Cheshire East moves forward with scheme to help deliver affordable homes

Housing 1

Cheshire East Council have been considering mechanisms to increase the provision of sustainable and affordable homes, for rent and homeownership.

Having considered a number of options, the Council is now putting forward a recommendation to approve the procurement of a Housing Development Framework to commission the development of mixed tenure housing provision on identified Council owned land.

This option is being recommended over the direct sale of Council owned land to the market which would enable them to obtain the best value but would reduce their ability to be in control of the type and tenure of the units developed on the site.

The Housing Development Framework is designed to enable the local authority to have greater control over the type, price and forms of housing on council-owned land sold to developers for housing to help deliver more affordable housing, including bungalows, which are in short supply in the borough.

The scheme will come before the council's environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny committee next week and any housing applications would be subject to securing approvals via the normal planning process.

The Council is also recommending that they award and enter into a Framework Agreement with between two and eight housing providers and identify and approve appropriate Council owned land assets to be taken through the Framework.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: "This move is good news, as one of the key issues in the borough is being able to develop the right type of housing that meets the needs of all our residents.

"Our housing framework approach is about using appropriate council-owned land to help provide much-needed homes across the borough and help deliver the housing numbers already identified and agreed in our Local Plan Strategy to 2030. Nothing more.

"The approach outlined is that if the council has a surplus site it would have the option – but not the right – to use the proposed framework to control the type, price, design and form of housing on the site, as opposed to selling it and leaving it to a developer to determine the scheme."

Councillor Toni Fox, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for planning, said: "This is an exciting initiative by the council that aims to positively influence the delivery of housing in the borough. This means we are more likely to get the type of houses built in our borough that our communities and their families need.

"I would emphasise that any proposed scheme would only be delivered on a site that is capable of being developed, in line with the agreed Local Plan. Moreover, any scheme would need to secure the appropriate planning consents, as is normal practice. This is categorically not a mechanism for allocating more sites for housing."

Cheshire East currently have 8,548 applications on the social housing waiting list, of which 1,838 are a high priority. On average 1600 units per annum are turned over.

In 2018 727 affordable homes were delivered through Section 106 agreements, however this is not keeping pace with the increased number of applicants registering for social housing, which on average is 500 new applications per month.

The Council relies on the private rented sector to help address the housing need, however they are now seeing a reluctance from private landlords to house those in receipt of Universal Credit or to rent their properties out at the Local Housing Allowance rate.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Duncan Herald
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 4:57 pm
Q1) where are the 727 affordable houses built?
Q2) where were the Section 106 agreements 'located'?
Q3) what were the prices of the affordable houses?
Q4) was there any involvement by Parish or Town Councils?
Q5)..were any Neighbourhood Plans involved?
Jon Williams
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 9:22 pm
1 - Plenty in Middlewich
3 - Remember "Affordable" can mean, affordable to rent from a Housing Ass.
Duncan Herald
Sunday 14th June 2020 at 10:26 am
Hi Jon,
2 fair points1

Is it possible to know roughly (at least) how many of the 727 were built in Middlewich and where the others were built? Also who decided on where?
I wonder if Cheshire East read this and can then provide answers?

Can we know the difference between a 'market rent' and an 'affordable rent', in this particular context? Plus what is the connection between who built the houses, who financed the 'purchase' of the houses by/for the Housing Ass. ?

I'm not complaining, just curious.

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