4. Housing


Snapshot of Local Housing

Settlements in the Borough owe their history to farming and mining but most communities now reflect commuting patterns to nearby conurbations. 


In North Warwickshire, over half (57.6%) of the owner occupied stock has 3 bedrooms. 21% of dwellings are larger than this and 21.4% are smaller. From the 2003 Housing Needs Survey (HNS) it is clear that there is a need for 2 bedroom and 4+ bedroom properties. 


National Context

National guidance contains relevant advice including the following:

PPG3: Housing (March 2000)

  • Local authorities need to plan to meet all housing needs including affordable and special housing needs.
  • Developments should provide choice and mix of type and tenure.
  • Priority should be given to the re-use of previously developed land especially the re-use of empty properties and the conversion of existing buildings. This will be assisted through the preparation of Urban Capacity Studies.
  • Create more sustainable patterns of development, seek to reduce the dependence on the car and locate housing within transport corridors.
  • Promote good design and ensure efficient use of the land through more intensive development.

Rural White Paper (November 2000)

  • To support and re-establish basic village services such as village shops, post offices, pubs and petrol filling stations
  • Promote market town regeneration
  • The promotion of the production of Parish Plans
  • Providing affordable housing in rural areas

Regional Context

Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (June 2004)

  • Moving towards a more sustainable region
  • Urban Renaissance in Metropolitan areas
  • Rural Renaissance elsewhere
  • Diversifying and modernising the Region’s economy
  • Modernising the transport infrastructure

Putting Our House in Order: Towards a Regional Housing Strategy for the West Midlands (July 2003) 


Key issues from the Regional Housing Strategy are summarised as follows:

  • Intra-regional migration patterns
  • Urban renaissance with Birmingham the centre of future growth
  • Development Restraint
  • Tackling rural isolation
  • Regeneration of former coalfield communities

The strategy sees the sub-region facing the following key challenges:

  • Providing sufficient affordable housing
  • Improving housing conditions
  • Implementing urban and rural renaissance
  • Meeting supported housing needs

Sub Regional Context

The Warwickshire Structure Plan (WASP) (August 2001). Applicable policies that address housing issues are as follows:

  • Most new development to be directed towards towns of over 8,000 people (GD.3)
  • New development to be accompanied by community facilities (RA.2)
  • Criteria for sustainable development (RA.3)
  • Table of dwellings needed and targets of use of previously developed land in each District (H.1)
  • Table of Districts' indicative target for affordable dwellings (H.2)
  • Local plans should minimise the amount of greenfield land needed for housing (H.3)
  • Supply of dwellings to be in line with local housing needs (H.4)
  • Local plans to ensure that town centres are the focus of a balanced mixture of uses (TC.1)

Local Strategies

North Warwickshire Community Plan: This overarching plan for the area has ‘Health and Well-being’ as one of its 8 themes. Within this theme housing is seen to play a major role in the well being of people and quality of their lives. 


Housing Strategy: The overall aim of the Council’s Housing Strategy is:

“To seek to ensure that everyone in the Borough is housed in reasonable accommodation suitable to their needs.”


A Summary of Needs and Opportunities

The overarching issues for North Warwickshire are the promotion and delivery of affordable housing; not exceeding RSS requirements; using previously-developed land in sustainable locations wherever possible; providing housing in the right locations to suit local needs; restricting housing development in the countryside in order to achieve more sustainable communities. 


Other Needs

Travellers: There is a site for Travellers at Alvecote with 17 pitches. Approximately 60% of the Travellers on this site have not moved for a number of years, whilst 40% move on a regular basis. There are no unauthorised encampments in the Borough. Regionally a shortfall has been identified, however there is no call for more pitches within North Warwickshire in the life of this Local Plan. 



Monitoring the provision of all new housing will be an essential part of this Plan in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the allocations in meeting the Council’s key housing objectives and in achieving the required number of affordable dwellings and the limited number of general market units.


