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Affordable Housing

In simple terms, affordable housing is housing, for sale or rent, whose needs aren’t met by market housing. Such houses include subsidised and for essential local workers.

What is affordable housing?

In simple terms, affordable housing is housing, for sale or rent, whose needs aren’t met by market housing. Such houses include subsidised and for essential local workers. There are several categories including:

Housing for rent (social rented): rental properties, with rents at least 20% below market rents, by a registered provider and to remain affordable in perpetuity
Discounted market sales housing: properties sold at least 20% below the local market value and to remain discounted in perpetuity. Local incomes and houses prices determine eligibility.
Starter homes: restricted to the purchase of the first home for eligible purchasers, with maximum income levels.
Other routes: including shared ownership, rent to buy etc. In addition to the three categories above, there are many several routes which fall under the definition of affordable housing where the equivalent cost is discounted from the market value and for future eligible households.

Affordable housing developments

The NPPF requires Local Planning Authorities to identify the need for affordable housing, the type of housing required and plan accordingly.

Ideally, the relevant housing provision should be met on-site as part of larger developments however there are opportunities to provide such housing off-site or make financial contributions accordingly.

Local planning policies should only, generally, require affordable housing on major development sites (10 houses or more) although this threshold can and is often reduced in rural areas where the need for such housing is higher. Such housing provision can be reduced on brownfield land to encourage the reuse or redevelop of vacant buildings. The NPPF identifies that a minimum of 10% of all houses on major developments should be affordable although there are exemptions to this.

If you are considering developing a site of more than 10 houses, in a rural area or for affordable housing contact us today to discuss your options.


Affordable Housing in Green Belt

As stated in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) while the majority of development is classed as inappropriate in the green belt, there are limited exceptions for the construction of new buildings including:

(f) limited affordable housing for local community needs under policies set out in the development plan (including policies for rural exception sites)

(g) limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed land, whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would:

  • not cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt, where the development would re-use previously developed land and contribute to meeting an identified affordable housing need within the area of the local planning authority.

For more information on the Green Belt generally please go to our dedicated page.

If you are considering a scheme for affordable housing in the Green Belt contact us to discuss the opportunities and limitations.


Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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