Developing affordable housing

Definition of affordable housing

Affordable housing in Herefordshire is housing:

  • Provided at below market prices and
  • Allocated on the basis of need to people who are unable to purchase or rent houses generally available on the open market without financial assistance, as their only home, and they:
    • Live or work in Herefordshire or
    • Need to move to Herefordshire to receive or provide support

The recipients can include:

  • First time buyers who cannot afford to purchase on the open market
  • Families who need larger accommodation and cannot afford to rent or buy a suitable property on the open market
  • Households who need properties that are adapted to meet their individual needs
  • Households with support needs including people with learning disabilities, physical and/or mental health needs, people who are at risk of or have experienced abuse

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 housing associations 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 housing associations to build affordable housing

Housing development

If a planning application is submitted to build 10 or more dwellings, strategic housing are consulted by the planning team as a statutory consultee. We provide comments on the affordability threshold and the breakdown of dwellings on the development. Each development will have a Section 106 which lists the criteria for occupation. For full details see the Local Housing Market Assessment and Supplementary Planning Document.

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).

What is a local connection?

Local connection means a person within the household 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
  • 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) in the area
  • If a family member has a proven need to receive or provide support to family members. This can be personal or physical care to enable the person to live independently within the community

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.

Housing associations

Housing associations are organisations which own, let and manage rental and intermediate housing. They are also known as registered providers (RPs).

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

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 contact us.

Telephone: 01432 260269

Send Email