The Cliftonville Development Plan Document - is it 'sound'?

Cliftonville DPD - Proposed Submission Document - Online

7 Residential Accommodation

One-bedroom flats

7.1 Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards contain a substantial proportion of larger properties, many previously used as hotels or large dwellings reflecting the popularity of the resort in Victorian times. The size and layout of many of these are too large for, or incompatible with, modern living requirements. With the decline of the traditional seaside holiday, many of these properties became neglected and/or occupied by dependent and vulnerable people. (For example multiple occupation, DSS bed and breakfast, asylum seekers, people placed by outside authorities and homeless people in private rented accommodation). The presence and availability of cheap housing has helped the area to become a destination of choice for a transient population, ranging from the homeless to those attracted by the 'seaside' lifestyle.

 

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7.2 The relatively low property prices in the area, and the availability of large properties suitable for conversion to flats, has led to a significant amount of flatted accommodation. The chart below shows the total number of housing completions (which includes new build and conversions) in the Cliftonville West and Margate Central Wards in comparison to the rest of Thanet.

Housing Completions (new build and conversions) 2001-06: 22% Cliftonville West, 4% Margate Central, 74% Rest of Thanet

7.3 The number of housing completions in Cliftonville West and Margate Central is higher than other wards, and there was a dramatic increase in between 2004/5 and 2005/6. The Cliftonville West Renewal area occupies 55.67 hectares of the 10 322 hectares of the Thanet District (0.54%). The chart above demonstrates the pressure for development in this area with just over a quarter of completions for the whole district occurring in this small area.

7.4 The 2001 census shows that flatted accommodation already forms a significantly higher proportion of Thanet's housing stock, when compared to Kent and the South East:

 

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7.5 Thanet's two most deprived wards of Cliftonville West and Margate Central also have the highest percentage of flats in the district (60% and 57% respectively compared to 24% for the whole district). The amount of rented accommodation in these wards significantly exceeds the amount for Thanet:

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7.6 These two wards have the highest proportion of rented accommodation in Thanet having private (as opposed to Council/registered social) landlords.

7.7 The combination of a large number of small flats, which are in generally poor condition, means that there is a plentiful supply of cheap rentable property which attracts vulnerable and transient people to the area and compounds the deprivation cycle. The oversupply of small self-contained units in Cliftonville West and Margate Central is thus a key factor in the area's deprivation and perpetuating the deprivation cycle.

7.8 An increasing quantity of accommodation in these wards was being converted to bedsit accommodation and flats. While this may represent investment in property and potentially better standards of accommodation than say multiple occupation, many such proposals are for conversion of hotels/dwellings to bed-sits/1 bedroom flats. In an already deprived area such increases in the stock of small accommodation are, in the foreseeable future, likely to be at the low end of the market and serve to fuel the deprivation cycle through importation of an increasing number of dependent and vulnerable people. The building stock offers substantial scope for such conversion to continue. The Council therefore considers that the amount of property in these wards being converted to bed-sits and one-bed flats is actually fuelling the importation of socially and economically dependent people.

7.9 In order to attract more independent people into the area, the Council adopted a policy to restrict further development of one-bedroom flats in the Cliftonville West area as Supplementary Planning Guidance in December 2006. This policy has been successful in significantly reducing the number of applications for one-bedroom flats, and permission has not been granted for one-bedroom flats since its introduction. The policy has also been supported at appeals by Planning Inspectors. Following further consultation, this policy has been reviewed, updated and revised.

POLICY CV1 - ONE BEDROOM FLATS

Proposals to provide single bedroom flatted accommodation, bed-sits and non self-contained accommodation (houses in multiple occupation) within the area of the declared Cliftonville West Renewal Area will not be permitted. This includes provision by way of conversion of existing buildings and by way of new build.