SPP3 - Planning for Housing
By: Shelter Scotland Published: April 2008
Our response to Scottish Planning Policy 3: Planning For Housing (SPP3).
- SPP3 – Planning for Housing (PDF 98.1 KB)
Guidance on restricting the concentration of HMOs
- Shelter is by no means convinced that there is a sound case for promoting the use of planning controls over HMO accommodation. We call for careful consideration of the impact of existing planning restrictions on the availability of affordable housing and existing HMO licensing enforcement before revised guidance is published.
- As long as promoting the guidance in Circular 4/2004 to SPP3 does not indicate an increase in status, we have no objections as a matter of process to doing so. However, we would like to see changes to the wording of draft SPP3 to remove the assumption that local authorities should apply planning control over HMOs in a particular geographic area, or demonstrate why control is not needed in that area.
- Guidance should be amended to emphasise that a high standard of proof is required to show that a concentration of HMO accommodation in a certain area is having negative impacts on a community, and that these impacts are not more appropriately tackled through HMO licensing, landlord registration or anti-social behaviour powers.
- Revised guidance should also be amended to emphasise to local authorities the necessity of monitoring the impact of any planning policy to restrict the numbers of HMOs in an area. Monitoring should cover the availability of affordable accommodation, compliance with licensing requirements among existing HMOs, and the standards of HMOs that continue to operate in an area subject to planning restriction.
Assessing housing need and demand
- The Consultative Draft of SPP3 underlines the principle of functional housing market areas being used as the basis for assessing housing need across all tenures and strategic cross-regional cooperation. The assumption that housing needs which have traditionally been met in social housing can be met across wider housing markets (defined by search patterns in the owner occupied sector) is questionable. There is no convincing evidence to support this.
- Much more research needs to be undertaken at national and local level to identify how the needs of households waiting for social rented accommodation can be met, and where new social rented housing should be developed to meet these needs.
Scale and delivery of new affordable housing
- Shelter welcomes the Scottish Government’s ambition to build more homes. However, we question an assumption that increasing building across the board will increase the proportion of affordable housing that is built. It is not clear to what extent simply increasing overall supply will lead to a reduction in house prices.
- While there is a good case for ensuring that more houses are built across all tenures, the Scottish Government priority should be to ensure that a minimum of 30,000 affordable homes for rent are built over the next three years. The statutory commitment that all homeless people should be entitled to a home by 2012 adds extra urgency to the case for additional affordable homes.
- Changes to the planning system to encourage a renewed focus on development are timely. Shelter welcomes the elevation of quotas for affordable housing in new developments, contained in Planning Advice Note 74, into Scottish Planning Policy.