AFFORDABLE housing requirements on new developments could vary across the BCP Council area.

The move is said to be necessary due to differences in land values, with a "significant need" for affordable homes in the conurbation.

While the local authority has launched its work around a Local Plan, which will provide a strategy to determine future planning applications, it is likely the policy will not be a blanket approach for the whole area.

The Local Plan issues and options consultation says the council will require a proportion of new homes on major sites to be affordable.

Read more: 

These are homes that are for sale or rent for eligible households who cannot afford to buy or rent in the area at the full market price.

There are several different types of affordable housing such as shared ownership and social rent.

The government has introduced a new affordable housing product called First Homes, with guidance that 25 per cent of affordable homes should this type which are offered at a discounted sales price.

"In line with government requirements, the Local Plan will set out the proportion of new homes on sites of 10 or more homes that should be affordable, and the type of affordable homes required," the consultation document says.

"Due to differences in land values, the percentage of affordable homes required on major sites is likely to be different across different parts of the BCP area and we are undertaking a viability study to ensure the percentage and tenure of affordable housing we ask for will be viable."

The document says it is recommended that the council could make space available for custom self-build housing through a requirement for a proportion of plots on large, strategic housing sites to be for self-build. On average, 55 people apply to the self-build register a year.

While acknowledging a need to provide a mix and type of housing, the council suggests not prescribing a set approach apart from on large, strategic development sites of more than 40 homes.

The greatest need in the BCP area is for two and three-bed market homes and one and two-bed affordable homes, the document says.

Identifying the high and growing proportion of older people, the issues and options document says it may be necessary to allocate some sites specifically for specialist accommodation.

It also highlights that all homes should meet basic 'visitable' standards for accessibility, with 10 per cent of homes achieving the standard of being wheelchair accessible.

The local authority proposes directing purpose-built student accommodation to town centres and campus sites, with a restriction on concentrations of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Read more: Council EXTEND Local Plan consultation after pressure from residents

The issues and options consultation is open to feedback, responses and alternative ideas until March 25.

Details can be found online at Residents can view the consultation online, download and print a PDF copy or pick up a summary paper survey from one of the council’s libraries.

Following the issues and options consultation, the council will produce a draft Local Plan, which would go out for public feedback.

The local authority currently expects to submit its Local Plan to the Secretary of State in spring next year before an independent planning inspector examines it in detail in autumn 2023.

If all of these hurdles are cleared, the policy document would be adopted and used to inform decisions on planning applications from early 2024.