons for Policy H2.3
A range of flexible housing is required to meet the various needs of different
groups within the society. The Housing Strategy and Operational Plan (HSOP)
identifies the need to make appropriate provision for the various „special needs
categories‟ which exist, both by adapting current housing stock and providing new
accommodation. People who may require the provision of such housing may
include people with disabilities or learning difficulties, people with mental health
problems, the elderly, young people who are homeless or who are leaving care,
the homeless and ex offenders, and people escaping domestic violence.

Ceredigion has an ageing population. The County is already under-providing for
accommodation for the elderly, and the demand is likely to increase as people
aged 65 and over could account for approximately a almost two thirds of the
County‟s population by 2020. High concentrations of people aged 65 and over are
especially evident in and around Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay and
Lampeter.

There is likely to be a rise in the need for accommodation for people with learning
disabilities, according to the SCOVO report produced for the by Council‟s Social
Services Department. A shortage of suitable housing has already been identified
in various locations across for the south of the County.

Other groups of people within Ceredigion, who have particular accommodation
needs, include children who are under childcare supervision, people with physical
difficulties, people on probation or the homeless. The Council aims to increase
awareness of the various range of needs that exist within the County and to
provide an appropriate level and type of accommodation to meet these needs.

There appears to be an increasing demand for the provision of high quality
accessible flats to be developed within town centres, especially for the elderly, and
the less mobile. In general, housing for people with special needs should be
located within the main centres to provide for ease of access to services and
facilities. This would suggest that the larger villages and towns are likely to be the
most suitable location for developing new accommodation for people with special
needs. Although the majority of supported housing is best located within the larger
settlements, close to a range of facilities and choice of modes of transport, there
will be instances where a more isolated location may be more appropriate.

These accommodation needs can more often than not be met, and should be met,
by the provision of one or two properties as part of a proposed housing
development. Generally, the type of housing would not need to be different to
other housing being built as part of a residential scheme; all new housing is now
required to meet requirements for disabled access as standard. Within the main
towns, appropriate conversion or sub-division of existing buildings can also provide
for suitably located housing for people with special needs. The aim is to achieve
an integrated society.

The type of housing will vary according to the level of care required; this will range
from no support or minimal support, to daily visits and 24-hour care. Consideration
should be given to the suitable location of housing with regards to the needs it is
intended meet. For example, a combined sheltered housing and residential home
development may have a number of advantages, which may include the access to
a greater level of care when required without necessarily having to move from an
area which is familiar.
The expectations for sheltered housing are changing, with a call for such
accommodation to be more accessible and provide for an increased range of
services. It may be appropriate to combine the provision of accommodation with
associated uses, and provide for multi use centres. For example, a three storey
complex could consist of 8 flats on the first and second floors, (well served by lifts),
and a day centre combined with rooms for visiting doctors, chiropodists,
physiotherapists etc. on the ground floor. The same sort of concept could be
applied to the provision of accommodation for people who have just left care – flats
on upper floors and an IT rehabilitation unit on the ground floor.

H2.4 Housing for workers in Farming, or Forestry Workers or
other rural businesses
Proposals for new dwellings in the open countryside will only be permitted where
they are clearly needed to house workers employed in agriculture, forestry or other
appropriate employment in the rural economy. The development should be
essential for the operational requirements of the activity and there must be a
need for the workers to must live on the spot rather than in a nearby settlement.
Where the need for a new dwelling is established, the dwelling should:

   1. Be located within or adjacent to the use that it intends to serve, e.g. the
      existing farm complex, and should seek to re-use existing buildings prior to
      new build; and
   2. Be of a scale and design appropriate to the character of the location; and
   3. Be kept available for this need.

Reasons for Policy H2.4
This policy relates primarily to the requirements of workers in agriculture or forestry
operations. The demand for dwellings in the countryside is high, and one of the
main objectives of the land use planning system is the protection of the
appearance of the countryside for its own sake and in the interests of the general
public. Indiscriminate or speculative forms of new housing in the countryside
which is outside the settlement boundary limits is strictly controlled by national
policy.      Development is therefore only permitted in exceptional
circumstances; such circumstances may include where housing is required
to meet the and development can only be justified by the genuine needs of
farming, or forestry, or other rural businesses. Where it is possible, the worker
should seek appropriate accommodation in one of the nearby villages which may
have social and economic advantages.             However, where the operational
requirements of the farm or forestry enterprise dictate that the workers should live
on the spot, permission may be granted for a new dwelling, provided that no
opportunity exists to make re-use of and existing building. This concession
which the planning system makes for such dwellings should not be abused.

