RURAL HOUSING PLANNING ADVICE
En-Plan: Planning & Architecture have been appointed to offer planning and design advice on a rural exceptions housing site in Shropshire.
Following an initial consultation with the client En-Plan: Planing & Architecture are now working in partnership with a local Housing Association to develop a site for affordable housing along with open market properties that will allow for the delivery of the scheme as "enabling development".
Affordable housing and rural exception sites: Frequently asked questions
1.What is affordable housing? The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines affordable housing as ‘housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market. It must also meet one of a number of more specific definitions related to a range of tenures including rented and low cost home ownership.
2.What is a rural exception site? Rural exception site policy allows local planning authorities to grant planning permission for affordable housing on land that would not normally be used for housing because, for example, it is subject to polices of restraint. Hence an exception is make to normal planning policy to address proven local housing need. However, other planning issues such as site suitability, scale, design, etc. must still be addressed.
3. Why might we need affordable housing in our village? House prices have outgrown incomes in recent years, especially in rural communities. This means that young people in particular are moving away which can be detrimental to both themselves and the sustainability of their community. Social and family networks are breaking down whilst local services such as schools, public transport, shops and pubs become less viable.
4.Why is there so little affordable housing in rural communities? Affordable housing accounts for 19% of homes in urban England but only 12% of homes in rural England. The situations is getting worse over time. Rural communities are particularly vulnerable to loses from Right to Buy (they are seldom replaced in the same village) whilst changes to national planning policy have removed the obligation to provide any affordable housing in schemes of 10 or less dwellings, which accounts for the majority of schemes in rural communities.
5.Will the houses always remain ‘affordable houses’? Housing association properties developed on rural exception sites will remain so in perpetuity. On shared ownership properties the share that can be purchased is capped at 80% (or the Housing Association must undertake to buy back the property if a tenant who has increased their ownership to 100% wants to sell). These measure ensure that the affordable housing is secured for future generations. The government is piloting a voluntary Right To Buy for housing association properties. However, as the guidance currently stands, Housing Associations will have the option of excluding their rural stock due to the lack of affordable homes in rural communities.
If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.
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