London Borough of Bromley Local Plan Online

London Borough of Bromley | Welcome | Written Statement - Contents | Written Statement - Index of Policies | Proposals Map | Contact Us | Help

You are here: London Borough of Bromley > Interactive Unitary Development Plan > Written Statement - 4. HOUSING




  1. To maintain and enhance the quality of the residential environment, and promote sustainable residential quality.
  2. To promote mixed and balanced communities by meeting the housing requirements of the whole community, including those in need of affordable and supported housing.
  3. To make provision for at least 11,450 additional dwellings between 1997 and 2016.
  4. To seek provision of at least 3,012 additional affordable homes during the Plan period as part of the total provision of 11,450, and the affordable homes that the Council will seek to bring forward through other strategies.


4.1 PPG3 seeks to create housing environments that make a significant contribution to improving quality of life and promoting urban renaissance. This involves: promoting good design to create attractive, high-quality living environments in which people choose to live; placing the needs of people before ease of traffic movement in the design of the layout of residential development; and reducing car dependence by facilitating more walking and cycling, access to public transport, and planning for mixed use [PPG3 paras 1-2].

4.2 London Planning Advisory Committee (LPAC) has published interim advice on sustainable residential quality (SRQ) for small and large sites (February 1998 and December 1999 respectively). It promotes a design-led approach to SRQ, using higher densities and lower parking requirements, coupled with higher quality, to off-set intensity both visually and for occupiers. This, it states, will help make more efficient use of urban land and increase housing capacity, while also helping to reduce travel demand and encourage public transport use.

4.3 PPG3 states that the housing needs of all in the community should be recognised and that everyone should have the opportunity of a decent home. This means providing a better mix in the size, type and location of housing, to create mixed and balanced communities [paras 1-2, 10].

4.4 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) should, therefore, through the development plan, allow for the provision of sufficient land for housing, giving priority to re-using previously-developed land within urban areas, and bringing empty homes back into use and converting existing buildings – rather than developing greenfield sites. The aim is to make more efficient use of limited land supply and promote more sustainable patterns of development [PPG3 paras 1-2].

4.5 The UDP also operates within the context of the national requirement to find more land for housing. The most recent projections show that, between 1996 and 2021, the number of households in England will increase by 3.8 million, with some 600,000 in London. The largest component of projected growth (83%) is for single-person households. In Bromley, these projections are for an additional 13,800 households between 1991 and 2016, which closely corresponds to total completions 1991-1996 of 2,800 units and capacity 1997-2016 of 11,450 (see Table 4.1 below).

4.6 In London, however, owing to the limited supply of land for housing, the approach to determining housing requirements has not been demand-led. Rather, requirements have been determined from estimates of capacity.

4.7 In 1999 LPAC and London Boroughs jointly reassessed London’s housing capacity set out in LPAC’s 1992 Housing Capacity Study (HCS); Bromley’s capacity for the period 1997-2016 is estimated to be 11,450 net additional dwellings, an average annualised rate of 573. The HCS figures were subsumed into LPAC’s draft supplementary advice (December 1999), and have subsequently been published by the GLA (September 2000). The study forms the basis of the Spatial Development Strategy (the London Plan) published by the Mayor for London in February 2004. The London Housing Capacity Study (2000) figures are currently under review as part of the London Housing Capacity Study 2004/05 and revised housing capacity figures for all of the London Boroughs will result in formal alterations being made to the London Plan in 2006/07.

4.8 In this context, the UDP takes its assessed housing capacity to be its housing requirement to 2016, in line with the guidance given in PPG3 para 7. Housing capacity studies are in any case encouraged by PPG3 [para 24] as a way of ensuring best use of urban land.


4.9 The Council takes the view that meeting the housing requirements for the whole community can be achieved without compromising its other primary aim of protecting the exceptional environmental qualities of the Borough, particularly within the existing residential areas. Given the characteristics of the Borough, little can be identified in advance, that is the reason why much of the housing provision is likely to come forward on windfall sites, though the Council has identified a number of Proposal Sites where additional housing can be accommodated.