Technical Advice Note (Wales) 6 on Agricultural and Rural Development sets out
clear criteria against which applications for agricultural dwellings should be
determined. Applications for dwellings associated with agriculture or forestry will
be determined in accordance with this guidance. New permanent dwellings should
only be allowed where they support agricultural activities on well-established units.
It will be necessary for each application to undergo a functional test to establish
whether it is essential that workers be readily available at most times of the day. It
will also be reasonable to take into account the likely future requirements of the
enterprise and the needs of the family. New permanent accommodation cannot be
justified on functional grounds unless the farming enterprise is economically viable.
A financial test will therefore be necessary to establish whether the enterprise is
economically viable, and to establish the size of dwelling that the unit can sustain.

Where the need for a new dwelling is established to support a new farming activity,
or on a newly created agricultural unit, or on an established one but where the
case is not completely proven, the Council will consider granting temporary
consent for a caravan, for no more than 3 years, to allow time for the viability of the
enterprise to be fully assessed. The Council will take advice in assessing the
viability of the enterprise.

The Plan recognises that as a result of changes in the Common Agricultural Policy,
and other issues such as the BSE crisis, the nature of farming is changing. Many
              farmers are seeking to broaden the economic base of the farm unit by diversifying
              into economic enterprises that may not be directly related to farming. The policy
              may therefore apply, in exceptional circumstances, to enterprises that are no
              longer entirely farming related but which have an important contribution to make to
              the social and economic fabric of the countryside. There may also be other rural
              businesses which do not necessarily have an on-farm location, but have an
              important contribution to make to the rural economy. The business must, by
              its nature, require a rural location and satisfy the relevant tests as set out
              above.

              Where the evidence exists to supports the provision of a new dwelling, care should
              be taken to ensure that it is of a size commensurate with the functional
              requirements and the income that the unit can sustain. In order to ensure that the
              development and the unit is sustainable, it will be the requirement of the enterprise
              alone which is the determining factor.

              Where permission is granted, the development will be subject to occupancy
              conditions and a legal obligation tying the new dwelling to the enterprise and/or
              buildings. This will ensure the dwelling is kept available for the original intended
              needs, and it will reduce the possibility of speculative ventures in the open
              countryside.

Conversions
              Objective H3
              To make better use of the existing housing stock by promoting conversion and re-
              use of existing buildings, and by bringing empty properties back into use.

              H3.1 Subdivision of Existing Dwellings
              The conversion of large residential units to flats within towns will generally be
              permitted provided that:

                 1. The dwelling is of a suitable size and layout capable of conversion
                 2. The proposal does not have a detrimental effect on the character of the
                    area
                 3. The development does not adversely affect the amenity of the adjoining
                    occupants
                 4. The development does not result in significant parking problems
                 5. There is adequate provision for the storage of refuse
                 6. Consideration has been given to the potential to provide for a wide range of
                    housing needs.

              Conversion of residential units to HMOs, that require planning permission, will
              generally not be permitted.

              The conversion of existing dwellings other than in the towns within other
              settlements will generally not be permitted.

              Reasons for Policy H3.1
              Conversions provide a sustainable alternative to new build and have an important
              role to play in increasing the available level and type of housing stock within the
              County.

              The conversion of large dwelling houses, especially large town houses within the
              main centres is seen as inevitable. It is unrealistic to expect that these, often 3 or
              4 storey town houses which are characteristic of many parts of Aberystwyth and
              other large towns, remain occupied by one household. Appropriate conversions
              can therefore allow for the re-use of those buildings which may no longer be
              appropriate for single household occupancy. The conversion of existing dwellings
              outside of the main towns centres will generally not be permitted; there may be
              exceptional circumstances where the size of a dwelling makes it is
              impractical for the dwelling to be occupied by one household. The County
              does, for example however, have a number of large country houses, such as
              Trawscoed, which although not necessarily located within existing settlements,
              may also be considered appropriate for conversion.             The appropriate and
              sympathetic conversion of such country houses may be allowed as an exception
              (see also Policy ENVB1.12).
The demand for housing located within town centres is likely to continue to grow.
Increasingly, town centres are perceived as providing locations for accommodation
which can provide for accessibility to a whole range of opportunities, including
leisure, shopping, employment and community services. Living within the main
centres can both reduce the need to travel whilst at the same time offering
opportunities to travel by modes of transport other than the car. Town centre
housing therefore offers the convenience and accessibility that many groups in
society are increasingly seeking, especially the young, single people and the
elderly.

