Affordable homes for local people on exception sites
As you know there is a significant national shortfall in the number of affordable homes available to rent or to buy on a shared ownership basis. This shortfall is reflected in our district, especially with the huge disparity between property prices and income, which has meant that many young families have had to move away as they are unable to afford to stay within their community. South Cambridgeshire District Council has successfully worked with housing association partners over many years to build new affordable homes in villages across the district, and we continue to do so. New affordable homes built average around 150 per year.
As part of the City Deal negotiations we committed to providing an additional 1000 new homes for local people on rural exception sites and other windfall sites. The City Deal is £0.5billion of central government grant that will be utilised in 3 tranches up to 2031 to provide infrastructure across Cambridge City and South Cambs to generate better transport links and economic growth. It is overseen by the City Deal Board comprising the City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridge University, the County Council, and the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).
In basic terms we have agreed with Government to build approximately 75 additional new homes a year in the City Deal area assuming we work on a pipeline of sites from now and get the first on site by 2016/17. The release of the next tranche of £200m of City Deal funding in 2020 is dependent upon us making progress towards this overall 1000 additional homes on rural exception sites.
An exception site is a site outside the village framework/development boundary which would never normally get planning consent but may be considered where it provides affordable homes for local people. An exception site plot value is very low at around 10-15% of normal market plot value to help ensure a financially viable scheme. Exception sites average around 10-20 new homes dependent on the housing need and size of the village; therefore we are looking at an additional 4-8 sites per year across the district. The City Deal does not, at present, include any direct funding to build these new homes.
Council New Build
The council will be looking to build a proportion of the additional 1000 homes on rural exception sites, on current estimates this means the council will build 20-30 new council homes per year along with our existing housing association partners - also known as RSL’s or RP’s (Registered Social Landlords or Registered Providers respectively).
As part of our work with the City and County we will be exploring land holdings they might have that could provide useful sites. The aim is to work together to make best use of the assets we hold. As part of this work we want to work with parish councils to ensure any sites identified meet village requirements. Once we have undertaken initial assessment of any sites identified, we will be contacting the relevant parish council to put forward proposals. Parish council input is very valuable to us and we will work with the parish council to make a full assessment, both in terms of planning policy and viability of any sites identified. All sites taken forward will have to go through the usual planning process.
Call for sites
We would urge you to bring forward sites in your village that the community and Parish are keen to see developed as affordable housing for local people; as any site that has support will be more practical to take forward.
Our aim is to always want to work with communities to provide homes that are on supported sites.
If you have land that you would like us to consider please complete the Exception Site Registration Form found below:
If you have any questions about exception sites or need advice on whether to submit a site please contact Gill Anderton Head of Housing Development (New Build) on 01954 713377 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Fletcher (Head of Housing Strategy and Development) on 01954 713352 / email@example.com