  1. The following site specific allocations and proposals are made to contribute towards meeting the residual housing requirement for the district during the period end March 2004 to end March 2011 expressed in Core Policy 7:
  Net Site Area  Total Numerical Monitoring target  Number Expected to be Affordable 
Site 1  Britannia Mill, Coleshill Road  0.4 56 units  22 units (40%)
Site 2  Phoenix Yard  0.64  55 units  22 units (40%)
Site 3  Father Hudson's, Coventry Road  2.48  150 units  60 units (40%)
Site 4  Land to the north of Birmingham Road  0.46  20 units  8 units (40%)
Site5 The Lynch  0.3  15 units  15 units (100%)

Net Site Area Calculations based upon:
Sites under 0.2 hectares = gross area
Sites between 0.2 and 1 hectare = gross area x 90%
Sites over 1 hectare = gross area x 75%

  1. An element of special needs accommodation will be sought on sites 1, 2 and 3 in accordance with Policy HSG5.

Reasoned Justification

As indicated in Core Policy 7 the residual housing requirement is 646 units for the period up to 2011. This policy allocates housing on 16 hectares of land. These allocations / proposals will provide sufficient land for around 296 units assuming an average density of 40 units per hectare. Further allocations / proposals to ensure a 10 year supply of housing will be brought forward in the Housing Development Plan Document produced in accordance with the Local Development Scheme. 


Affordable housing will be sought on all housing sites in accordance with policy HSG2. Conditions or obligations will be imposed to secure the provision of affordable housing. 


Site 1: Britannia Mill, Atherstone

The proposed mixed-use development of this site will bring back into use one of Atherstone’s most important Listed Buildings. There is a requirement for most of the buildings, particularly those on the Coleshill Road frontage to be retained. The design of the development should reflect and respect the buildings Grade II status as well as its canal-side location. The Council would welcome and assist in seeking funding to support the development of a canal related tourist / heritage attraction as part of the development. The site would be suitable for the provision of low car-ownership housing, in particular elderly persons accommodation.


Site 2: Phoenix Yard, Atherstone

This is a key central redevelopment site within Atherstone’s Conservation Area. The proposed development will be required to include the preservation or enhancement and re-use of the existing Listed Buildings on the site. There is a footpath crossing the site, which the development proposals will need to accommodate. 


Site 3: Father Hudson’s, Coleshill

This is a large, significant site located in the towns Conservation Area with substantial conversion and redevelopment opportunities. Any development will need to be in accordance with the Development Brief for the site, adopted in 2005, which incorporates strict design criteria reflecting the original layout and building footprints on the estate. A Planning Agreement will seek improvement to the environment and community facilities within the town. 


Site 4: Land to north of Birmingham Road, Coleshill

The development will involve restoration of the Listed Building on the site. A planning application has been approved for the conversion of this building into offices with housing being provided in the grounds but not directly adjacent to the Listed Building.


Site 5: The Lynch, Polesworth

The site is included as a proposal because the intended development had not progressed sufficiently for it to become a firm commitment at the Plan’s base date. Work has commenced on the delivery of the site for 15 affordable units by an RSL.


Main Towns and the Green Belt Market Town:

  1. In Atherstone & Mancetter, Polesworth & Dordon and Coleshill an element of affordable housing will be sought in all developments that provide for 15 or more dwellings or involve sites of 0.5 ha or more irrespective of the number of dwellings.

Local Service Centres:

  1. In the Local Service Centres of Kingsbury, Hartshill (including Ansley Common), Baddesley Ensor with Grendon, Water Orton, and Arley (Old and New) an element of affordable housing will be sought in all developments that provide for 5 or more dwellings or involve sites of 0.2 ha or more.
  2. The element of affordable housing sought in both of these categories of settlement will be expected to amount to 40% of total housing provision on the site concerned, but the precise amount will be determined having regard to site size, suitability, the economics of provision and the need to achieve a successful development.
  3. Where it is apparent that the site is a fragmented part of a larger whole, the thresholds and ratios in the foregoing clauses of this policy will be applied as if the proposal is for the larger whole.

Other Settlements with a Development Boundary:

  1. New housing in other settlements with a Development Boundary will only be permitted where a need has been identified following systematic analysis involving the local community concerned, landowners and housing providers and will be limited to affordable housing that will remain available as such in perpetuity. Such development will be small in scale, of no more than 10 units.

Reasoned Justification

This policy outlines the Council approach to affordable housing. It should be read in conjunction with Core Policy 8 and is directly related to the settlement hierarchy. 


Housing sites will be dealt with on a comprehensive rather than piecemeal basis to ensure that the affordable housing requirement of each site is met. 


PPG3 - Housing suggests that Local Authorities be allowed to adopt lower thresholds than those identified in C6/98. The Council considers the thresholds in this policy reflect the local characteristics especially the rural nature of the Borough. If the Council were to apply a higher threshold using 15 dwellings or 0.5 hectares across the Borough very little affordable housing would be delivered. 


Paragraph 18 of PPG3 and Policy H4 of the WASP state that in exceptional circumstances District Councils can provide sites for affordable/ special needs housing where market housing would be refused. Sites that are released for this type of development will be small in nature and remain affordable in perpetuity. There are some settlements in the Borough where no housing allocations have been proposed. It is to these settlements in particular that this policy will apply. 