The Council will seek to prevent the proliferation of one type of housing within the
town centre. In recent years, a substantial proportion of large houses have been
converted to houses occupied on a shared basis, often referred to as houses in
multiple occupation (HMOs). Such conversions have led to a proliferation of
HMOs in the centre of Aberystwyth and to a lesser extent in Lampeter. Houses
occupied on a shared basis cater for a limited group of people, mainly students,
and thus restrict the available accommodation on the general housing market
within these town centres. This type of accommodation has also been associated
with having negative impacts on residential amenity, such as noise, parking and
refuse storage.

Flats provide a form of accommodation that has the potential to cater for a wide
range of housing needs, and therefore will contribute to providing a better range of
housing within town centres. Such accommodation is being increasingly sought by
the elderly, young single people, couples, and students. The sub-division of large
residential properties will therefore be considered in accordance with the above
criteria and provided that a satisfactory standard of accommodation can be
provided.

Whilst the Council is supportive of the conversion of appropriate dwellings
to flats, it will also seek to retain average, and even larger, sized housing for
‘family housing’. Therefore the sub-division of such properties suitable for
family housing will be resisted. The building should be of an appropriate size
capable of conversion. An average family house will often consist of 3 bedrooms,
bathroom, kitchen, lounge and often a study or dining room. Residential dwellings
with seven rooms are therefore easily capable of being occupied as a family unit.
For the purposes of this UDP, it is therefore considered reasonable that
conversions will generally only be permitted for dwellings which have at least eight
rooms; which must include a kitchen, lounge and bathroom, with no less than 4
bedrooms.

Whilst the Council is supportive of the conversion of appropriate dwellings to flats,
it will also seek to retain average, and even larger, sized housing for „family
housing‟. Therefore the sub-division of smaller houses will be resisted. For the
purpose of this UDP the Council will generally not allow the conversion of
properties with four bedrooms or less.

Where conversion is considered to be appropriate, permission will be subject to
parking, waste and amenity considerations. Within towns, conversions can
contribute to the problems of parking, often creating on-street parking problems.
Where the provision of on site parking is neither practical or desirable and there
are known to be significant parking problems in that area, the Council may
negotiate with the applicant to obtain a contribution towards producing a parking
strategy or for implementing parking conditions (see also Policy T4.4). With regard
to conversions in rural areas, the provisions for parking should be sensitively
considered as part of the overall scheme and should not detract from the quality of
the landscape. Appropriate measures will need to be secured for the storage of
refuse. The conversion should not have an adverse impact on the character of the
town, or in rural locations the character of the locality and quality of the landscape.

Consideration should also be given to providing flats that are designed in a way
which cater for the needs of the wider public. Small adaptations to layout can
ensure that flats are accessible for people in wheelchairs. Ground floor units, for
example, may lend themselves as being suitable/attractive to people with
disabilities or the elderly.
H3.2 Conversion From Employment Premises, Other Uses and
Floors Above Shops
Where The conversion of existing employment premises or other buildings,
including floors above shops, to residential use will be permitted provided that:
consideration has been given to: may be considered acceptable, having had
regard to Policies E2.3, E3.3, and CER1.2, consideration should also be given to:

   1. Consideration has been given to the need to retain the existing use
   2. That The building and location is suitable for residential accommodation
      and that the unit is of a size and layout capable of conversion
   3. That The design of the proposed development does not have a detrimental
      effect on the character of the existing building, adjacent buildings or the
      surrounding area
   4. That The development does not adversely affect the amenity of the
      adjoining occupants
   5. The development does not result in significant parking problems
   6. Adequate provision has been made for the storage of refuse
   7. The potential to provide for a wide range of housing needs.

