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PGS: Affordable Housing

It is acknowledged that there is a significant need for low cost and/or affordable houses in the Chilterns in both urban and rural areas.

Therefore the Society will actively support Local Plan policies that specify high percentages and low site thresholds for affordable housing. Such policies should be worded and applied in a robust fashion, to reduce the opportunity for applicants to use viability grounds as a means of undermining the policy objectives.

The Society is committed to protecting the AONB and Green Belt and believes the fo- cus for new affordable housing should be on brownfield sites. However it recognises that there may be exceptional cases where a genuine need for affordable housing has to be met on greenfield sites, including small-scale incursions into the Green Belt and / or within the AONB.

In such cases we would seek to cooperate with Local Authorities to ensure that iden- tified sites do not damage the environment, AONB or Green Belt, and to make sure that design and landscaping are appropriate to the setting.

There is a requirement for an increased level of funding by Government and private sources to make any increase in availability of affordable housing practical, particularly in rural areas.

There have to be robust rules on the rights to rent or buy and resell affordable hous- ing to ensure that only those with identified needs benefit now and in the future, and to avoid reduction in the available stock of such housing.

Definition of Affordable Housing

Affordable housing includes social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.

Affordable housing should: Meet the needs of eligible households including availability at a cost low enough for them to afford, determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Include provision for the home to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

Social rented housing is: Rented housing owned and managed by local authorities and registered social landlords, for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also include rented housing owned or managed by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements to the above, as agreed with the local authority or with the Homes and Communities Agency as a condition of grant.

Affordable rented housing is: Rented housing let by registered providers of social housing to households who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable rent is not subject to the national rent regime but is subject to other rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent.

Intermediate affordable housing is: Housing at prices and rents above those of social rent, but below market price or rents, and which meet the criteria set out above. These can include shared equity products (eg. HomeBuy), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but does not include affordable rented housing.

The definition does not exclude homes provided by private sector bodies or provided without grant funding. Where such homes meet the definition above, they may be considered, for planning purposes, as affordable housing. Whereas, those homes that do not meet the definition, for example, 'low cost market' housing, may not be considered, for planning purposes, as affordable housing.

Revised 1 November.

 

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The Chiltern Society Planning Group monitors all parishes in the Chilterns.