Tuesday, 25 February 2014

District Council meets to consider issue of Affordable Housing ... Weds 26th February

The issue of affordable housing is a concern which the District Council is trying to address.

It has been very supportive of a project in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Affordable Housing in Sidmouth: DCH and EDDC: project in Mill Street completed

At tomorrow's full Council meeting, the issue will be debated:

12 Motion 3 – Affordable Housing

Last year’s autumn statement announced the Government’s intention to consult on a new 10 house threshold before an affordable housing provision is required.

2.208 Section 106 contributions – The Government will consult on a new 10 unit threshold for section 106 affordable housing contributions to reduce costs for smaller builders. If these intentions are pursued and a policy is introduced to impose a 10 house threshold on developments before affordable housing is required it will devastate the affordable housing aspirations of the majority of rural communities. It will also contradict both the current and emerging local plan policy. Development of affordable housing in small communities is essential, not just for the growth of communities but in some cases their continued existence.

For these reasons we believe it essential that this Council makes the strongest
representations to Government requesting the cancelling of any plans to consult on or introduce any policy that would result in the reduction in affordable housing provision.

This Council believes that rather than consider policies that could reduce affordable housing provision the Government should introduce more schemes to actively support communities in developing community led housing schemes.

Proposed by Councillor Jill Elson, seconded by Stephanie Jones and supported by Geoff Pook, Martin Gammell and Phil Twiss


This is the government's proposal:
H M Treasury – Autumn Statement 2013

The British Property Federation approved of the measure, but recognised the potential impact on the provision of affordable housing:

Today’s announcement contained some new proposals, including the statutory requirement for a local plan, the potential for withholding the New Homes Bonus and consulting on a new 10-unit threshold for affordable housing. We welcome these proposals, in particular those that reinforce the need for a clear, evidence-based local plan and for local authorities to apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development as set out in the NPPF. Withdrawal of the New Homes Bonus when development is allowed on appeal should provide an incentive to ensure that the presumption is applied properly. The proposed new 10-unit threshold for section 106 affordable housing contributions will go a little way to helping small developers build much needed housing stock, but may well mean that, particularly in dense urban areas, there is a reduction in affordable housing provision. 

The Planning Officers' Society is worried:
Proposed 10 Unit Threshold for s106 Affordable Housing Contributions Will Reduce LPAs Ability to Deliver Much Needed Affordable Housing, Says POS - Planning Officers Society News - Planning Officers Society

And planners in rural councils are also very worried:
S106 proposal is a 'threat to rural areas' | Planning Resource

And yet the whole S106 regime is controversial:
Futures Forum: Missing out on developers' S106 funds...
Futures Forum: 'Planning gain' - the replacement for S106 cash from developers - the Community Infrastructure Levy - but is it still 'bribery' by a different name?

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