See also: Proposals (Chapter 16)




Making provision for at least 11,450 additional dwellings over the plan period will be facilitated by:

(i) the development or redevelopment of sites identified in the Schedule of Proposals Sites (Chapter 16) and on the Proposals Map;
(ii) the development or redevelopment of windfall sites;
(iii) not permitting the loss of housing through redevelopment or change of use, except where accommodation is unsuitable and incapable of being adapted for continued residential use or where the proposal meets an identified need for community facilities;
(iv) ensuring efficient use of the existing housing stock, including re-use of vacant buildings and conversion of existing buildings;
(v) seeking a housing component in mixed use development in and close to town centres;
(vi) making the most efficient use of sites, in accordance with the density/location matrix at Table 4.2;
(vii) redevelopment of unneeded employment land subject to the tests of Policy EMP3 and EMP5

The suitability of windfall sites for housing purposes will be assessed against the following criteria

(viii) whether the site comprises previously developed land;
(ix) the location of the site in relation to employment, day to day facilities and services and accessibility by modes of transport other than the car;
(x) the capacity of existing or potential infrastructure to accommodate additional dwellings;
(xi) physical and environmental constraints on development of the site;
(xii) the need to retain the existing land use on the site.

4.10 The Council is committed to allowing for 11,450 net additional dwellings to be built in the Borough over the period 1997-2016 (see Table 4.1 below). It believes this can be achieved within the environmental and other constraints set by the policies of the UDP, while also allowing for the application of SRQ principles in town centre locations – and so making the most efficient use of previously-developed land (as defined in PPG3 Annex C). It will also encourage additional residential accommodation to be provided through the conversion of redundant office and other buildings, and above shops (see Policy H12). The Council expects the Government’s target that 60% of additional housing be provided on previously-developed land and through conversions to be exceeded locally.

The figures set out in Table 4.1 are currently subject to review through the London Housing Capacity Study 2004/2005. Any changes to the figures will form part of alterations to the London Plan 2006/07.

Table 4.1: LB Bromley estimated housing capacity 1997-2016

Net additional dwellings
Large identified sites
Large windfalls
Large identified offices
Large office windfalls
Small sites
Small conversions
Non self-contained permanent accommodation

Source: LPAC Housing Capacity Study (published by GLA September 2000)

4.11 The UDP allocates a number of Proposal Sites for residential use and will prepare planning briefs setting out the scale, type and design of development it expects to be provided on these sites. Mixed use development will be encouraged in appropriate locations on proposal and windfall sites [PPG3 paras 49-51].

4.12 The Council estimates the capacity of the allocated Proposal Sites to be approximately 800 dwellings, or 7% of assessed housing capacity. The major part of future capacity will arise from windfall sites, as set out in the HCS [PPG3 para 36]. Other housing land requirements that may arise during the period of the plan will be assessed according to the sequential test set out in PPG3 [paras 30-31, 38], particularly with respect to public transport accessibility [paras 47-48], and in relation to other priority uses, such as health and educational facilities.

4.13 This policy also aims to minimise the net loss of housing through changes of use or redevelopment. Proposals for the change of use from residential will only be permitted in the circumstances outlined in the policy. When considering whether a dwelling unit is suitable for continued residential use, the Council will assess the accommodation in terms of its size, its access and its location in relation to other uses and activities in the locality. In line with the guidance contained in PPG12, the loss of a residential unit may be acceptable where the proposed use meets an identified community need.

4.14 The Council, in its enabling role, will also promote the efficient use of the existing housing stock.

See also: Policies H7, H11 and C1




In order to meet the needs of the Borough, affordable housing will be sought on all housing sites capable of providing 10 dwellings or more, or housing sites of 0.4ha or larger, irrespective of the number of dwellings. On all sites at or above this threshold negotiations will take place to determine the number of affordable dwellings to be provided. In negotiating the amount of affordable housing on each site, the Council will seek 35% provision, with 70% social-rented housing and 30% intermediate provision, unless it can be demonstrated that a lower level should be sought or that the 70:30 split would not create mixed and balanced communities.

