CONSULTATION DRAFT Delivering Rural Affordable Housing in North by alicejenny


									                     CONSULTATION DRAFT

Delivering Rural Affordable Housing in North Kesteven
                    Rural Affordable Housing Plan

‘Working in partnership to achieve more affordable housing for our rural
                             communities ‘
1.0 Introduction
NKDC through the Sustainable Community Strategy and Corporate Strategy has identified the
delivery of affordable housing to meet significant housing need as a corporate priority. As a rural
district the Council recognise the need to work proactively to deliver affordable housing including
rural housing.

1.1 Why this guidance and who is it for?
Recognising there are particular issues in providing rural affordable housing, this guidance is
designed for all partners involved in its delivery. Its purpose is
   • to set out the issues around the delivery of rural affordable housing,
   • to out set our preferred approach to responding to them and
   • to set out our rural housing action plan.

A definition of our main rural delivery partners is set out in appendix A

1.2 Definition of rural
North Kesteven is a rural district. It is designated as Rural 80 by Defra, meaning that 80% of our
population live in rural communities. This document is intended to be primarily relating to the delivery
of rural housing in
    • settlements with a population of 3000 or less and are likely to be designated third tier in the
       Local Development Plan
    • additionally it is relevant to larger settlements with populations between 3001 to 10000 where
       development opportunities are limited and allocation of land outside of the normal
       development boundaries may be necessary to deliver affordable housing ( departure sites)

1.3 Affordable Housing Definition
   • Affordable housing is defined as housing provided for an affordable rent or for low cost home
       ownership (part rent part buy models or for intermediate rents between affordable and open
       market levels).
   • It is usually provided by Housing Associations who can secure a grant toward the cost of
       building from the Homes and Communities Agency)
   • Housing offered for sale to first time buyers on the open housing market does not meet the
       definition of affordable housing for purposes of this plan

1.4 What are the benefits of affordable housing

Affordable housing is highly regulated in terms of
    • How it is built
    • How much it costs
    • How it is managed

Ultimately it provides safe, secure, affordable and decent accommodation for its residents.

Benefits for the resident include:-
  • High quality housing
  • Affordable rents with regulated increases
  • Regulated social landlord / Council managing the tenancy
  • High levels of energy efficiency – reduced running costs
  • Positive health impacts ( both physical and mental) from defect free, safe, well managed ,and
       secure housing ( Assured or secure tenancy give the right to remain in perpetuity subject to
       adhering to tenancy conditions)
  • Supported or adapted accommodation to address a specific special need
  • Educational achievement benefits from secure and settled accommodation
  • Adaptable to meet a tenants changing needs
Wider Benefits for the Parish include

    •   Decent affordable accommodation for Parishioners
    •   Major financial investment in a community to provide high quality housing
    •   Balanced, sustainable and inclusive communities, where people from a range of incomes and
        circumstances have an opportunity to remain in the parish

2.0 Issues for delivering rural affordable housing

2.1 Introduction
The delivery of all affordable housing requires a number of fundamental components
       • Identified housing need for affordable homes
       • A suitable development site
       • A developing organisation that will own and manage the homes (normally a Housing
       • Funding toward the cost of providing affordable housing (usually provided by the Homes and
       Communities Agency

In rural locations these are a number of factors which can make each of these components
particularly difficult to achieve.

2.2 Identified housing need for affordable homes
The true extent of housing need in rural communities may not be known. Whilst the Housing Register
is the primarily source of housing need information for Councils and Councils undertake Strategic
Housing Market Assessments ( SHMAs), need in rural communities can be harder to evidence. For
example residents in rural settlements may not be registered with the Council. This can be due to the
limited availability of affordable housing in rural communities which mean that residents don’t register
believing there is will be no opportunity to be housed, or registering for accommodation in larger
settlements where there is more potential opportunity.

2.3 A suitable development site
Potential development land for housing falls into two broad categories; land within the development
boundary and land which is outside.

•   Sites which are inside the development boundary
    • allocated sites
These are sites which are formerly allocated for housing in the Local Plan/Local Development
Framework. They are usually of a larger size and under Supplementary Planning Policy trigger an
affordable housing obligation (35% of the site should be delivered as affordable housing on sites of 5
or more)
    • ‘windfall sites’
These are sites which are not allocated for housing but are potentially suitable for development.

•  Sites outside of the development boundary
   • exception or departure sites
These are sites not normally allocated for housing development. Under planning policy there is the
opportunity to allocate land for the delivery of affordable housing where there is a proven housing
need and no other opportunities to address it

In rural settlements land opportunities within the development boundary can be limited due to limited
housing land allocation or the land is too expensive for the delivery of affordable housing as open
market housing attracts more land value
Therefore the delivery of affordable housing can rely heavily upon the exception policy
2.4 Funding

Affordable housing requires a subsidy toward the cost of providing it in order to keep the rental costs
affordable. This is usually provided in the form of grant funding by the Homes and Communities
Agency. In rural communities affordable housing developments are smaller so there are limited
opportunities to reduce development costs by economies of scale (e.g. ordering in bulk etc).

