PPS3 (Housing) and Saved Policies Advice Note

This advice note was prepared by the former Macclesfield Borough Council and relates to the area covered by the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan.

Update: October 2010

  • References to the Regional Spatial Strategy are no longer valid since it has now been revoked;
  • PPS3 no longer specifies a minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare

Making a planning application for new housing

If you are proposing to make a planning application for new housing, it is important to demonstrate each of the following:

  • the scheme will contribute to meeting local housing needs
  • the site is in a sustainable location
  • the proposals meet the sustainability criteria set out in PPS3 Housing and the Local Plan

To help applicants, the Council has prepared the following advice note based on PPS3 Housing and the Local Plan. In order to demonstrate that your development meets the sustainability requirements, a self-assessment checklist has been produced to complete and submit with your application form.


Paragraphs 68 – 74 of PPS3 Housing deal with Determining Planning Applications:

When making planning decisions for housing developments after 1st April 2007, Local Planning Authorities should have regard to the policies in PPS3 as material considerations which may supersede the policies in existing Development Plans.

In deciding planning applications Local Planning Authorities should have regard to:

  1. Achieving high quality housing
  2. Ensuring developments achieve a good mix of housing reflecting the accommodation requirements of specific groups, in particular, families and older people
  3. The suitability of a site for housing, including its environmental sustainability
  4. Using land effectively and efficiently
  5. Ensuring the proposed development is in line with planning for housing objectives, reflecting the need and demand for housing in the area and does not undermine wider policy objectives.

Furthermore the decision should relate to the supply of housing. Where sites come forward that meet PPS3 requirements but are not part of the five-year supply then consideration must be given to whether granting permission would undermine policy objectives. If the authority does not have an up-to-date five-year supply then the site should be determined against the criteria above. Local Planning Authorities should not refuse applications solely on the grounds of prematurity.

This Advice Note is therefore based on the 5 criteria above, “saved” policies and other guidance in PPS3 Housing:

PPS3 housing criteria and saved policies

Planning Applications for new housing should meet the following criteria:

Ensuring the development is in line with planning and wider policy objectives

Housing objectives

The emerging Core Strategy draws attention to the need for affordable housing. The Housing Needs Survey (2004) (PDF, 586KB) commissioned by the Council showed that affordability is a major issue in the Borough, particularly for newly forming households. The survey revealed that a large proportion of households cannot get a foot onto the housing ladder and that approximately an additional 200 affordable housing units per annum are needed to meet the demand for affordable housing. Also, with the ageing population, there will be the need for specialist housing. So that the Council’s data on the need and demand for affordable housing continues to be up to date and robust, the Housing Needs Survey has been updated in the form of a Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

The Communities and Local Government Advice Note (May 2007) sets out 3 core indicators, based on existing data sources, which can be used to understand and interpret housing market conditions. The 3 core indicators in relation to the former Macclesfield Borough are described in Annex 3 “Housing Market Information”. The 3 indicators are affordability, growth in house prices and low demand. There may be areas of the Borough that have major affordability problems but where the scope to meet need is minimal and so lower affordable housing thresholds may be required.

The 2006 Issues & Options Core Strategy Consultation revealed support for the provision of affordable housing. Affordable housing, in both urban and rural areas, is also identified as a Key Issue in the Sustainable Community Strategy and is recognised as a major issue in a number of Parish Plans that have recently been produced in the Borough.  A Core Strategy Policy will be developed to deal with affordable housing. There is also a Corporate Target to provide at least 200 new affordable housing units, including special needs units, per annum in the Borough.

The Regional Spatial Strategy Policy L4 states that Local Authorities should monitor and manage the availability of land to achieve the housing provision. In Macclesfield the requirement is 7,200 houses by 2021, an annual average of 400 per annum. L4 also states that provision should focus on meeting local and affordable housing needs and support agreed local regeneration strategies. Policy MCR 3 promotes local needs by allowing residential development to support local regeneration strategies and to meet local needs (particularly for affordable housing), in sustainable locations which are well served by public transport.

Wider Policy Objectives

The overall central strategy of the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan deals with the control of development in an area of restraint.  There is a need for the public and the development industry to have clear guidelines and consistency through a continuity of policies to control development and maximise the quality of design.

Continuing with wider policy objectives, the Consolidated Interim Sustainable Community Strategy for Cheshire East (August 2008) has the following aims:

  • reducing inequalities / narrowing the gap between the most disadvantaged and successful areas of Cheshire East and sectors of the community
  • addressing the key issues surrounding our ageing population
  • addressing the priority services for children and young people
  • improving access to and availability of affordable and appropriate housing
  • reducing anti-social behaviour, arson and criminal damage
  • reducing re-offending
  • tackling the adverse impact of alcohol
  • achieving sustainable management of waste resources
  • responding to the challenge of climate change
  • reducing worklessness and improving skills
  • improving road safety, maintenance
  • improving environmental cleanliness
  • maintaining an efficient transport network
  • reducing the risk of industrial and commercial emergencies

This guidance links with proposed “saved policies” in the Local Plan covering Housing, the Green Belt, the Environment and Development Control polices dealing with housing.

(Checklist: Does the application accord with the housing objectives of the Borough and wider policy objectives e.g. affordable housing and urban Regeneration)

Ensuring developments achieve a mix of housing reflecting requirements of specific groups

Paragraphs 20 – 35 deal with achieving a mix of housing including market and affordable housing.