The affordability of different elements of the scheme should not immediately be apparent from the siting, design and layout.

The affordable housing should be made available for transfer or occupation before a certain proportion (to be determined through negotiations between the Council and developer) of the market housing is occupied.


Where it has been determined that a site meets the size threshold and is suitable for affordable housing, payment in-lieu of affordable housing on site or provision in another location will be acceptable only in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that:

(i) it would be impractical to transfer the affordable housing to a registered social landlord (RSL); or
(ii) on site provision of affordable units would reduce the viability of the development to such a degree that it would not proceed; or
(iii) on site provision of affordable units would not create mixed and balanced communities and there would be benefit in providing such units at another location.

4.15 Housing needs are a material planning consideration [PPG3 para 14]. Government guidance (in PPG3 and Circular 6/98) states that, where there is a demonstrable lack of housing to meet local needs, as assessed by up-to-date surveys, local planning authorities (LPA) should include a policy seeking provision of affordable housing on suitable sites.

4.16 PPG3 [para 13] states that LPAs should assess the range of needs for different types and sizes of housing across all tenures in their area, including affordable housing and the housing needs of specific groups. A local Housing Needs Survey (HNS) (September 1999) showed that:

• a total of just over 9,000 existing households (7.2%) were in need
• projected future needs to 2006 amounted to 21,000 households
• to meet these needs in full would require a range of measures, including building 10,000 new affordable dwellings by 2006

An update to the 1999 HNS carried out in October 2003 showed that:

• The backlog of housing needs totals 1852 dwellings (370 per annum for five years);
• There is a newly arising need of 2730 dwellings per annum from all sources;
• A likely supply of 945 units per annum from all sources; and
• There is a net affordable housing requirement of 2155 units per annum from all sources compared to an estimate of 2176 units from the 1999 survey.

This situation is reflected in the growth in homelessness acceptances in the Borough in recent years, large numbers of households in temporary accommodation, continuing pressure for larger units and special needs accommodation, and other factors.

4.17 This policy is just one of the ways in which the Council is seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing. In line with the advice in Circular 6/98 para 9(c), other UDP policies seek to reduce the number of vacant dwellings (Policy H1), to facilitate the conversion of redundant commercial buildings to residential use (Policy H12), and, where appropriate, to make more efficient use of urban land (Policy H7). There is also a range of housing management measures undertaken, outside planning controls, to meet local housing needs from within the existing social housing stock.

4.18 The Council believes that most of its priority needs, as identified in the HNS can only be met by social-rented housing. Shared ownership, low-cost market, and sub-market rented housing have a role principally in relation to intermediate housing. Such options may also assist some households unable to access market housing but which the Council has a duty to assist through its strategic enabling role.

4.19 Affordable housing comprises both social-rented housing and intermediate housing.

• Social-rented housing is defined as housing provided by a landlord where access is on the basis of housing need, and rents are no higher than target rents set by the Government for housing association and local authority rents.
• Intermediate housing is sub-market housing available to people on moderate incomes who cannot afford to buy or rent housing generally available on the open market. This is presently defined as households on an income of less than £40,000 per annum (as at 2004), however this figure will be reviewed annually to reflect changes in income: house price ratios. Intermediate housing may take the form of shared ownership, low cost home ownership or sub market rented housing. These sources of intermediate housing can play an important role in providing mixed communities, ensure that those on moderate incomes in Bromley (including key workers) have access to decent homes and can be controlled to ensure that it is available in the long term.

4.20 The Council’s target for provision of affordable housing up to 2016 is based on the results of the Housing Capacity Study (HCS) (London Planning Advisory Committee 1999) and other realistic sources of supply likely to come forward during the plan period, including vacant units brought back into use. Approximately 350 affordable housing units are to be provided on identified sites. Applying the 35% requirement on sites of 10 units or more would yield approximately 1461 affordable units on windfall sites; using HCS data, it is estimated that some 600 units might be contributed on sites of up to 10 units including conversions. This overall target of 3012 units would comprise approximately 903 intermediate units and 2108 social-rented units allowing for some flexibility as the 70:30 split will only apply to sites granted permission in the second half of the Plan period. Proposal Sites identified for housing purposes will be expected to contribute affordable housing in line with the 35% policy requirement. The quota will usually be applied to the number of habitable rooms. The Council will advise applicants of the mix of units on individual sites that will be required to meet local needs.