Frequently this means land sold on the open market is too expensive in rural communities as it is
often a small site for a limited number of properties which can be very attractive to developers.

2.5 An affordable housing provider

Affordable housing is normally delivered by an organisation which can bid for grant from the Homes
and Community Agency. These are known as Registered Providers of Affordable Housing, or
Registered Social Landlords. They are frequently referred to as Housing Associations. Other
organisations including Councils can now bid for grants for affordable housing also

NKDC has a number of affordable housing provider partners (Appendix B). Rural housing schemes
are generally smaller and more expensive than urban schemes and often require intensive work to
progress them. At the very least an affordable housing provider will need to be certain of sufficient
need for the housing being developed

3.0 Our preferred approach to these issues

3.1 Identification of need through a rural housing needs survey

Establishing the extent of need for affordable housing in a rural community is critical to justify whether
more affordable housing is needed within a community. Where development is within the existing
development boundary, all housing register applicants who have indicated a choice for the settlement
are taken as evidence of the need for affordable housing. However where development is outside of
the development boundary a local housing needs survey to supplement existing information on the
housing register is particularly important. This is important as evidenced local need for affordable
housing is a requirement of the exception site policy.

3.1.2 Selection of Settlements for Rural Housing Need Surveys

North Kesteven has a schedule of settlements which it has identified as the priority settlements for a
survey. The programme for 2010-11 will be based on a identifying a minimum of 6 settlements for
survey and a mix of higher need locations with limited land opportunities and smaller third tier
settlements where need is not so evident

Additionally there may be settlements where we are approached by a Parish Council, landowner or
developer interested in the delivery of affordable housing ( where land is brought forward it would still
have to meet call for land criteria) Up to half of the scheduled programme of surveys will be
undertaken in response to these proactive opportunities

3.1.3 Housing Need Survey Process

   •   NKDC approaches the Parish Council about rural affordable housing issues and the potential
       to undertake a survey
   •   This will be undertaken preferably in direct partnership with the Parish Council or by liaison
       with the Parish Council about progress if they do not wish to be directly involved
   •   Following consultation with the Parish Council a local housing need survey is prepared and
       circulated to all residents of the Parish ( In larger communities in excess of 3000, this may be
       in the form of a flyer requesting households in need to contact the Council for a survey form )
   •    The Council also send out a questionnaire to all housing register applicants who have
        indicated the parish as an option for housing to establish if they have any local connection ( an
        important evidence base for the exception policy)
   •    Normally the survey process is one month to allow sufficient time for residents to complete and
        return the survey.
   •    During this time the Council will organise and hold a housing roadshow in the community,
        (normally the village or school hall) giving residents and opportunity to discuss housing issues
                       Their housing need
                       Access to Housing options
                       How affordable housing is provided
                       Opportunities to improve the condition or energy efficiency of their current home

    •   Once the survey is completed, the findings are analysed and reported back to the Parish

3.1.4 Taking a ‘Cluster’ Approach

North Kesteven has developed a cluster approach to working in partnership with Parish Councils.
Where possible the Council would like to work within these partnerships for the identification of
affordable housing. This is particularly desirable, where there are a number of hamlets or small
settlements were development of affordable housing is considered unlikely and it may be appropriate
to address housing need in an adjacent larger settlement

3.2 ‘Call for Land’ Finding a suitable site

3.2.1 Introduction

A call for land is an open and transparent process whereby the Council advertise that an affordable
housing need survey is being undertaken in a parish and an invitation is extended to all land owners
to put forward sites that they would like to be considered for affordable housing development.
A call for land will be undertaken simultaneously with the housing need survey. (This ensures that
delays in delivery are minimalised if a need for affordable housing is established by looking for
potential development land at the same time)

3.2.2 The Call for Land Process
    • The Council will undertake a call for land with the agreement of or in liaison with the Parish
       Council at the time of the survey
    • This involves advertising the fact that land for affordable housing is needed in an identified
       community during the local housing need survey. The call for land is advertised in the local
       press and in the Parish through mechanisms suggested by the Parish Council
    • Landowners and/or agents and developers have an opportunity to identify land that might be
       suitable for affordable housing. This is usually a 3 to 4 week period
    • At the expiry of the call for land all sites coming forward are assessed for potential suitability
       with a view to selecting the best site for delivery

