Measuring floorspace for affordable housing contributions

In granting permission for ten flats in north London an inspector has overruled the council on the method of measurement of floorspace when assessing liability for affordable housing contributions (DCS Number 400-012-587).

The Written Ministerial Statement of 28 November 2014 states that “for sites of 10 units or less and which have a maximum combined gross floor space of 1,000 square metres, affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought”, the inspector recorded. The council contended that the floorspace delivered by the proposal would be 1020 square metres and it should therefore make a contribution towards affordable housing. The inspector noted, however, that this was an external measurement. He pointed out that in Technical housing standards – the nationally described space standard the Gross Internal Area (GIA) of a building is used as a measurement of floorspace. The GIA does not include the thickness of internal walls within its measurement. It followed, he reasoned, that it is reasonable to accept the GIA as a measurement of the actual usable floorspace that a proposal would deliver. In the case before him the GIA would comprise 854 square metres.

The proposal would fall within the ambit of national policy as expressed in the WMS, the inspector concluded, and would not have to make provision for affordable housing contributions.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 7.33

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