4.21 In negotiating the level of affordable housing the Council will seek the provision of 35% of habitable rooms on a site unless material considerations indicate otherwise. In these negotiations the principal considerations will be:

• Proximity to local services and facilities and access to public transport.
• Whether there will be particular costs associated with the development of the site: this will usually be reflected in the residual land value and should not affect a site’s suitability. The onus will be on applicants to submit a viability appraisal to demonstrate that abnormal development costs, in addition to the affordable housing contribution, would impact unduly on scheme viability.
• Whether the provision of affordable housing would prejudice the realisation of other planning objectives.
• The need to achieve a successful housing development, both in terms of unit size/tenure mix and management.

4.22 The Government aims to promote mixed and balanced communities [PPG3 para 10], so off-site provision or payments in lieu will rarely be acceptable. On sites capable of accommodating 10 units/0.4ha or more, off-site provision or a payment in lieu may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances if applicants are able to demonstrate that on-site provision would be practically difficult. If off-site provision is offered, the onus will initially be on the developer to find and provide an alternative site. Where the other site falls below the 10-unit/0.4ha threshold, the 35% requirement will be applied to the total capacity of both sites.

4.23 The means of controlling future occupancy of affordable housing will be the subject of negotiations between the relevant parties. The preferred approach for controlling the occupancy of social housing is for the ownership of this housing to be transferred to a RSL nominated or agreed by the Council. In the case of intermediate housing, arrangements will depend on the type and tenure of housing proposed. In all cases, the arrangements for securing occupancy will be confirmed either through a legal agreement or condition attached to the planning permission, whichever is more appropriate in the circumstances.

4.24 Further advice on the detailed implementation of the policy will be provided in Supplementary Planning Guidance. The Council will update the HNS on a regular basis.

4.25 All other relevant policies will apply to affordable housing developments, including those relating to housing design and layout (Policies H7 and BE1). Differential parking standards apply to social-rented, but not intermediate housing (Policy T3). These, combined with higher densities in accessible locations (Table 4.2), will help RSLs compete for scarce development sites below the size threshold set in this policy, while also increasing the capacity of all mixed-tenure sites.

See also: Policies H7, BE1 and T3, Proposal Sites, Appendix II: parking standards; Supplementary Planning Guidance




The Council will permit proposals which increase the provision of supported housing, except where it can be demonstrated that there would be significant harm to residential amenity.

4.26 Through the Housing Needs Survey (1999), its Community Care Plan and other strategies, the Council recognises that there are local needs for specialist housing accommodation. These will normally be permitted, but other environmental constraint policies will apply – particularly design and density standards – to ensure that a satisfactory quality of environment is created for the intended occupants, and to safeguard local residential amenity standards.

See also: Policies H5, H7




In larger residential developments of 20 or more new units, 10% should be specifically designed to be capable, without further structural alteration, of adaptation for occupation for a wheelchair user. These units, dependent upon site suitability, should be well-distributed throughout the development and should cater for a varying number of occupants. Parking provision should be adjacent to these dwellings.

4.27 The Housing Needs Survey (1999) showed that some 11% of households have at least one member who has a mobility disability or include a “frail elderly” household member. At the same time, Bromley’s Health Improvement Programme (HImp) 1999/2002 indicates that 10% of the overall population live with a physical disability. Moreover, 44% of Bromley residents over 74 live alone.

4.28 The Council wishes to promote the idea of “Lifetime Homes” which would allow householders to remain in their homes when their mobility is reduced through illness or old age. Policy 3A.4 “Housing Choice” of the London Plan requires that all new housing be built to “Lifetime Homes” standards. Homes built for general mainstream use but designed to these standards will contribute to the supply of accessible housing in the borough. Meeting “Lifetime Homes” standards is a cost-effective way of providing homes that are adaptable, flexible, convenient, appropriate to changing needs and enable independent living.