Reasons for Policy H3.2
Changes in the requirements of the employment sector in terms of accommodation
and the community in terms of the facilities it needs, can result in the release of
such buildings for other uses. For example, large office accommodation, of a
traditional style and layout may not be attractive or capable of being adapted for
the requirements of today‟s modern office establishments. Where the re-use of a
building for it‟s existing purpose is no longer feasible, then conversion to residential
would be preferable to the unit remaining vacant. Change of use of premises to
residential use on designated employment sites is unlikely to be acceptable
(see policy E2.3).

As has been noted in the previous policy, where conversion is considered to be
appropriate, the Council will favour the conversion to flats over conversion to a
house in shared occupation. Flats provide a housing unit which is capable of
catering for a wide range of housing needs.

Units above shops are often under-used or vacant. Such accommodation can
provide a valuable addition to the overall housing stock. The use of upper floors
for residential purposes within town centres also has an important role in
promoting the vitality of the centre, through ensuring the re-use of vacant buildings,
increasing natural surveillance and creating living communities. The policy
applies to circumstances where planning permission for change of use
above shops or other employment premises is required (Classes F and G,
Part 3, Schedule 1 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 allows
for conversion of upper floors of Class A1 and A2 to a single flat without the
need for permission).

The conversion of redundant barns, schools and chapels to residential use have
proved popular within Ceredigion in recent years. These buildings often offer an
attractive source for housing in unspoilt, open countryside locations. Such
buildings should be first and foremost kept for the existing or similar use in
accordance with policy E2.3, E3.3 and policy CER1.2. Where conversion for
residential purposes is considered appropriate it is important that the conversion is
of a sympathetic design to the surrounding rural area.

As with any conversion to residential, the development should not have adverse
impacts on either the amenity of adjoining occupiers or on the surrounding area be
it open countryside or urban townscape. Appropriate provision for parking and
refuse storage should be addressed. The conversion should maximise the
potential to cater for a wide range of housing needs.

H3.3 The Re-use Replacement of Dwellings in the Open
Countryside
When considering the re-use of derelict dwellings, renovation will be favoured
before re-build. The replacement of existing dwellings located in the open
countryside through re-build will generally only be permitted, where:
   1. The original dwelling:

   a. Has not been demolished, or fallen into such a state of disrepair so that it
      no longer has the substantial appearance of a dwelling
   b. Is not capable of repair and reinstatement
   c. Is not a temporary or mobile dwelling

   2. The replacement dwelling is of a form, bulk, size, scale and general design
      that respects the qualities of the original building and the character of the
      surrounding area. The replacement building should respect the footings of
      the original dwelling.

   3. The replacement dwelling and its associated works would should not have
      a detrimental effect on the character of the landscape or on the open
      countryside.

Otherwise proposals will be subject to policies for new housing in the open
countryside.

Reasons for Policy H3.3
The re-use of existing dwellings, as a result of renovation or rebuild rehabilitation
(renovation/re-build), in rural areas can have a valuable contribution to make in
meeting the housing need of rural communities. It is important to ensure however,
that the re-use rehabilitation of the dwelling does not have adverse impacts on the
character of the location and that the development does not result in new
development in the open countryside. The Council will prefer the renovation of the
existing building to the total re-build of the dwelling.

The original dwelling may have had an important contribution to make to the
setting. The renovated or replacement dwelling should therefore respect the
design, form, scale and size of the original dwelling.

The Council will seek to ensure that re-use rehabilitation only occurs if the original
dwelling has substantially retained the appearance of a dwelling. Features which
may determine whether the structure is recognisable as a dwelling may include the
retention of; substantial parts of external walls, especially a front or rear elevation;
openings for doors or windows; roof; chimney stack. It is recognised that re-use
rehabilitation of existing dwellings through renovation alone may not be possible.
Where the existing dwelling is incapable of being renovated, due to it being
structurally unsafe or due to unreasonable cost implications, then consideration will
be given to allowing a replacement dwelling.

Where a replacement dwelling is considered to be acceptable, the replacement
dwelling should reflect the footprint of the original dwelling. The replacement
dwelling, as with renovation, should relate to the original dwelling in terms of
design, scale, size, bulk and form. The associated curtilage of the replacement
dwelling should not have an adverse effect on the character of the area.

