Pay Apply Report

About affordable housing

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.

  • 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 Housing 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 times joint income or 3.5 times 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 identified the housing needs of Eden district, through carrying out a rolling programme of parish surveys through Cumbria Rural Housing Trust. These surveys were supplemented by "in-house" surveys, such as the 2011 Penrith housing Need survey.

Cumbria Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

Cumbria Choice Based Lettings is a new housing allocations partnership. For more information or to register online see

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, 12 affordable homes completed in June 2012, 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.

Recent and Current Affordable Housing Schemes

A total of 125 affordable homes were delivered in the Eden District during 2012/2013. This includes new homes at Penrith New Squares (through Riverside Carlisle Housing Association); the two Impact Housing Association schemes either side of Old London Road, Penrith; the Lyvennet Community Trust scheme at Crosby Ravensworth; and properties at High Hesket (both for low cost home ownership through the Council's Homeseekers' Register and for rent through Two Castles Housing Association).

During 2013/2014 new affordable homes were built at the Story Homes sites at Kirkby Stephen and Clifton (through Riverside Carlisle); Eden Housing Association built a scheme at Low Hesket; and there is an affordable scheme on the site of the former Grey Bull pub, Penrith.

Eden's Housing Services team continues to work with partners to bring new affordable developments forward.

Low Cost Home Ownership Housing Options

Help to Buy

The 'Help to Buy' equitable loan scheme replaced the Government's 'First Buy' scheme. The Government's house builder 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 scheme is only open through participating developer's new build schemes.

A new 'Help to Buy' mortgage guarantee is due to be implemented in January 2014. This will be open to existing as well as newly built homes. More information on this scheme will be available later this year.

The Help to Buy agent for Cumbria is Riverside Group's Home Ownership Division, based in Merseyside:

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 were 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 four Key Service Centres - Penrith, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Alston, or any other local service centres - larger villages with local services and facilities (identified in Eden's Core Strategy), 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.

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