Circular 6/98 sees the provision of Rural Exception Sites as an important source of affordable housing within or adjacent to existing villages. When making applications for such sites developers are expected to provide evidence of local need based on research within the settlement and its hinterland.


  1. The construction of new dwellings outside development boundaries will only be permitted if the accommodation is required to enable agricultural, forestry, or other full-time workers to live at, or in the immediate vicinity of, their place of work. The advice in Annex A to PPS7 applies to all such proposals.
  2. The rebuilding of existing dwellings outside development boundaries will not be permitted if the proposed replacement dwelling would be materially larger than the dwelling it replaces. Enlargement will be limited to no more than 30% of the volume of the dwelling as originally permitted or as existing on 1 July 1948, whichever is the later. A condition may be imposed in any permission withdrawing permitted development rights for subsequent further extension or enlargement of the replacement dwelling.

Reasoned Justification

Key objectives of this Local Plan are to place development in sustainable locations and maintain the quality of the Borough’s natural environment and enhancement of the countryside. Remote and isolated accommodation will not meet the sustainability objectives of this Plan. It follows that housing should not be allowed in the countryside unless there is an identified and specific need. 


Measurement of the volume of proposals involving the replacement of existing dwellings will be undertaken in the same way as indicated in policy ENV13. Proposals for the adaptation and re-use of existing rural buildings for residential purposes will be considered in line with the provisions of policy ECON9.

POLICY HSG4 - Densities

Housing development at a net density of less than 30 dwelling per hectare will not be permitted. In town centres, net densities of 50 dwellings per hectare or more will be sought, but in all cases making more efficient use of land must not compromise the quality of the environment.


Reasoned Justification

PPG3 on Housing specifically sets minimum standards for density, therefore the Council will not permit housing developments below 30 dwellings per hectare. Nevertheless the Council does not consider that increased densities should compromise the quality of proposals and it attaches considerable importance to maintaining and improving the quality of the local environment. Any development will need to satisfy the requirements in Policies ENV12, ENV13 and ENV14. 


It is considered that the town centres in the Main Towns and Green Belt Market Town as defined on the Proposals Map can accommodate a much higher density of housing development. For this reason, higher densities, of 50dph or more, may be considered appropriate in the defined town centre areas. Higher densities on proposal sites are considered appropriate and necessary in order to meet the requirements of PPG3 sequential testing and the Structure Plan housing targets.


1 An element of special needs housing will be sought in all developments (including the allocations and proposals sites in policy HSG1) that provide for 25 or more dwellings or involve sites of 1 ha or more irrespective of the number of dwellings.
2 The amount of special needs housing sought will be expected to amount to 10% of the total housing provision on the site concerned, but the precise quantity will be determined having regard to site size, suitability, the economics of provision and the need to achieve a successful development. All or part of the provision may be absorbed within the 40% affordable housing requirement of policy HSG2.


Reasoned Justification

The Housing Needs Study 1999 suggested a special needs requirement for accommodation for the frail elderly and those with mobility problems. This is further supported by the 2003 survey, which found that 14% of households had special needs (definition in glossary) (this is above the national average of around 12%). Of those households with a special needs member 60.4% have a physical disability and 25.6% are the frail elderly. A lower proportion have a mental health problem or learning disability. The Borough’s special needs households are predominately located in the Borough’s Main Towns and Green Belt Market Town. 


It is predicted that up to 2011, population growth will only occur in the 45 to retirement and post retirement groups. The number of over 85 year olds will increase by some 80.5%, 545 people between 1991 and 2011.


The 1999 Housing Needs Study found that an increasing number of elderly people find it hard to cope, particularly those living in two storey dwellings. They were either failing to cope (i.e. to use their facilities fully without adaptations and stair lifts or medical/ ancillary support) and/ or to maintain their homes, leaving a legacy of gradual decay in the existing stock. The 2003 Housing Needs Study showed that there are a high proportion of elderly persons households in the Council rented sector. 


Reflecting the findings of the 2003 Housing Needs Survey the main types of accommodation sought by this policy will be accommodation for the elderly, such as bungalows catering for local affordable housing need in accordance with policy HSG2. Provision of accommodation suitable for the elderly would be particularly welcomed on sites within 500 m of the identified town centres or, in the Local Service Centres, within 500m of any of the services referred to in the typology at Appendix 3. 


The following allocated sites should be considered for this type of accommodation;

Site No. Location 
Brittannia Mill, Coleshill Road (Mixed Use)
Land to the north of Birmingham Road 

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