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.

Andrew Backhouse
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 3:53 pm
Delighted to hear that the council is going to do something about really affordable housing at last, that those who are in housing need might afford. With the recession sweeping in after Covid lockdown, I think that is even more needed. It seems too long since developers were allowed to get away with building a few 'affordable' houses at a bit off the main purchase price, when they were already overpriced and not built to the best environmental standards that we should be implementing.
Jon Kelly
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 4:00 pm
Lack of affordable housing for local families has been an ongoing issue in Wilmslow for many many years. Thirty years ago many District Councils were social landlords and saw this as one of their most important functions. Following Central Government pressure all of these homes migrated over to Housing Associations who then were pressured to increasingly charge more market rates.
My personal view is we do need more real social housing and in a variety of ownerships , council, housing assiciation, low cost home ownership and private rental in areas compatible with our local and neighbourhood plans. Fingers crossed with this.
Cllr Jon Kelly,
WTC, Wilmslow East Ward.
Anita Willoughby
Tuesday 30th June 2020 at 9:55 am
I think the country needs council house full stop. The lack will be clear in the covid fallout.

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