If the dwelling has been demolished prior to permission for re-use rehabilitation
being granted, then the application will be treated as new build.

H3.4 Change of Use From Residential
Loss of residential land or buildings to other uses will generally not be permitted,
unless it can be demonstrated that there is an overwhelming need for the
proposed use which outweighs the loss of the unit for residential use or there is
low demand for housing. Where change of use applies to the ground floor only,
the Council will require that upper floors be retained in residential use.

Reasons for Policy H3.4
Various parts of the County, especially in and around Aberystwyth, are continually
under pressure for new residential development. In ensuring that this need
continues to be met, it is important that the existing residential stock and sites for
future housing development are protected. The Council will therefore seek to
retain existing residential units or allocated housing sites, especially in parts of
the County where pressure for residential development is at its greatest. The
change of use of existing residential units or allocated housing sites in those
            locations to other uses, such as employment, will therefore not be permitted
            unless it can be demonstrated that there is an overwhelming need for the proposal.
            In parts of the county where demand for housing is low or where a clear
            surplus of housing exists, or where there are other overriding needs,
            consideration may be given to permitting other appropriate land uses.
            Where change of use is considered appropriate, the proposed development should
            be made subject to the relevant policies set out within the plan, such as
            employment or retail.

            Where change of use to non-residential is permitted for the ground floor only, as is
            often the case with change of use to retail, the Council will seek to apply a
            condition that requires that the upper floors should remain within residential use.
            Whether the remainder of the building is used as a single residential unit or for a
            number of flats will depend on the size and layout of the building and will be
            subject to the criteria set out in Policy H3.1.

            H3.5 Extensions to Existing Dwellings (was H4.5)
            Proposals involving alterations or extensions to existing dwellings, which require
            planning consent, will generally be permitted, provided that:

               1. The design of the extension reflects, or is compatible with, the style and
                  character of, or improves the existing dwelling
               2. The development does will not have an unacceptable adverse effect on
                  affect the appearance and character of the area/locality
               3. There is no unreasonable harm to the amenity of adjoining occupiers or
                  properties in accordance with policy H4.4 and that the development does
                  not result in overshadowing or overlooking.

            Reasons for Policy H3.5
            A large proportion of planning applications received each year relate to proposed
            extensions to existing dwellings. Alterations or extensions can help in
            providing for the development needs of families not wishing to move.
            Although the majority of these proposed extensions are likely to be small scale,
            they can have considerable effect not only on the appearance of the building, and
            it‟s surroundings and but also on the amenity of adjoining occupants. Proposed
            extensions that require planning permission should be of a scale and design which
            is appropriate to the character of the existing building and its location. The use of,
            where possible, similar materials to that which exists on the existing building is
            important in order to retain the overall character of the dwelling. The quality of life,
            in terms of privacy and amenity, of adjoining neighbours should not be adversely
            affected (policy H4.4).

            Reference should be made to the appropriate scale of the extension – cross refer
            to the 50% used in the Residential Design Guide as providing a guide to the
            maximum size of extension being appropriate in the open countryside. It should
            be noted that The acceptability of the size of the extension will depend on relate to
            the size of the existing dwelling. The purpose of this policy such a guideline is to
            secure the protection of a stock of small houses within rural areas and to preserve
            the character of such dwellings. The acceptability of the size of the extension
            will depend on how it relates to the size and form of the existing dwelling.
            The ‘Residential Design Principles’ notes that extensions to dwellings
            should not exceed 50% of the original dwelling size; this should however be
            used as a guideline only.

            Further advice regarding extensions is contained in the Council‟s Supplementary
            Planning Guidance note on „Residential Design Principles, Supplementary
            Guidance Note 1’.


Detail Relating to Residential Development
            Objective H4
            To improve the overall quality of life in residential areas in both urban and rural
            environments.

            H4.1 Density and Mix of Residential Development
The density, mix and layout of new residential development should be compatible
with the characteristics and needs of the local community locality, the site and
surrounding development and the local environment.

Reasons for Policy H4.1
The density of a new residential development has an important contribution to
make in to ensuring that the development is appropriate and that it can be well
integrated with within the existing community and that it reflects the existing
settlement pattern. In general, development within the main centres should be of a
high density, with lower densities being more appropriate in the smaller, more rural
settlements.

