Affordable housing

Affordable Housing helps people who cannot afford to buy housing on the open market or rent private properties to gain access to housing.

An adequate supply of housing which is affordable for local incomes is an essential part of a thriving local economy and helps promote social inclusion. The planning system plays a central role in increasing the supply of affordable housing by creating mixed and balanced communities.

Our requirements for affordable housing are set out in Policy H3 of the adopted  Core Strategy

Affordable housing should be offered through one of our preferred Registered Housing Providers (RHPs). We welcome early talks with developers to help make sure their affordable housing fits in with our policy as well as their aims. Developers are encouraged to seek informal advice on our requirements from our Partnerships Project Officer or Development Management Officers before submitting an application for planning consent.  The council also offers a pre-application service where advice can be given prior to submitting applications. See further information >>

Our threshold for affordable housing provision is developments comprising of five or more dwellings. On small sites of between five to fourteen units, provision may be made on site; off site or as a commuted sum in lieu of provision. This approach is dependent on the viability of the individual site. 

Where affordable housing is to be provided on site, a target of up to 35% of the total capacity of a scheme should be affordable. The affordable element will be expected to include a mix of socially rented and intermediate housing appropriate to the current evidence of local housing need.

All affordable units should be of an appropriate size and type to meet the local housing needs identified by current evidence of need for that ward.

Rural exception schemes which are located in or adjacent to a smaller village will be considered acceptable where the scheme clearly meets a proven need for local affordable housing. Such houses should be available in perpetuity for local need. Sites should be suitable for development in all other respects and meet all other policy requirements for development.

In negotiating the level of affordable housing on sites, we will have regard to the overall viability of individual development schemes.

We would also normally require that:

  • the affordable housing should be offered through one of our preferred registered housing provider partners (RHP). The choice of partner should be agreed with us and confirmed in writing
  • affordable homes should be designed to create mixed integrated communities and particularly that the affordable housing is not distinguishable from the market housing in terms of build quality, design, materials, details, privacy and shared amenity standards are of equal quality and do not set them apart from the other properties on sale
  • affordable housing must meet relevant/current design and quality standards of the Homes and Communities Agency (or their predecessor organisations) and code for sustainable homes standards
  • the consideration for the affordable housing units to be offered for sale to a RHP shall be market value of the affordable housing units to be transferred but making due allowance for its restricted use for the provision of affordable housing units

Working with developers

We welcome early talks with developers to help make sure their affordable housing fits in with our policy as well as their aims. Developers are encouraged to seek informal advice on our requirements from the Partnerships Project Officer or Development Management Officers before submitting an application for planning consent. The council also offers a pre-application service where advice can be given prior to submitting applications. See further information >>