Planning applications for new housing should therefore achieve the following:

New housing developments should assist in creating mixed communities with a variety of housing particularly in terms of tenure and price and a mix of different households such as families with children, single person households and older people. Macclesfield’s Housing Needs Survey 2004 (PDF, 586KB) provides evidence of need in particular locations. Generally there is a need across the Borough for 1 and 2 bedroom houses and accommodation for the elderly. The rise in the number of elderly people mean there will be an increasing need for special needs housing where a degree of care or support is needed. The Housing Needs Survey identifies a need for about 200 affordable homes per annum. The priority is therefore for the provision of affordable housing. PPS3 Housing sets a minimum size threshold of 15 dwellings i.e. on sites of 15 or more dwellings a proportion of affordable housing is required. The Housing Needs Survey (2004) states that the Council should negotiate for 30% affordable housing on qualifying sites.

(Checklist: Does the application meet the housing needs of the area and/or provide affordable housing)

This guidance links with proposed “Saved Policies” H8 and H9 on affordable housing but part of policy H8 is superseded by PPS3 in relation to the size of qualifying sites, as the site threshold is now 15 dwellings.

The suitability of a site for housing, including its environmental sustainability

Paragraphs 36 to 39 deal with identifying suitable locations for housing development. Sites should also be deliverable and developable i.e. available, suitable and achievable.

Planning applications for new housing should therefore achieve the following:

  • New housing sites should be in suitable locations which offer a range of community facilities and have good access to jobs, key services and infrastructure. Housing in villages should enhance or maintain sustainability.
    (Checklist: Is the site in a suitable and sustainable location e.g. in or near a town, district or village centre)
  • The priority for development should be previously developed land in particular vacant and derelict sites and buildings.
    (Checklist: Is the site previously developed land)
  • Other factors to take into consideration are physical, environmental, land ownership, land-use and investment constraints e.g. physical access restrictions, contamination, stability, flood risk, the need to protect natural resources e.g. water and biodiversity and complex land ownership issues.  (Checklist: What constraints exist – is the site available and achievable i.e. deliverable and developable)

This guidance links with proposed “saved policy” H5 Windfall Housing Sites, which also deals with accessibility and site constraints.

Macclesfield Borough's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment lists a number of sites that may be suitable for housing, and gives an indication of the sustainability of the site.

Using land effectively and efficiently

Paragraphs 45 to 51 deal with the effective and efficient use of land.

Planning applications for new housing should therefore achieve the following:

New housing developments should re-use land effectively and at an appropriate density (30 dwellings per hectare should be used as a national indicative minimum to guide policy development and decision-making, until local density policies are in place).

(Checklist: Is the density at least 30 dwellings per hectare, if not does the character of the area dictate a lower density.)

Achieving high quality housing

Paragraphs 12 to 19 of PPS3 Housing provide guidance on achieving high quality housing and the fact that new housing should improve the character and quality of an area.

Planning applications for new housing should therefore achieve the following (paragraph 16 PPS3):

  • The site should be accessible and well connected to public transport and community facilities and services.
    (Checklist: Is the site accessible to public transport and services)
  • The development should be well laid out so that all space is used efficiently, is safe, accessible and user-friendly e.g. sympathetic location of bin stores.
    (Checklist: Is the development well laid out - safe, accessible and user-friendly)
  • The site should provide private outdoor space and provide or enable good access to recreational open space. In particular family housing should ensure good provision of recreational areas including private gardens, play areas and informal open space, well designed with safe pedestrian access.
    (Checklist: Is there adequate open space provided and/or access to recreational open space)
  • The design should complement neighbouring buildings and the local area in terms of scale, density, layout and access and create or enhance a distinctive character. (Checklist: Does the design complement/improve the local character of the area)
  • The development should make efficient use of resources during construction and in use and seek to reduce the impact of climate change.
    (Checklist: Does the development make efficient use of resources, incorporate energy saving measures and adaptations to reduce climate change. The Energy Saving Trust's Best Practice Standard takes an integrated approach to improve levels of energy efficiency, and advises compliance with five criteria. Policy L4 in the RSS also encourages new homes to be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes standards and promotes the use of the Lifetime Homes standard.)
  • The development should take a design- led approach to the provision of car parking space and streets should be pedestrian, cycle and vehicle friendly.
    (Checklist: Is the car parking well-designed and integrated with streets that are pedestrian, cycle and vehicle friendly)
  • The development should provide for the retention or re-establishment of biodiversity.
    (Checklist: Does the development provide for the retention or re-establishment of biodiversity)

These criteria link particularly with proposed Saved Policy H2 “Environmental Quality in Housing Developments”


Applications for new housing should therefore meet the 5 criteria in PPS3 Housing that have been used as the basis of this advice note. Applications therefore should meet the housing needs of the Borough in a suitable and sustainable location, using land effectively and efficiently and be of a high quality design. The checklist in Annex 1 contains the summary checklist questions listed in the advice note. The topics covered are listed in Annex 2.


  1. PPS3 Housing Self Assessment Checklist
  2. North West Sustainability Checklist for Developments
  3. Housing Market Information
  4. Supporting Documents

Page last reviewed: 06 August 2021