4.29 Part M of the Building Regulations requires new buildings (including residential developments of fewer than 20 units) to be reasonably safe and accessible for disabled people to visit and to use the principal storey; this usually entails wheelchair access to all rooms on the ground floor, including the WC. The provisions are expected to enable occupants to cope better with reducing mobility and to remain in their own homes, but not necessarily to facilitate fully independent living.

4.30 Housing designed to “wheelchair” standards (as set out in “Wheelchair Housing”, DoE 1975) allows for fully independent living. Over and above the requirements of Part M, wheelchair housing ensures, for example, adequate manoeuvring space in relation to parking/garage provision.

4.31 In determining planning applications for new residential development of any size, appropriate planning conditions will be used to secure the provision of accessible housing in line with this policy. The Council will also publish supplementary guidance on how to achieve these requirements, including aspects of design which benefit the visually impaired.

See also: Policies C3 and C6, and SPG




The Council will ensure the continued provision of existing sites for gypsies at:

• Star Lane, St Paul’s Cray and
• Old Maidstone Road

and for travelling show people at:

• King Henry’s Drive, New Addington and
• Keston Showmans Park, Layhams Road

Proposals for the use of land by gypsies or travelling show people for the stationing of caravans will be acceptable provided that:

(i) the proposal would meet an identified need for gypsies residing within the Borough or for travelling show people who have traditionally occupied sites locally;
(ii) the site is situated outside any areas of constraint;
(iii) the site is well-related to schools, shops, medical facilities and public transport; and
(iv) there would be no adverse effects on the amenities of surrounding development.

When considering applications for such sites, the Council will have regard to other policies of the UDP and to the detailed design guidance set out in Supplementary Planning Guidance.

4.32 The Council has two dedicated permanent sites for gypsies at Star Lane, St Paul’s Cray and Old Maidstone Road, and there are established travelling show people sites at King Henry’s Drive, New Addington and Layhams Road, Keston. This policy sets out the criteria against which any applications for additional permanent or temporary sites will be determined. The Council recognises that opportunities for additional sites will be limited, particularly outside areas of constraint (eg Green Belt), but it wishes to achieve a high standard of facilities for occupants, while also protecting local amenity. Additional design guidance will be prepared. In accordance with the requirements of Circulars 22/91 and 1/94, a needs assessment of gypsies and travelling show people will form part of any future Housing Needs Surveys. The Council has also commissioned WS Planning to produce an Assessment of Gypsy and Traveller Family Needs in the London Borough of Bromley, which was published in July 2005. The Council will continue to take enforcement action against the unauthorised use of any site by gypsies or travelling show people, where it is expedient to do so.

See also: Policies G1, G2 and G8 and SPG




Applications for new housing developments will be expected to meet all of the following criteria:

(i) the development complies with the density ranges set out in the density/ location matrix at Table 4.2 below;
(ii) in the interest of creating mixed and balanced communities, the development provides a mix of housing types and sizes, or provides house types to address a local shortage;
(iii) the site layout, buildings and space about buildings are designed to a high quality and recognise as well as complement the qualities of the surrounding areas;
(iv) adequate private or communal amenity spaces are provided to serve the needs of the particular occupants;
(v) off street parking is provided at levels no more than set out in the Table at Appendix II. These are maximum parking standards. A higher provision will be acceptable only where it can be demonstrated that complying with the maximum standards would not be in the interest of the safety of highway users, or where additional parking is required to meet the needs of particular users, such as those with disabilities;
(vi) the layout is designed to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists over the movement and parking of vehicles; and
(vii) security and crime prevention measures are included in the design and layout of buildings and public areas.

