Affordable Housing is provided in many ways in Shropshire, one of the more common is through a legal agreement which places an obligation on the developer to provide a percentage of the homes built as affordable dwellings. This is called a Section 106 agreement and it may also contain other obligations for example to provide some public open space.
Currently in Shropshire we have 3 set percentages for the provision of on-site affordables 10%, 15% and 20% The areas for each percentage target rate can be seen on the plan below.
The percentages were set based on the viability of the developments in each of the areas. These percentages will be reviewed in the next viability report early in 2019.
So for example a development of 25 new homes in a 10% area would provide 2 affordable homes on site and a financial contribution for the fraction. (25 x 0.10 = 2.5) and a scheme of 30 homes in a 20% area would provide 6 affordable homes on site (30 x 0.2 = 6)
However national policy has sought to restrict the amount of contributions we can request on smaller sites by adopting the Ministerial Statement November 2014, (following the court of appeal in May 2016) and now reflected in the recent revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2018). These restriction now mean we can no longer apply our policy to sites under a certain size. This is 5 dwellings in the rural area and 10 dwellings in the urban areas. Since the majority of developments in Shropshire are for less than 5 or 10 dwellings we are seeing a sharp decrease in the number of affordable units provided in this way. We are therefore looking at different ways to increase the number of affordable units we provide each year and these will be discussed in later newsletters.
As the majority of households on the Housing Register require a rented home we ask for a split of the S106 affordable units in favour of affordable rented tenure at 70% and 30% for low cost home ownership. This may differ in certain areas where we know there is a need for a different mix of housing (for example where we have undertaken a Housing Needs Survey)
Usually the affordable rent and shared ownership units on a development site are transferred to a Housing Association, who will then let/sell and manage the properties. It should be noted that S106 sites do not normally have a local connection attached to the properties so can be let to anyone in housing need with a connection to Shropshire. The developer may sell the low cost homes as Discounted Market Sale dwellings and these will be discussed in January 2019’s Newsletter.
Last year we had 459 affordable homes completed and approx. 50% of these were through S106 sites and all have either been sold or let to people in housing need.
The Beeches in Whitchurch.
This is a small scheme of only 15 units in a 10% area, so there was only 1 affordable on site, this is currently being marketed for Shared Ownership by one of our Housing Associations.
This is a large scheme of 173 homes in a 20% area so provided 34 affordable homes on site, these were a mix of flats and 2 and 3 bed homes. All of them were transferred to a Housing Association 23 for affordable rent and 11 to be sold as shared ownership units.
In order to be eligible to apply for any of our affordable homes applicants need to be registered on Shropshire Homepoint. https://www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk/Data/ASPPages/1/30.aspx and keep checking to see when the properties become available.
Next month’s newsletter will be our quarterly Self-Build edition