Within towns the level of land available for development may be limited. It is
therefore important to make the most Design and layout within towns need to
make more efficient use of the land which that is available without compromising
the quality of the environment. The Council will seek to promote a balance of
densities within larger developments - to avoid large uniform estates which have
no character. Variation in the density will also help provide a better mix of housing
types and therefore provide for a greater mix of housing needs. Variation in the
type and layout will also add visual interest to the development.

Within the main towns centres and the identified larger settlements on transport
corridors the availability of land for housing may can be limited and therefore the
full development potential should be realised – uninterrupted frontage
development can prevent the effective release of land for in depth or estate type
development appropriate for these locations and should therefore be avoided. The
proposed development should be capable of being accommodated on the site
without leading to over development which would compromise the quality and
amenity of the environment and reduce the quality of life for both existing and
proposed new occupiers.

The mix of housing types and sizes should also reflect the needs of the particular
settlement or area. Whereas some settlements may require additional starter
homes, family homes, or affordable housing, others may require larger houses.
The policy allows flexibility for the development of all types and sizes of houses in
accordance with the particular needs of the local community.

The layout of new development will have an important contribution to make
to its successful integration with both the physical environment and the
social fabric of the community. In rural areas the layout and mix of housing
should relate to the traditional form of the village. In some settlements in-depth
development and cul-de-sac layouts are unlikely to be suitable, and could
introduce a suburban identity to the settlement. Inappropriate layouts can also
impact on the social fabric of the community; inward facing cul-de-sacs for
example can result in creation of a separate self-contained community
severed from the existing community. Careful consideration to the layout of
new developments can help integrate new developments by, for example,
creating footpath links between existing and new housing and by, where
appropriate, ensuring that houses at the entrance to a cul-de-sac face
outwards rather than inwards.

The use of a Community Impact Assessment as set out in policy CER1.1 will
help identify whether a proposed development is appropriate in terms of
meeting the specific housing needs of that community. The assessment will
illustrate whether the development is of the right density, mix and layout for
each individual case.

H4.2 Phasing of Residential Development
Where a large scale residential development is proposed, phasing may be
required.

Reasons for Policy H4.2
Phasing provides a useful tool for controlling the rate at which development
occurs, where this is considered necessary. There may be circumstances
where although the principle of development is deemed appropriate the rate
at which a particular development is proposed is unacceptable for reasons
such as potential impacts and constraints. In such cases, without phasing, a
development may need to either be scaled down or even refused. Phasing
provides an opportunity for development to proceed gradually. It is not
however a means of allowing development to proceed which is wholly
unacceptable.

Phasing may be required where there are known to be constraints within the
physical or social infrastructure. The lack of capacity within sewerage
infrastructure can, for example, be a constraint on development. Phasing
provides a mechanism to allow development for which there is capacity to
proceed, and for further development to proceed once improvements to the
infrastructure have been completed. Phasing can only be used in such
cases where planned improvements to the infrastructure are included in the
current infrastructure programme. The same type of approach can be used
where other provisions are at capacity, such as schools, provided that
improvements or upgrades are programmed.

There are parts of the County, especially in and around Aberystwyth, where
pressure for new residential development is so high that a potential threat
exists that the supply of land for housing could be exhausted early on in the
plan period. Where such pressure is known phasing may be used to
regulate the rate at which development is permitted to ensure that sufficient
supply of land exists to meet housing needs throughout the 15 year period.

New development, especially in rural areas, can have a significant impact on
the existing community. Phasing also has an important contribution to make
in aiding the successful integration of the new development within both the
physical environment and also the social fabric of existing communities.
Phasing can ensure that development occurs at a rate which is appropriate
to the local community and minimises any potential negative impacts. This
is because the level of impact which a development has is often accounted
for by the rate or scale at which it occurs. For example the gradual
development of 10 units over 15 years is likely to have less impact than the
development of 10 within a single year. Gradual development provides a
better opportunity for new development and its occupants to become fully
integrated with the existing community and locality. This approach attempts
to sustain and enhance the existing social fabric and local identity rather
than destroying it. The impacts of development which is completed
gradually is likely to have less impacts on the character of the community,
including the Welsh language. It is more likely that development which is
brought on line gradually will help meet local need and is therefore less
likely to result in displacing communities.

