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Islington Council's New Affordable Housing Policy

Islington Council adopted their new Local Plan on 28 September 2023. This included the 'Strategic and Development Management Policies' document, which sets out the overarching policies for the borough and, together with the London Plan and other documents, looks to ensure the Council's vision for the future is delivered.


Islington Council have, for many years, enforced a very strict affordable housing policy, which seeks contributions from small sites, including those providing just one unit! The new Local Plan continues this strict requirement and, as a result, many applicants and developers will need to consider their scheme's viability at an early stage of the development process.


"A minimum of 50% of the total net additional conventional housing built in the borough over the plan period must be genuinely affordable."

Policy H3 of Islington's Local Plan seeks to deliver genuinely affordable housing, with the above overarching target of 50% of homes to be affordable underpinning decision making in the Borough.


Larger Sites (10 or more dwellings)


Depending on the ownership of the site and the net/gross number of units being provided, the Council will seek for sites which are capable of delivering 10 or more units or 1,000sqm of new residential floorspace (based on Gross Internal Area (GIA))to provide between 45% - 50% on-site affordable housing, with a target of delivering the maximum amount possible.


This is usually required to be on-site and only in exceptional circumstances would an off-site financial contribution be accepted for larger developments.


Where affordable housing is provided on-site, the Council will require an affordable housing tenure split of 70% social rented housing and 30% intermediate housing.


Smaller Sites (fewer than 10 dwellings)


For smaller sites, which are delivering fewer than 10 residential units (gross) and/or which propose less than 1,000sqm (GIA) residential floorspace are required to provide a financial contribution to fund the development of affordable housing off-site.


For smaller developments, Islington requires a financial contribution which can be either £50,000 or £60,000 per unit depending on the site's location in the Borough.


Other Types of Development


Islington Council will require contributions towards affordable housing for schemes which provide other types of residential accommodation and those which involve residential units.


This is set out throughout the Local Plan's relevant policies and includes developments proposing the following types of uses:


  • Specialist C3 and non-C3 residential accommodation for older people (Policy H7);

  • Self Build and Custom-Build units (Policy H8);

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (Policy H10);

  • Purpose-build private rented sector units (Policy H11);

  • Other Mixed Use developments, including those including affordable workspace (Policy B4).


Clearly, therefore, when a proposal incorporates a residential use, considering the affordable housing contribution will be critical in the success of any planning application or appeal in Islington.



Viability


Contributions towards affordable housing are subject to viability. That means that if a development is agreed to be unviable, it will not need to provide a contribution.


A Viability Assessment will fully evaluate the values and costs associated with your scheme to understand whether any developer contributions, including affordable housing, should be provided.


Therefore, if you believe that a contribution towards affordable housing would make your development unviable, you might consider submitting a Viability Assessment with your application.


Any Questions?


Viable Placemaking are a town planning consultancy with a specialisms in housing needs, development economics, and viability.


Therefore, we frequently work with applicants, developers, and fellow planning consultants to support in schemes delivering affordable housing, demonstrating housing needs, and navigating the viability matters within a planning application.


If you have any questions about Islington's Local Plan or the viability process, please don't hesitate to get in touch and we would be more than happy to help.

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