Table 4.2 Density / location matrix (habitable rooms and dwellings per hectare)

    Predominant housing type Detached and linked housesTerraced houses & flats Mostly flats
Location Accessibility Index Setting      
Sites within 10 mins walking distance of a town centre 6 to 4 Central     650 – 1100 hr/ha
240 –435 u/ha
Urban   200 – 450 hr/ha
55 – 175 u /ha
450 –700 hr/h
165 –275 u/ha
Suburban   200 – 300 hr/ha
50 – 110 u/ha
250- 350 hr/ha
80 – 120 u/ha
Sites along transport corridors & sites close to a town centre 3 to 2 Urban   200 – 300 hr /ha
50 – 110 u/ha
300 – 450 hr/ha
100 –150 u/ha
Suburban 150 – 200 hr/ha
30 – 65 u/ ha
200 – 250 hr/ ha
50 – 80 u /ha
Currently remote sites 2 to 1 Suburban 150 – 200 hr/ha
30- 50 u/ha

hr/ha – Habitable rooms per hectare, u/ha – Units per hectare

4.33 Government advice promotes the efficient use of previously-developed land (PPG3 para 57), both to help meet housing requirements and to achieve more sustainable patterns of development. Good design and layout help to make best use of previously-developed land, as well as improving the quality and attractiveness of residential areas [PPG3 para 54]. This is the basis for the concept of sustainable residential quality (SRQ) which links the need to build more efficiently while also improving quality. Often this will be at a greater intensity than has historically occurred. In particular, more intensive development may be sought in town centres and other places with good public transport accessibility [para 58].

4.34 PPG3 goes on to state that new housing cannot be viewed in isolation and should take account of the wider context in townscape and landscape terms [para 56].

The government has also published a companion guide to PPG3 “By Design – better places to live” (DTLR/Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2001). The Council will take this into account in preparing supplementary planning guidance on design and in considering the design aspects of individual proposals.

4.35 Within the Borough there are many diverse and attractive housing areas, and, in the context of Government policy, it is the Council's view that their individual characteristics and quality should be adequately protected. Scope for further housing development occurs mainly on "infill" sites, or redevelopment of older, low-density property, and through the redevelopment of large non-residential sites. The Council’s primary objective is to ensure a high standard of residential environment. Redevelopment should be of a design that is sympathetic to and complements the surrounding residential area but not necessarily a reproduction of the established form and pattern of development. In line with the advice in PPG3 [para 63], the Council will reject poor designs that do not accord with the terms of this policy. The onus will be on applicants to demonstrate how they have taken account of the need for good layout and design. Affordable housing brought forward under Policy H2 will generally have to comply with the Housing Corporation’s Scheme Development Standards.

4.36 In assessing housing capacity through the Housing Capacity Study (HCS), the Council has generally assumed that existing environmental standards will be maintained. An allowance has been made for some intensification over prevailing densities in locations accessible by public transport both in relation to a number of identified large sites and to small sites in general.

4.37 The guidelines on density given in this policy will enable the strategic housing requirement to be met in accordance with Objective 3, while securing SRQ in appropriate locations and maintaining and enhancing the quality of the Borough’s residential environment in accordance with Objective 1.

4.38 In some parts of the Borough, existing high-density development creates an unsatisfactory residential environment. The Council will seek to improve this through the application of SRQ principles in assessing proposals for new development. This will not necessarily involve reduced densities.

4.39 Many residential areas are characterised by spacious rear gardens and well-separated buildings. The Council will therefore resist proposals which would tend to undermine this character or which would be likely to result in detriment to existing residential amenities. "Tandem" development, consisting of one house immediately behind another and sharing the same access, is generally unsatisfactory because of difficulties of access to the house at the back and the disturbance and lack of privacy suffered by the house in front.

4.40 Backland development, involving development of land surrounded by existing properties, often using back gardens and creating a new access, will generally also be resisted. Private gardens can be of great importance in providing habitats for wildlife, particularly in urban areas. Except in Areas of Special Residential Character, such development, however, may be acceptable provided it is small-scale and sensitive to the surrounding residential area. Lower residential densities than those outlined in Table 4.2 will usually be required and there should be adequate access. Additional traffic should not cause an unacceptable level of disturbance to neighbouring properties, and a high standard of separation and landscaping should be provided.

