Woking Borough Council

CS10 Housing provision and distribution

Housing provision is integral to the creation of a sustainable community in Woking. To achieve this aim, the Council will ensure that there are sufficient homes built in sustainable locations that people can afford and which meet the needs of the community. The main urban areas will therefore be the focus for new housing development.

The Council will make provision for the delivery of 4,964 net additional dwellings in the Borough between 2010 and 2027 (an annual average of 292 per annum).

The Council has undertaken a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)8 which identifies land that has potential for residential development in the Borough. The results of the SHLAA are used to demonstrate a rolling five-year housing land supply and to identify sites that are likely to come forward for residential development over the lifetime of the Core Strategy.

CS10: Housing provision and distribution

The Council will make provision for 4,964 net additional dwellings in the Borough between 2010 and 2027 in accordance with the following distribution:

In areas at risk of flooding, proposals (including flood compensation proposals) with implications for biodiversity will be carefully considered for all levels of ecological designation. Where the development proposals are demonstrated to adversely affect an SPA, SAC or RAMSAR site, permission will not be granted.

Indicative number of dwellings* Indicative density range**
Woking Town Centre 2,300 In excess of 200dph
West Byfleet 170 50 - 100dph

Infill development in the local area

250 30 - 60dph
Infill development in the rest of urban area 750 30 - 40dph
Moor Lane site, Westfield 440 30 - 50dph
Brookwood Farm, Brookwood 300 30 - 50dph
Green Belt (site(s) to be released after 2021/22) 550 30 - 50dph
Woking Town Centre - asa broad location 200 In excess of 200dph
Total 4,964


** densities are pro rata where part of a mixed use scheme

The density ranges set out are indicative and will depend on the nature of the site. Density levels will be influenced by design with the aim to achieve the most efficient use of land. Wherever possible, density should exceed 40 dwellings per hectare and will not be justified at less than 30 dwellings per hectare, unless there are significant constraints on the site or where higher densities cannot be integrated in to the existing urban form. Higher densities than these guidelines will be permitted in principle where they can be justified in terms of the sustainability of the location and where the character of an area would not be compromised. Limited infill development will be permitted in the village of Mayford as defined on the Proposals Map, in line with national policy set out in PPG2: Green Belts.

A Habitats Regulations Assessment will be carried out for any allocation or development proposal with potential impacts on a SPA, SAC or Ramsar sites to determine the need for an Appropriate Assessment.

Reasoned justification

Through the SHLAA, the Council has been able to identify sufficient specific deliverable and developable sites in the urban area to meet the housing target for around the first 13 years of the Plan. In this regard, the Council can demonstrate that it can satisfy the Government's requirement to identify specific deliverable sites to meet 10 years housing supply and also provide some degree of certainty in the delivery of the housing requirement against any risk of certain sites not coming forward as expected in the first 10 years of the plan period. However, the Council is required to identify 15 years housing supply. It is considered that there is additional housing potential in Woking Town Centre that will arise in the latter part of the Plan period from sites that have not yet been specifically identified. This can contribute to the housing land supply in the last 5 years of the plan period. Woking Town Centre is therefore identified as one of the broad locations for long-term residential development. This is in accordance with the overall spatial approach, helping to minimise the impact on important biodiversity and landscape features and offers the greatest scope to reduce the need to travel by private vehicle because of the proximity to existing services, jobs and public transport. Furthermore, it will help minimise the amount of land that will be needed to be released from the Green Belt to meet housing need.

In addition to the sites that will come forward in the Town Centre, there will still be the need to identify further sites in the Green Belt to meet both the national requirement for housing land supply and the nature of housing that is needed. The nature of the sites that are considered to be developable in the medium - long term are primarily in town centre locations that are likely only to be suitable for high density flatted developments. The implication of this is that the Council would not be able to achieve an appropriate mix of housing types and tenures to meet local need and demand. To satisfy the above requirements, the Green Belt is also identified as a broad location for long term residential development. The specific location(s) of this release will be determined through the Site Allocations DPD. The future monitoring of housing supply will help determining how much land will be needed.

The locations and proportions of new dwellings listed in the policy are intended to be broad proportions that can be varied in relation to the availability of suitable land for development, so long as the basic relationships in the settlement hierarchy are not undermined.