3.2.3 Assessing Land Opportunities
Under planning policy it is important that Council’s take a sequential approach to land allocation so
each site has to be considered against the other sites that have been submitted in the call for land for
the most suitable site to be identified. This means in the first instance the potential for sites to
address need within the development boundary should be considered. Dependant upon land
availability or the level of identified need it may be necessary to find a potential exception site or
departure site.
To address the need to consider land sequentially the Council ideally in direct partnership with the
Parish Council undertake an assessment of sites, against a number of criteria. This criteria includes

              •   Proximity to the centre of the Parish
              •   Relationship to the existing parish boundary
              •   Access to the site
              •   Site condition and factors affecting its development potential such as existing use,
                  potential for contamination, flooding etc
              •   Deliverability
              •   The Parish Councils’ local knowledge

   •   Initially all sites are given a desktop assessment by the Council. The draft findings from this
       assessment are then circulated to the Parish Council

   •   The Council visits and will invite the Parish Council to attend the land which has come forward
       and further comments and issues are recorded

   •   Each site is assessed based on all criteria and the process is recorded in a call for land
       assessment matrix ( see appendix C) This process ranks the sites in priority order

   •   The Parish Council’s views are captured in the matrix and their first three choices are recorded
       and allocated points in the matrix. The Parish Council should note that the Council is obliged
       to satisfy planning policy about sequentially finding the most suitable site

   •   The landowner or agent of the most suitable site (s) is then contacted with a view to
       progressing an affordable housing scheme

3.2.4 Relationship between sites within and outside curtilage

   •   Under the sequential test of exception sites, generally land identified within the settlement has
       priority if it is viable and deliverable for affordable housing development

   •   Dependant upon the overall level of need it may be appropriate to pursue both development

3.3 Selection of a Registered Social Landlord (RSL) partner
North Kesteven District Council has 11 partners who provide affordable housing in the District (see
Appendix.) There are a number of factors which may influence whether a particular RSL would like to
progress a scheme including whether they are a specialist organisation, and their capacity to
undertake development at a point in time.

The Council is keen to invite an RSL partner from the overall partnership to work closely with the
Parish Council
In the first instance the land opportunity will be circulated to all RSL partners for an expression of
Where there is more than one RSL interested, they will be offered the opportunity to meet with the
Parish Council to discuss their approach, with a view to the Parish Council selecting the preferred

In certain instances exception site land may already have a developer or RSL partner interested in
developing the site. In these situations it would be inappropriate to offer the site to other RSL
partners and the RSL with the interest or option on the site will be invited to progress a scheme

In both instances the Council will expect the RSL to closely involve the Parish Council in the
development of the scheme
3.4 Funding
NKDC have no direct control over funding for the delivery of affordable housing
We do offer strategic support for schemes being developed in the district which meet identified
housing need
We will liaise with the HCA over the development of rural housing schemes and support formerly at
the appropriate time

4.0 Action Plan

Action                          Who               Resources          Target 09/10
Provide training on rural       Housing           Within existing    Training event held and/or
affordable housing to Parish    Strategy          identified         Cluster meetings attended
Councils                                          resources
Publicise NKDC Rural Plan       Housing           Within existing    Adopted by Jan 10
following adoption              Strategy          identified
Approach Parish Councils on     Housing           Within existing    6 surveys completed
identified list                 Strategy          identified         annually
Set settlement priorities for   Housing           Within existing    2 year programme of
survey for 2010-11/2011-12      Strategy          identified         parish surveys set by Mar
                                                  resources          10
Undertake a minimum of 6        Housing           Within existing    Undertake a minimum of 5
rural housing need surveys      Strategy          identified         housing need surveys
                                Community         Allocated in       1 combined housing need
                                Lincs             capital            survey of at least 2
                                                  programme          parishes
Undertake a minimum of 6        Housing           Within existing    6 Calls for land completed
calls for land                  Strategy          identified         or initiated
                                /Development      resources
Hold 6 affordable housing       Housing           Within existing    6 events held
road shows during the survey    Strategy          identified
process                         Housing Needs     resources
                                RSL partners
Continue to support Rural       Housing        Within existing       Submit bid for funding
Housing Enabler Project         Strategy       identified            allocation for 2010/11
                                               resources for
Investigate opportunities for LAA Sustainable Additional             Ongoing
joint working and procedures Communities/Ho funding bid
across Lincolnshire Councils using Theme       submitted Area
                              Group            Based Grant
Review best practice in rural Housing          Within existing       Review completed during
affordable housing delivery   Strategy         identified            development of plan and
                                               resources for         by completion of final
                                               2009/10               document Jan 10
Deliver a minimum of 40% of Housing            Subject to            30% in 3001-10000
affordable housing            Strategy / RSLs/ external funding      population
programme in rural            Homes and        from HCA and          10% in 3000 or less
settlements (30% populations Communities       development
10000 and 10% populations     Agency           opportunities
of 3000 or below
Appendix One The Delivery Partners

• The Houses and Communities Agency (HCA)
The Government organisation responsible for setting affordable housing standards, regulating and
managing affordable housing providers and the provision of grant funding toward the cost of
delivering affordable housing.