4.41 PPG3 [para 61] advises Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to revise parking standards for housing to allow for significantly lower levels of off-street parking, particularly in locations accessible by public transport and for types of occupier with lower demand for parking. The Council has revised its parking standards accordingly (Appendix II), and this will contribute both to more efficient use of land and quality objectives.

4.42 The design of all new housing development should include appropriate measures to maximise security and prevent crime. In determining planning applications the Council will refer to “Secured By Design” principles and any other supplementary planning guidance. “Secured by Design” is a UK Police Flagship initiative supporting the principles of designing out crime through the use of effective crime prevention and security standards set out in various guides and publications. Detailed information is available at

4.43 A number of the provisions of the policy relate to matters of principle rather than detail. The Council therefore considers it appropriate to apply the policy, where appropriate, to outline proposals.

See also: Policies C3 and C6, and SPG




The design and layout of proposals for the alteration or enlargement of residential properties will be required to satisfy all of the following criteria:

(i) the scale, form and materials of construction should respect or complement those of the host dwelling and be compatible with development in the surrounding area;
(ii) space or gaps between buildings should be respected or maintained where these contribute to the character of the area;
(iii) dormer windows should be of a size and design appropriate to the roofscape and sited away from prominent roof pitches, unless dormers are a feature of the area.

4.44 The Council will normally expect the design of residential extensions to blend with the style and materials of the main building. Where possible, the extension should incorporate a pitched roof and include a sympathetic roof design and materials. In particular, flat-roofed side extensions of two or more storeys to dwellings of traditional roof design will normally be resisted unless the extension is well set back from the building line and is unobtrusive. The enlargement of a roof structure from a hipped design to a gable end is unlikely to be acceptable except in relation to end of terrace dwellings. Dormer extensions into prominent roof slopes and extensions above the existing ridgeline, will not normally be permitted.

4.45 Proposals for residential development in the roof space of blocks of flats or for an additional storey on an existing block of flats should comply with the Council's requirements for new residential development including car parking.

4.46 Proposals for forward extensions to symmetrically-designed terraced houses sharing a common building line will not normally be permitted. Where such extensions are proposed for detached houses, semi-detached houses and asymmetrically-designed terraced houses not sharing a common building line, these will be considered on their merit, with particular regard to the relationship to neighbouring buildings, and to the effect on the street scene.

See also: Policies H5, H7, BE1, BE11 and G4, and SPG



4.47 Residential extensions (so-called "granny annexes") can provide accommodation which enables a family to care for an elderly or disabled relative. Problems can arise, where this type of development constitutes a self-contained unit which could potentially be severed from the main dwelling. This can result in the creation of substandard accommodation with inadequate privacy, access provision, parking and amenity space. Such accommodation is likely to be out of scale and character with the surrounding area and detrimental to residential amenity. Therefore such extensions should be designed to form an integral part of the main dwelling. Permission for such development will be subject to a condition restricting occupancy to members of the main dwelling's household.



When considering applications for new residential development, including extensions, the Council will normally require the following:

(i) for a proposal of two or more storeys in height, a minimum 1 metre space from the side boundary of the site should be retained for the full height and length of the flank wall of the building; or
(ii) where higher standards of separation already exist within residential areas, proposals will be expected to provide a more generous side space. This will be the case on some corner properties.

4.48 The Council considers that the retention of space around residential buildings is essential to ensure adequate separation and to safeguard the privacy and amenity of adjoining residents. It is important to prevent a cramped appearance and unrelated terracing from occurring. It is also necessary to protect the high spatial standards and level of visual amenity which characterise many of the Borough's residential areas. Proposals for the replacement of existing buildings will be considered on their merits.

See also: Policies H7 & H8




Applications for development in the Areas of Special Residential Character, as defined on the Proposals Map, will be required to respect and complement the established and individual qualities of the individual areas, as identified in Appendix I.

4.49 The Council has identified nine areas where it considers that unsympathetic development and redevelopment would threaten the established character and residential amenity. These have been designated as Areas of Special Residential Character, each forming a well-established residential area which has readily identifiable and distinctive characteristics and a high standard of residential amenity. The Council will seek to protect the environmental character of these areas by requiring proposals to have regard to the special development criteria set out in Appendix I.