New residential development within the urban area will be provided through redevelopment, change of use, conversion and refurbishment of existing properties or through infilling.

For the purpose of this policy 'infill' development is defined as the development of a small gap in an otherwise continuous built-up frontage, or the small scale redevelopment of existing properties within such a frontage. Infill development will be permitted provided the proposed development is at an appropriate scale in relation to the character of the surrounding area.

National policy states that there is no presumption that land which is previously developed is necessarily suitable for residential development, and defines back garden land as `greenfield'. In making decisions on the appropriateness of development on back garden land, the Council will be mindful of this advice and will permit development where it meets the requirements of other policies in the Local Development Documents and the saved policies of the Woking Borough Local Plan 1999.

Development proposals in the High Density Residential Areas, as defined on the Proposals Map, will be permitted at densities generally in excess of 70dph in order to make the most efficient use of land.

In accordance with the housing and previously developed land trajectory, as evidenced through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, the Council will expect that between 2010 and 2027 70% of new residential development will be on previously developed land.

In order to make efficient use of land for housing, the Council will encourage new residential development to be at appropriate densities. The density ranges set out in the policy are not intended to be prescriptive, but a guide to inform development proposals.

Over recent years, the density of new residential development has significantly increased in Woking Borough. Whilst this has helped to make efficient use of land, it has led to growth in some types of housing, particularly apartments. It is therefore important to ensure that a balance is achieved between making efficient use of land and delivering the right type of housing to meet the needs of the whole community. The design of new housing is therefore of great importance to the delivery of housing. It is important that the densities sought do not affect the quality and character of an area and the general well-being of residents.

The Borough's Local and Neighbourhood Centres offer community facilities and local services and are within a reasonable distance of the town and district centres via public transport. Infill and other forms of residential development within these centres will be permitted within the boundaries as shown on the Proposals Map. These boundaries may be reviewed as part of the Site Allocations DPD.

Land at Brookwood Farm, Knaphill has been reserved for meeting the long-term housing needs of the Borough since the adoption of the previous Woking Borough Local Plan in 1993. Local evidence in the SHMA, SHLAA and housing trajectory now highlight the need to bring this site forward, particularly to meet the need for affordable housing. Land at Brookwood Farm is allocated for residential development in this Core Strategy. The site will deliver around 300 new dwellings in total, 50% of which will be affordable family housing. Generally, the Council's preference will be to provide all the 50% affordable housing in situ as part of the development. However, the Council will be prepared to negotiate for a percentage of the 50% target to be provided off-site if that will ensure a more effective distribution of affordable housing across the Borough. A Development Brief will be prepared which will set out the detailed development requirements for the site. Land at Moor Lane, Westfield has also been reserved to meet long-term housing needs. The site has outline planning permission for 440 new dwellings, 60% of which will be affordable. The boundaries for both sites are shown on the Proposals Map.

Delivery strategy

This policy will be delivered through working in partnership with developers and landowners through decisions on planning applications, bringing forward land allocations (designated in a Site Allocations DPD), supporting changes of use, redeveloping unsuitable employment sites and permitting taller buildings in appropriate locations.

The Council will monitor the supply of housing land to ensure that a five year supply of deliverable sites is maintained. Annual monitoring and updating of the SHLAA, housing and previously developed land trajectory through the Annual Monitoring Report will enable the Council to keep under review the supply of housing, and provide an early opportunity to consider options to ensure delivery, which may include the allocation of additional land for development or the use of Compulsory Purchase powers.

Supplementary guidance on density and design will be set out in the Design Standards SPD.

Monitoring and review

The policy will be measured against the following indicators and targets annually through the AMR.

  • The delivery of an annual average of 292 net additional dwellings every year to 2027.
  • The supply of specific deliverable sites to ensure a rolling five year supply of housing land is maintained.
  • 70% of net additional dwellings to be provided on previously developed land.
  • Average densities achieved on site by location.

Key evidence base

  • Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), 2009 and 2010 update.
  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), 2009 produced by Fordhams Research.
  • Economic Viability Assessment 2010, produced by Adams Integra.
  • Figure 4: Housing and previously developed land trajectory.