Policy HOU 8: Space, accessibility and wheelchair housing standards
- In order to meet the needs of the borough’s residents and to deliver dwellings that are capable of meeting people’s changing circumstances over their lifetime, the following accessibility and wheelchair standards will be applied.
- For major developments:
- at least 30% of dwellings in housing developments should comply with requirement M4 (2) Category 2 of the Building Regulations regarding accessible and adaptable dwellings; and
- at least 6% of dwellings in housing developments should comply with requirement M4 (3)(2)(a) Category 3 of the Building Regulations regarding wheelchair adaptable dwellings.
- For specialist housing for older people:
- all specialist housing for older people should comply with M4 (2) Category 2 of the Building Regulations regarding accessible and adaptable dwellings; and
- at least 25% of all specialist housing for older people should comply with requirement M4 (3)(2)(a) Category 3 of the Building Regulations regarding wheelchair adaptable dwellings.
- The standards set out in Criterion 1 will apply unless site specific factors indicate that step-free access cannot be achieved or is not viable. Where step-free access is not viable, the Optional Technical requirements in part M of the Building Regulations will not apply.
- Proposals for new residential development in the borough should meet the Nationally Described Space Standard. The standard will apply from six months after the date of adoption of the plan.
8.46 In order to help deliver a wide choice of homes and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities, the NPPF states that local planning authorities should plan for the needs of different groups in the community, including older people and people with disabilities.
8.47 The population projections used in the Cheshire East Housing Development Study 2015 identify that the population of Cheshire East is likely to increase from 383,600 persons to 431,700 persons over the 12-year period 2018-30; a 12-year increase of 48,100 persons. The population in older age groups is projected to increase substantially during this period, with an increase in the population aged 60 or over of 35,600, of which over 60% are projected to be 75+ (22,250 persons).
8.48 National planning policy allows local planning authorities to set optional technical standards for new housing in relation to accessibility and wheelchair standards through their local plans. Using the optional technical standards will allow the new housing to be more easily adaptable and support people in living in their homes for longer.
8.49 Approved Document M of the Building Regulations 2010 (or as updated) sets out these standards. M4 (1): visitability is the mandatory building standard that applies to all new homes. M4 (2): accessible and adaptable dwellings and M4 (3): wheelchair user dwellings are the optional standards that local authorities can apply. Planning conditions will be used for relevant schemes to specify the M4(2) and M4(3) requirements that apply. In the circumstances where category 3 (wheelchair user) housing applies, the condition will specify that optional requirement M4(3)(2)(a) will apply requiring that dwelling should be wheelchair adaptable. The implementation of accessibility and wheelchair standards will take account of site-specific factors such as vulnerability to flooding, site topography and other factors. Where it is clearly demonstrated that step-free access cannot be achieved or is not viable, neither of the optional requirements in the policy will apply.
8.50 The council is not intending to implement the tighter Building Regulations water efficiency standards optional requirement of 110 litres/person/day. The borough does not fall in an area with a 'serious' water company stress classification in the Environment Agency’s 'Water stressed areas – final classification'.
8.51 From six months of the date of adoption of the plan, all new residential dwellings will be required to be built to the Nationally Described Space Standard (or any future successor). Applicants will be expected to design schemes in accordance with the Nationally Described Space Standards, including sufficient built-in storage. Applicants will be expected to submit appropriate and proportionate evidence alongside planning applications to make sure that compliance with the standards can be verified.
8.52 Reference should also be made to energy efficiency and renewable energy generation standards included in Policy ENV 7 'Climate change'.
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