See also: Appendix I




A proposal for the conversion of a single dwelling into two or more self contained residential units or into non self-contained accommodation will be permitted provided that:

(i) the amenities of occupiers of neighbouring dwellings will not be harmed by loss of privacy, daylight or sunlight or by noise and disturbance;
(ii) the resulting accommodation will provide a satisfactory living environment for the intended occupiers;
(iii) on street or off street parking resulting from the development will not cause unsafe or inconvenient highway conditions nor affect the character or appearance of the area; and
(iv) the proposal will not lead to the shortage of medium or small sized family dwellings in the area

4.50 This policy seeks to ensure that the Borough's older properties are efficiently used, in order to maximise, within environmental constraints, the contribution conversions make to housing supply. Such accommodation increases the choice in the housing market for smaller households, and provides a cheaper alternative to purpose-built flats, especially for first-time buyers and for rent by private landlords.

4.51 Many houses are too large for single occupation; conversion will extend their life by encouraging improvement and repair. There is the added advantage of retaining the established residential character of an area which can often be lost through redevelopment.

4.52 The accommodation resulting from conversion must be of an acceptable standard. The Council will normally expect conversion work to improve the quality of the existing housing and to respect the residential amenities of adjoining properties.

4.53 Conversions can often have adverse external effects, including parking in front garden areas, and can result in increased on-street parking and traffic. On-street parking can be a particular problem in areas where local shopping facilities or commuter car parking already causes congestion. The Council will resist conversions where they may result in a traffic hazard and be detrimental to the amenities of the residential area by reason of noise, visual impact or other inconvenience.

4.54 The Housing Capacity Study (see Table 4.1) indicated a capacity of 300 dwellings in non self-contained accommodation over the period 1997-2016. London Planning Advisory Committee (LPAC) advice calls on boroughs to assess the need for housing provided by non self-contained accommodation, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Boroughs should seek to retain and improve such accommodation, where appropriate. Applications for non self-contained accommodation will be supported provided they meet a need identified in the Housing Needs Survey and provide a satisfactory living environment appropriate to their surroundings – as defined in this and the other policies of the plan.

See also: Policies H4, T3 and BE1 and SPG




The Council will permit the conversion of genuinely redundant office and other non-residential buildings to residential use, particularly above shops, subject to achieving a satisfactory quality of accommodation and amenity.

4.55 PPG3 [para 41] and London Planning Advisory Committee (LPAC) advice suggest that buildings formerly in non-residential uses, including accommodation over shops and vacant offices, can be important potential sources of additional housing. This requires a flexible approach to planning standards, particularly regarding density, car parking, amenity space and overlooking. Nevertheless, the Council will expect such proposals to provide a high quality residential environment within the constraints of the existing building and normally comply with the other housing policies of the plan.

4.56 Where such a conversion is proposed the applicant must be able to demonstrate that the premises are genuinely redundant. Conversions are not likely to be acceptable where there continues to be a viable commercial use or a demand for such uses – for example, where the loss of such premises would result in the loss of employment or prevent the creation of new business or employment opportunities.

See also: Policy G1, H7, T3, BE1, EMP7




Where planning permission is required for the parking of a commercial vehicle within the curtilage of a residential property, the Council will only grant permission where:

(i) such parking would be unobtrusive and compatible with the residential surroundings; and
(ii) the noise and disturbance created by such parking will not harm the residential amenities of occupiers of adjacent properties.

4.57 The provision of permanent or long-term parking for a commercial vehicle associated with a residential property will often require planning permission. Such parking can often result in loss of amenity for adjoining residents through disturbance by vehicle movements and the visual impact of parked vehicles. The applicant would be expected to show that there was a genuine need for the parking facility, for example that it serves commercial activities legitimately pursued on or based at the property. Any such permission would be likely to include conditions that ensure the impact of the parking was minimised.

See also: Policy EMP8


Go to previous page Previous Chapter Top of Page Go to top of page Next Chapter Go to next page