The application of phasing (timescale and rate etc.) will vary according to the
individual circumstances. Factors for consideration may include; the scale
of the proposed development, its location, potential impacts on both the
environment and the social fabric of communities, any constraints that may
exist. Whether or not phasing is required will be partially identified through
the application of a Community Impact Assessment (policy CER1.1). The
Community Impact Assessment will also help determine, where necessary,
the appropriate rate at which development ought to occur.

This policy will be particularly important for the smaller settlements where the
development of for example 6 houses on one site in any one year would be
unacceptable, but the same scheme phased over a number of years would have
less of an immediate impact on the settlement and may therefore be more
acceptable.

H4.3 Facilities Associated with Residential Development
When considering proposals for large scale new residential development, the
Council will seek, where appropriate, the provision of, or contributions to various
facilities, services or infrastructure. Such contributions may, for example,
be required for new community facilities, educational facilities, recreational open
space, and to the improvement of pedestrian, cycle and public transport, and traffic
calming or other traffic management improvements.
Reasons for Policy H4.3
New housing developments can put considerable strain on the existing local
infrastructure and services. It is reasonable, therefore, to consider the likely
overall impact of the development on the area; this will primarily be achieved
through undertaking a Community Impact Assessment (see policy CER1.1).
Where the development would lead to problems or shortfalls in provision, then the
developer may be required to provide for additional facilities or provide a
contribution can be sought from the developer to provide for additional facilities to
alleviate any potential problems. This will ensure that the needs of the new
residents are met and that the needs of existing residents are not compromised.
Contributions or provisions should however be reasonably related to the
proposed development in scale and type and will be secured through the use of
planning conditions and/or obligations in accordance with policy GEN4.2.

New housing, for example, can increase the pressure on educational
facilities. Many schools are already making use of temporary structures such as
portacabins as a result of being over capacity. The Council will seek to
secure financial contribution, if necessary, where new residential
development is likely to place additional pressure on existing educational
facilities. To help prevent this situation from developing in the future, where new
housing development (especially large scale) is likely to placing additional strain on
existing educational facilities, the Council will seek to secure a contribution through
legal agreement with the developer. Other provision that may be required
include open spaces or play areas. Policy CER2.2 refers to the specific
requirements for play areas and open space provision that will need to be
provided for as part of an overall development within new developments.

Where it is known that such provisions may be sought with regard to particular
sites, for example the need to provide for a footpath, a reference will be made in
the Proposal Schedule to such possible requirements. It should be noted that
requirements contained in the Proposals Schedule act as a guideline and
may vary according to changes in circumstances or needs.

Include a note on the scale of development at which it will be considered
appropriate to require such facilities.

H4.4 Residential Amenity
Proposals involving new residential developments, re-build, renovations,
alterations or extensions to dwellings, which require planning consent, should be
compatible with the residential amenity of existing and proposed dwellings. A
proposal will not be permitted provided that where:

   1. It does not They result in unacceptable standards in terms of privacy and
      amenity provisions of either existing or other proposed the dwellings
   2. There is no They have an unacceptable adverse effect on the character or
      the amenity of the locality
   3. The Their orientation, mass, height and proximity does not cause
      unacceptable significant adverse impact on the visual amenities and
      character of the building or neighbouring buildings
   4. It does not They result in over-development of the locality. “Backland”
      development or the infill of gardens should be avoided where over
      development would detract from the open aspect of larger houses
   5. It does not They would result in inadequate levels of daylight and sunlight
      reaching adjoining properties.

Reasons for Policy H4.4
Residential development, including building a new house, renovations and
extensions, can have a significant impact on the amenity of existing and also
other proposed residential properties and their occupants. Infilling, alterations
or minor extensions can help in providing for the developing needs of families not
wishing to move. The impact of both individual and cumulative developments
can result in cumulative effects of incremental and piecemeal development can
have an adverse effect on the character of the neighbourhood resulting in town
cramming, over development and car parking and access problems. Building in
quality design and standards in terms of density, scale and mass safeguards the
appearance of the locality and the amenity of its residents. Applicants should give
careful consideration to the details of their proposals and should minimise any
possible adverse impact on the neighbourhood.

