Developing affordable housing

Definition of affordable housing

Affordable housing is housing that is provided for sale or rent to those whose needs are not met by the open market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers).

All new developments will have a criteria to house those with a local connection to the area where the properties are developed. The local connection criteria is described within a legally binding agreement called a Section 106 (S106).

How we increase the number of affordable dwellings in the county

  • By bringing empty properties back into use through discussions with private landlords
  • By working in partnership with registered providers to purchase empty properties
  • By influencing national and local housing planning policies
  • By negotiating with property developers on developments in the county
  • By working in partnership with registered providers to build affordable housing

Housing development

There is a requirement to provide a percentage of affordable housing on all open market housing proposals that will provide more than 10 dwellings which have a maximum combined floor space of more than 1000m2.

Strategic Housing are consulted by the planning team as a statutory consultee. Comments are provided to ensure that there is an appropriate range and mix of both affordable and open market housing, which can contribute to the creation of balanced and inclusive sustainable communities. The size and type of the housing should meet the needs of all households and all sites should consist of a range of house types which may include, terrace, semi-detached houses, flats and bungalows.

Developments will have a Section 106 agreement which lists the criteria for occupation. Full guidance on affordable housing and how planning obligations are managed in planning applications can be found via the Supplementary Planning Document. In addition, the Housing Market Area Needs Assessment provides a local assessment of the housing requirements in the seven local housing market areas across Herefordshire.

Single exception sites

Exceptionally, affordable housing may be permitted on land within or adjoining an established rural settlement which would not normally be released for development provided that:

  • The scheme will contribute to meeting a proven genuine and quantifiable local need for affordable housing as identified from a current local affordable housing needs survey. In the case of a single affordable dwelling, clear evidence of a long term local need will be required
  • It is evident that local housing conditions could not otherwise satisfy the need
  • The scheme respects both the character and size of the settlement concerned and the identified scale of need
  • Arrangements are made to ensure that the benefits of affordable housing for single dwellings, as well as larger schemes, will be enjoyed in perpetuity by subsequent occupants in local need as well as by the initial occupiers
  • The site's location has reasonable access to facilities and, where possible, public transport

What is a Section 106 (S106)?

Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows a local planning authority to enter into a legally binding agreement with a developer in association with the granting of planning permission. The agreement is called a Section 106 or abbreviated to S106.

These agreements are a way of delivering or addressing matters that are necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms. They are increasingly used to support the provision of services such as infrastructure, highways and affordable housing.

For rural affordable housing schemes, such as those built on exception sites, the S106 will include clauses to ensure that the homes remain affordable to meet local household needs now and in the future. Importantly it will contain a local connection criteria to ensure that they will be allocated to local people on the council's housing register (managed through Home Point).

Find out more about Section 106 and view contributions for an area

What is a local connection?

Local connection means a person within the household who has a connection to a locality or parish.

This can be any of the following:

  • Someone who has lived in an area for a period of time, 6 months out of 12 months or 3 years out of 5 years
  • If a member of the household works 16 hours or more, in the area where the property is located
  • If you or a member of the household have an immediate family member (parents, adult children, brother or sister, step family and grandparents) in the area
  • If a family member has a proven need to receive or provide care support to family members. This can be personal or physical care to enable the person to live independently within the community. This does have to be evidenced

If a local connection is required this will be stated at the time of advertising the property, and evidence will need to be provided to demonstrate this.

Registered providers

Registered providers (RPs) are organisations which own, let and manage rental and intermediate housing.

This is a list of our preferred housing partners with a development programme in Herefordshire.

Approved preferred housing partners policy

Strategic housing contact details

If you are a prospective developer or a parish council and would like advice on developing affordable housing, or if you are looking for advice on the feasibility of developing affordable housing on a particular site, please use the pre-application process on the planning pages.

Telephone: 01432 260269

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