Building strong, inclusive communities is a key element in achieving sustainable development objectives. Sustainable communities require not only economic development, but also provision of and access to education, health and community support services, amenities and leisure services and a good quality built environment.
The Councils’ role is to formulate a planning policy for housing, consider planning applications for private housing, ensure that sufficient lands are zoned to meet the projected housing demand and provide houses or facilitate the provision of social and affordable housing for those unable to house themselves. The Councils are both the housing authority and the planning authority. In these roles they have the capacity to influence the supply, location and scale of new housing within its functional area.
The Councils’ core objective in relation to the provision of housing is to ensure that every household has accommodation suitable to their needs, located in a suitable environment, at a price or rent it can afford.
- Housing Strategy
Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 requires that housing strategies be drawn up by planning authorities and integrated into their development plans.
The housing strategy shall:
- include an estimate of, and provision for, the existing need and the likely future need for housing in the area covered by the development plan. The Planning Authority shall ensure that sufficient and suitable land is zoned in its development plan for residential use (or for a mixture of residential and other uses), to meet the requirements of the housing strategy and to ensure that a scarcity of such land does not occur at any time during the period of the development plan.
- take into account the need to ensure that housing is available for persons who have different levels of income, and in particular for those in need of social or affordable housing in the area. A housing strategy shall therefore provide that as a general policy a specified percentage, not being more than 20% of the land zoned in the development plan for residential use, or for a mixture of residential and other uses, shall be reserved for social and/or affordable housing.
- ensure that a mixture of house types and sizes is developed to reasonably match the requirements of the different categories of households, as may be determined by the Planning Authority, including the special requirements of elderly persons and persons with disabilities.
- counteract undue segregation in housing between persons of different social backgrounds. The Planning Authority may indicate in respect of any residential area that there is no requirement for social/affordable housing in respect of that area, or that a lower percentage than that specified in the housing strategy may instead be required.
The needs of various groups, including the homeless, travellers and the elderly are addressed as part of the Housing Strategy.
A Housing Strategy has been prepared for the period 2008-2014 for both Kilkenny Borough and County Councils. This Strategy is incorporated into the Development Plan in Appendix B.
The principal features to emerge from the analysis presented in this housing strategy are as follows:
- A total of 7,038 new households are expected to be formed in County Kilkenny during the period 2008 to 2014.
- The existing local authority waiting list is c.1,200.
- Over the period of the strategy 20% of land zoned for residential or a mix of residential and other land uses will be reserved for social and affordable housing.
- Kilkenny has been particularly affected by issues related to housing affordability over the period of the previous housing strategy due to relatively low per-capita disposable income, rising number of household formations and other demand factors affecting household formations.
- The availability of zoned land is not expected to act as a constraint over the course of the Development Plan 2008 — 2014.
- It is an objective of the Councils to implement the housing strategy contained in Appendix B of the Draft Development Plan.
- To require 20% of the land zoned for residential use, or for a mixture of residential and other uses, be made available for the provision of social and affordable housing.
It is the view of the Planning Department that the requirements of Part V of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 in relation to any particular site should be incorporated into any development proposal at an early stage in the development process. The Councils will therefore require housing developers to whom the 20% requirement will apply, to discuss the likely terms of Part V agreements at pre-planning consultations. Both the Councils and the developer would thus have a common understanding of the nature of the likely agreement before detailed designs are prepared for any planning application.
Conditions attached to planning permissions for residential development will require developers to enter into an agreement with the Councils in relation to the provision of social and affordable housing in accordance with the housing strategy.
The various options for compliance are set down in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2002. The following preferred options are available to satisfy the requirements of the housing strategy, in decreasing order of preference —
- The transfer of the required number of completed dwellings on the site,
- The transfer of a portion of the site subject to the planning application,
- The transfer of completed dwellings elsewhere,
- The transfer of fully or partially serviced sites on the site which will enable the Council to provide the appropriate number of units thereon,
- The transfer of serviced sites at another location,
- The transfer of land at another location,
- The payment of a monetary contribution.
An agreement may provide for a combination of the above.
The Councils will continue to meet social and affordable housing needs in the city and environs in a balanced way avoiding over-concentration in any one particular area. The Councils in its house-building programme will place an emphasis on well-designed and integrated schemes appropriate to the scale and character of the area.
The Councils recognise the important role played by the voluntary sector in meeting social housing need and will support and facilitate the expansion of that role.
The Councils will seek to meet the increased demand for social and affordable housing in a number of ways as a housing authority through,
- Affordable housing/joint venture schemes,
- the local authority’s house building programme,
- the sale of sites scheme,
- the Voluntary Housing Sector and the Rental subsidy scheme,
- the capital assistance scheme,
- the disabled persons grant,
- the essential repairs grant and other measures, and
- the Homeless Forum initiative.
- To provide the necessary infrastructural investment to facilitate the overall level of housing output required to meet the current and anticipated levels of demand in a planned coherent fashion.
- To zone adequate amounts of land for housing to provide a locational choice and allow for the probability that not all zoned land will be made available for development.
- To strive for the highest quality built environment when assessing development proposals.
- To encourage economy and efficiency in the use of land and services.
- To promote a high standard of architecture in the siting and design of new housing developments.
- To encourage a variety of house types, sizes and tenure in individual schemes and to encourage variety, interest and social mix in private and social housing developments.
- To ensure that the Council’s housing policy and objectives are linked with employment, environmental, and infrastructural policies and objectives with the aim of improving the quality of life and the attractiveness of the county’s towns, villages and open countryside.
- To assist and facilitate state and community bodies in the development of a Traveller horse project in the county.
Of the 1,200 on the waiting list, it is estimated that approximately 400 are on the list solely to secure rent supplement and openly state they do not wish to be considered for housing.