Where appropriate, conditions will be imposed on permissions for higher density
developments, which will take away the Permitted Development Rights of future
occupants to, for example, erect extensions, garages and garden sheds etc. in
the curtilage of their dwellings. This will not necessarily mean that no additional
development can take place only that it will be brought under planning control in
order to protect the amenities of neighbouring properties.

“Backland” development involving the development of land locked rear gardens
poses problems of access, overlooking and loss of privacy and amenity space and
should generally be avoided. New development in gardens should take account of
the setting of the original building. The open aspect and character of a substantial
dwelling and its contribution to the surrounding area should be maintained. The
fact that there is sufficient land available to erect a new dwelling or extension
should not be the over riding consideration in the determination of an application.

Further guidance with regard to protecting residential amenity is provided in a
separate supplementary guidance note produced by the Council called “Note 1
Residential Design Principles, Supplementary Guidance Note 1”.

H4.5 Extensions to Existing Dwellings (now H3.5)
Proposals involving alterations or extensions to existing dwellings, which require
planning consent, will generally be permitted, provided that:

   4. The design of the extension reflects the style and character of, or improves
      the existing dwelling
   5. The development will not adversely affect the appearance and character of
      the area/locality
   6. There is no unreasonable harm to the amenity of adjoining
      occupiers/properties and that the development does not result in
      overshadowing or overlooking.

Reasons for Policy H4.5
A large proportion of planning applications received each year relate to proposed
extensions to existing dwellings. Although the majority of these proposed
extensions are likely to be small scale, they can have considerable effect not only
on the appearance of the building and it‟s surrounding, but also on the amenity of
adjoining occupants. Proposed extensions that require planning permission
should be of a scale and design which is appropriate to the character of the
existing building and its location. The use of similar materials to that which exists
on the existing building is important in order to retain the overall character of the
dwelling. The quality of life, in terms of privacy and amenity, of adjoining
neighbours should not be adversely affected.

Reference should be made to the appropriate scale of the extension – cross refer
to the 50% used in the Residential Design Guide as providing a guide to the
maximum size of extension being appropriate in the open countryside. It should
be noted that the acceptability of the size of the extension will relate to the size of
the existing dwelling. The purpose of such a guideline is to secure the protection
of a stock of small houses within rural areas and to preserve the character of such
dwellings.

Further advice is contained in the Council‟s Supplementary Planning Guidance
note on Residential Design Principles.

H4.5 Completion Notices (was H4.6)
The Council will seek to use completion notices where residential developments
are not being completed within a reasonable time scale.

Reasons for Policy H4.5
It is considered necessary to include such a policy because technical starts have
been made on many sites, such as in the form of an access road, but no further
work has been carried out for a number of years. This can cause problems with
regard to the genuine housing land available within a settlement. The other
scenario is that one or two plots may have been completed for example ten years
ago but the remainder of the site, including the provision of permanent access
road, lighting and play areas have not been provided. The policy should have
regard to any phasing requirements which were applied to the permission.

H4.6 Temporary Residential Caravans (was H4.7)
Proposals for the siting of caravans for full time residential use will be permitted for
a temporary period where the accommodation is required:

   1. In association with Policy H2.4, where the justification for a dwelling is
      inconclusive; or
   2. In association with an approved building project and the caravan is located
      on or adjoining the site.

Reasons for Policy H4.6
Where there is insufficient evidence to justify an application for a new agricultural
dwelling in the open countryside, it may be appropriate to grant planning
permission for a caravan allowing temporary accommodation to be provided for a
period during which the viability of the holding may be established. This period will
not normally exceed two years. The caravan should be unobtrusively sited on the
proposed holding near or adjoining any existing or proposed agricultural buildings.

This policy is also applicable where planning permission has either been granted
or deemed to be granted. The policy may, for example, allow the siting of a
caravan to provide accommodation during the construction of a new dwelling or
where works to be carried out to an existing dwelling result in the need for
alternative accommodation for a temporary period. Permission will be granted in
such cases for one year in the first instance.

A proposal concerning the use of a caravan as accommodation for a caravan
park manager will be considered under policy TR2.2.
Ceredigion Unitary Development Plan – Header Text   Other infoI




Document Version or other Footer text – Date          Page 26

				
DOCUMENT INFO