This Housing LIN guest blog covers a selection of planning appeal decisions relevant to those planning and developing extra care housing.
Tetlow King Planning (TKP) would like to draw your attention to the following recent appeal decisions and some Community Infrastructure Levy update information in relation to care development. In planning for age restricted housing, recent appeal decisions are very pertinent in building a case for new developments. There have been two recent appeals which have been particularly helpful, and the main points are summarised below:
This appeal was allowed in July 2017 for 38 assisted living (Extra Care) accommodation within Use Class C2. This is an important recent decision particularly on the benefits of C2 care development.
The Inspector helpfully summarised the benefits of the scheme, notably the social benefits. The appellant also offered a Planning Obligation with occupation restrictions to ensure that the units would remain as Use Class C2.
The Council had evidence which stated that there was a need for 410 additional extra care units and that potential sites in the area were limited for this type of development. The Inspector stated that the Planning Practice Guidance says that housing for older people is “critical” and that the proposals would provide a “significant public benefit”.
Other benefits of the scheme were also acknowledged by the Inspector such as the suitability of the accommodation for older people and the economic benefits of the scheme including around 14-17 permanent jobs on the site. Other important benefits were noted such as the “significant health and quality of life advantages for its residents and a corresponding reduction in the overall pressure on public health and social services”.
The Inspector concluded that the public benefits were substantial and weighed significantly in favour of the proposal, despite other issues such as effects on listed buildings being a consideration.
This appeal was dismissed on the basis of the impact on the Conservation Area but it is very useful on regarding the proposed 22 units of Use Class C2 housing with for the elderly especially with regard to the provision of affordable housing. The Council argued that the accommodation would fall within Use Class C3 and therefore that affordable housing would be required from the development.
The Inspector raised the following points with regard to his consideration of the Use Class of the proposals. The appellant offered occupation requirements of being over 65 years of age and being in need of 1.5 hours of care following an assessment of potential occupiers’ care needs. The occupiers would then be contracted to pay for the necessary care upon occupation. In addition he noted that there would be staff on site 24 hours a day with an alarm system and a communal lounge area. The Inspector agreed that the:
“reinforcement of the premises specific culture of care and support would be effected by the terms of occupation based on minimum age and minimum take up of care services.... Furthermore, the service charges are likely to be well beyond the reach of those that might reasonably be expected in non-institutional accommodation.”
With regard to the issue of independence, the Inspector stated:
“The illusion of independent living would come through the physical self-containment and saleability (to qualifying occupiers) of the individual units, whereas the reality would probably be one of a tight knit community unified by access to a dedicated enterprise of specialist care and security for the elderly”.
There was consideration of the provision of care staff being located off site but the occupancy controls and offer of ensuring that a domiciliary care business is registered with the CQC secured through a condition satisfied the Inspector that the proposals would fall within Use Class C2.
As a result of the Inspector’s conclusion that the proposals fall within Use Class C2 it was agreed that there would be no requirement for affordable housing.
Tetlow King Planning (TKP) have also recently had a success in arguing the case for C2 extra care developments be exempted from having to pay Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments on new build development in North Somerset.
As part of its monitoring of emerging Local Plan and CIL policies for the South West HARP planning consortium, TKP appeared at the examination hearing of the North Somerset CIL which had initially proposed a charge of £40 per square metre towards extra care developments (under Use Class C2 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes Order) 1987, as amended), thereby treating them as akin to general housing provision (Use Class C3).
TKP advised the Planning Inspector examining the CIL of the differences that exist between extra care and general housing in terms of their characteristics and funding: including the construction programme of C2 schemes, the cost implications of additional facilities and services, and the level of care provided within these developments. This led to the Inspector summarising at Paragraph 68 of their Report that:
“the ‘extra-care’ dimension of C2 accommodation involves the setting up of an integrated care team on the site, together with specialist equipment, all of which is expensive and needs to be in place from the outset. These considerations all point to a fundamentally different viability model to C3 housing schemes”.
As a result of these findings, the Inspector concluded that extra care developments (under Use Class C2) be given a ‘Nil’ rate across the entire local authority, and be exempt from contributing towards the North Somerset CIL. The Inspector provided a definition of C2 extra care housing:
“Accommodation available to rent or buy for older people or others in need of care and which meets the following criteria:
- Residents are subject to an assessment of minimum care needs to establish eligibility to buy or lease a property; and
- Residents are required to purchase a ‘minimum care package’ as a condition of occupation, to include at least 2 hours of domiciliary care per week focused on the health and social care needs of those residents; and
- The development has a minimum non-saleable floorspace in excess of 30% of GIA.”
The Inspector’s Report read very well and can be applied to other schemes falling under a C2 use.
If you would like any further information on these examples or copies of the reports, please contact Tetlow King Planning firstname.lastname@example.org