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Information regarding the Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document

The District Council will shortly be preparing a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will contain detailed advice on how the Council will seek to secure affordable housing as part of new housing developments. The SPD will set out the policy context for such housing, then details of how the Council will seek to negotiate these matters, and how viability will be considered.

The SPD will also provide guidance on affordable housing in rural areas as contained in Development Policy 12 (DP12) of the Local Plan. This policy allows for small scale housing development on sites, often outside of the development limit, to meet identified local needs as an, exception to normal planning policy.

In the meantime, the following important principles should be noted:

Any 'rural exception site' development must be informed by a robust, up to date Local Housing Needs Survey (LHNS) a necessary pre-cursor to developing a rural scheme. The survey which may be undertaken by any party, but which must be robust and independent, seeks to establish whether housing needs exist, and if it does, the extent to which it exists. If a housing need is identified, sites can then be identified and the development process progressed. The mix of unit sizes and tenures reflects the needs identified in the LHNS.

To ensure consistency of approach and analysis, the Council's preference is to work in partnership with both the Parish Council and independent organisations, set up to assess local housing needs for rural communities. In most cases this is likely to be the Community Council for Somerset (CCS). The Council can assist Parish Councils in identifying appropriate partners, usually a Registered Housing Provider to take the development forward.

More information regarding Rural Exception Sites can be found Rural Affordable Housing - A Guide for Parish Councils.

For further questions or assistance in identifying funding sources for Housing Needs Surveys, please contact the Housing Enabling Team on 0300 3038588. 

Last modified: 14 September 2016