Delivering Affordable Housing is one of our top priorities, to ensure local people have access to good quality housing they can afford throughout the district.
What is Affordable Housing?
Affordable Housing means homes for local people at an affordable rent, and also low cost home ownership properties, which are kept at below market value in perpetuity. The key characteristics of affordable housing are:
- Affordable rented accommodation - the Government has recently brought in new guidelines in respect of properties let at sub-market rents, of up to 80% of a market rent; the term also relates to traditional social rented homes (for example former Council housing).
- Low cost or 'intermediate' home ownership tenures, include shared ownership (part rent/ part buy); shared equity (the Housing Association or other party retains a share of the property); and discounted sale (the owner purchases the property at a fixed percentage discount from open market value, and then future sales of the property are at the same level of discount).
For details of the type of housing available see affordable housing options.
What does affordable mean?
Affordable Housing is housing that is affordable to people who cannot readily afford what is available on the open market. In respect of home ownership, Government recommendations on responsible borrowing are up to 2.9 x joint income or 3.5 x single income. The Government has said for rents to be affordable they must be no more than 80% of a market rent.
Who is eligible for affordable Housing in Eden?
Our priority is to provide affordable housing for local people in housing need.
To be eligible you must meet the following local connection criteria, as defined in Eden's Core Strategy:
- A person or household who currently lives in the relevant locality and has done so for a continuous period of at least three years; and/ or
- A person or household who works in the relevant locality and has done so for a continuous period of at least three years; and/ or
- Who has moved away but has strong established and continuous links with the relevant locality by reason of birth or long term immediate family connections; and/ or
- Who has an essential need through age or disability to live close to those who have lived in the relevant locality for at least three years.
We have identified the housing needs of Eden district, through carrying out a rolling programme of parish surveys through Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, supplemented by "in-house" surveys, such as the 2011 Penrith housing need survey for more information see Cumbria Rural Housing Trust.
Cumbria Choice Based Lettings (CBL)
Cumbria Choice Based Lettings is a new housing allocations partnership. For more information or to register online see www.cumbriachoice.org.uk.
Community Land Trusts(CLTs)
Community Land Trusts specialise in the development of community owned assets, often including affordable housing.
A good example of a local CLT is the Big Society Vanguard, the Lyvennet Community Trust at Crosby Ravensworth, with development commencing in summer 2011 on 12 affordable homes, as well as self-build properties for local people. Local people have also raised money to bring the local community pub back into use. The Crosby Ravensworth scheme is a key example of how the Localism Agenda can work in practice.
The Council is supportive of CLTs, and was pleased to be able to help the Lyvennet Community Trust with financial assistance towards set up costs. If you would like to know more about CLTs, or your local community would be interested in looking into setting up a Trust, please contact:
Andy Lloyd, Community Land Trust Officer
Cumbria Rural Housing Trust
Telephone: 01768 210265
Recent and Current Affordable Housing Schemes
Sites completed recently or with construction underway as at 2011 include:
RAFA Club and adjoining site, Penrith - 22 apartments for rent, completed in 2010 and 2011 for more information see Eden Housing Association.
Penrith New Squares - as well as new Sainsbury's supermarket, retail units, and open market homes, this mixed development also includes 46 affordable homes, houses and apartments, in the first phase: 28 for rent and 18 for low cost home ownership, which should be completed by 2012 for more information see Riverside Carlisle Housing Association.
Site adjacent to Eden Rural Foyer, Penrith - 27 apartments for rent, as well as new family centre, completion anticipated 2012 for more information see Impact Housing Association.
Former garage site, Old London Road, Penrith - 33 affordable homes, a mixture of houses and apartments, mostly for rent, but including 4 low cost home ownership properties for more information see Impact Housing Association.
Silver Street, Crosby Ravensworth - 12 new affordable houses, 10 for rent and 2 low cost home ownership, as well as 8 self-build homes for local people for more information see Lyvennet Community Trust.
Low Cost Home Ownership Housing Options
Under the First Buy scheme, the Government's new flagship shared equity scheme, the Government and the house builders will jointly provide a 20% loan to top up a first-time buyer's own deposit of 5%. This will allow them to take out a mortgage for 75% of the property.
Loans will be free of charge for the first five years and repaid when the property is resold. The funds will then be recycled to fund more homes for the scheme.
The First Buy scheme aims to help 10,000 families to get onto the housing ladder for the first time, with the first homes expected to be available from September 2011.
The First Buy agent for Cumbria is Riverside Group's Home Ownership Division, based in Merseyside:
Telephone: 0151 282 8513 / Website: www.riversidehomeownership.org.uk
Homeseekers' Register (Discounted Sale)
We set up the Homeseekers' Register in November 2010 providing low cost home ownership properties for local people, who are unable to afford to buy at open market value. These homes have been negotiated with developers, through their affordable housing contributions on new build schemes.
The initial purchaser would buy the home at a percentage discount from open market value - usually 40% - and then pass on the same percentage discount when they came to sell the home on for more information see Homeseekers register.
Self-Build Affordable Housing
If you live in a rural area outside the 4 Key Service Centres - Penrith, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Alston and 46 Local Service Centres - larger villages with local services and facilities (identified in Eden's Core Strategy) then this is classified as a Rural Exception Area where residential development would only be permissible for affordable housing.
You may qualify to build your own affordable home in one of these areas, but you would have to sell the home on at a discount, on the same basis as the Homeseekers' Register. To qualify you would need to meet the Council's local connection criteria (set out above) and demonstrate that:
- you are unable to afford a suitable home currently available on the market
- you are currently in housing need (for example unsuitably housed)
- you can demonstrate a need to live locally.
For further details, please refer to Section 4.2 Self-Build Affordable Housing - Build your own Home, of the Housing Supplementary Planning document.
For further information:
Contact: The Housing Team
Address: Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG
Telephone: 01768 817817
Fax: 01768 890732