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Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Our Affordable Housing SPD contains advice to be addressed in all proposals for new residential use. The Council continues to apply local policies contained within its development plan.

Latest update

March 2021

The benchmark rents for 2021/22 have been added to the website.

July 2020

The details of the Tenancy Strategy 2013 have now been removed from this webpage, and the benchmark rents for 2020/21 have been added to the website.

July 2019

The Council has adopted a new Richmond Tenancy Strategy 2019 which sets out guidance on affordable rents, which are now to comply with the London Affordable Rent levels set by the GLA annually. This updates the benchmark rents set out in the Tenancy Strategy 2013. The updated rent levels will be used by the Council in the commuted sum calculation spreadsheet (Annex A of the SPD) for planning applications validated on or after Tuesday 1 October 2019.

July 2018

The revised NPPF (July 2018) continues the Government’s policy that provision of affordable housing should not be sought from small sites, however, also acknowledges the Framework is not criteria against which every decision should be judged and local circumstances should be taken into account (paragraph 9). 

As set out in the Council’s evidence to the recent Examination in Public on the Local Plan Review, local circumstances can justify lower thresholds as an exception to national policy.  The Inspector was mindful of the weight to be afforded to national policy, however, agreed that the evidenced local circumstances of the Borough exceptionally warrants the policy and subsequently the policy was found sound (refer to paragraphs 38 and 39 in the Inspector’s Report).  The Council will therefore continue to seek affordable housing contributions from all sites in accordance with adopted Local Plan Policy LP 36.

March 2017

The Council raised consideration of affordable housing contributions from small sites in appeal decisions with the Planning Inspectorate. The correspondence is available:

January 2017

The Publication Local Plan was adopted for development management purposes at the Cabinet Meeting of 13 December 2016. The Publication page contains the Publication Local Plan and sets out all the details of the Publication consultation from 4 January and 15 February 2017.

June 2016

Following a report to the Council’s Cabinet on 23 June 2016 (item 10 on the Local Plan Pre-Publication Version), the adoption and use of the Pre-Publication Local Plan Affordable Housing policy LP 36 has been agreed for determining planning applications and development management purposes.

The policy, set out in Appendix 1 to the Cabinet Report, continues to seek affordable housing contributions from all sites, based on the Council’s local circumstances as set out in the Cabinet report (see paragraphs 3.15 to 3.19). The local evidence referred to is available from the Council’s research and monitoring webpages.

The extract of the Pre-Publication Local Plan Affordable Housing policy LP 36(pdf, 381KB) is from the Pre-Publication Local Plan which was subject to consultation from 8 July to 19 August 2016.

SPD documents

The Council consulted from 27 April to 8 June 2012 on the draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). This is an update of the 2003 SPG, to reflect changes in the policy context and the funding of affordable housing. The advice is to be addressed in all proposals for new development or changes of use for wholly residential and mixed use sites incorporating residential use.

The current Affordable Housing SPD was adopted on 6 March 2014. Read our adoption statement(pdf, 23KB).

Further information and guidance to assist with the SPD

Further information and guidance will be added to help you understand and apply the Affordable Housing SPD.

A new Tenancy Strategy adopted in 2019 (replacing the previous 2013 Tenancy Strategy) considers London Affordable Rent levels (as set by the GLA) as the benchmark rents which can be used in the commuted sum calculation spreadsheet (Annex A of the SPD) to assess a contribution towards off-site affordable housing:

2019 Tenancy Strategy: London Affordable Rent - weekly rent benchmarks 2020/21 and 2021/22
Bed size 2020/21 cost 2021/22 cost
Bedsit and one bedroom £159.32 per week £161.71 per week
Two bedrooms £168.67 per week £171.20 per week
Three bedrooms £178.05 per week £180.72 per week
Four bedrooms £187.42.per week £190.23 per week
Five bedrooms £196.78    per week £199.73 per week
Six or more bedrooms £206.15 per week £209.24 per week

Note that to explore on site provision and/or values for full viability modelling this should be informed by discussions with the Council’s Housing Development Manager, and Registered Providers to take account of full guidance as outlined within the SPD and all of the Council’s relevant housing strategies and guidance, including the Intermediate Housing Policy Statement.

A London Borough Development Viability Protocol (consultation 22 February to 20 March 2016) draws on best practice across London to set out overarching principles for considering development viability and may provide useful additional guidance for developers (note it does not alter existing policies).

Unilateral Undertaking for Planning Obligations

The Council’s guidance on submitting a draft Unilateral Undertaking also includes a template for an affordable housing contribution.

Frequently asked questions

A series of frequently asked questions(pdf, 112 KB) have been put together, to answer some of the queries raised on the guidance.