Affordable Housing

Sevenoaks District Council has produced a new Guide to Developing Affordable Homes in Rural Communities

This guide is a series of factsheets that sets out the pathway to enable affordable rural housing development, it offers guidance about the finance, whom can and should be involved and expels the myths around who is allocated affordable rural homes.

Affordable Housing is so important in rural areas, as house prices are so high, both to buy and to rent, that local people very often just can't afford to continue to live here and have to move away. 

The Chiddingstone Housing Needs Survey has been completed and a need has been identified of 11 units of affordable housing for local people.  The summary of results is below:

Chiddingstone Housing Needs Survey – Summary of Results

  •  517 surveys were distributed and 130 surveys were returned. This is a 25% response rate, the average response rate is 29/30%.
  • 80% of respondents were owner occupiers.
  • 71% of respondents have lived in the parish for over 10 years.
  • 65% of respondents felt more houses are needed in the parish.
  • The type of housing respondents felt were most needed were affordable housing for rent and affordable housing for shared ownership.
  • 76% of respondents who answered the question said they would support a small development of affordable housing if there was a proven need for people with a genuine local connection to the parish.
  • 35% of respondents who answered the question said that the extension of the Right to Buy does change their view on whether a scheme should be undertaken.
  • 57% of respondents who answered the question said that, if the tenant had the Right to Buy their rural home, they would not support a scheme.
  • The level of support for a local needs housing scheme would be reduced if the tenant has the Right to Buy.

Local Housing Costs

  • At the time of writing the report, the cheapest property for sale in the parish was a 4 bed semi-detached house for £465,000. For a first time buyer, a deposit of approx £69,750 and income of approx £112,929 would be required.
  • There were no properties found available to rent. The cheapest property found within a 3 mile radius of the parish was a 1 bed flat in Edenbridge for £700 per calendar month. An income of approx £28,000 would be required to afford this property.

 Housing Need

  • A need for up to 11 affordable homes for local people was identified; 5 single people, 4 couples and 2 families.
  • 3 of the households need housing now, 3 in the next 2 years, and 5 in the next 5 years.
  • All 11 households currently live in the parish; 7 living with relatives, 3 renting privately, and 1 tied tenant.

The mix of accommodation that respondents require/would be eligible for are:

Rented housing: 7 x 1 bed, 1 x 2 bed, 1 x 3 bed

Shared ownership: 1 x 1 bed, 1 x 2 bed.

If you or your family do wish to be considered, however, it is important that you fill out the second half of the form, and make sure that you are on the Sevenoaks District Council Housing Register. Ring 01732-227001 or see www.sevenoaks.gov.uk for more information.  Or for a confidential chat about the process and affordable housing in general, please contact the Clerk

The Parish Council will shortly be drawing up a short-list of possible sites.  If you have a suitable site, or know of one that may be suitable, please will you contact the Parish Council.  Please rest assured that before any decisions are made, a public consultation event will take place so that residents have the opportunity to comment.

The Housing Needs Survey can be found here.

The Parish Council's covering letter can be found here. 

The full Housing Needs Survey Report can be found here.

Requirements for local connection criteria are set for each individual scheme, but the usually will include the following:

  • lives in the parish and/or has lived in the parish for the preceding five years or

  • has lived in the parish in the past for a minimum of five years or

  • has close family in the parish who have lived in the parish for the preceding five years or

  • has employment in the parish or

  • has been forced to move away from the parish due to lack of suitable accommodation

If there are no suitable applicants, a local connection priority will extend to the “neighbouring parishes”, meaning the civil parishes of Leigh, Penshurst and Fordcombe.

Meetings held with Housing Associations 

The Parish Council has met with three Housing Associations in order to discuss a possible scheme in the parish.  The minutes of these meetings can be found here:

English Rural Housing Association

 

 Call for Sites

The Parish Council will shortly be considering where a possible scheme could be located in the parish. If you have a piece of land that you would like to add to the list for consideration, please contact the Clerk.