Context and reasoned justification
Waverley Borough Council’s (WBCs”) modest housing allocation for the Plan area recognises the severe constraints that our topography, existing development and valuable greenfield land impose on development. However, not all of the allocation can be accommodated on the identified development sites that will be allocated in Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2. Additional homes will have to be developed on other sites, called ‘windfall’ sites.
Windfall sites within the settlement boundaries take three forms, namely:
- conversion of a large dwelling into two or more smaller dwellings
- conversion of retail or other commercial space into flats and apartments
It is important to note that recent changes in the planning regulations have exempted some conversions, of retail and office premises into residential, from the need to obtain planning permission.
In the three years ended 31 March 2018 an average of 41 dwellings per annum have been permitted on windfall sites in the Plan area. The expansion of high-density, energy-efficient houses adjacent to other high-density houses creates lower ecological damage to the environment than encroaching into surrounding AONB/AGLV. Overall, consideration needs to be given to preserve the natural environment and character of the town to avoid any potential for aggregate damage.
The policy seeks to consider the damage that the cumulative effects of new developments could have on the character and amenity of our existing natural and residential environments.
Therefore, this policy seeks to manage the overall scale of windfall development that takes place over the life of the Plan by directing it to meet identified local housing needs better and to protect the residential environment.
H5 Planning applications for the development of windfall sites within the settlement boundaries (as defined by Figure 1a-c),
- which are consistent with development plan policies to deliver the mix, type and design of housing, and
- which are appropriate to the character of the area
will be supported provided they demonstrate how they meet the housing needs of the local community, in particular affordable housing for local residents, downsizers and those who work in the town.