• Affordable housing Providers
Primarily these are registered providers- registered with the HCA often known as Housing
associations these organisations identify opportunities, purchase land develop and manage
affordable housing with the strategic support of the local authority.

 • The Parish Council
As the organisation responsible for representing the interests of the parish, the Parish Council plays
a very important role in assisting parties to identify housing needs, locate suitable potential
development sites and is a vital source of local information.

 • The Community
In many instances it is vital to identify a local need for rural housing. It is vitally important that the
local community engage in the process of identifying rural housing need particularly where any
housing is provided as part of an exception or departure policy

 • Landowners
Land is a fundamental requirement of development. In rural settlements frequently the delivery of
housing is dependant upon the ‘exception site’ policy where land is identified outside of the normal
development boundary.
The process requires the engagement of landowners who are prepared to offer land for development
and acknowledge that the land will not achieve an open market housing development value

 • The Rural Housing Enabler (RHE)
Employed by community Lincs and funded by a number of partners the RHE undertakes an honest
broker’ role to find sites, identify need and as a liaison between the Parish Council/ Community and
the Council. NKDC fund the project to assist in the delivery of affordable housing alongside work
undertaken by the Council.

Local authorities have a strategic housing responsibility, which means we are obligated to
understand our housing markets and housing needs and to seek to respond to them.
Appendix 2 Registered Social Landlord/Affordable Housing Provider Partners

                                             Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association
Acis Group Limited                           Limited
Acis House                                   Markime House Poole's Lane
Bridge Street                                Spilsby
Gainsborough                                 PE23 5EY
Lincolnshire                                 01790 754219
DN21 1GG
01427 675727                                 Longhurst Group
                                             Leverett House
Derwent Living                               Gilbert Drive
No.1 Centro Place                            Endeavour Park
Pride Park                                   Boston
Derby                                        PE21 7TQ
DE24 8RF                                     01205 319740
01332 346477

Flagship Housing Group                       NCHA
c/o Boston Mayflower                         12/14 Pelham Road
Friars House                                 Sherwood Rise
Quaker Lane                                  Nottingham
Boston                                       NG5 1AP
Lincs.                                       0115 8443070
PE21 6BZ
01205 318578                                 Waterloo Housing Group
                                             Keily House
                                             Gresley Road
L.A.C.E. Housing Limited,                    Louth
'Lace House',                                Lincs
2 Olsen Rise,                                LN11 9FG
Lincoln,                                     0116 220 5569
01522 514444                                 Westleigh Developments Ltd,
LHA- Asra Group                              Grange Business Park,
3 Bede Island Road                           Enderby Road,
Leicester                                    Whetstone,
LE2 7EA                                      Leicestershire.
0116 257 6793                                LE8 6EP
                                             0116 277 3324
                    CURRENT PROCEDURE
                      Contact Parish Council to consider carrying out a survey and attend meeting if

                     Agree to carry out survey                     No response or not supportive

                                                              Chase up and provide more information
 3 months plus

                                                          Agree to survey                 No

                   Produce survey and arrange

                                                                                   No further action

                    Distribute survey and hold
 4 weeks


                   Collate surveys and write up
 up to 2 months

                  Report back to Parish Council
                          with results
 up to 6 months

                  Parish Council sign off survey and agree to call for land
 but can

                                Yes                              No

                    Send out call for land press             No further
                             release                          action

                          Collate results
 Up to 4 months

                  Conduct site visits with Parish

                      Agree preferred site(s)
 Up to 6 months

                  Initiate development with RSL
                     including RSL selection if
Approx12 months - 2 years
timescale                                                                                            PROPOSED PROCEDURE

                                        1 week or up to 3 months if a meeting needs to be arranged
                                                                                                     Contact Parish Council to consider carrying out a survey and attend meeting
                                                                                                                                     if requested

                                                                                                             Agree to carry out survey                     Not supportive

                                                                                                                                                     Inform Parish Council that
                                                                                                                                                    we intend to carry out survey
                                                                                                                                                    without their support but will
                                                                                                                                                    keep them informed of each
                       4 week survey and call for land

                                                                                                      Produce survey and arrange roadshow

                                                                                                                                                      Send out call for
                                                                                                       Distribute survey and hold roadshow           land press release
        2/4 month for report write up and call for

                                                                                                                                                        Collate sites
        land analysis (Up to 6 months if Parish
        Council consent on final site required)

                                                                                                        Collate surveys and write up report              submitted

                                                                                                                                                    Conduct site visits
                                                                                                     Report back to Parish Council with results     with Parish Council
                                        1 -3 months

                                                                                                      Initiate development with RSL including           Notify/agree
                                                                                                              RSL selection if necessary              preferred site(s)
4 months -12 months approx

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