Questions and Answers

Housing for local people

Where will the houses be built? We will announce that soon; as soon as we have secured the land. It will be somewhere on the edge of the village in a location that the planners will accept for a community-led scheme to meet local need.  We encouraged everybody in the village to participate in the process of agreeing selection criteria and suggesting possible sites.
When will you reveal the location for the development and how did you decide on it? We hope very soon.  We drew up a list of criteria against which possible sites have been assessed. We made a list of possible locations that answer the criteria.  We discussed the list with the planners and landowners, reduced it to a short list and invited community comment on it. Only one proved to be viable.
Will this create a precedent that would help commercial developers get planning permission? We believe that, by being seen to take steps to meet the identified needs of local people as demonstrated by the housing needs survey, we reduce the likelihood of commercial developers getting permission for development (especially development outside the settlement boundary).
Surely wherever you select is going to be unpopular with some. Development proposals always cause concern but our proposal will reduce the threat of development by commercial developers and is preferable in a number of ways: We will take into account the impact on existing residents in our assessment of the options.We will go to greater lengths to minimise any adverse impacts by careful layout, landscaping etc.The community will be more involved in the decision-making process.Abbotts Ann will benefit from the funding of community projects.We intend it to be an exemplar scheme in terms of design and sustainability.
How much will the rent be? Affordable rents are set at no more than 80% of rents for equivalent properties in the private rented sector.  We would hope also to keep them below the Local Housing Allowance figures.   Actual rents will be influenced by land cost, construction cost, level of government grant and borrowing costs. 
Would tenants qualify for Housing Benefit? Depending on individual circumstances, tenants could be eligible for housing benefit if unable to afford the “affordable” rent. 
If I purchase a ‘down-sizing’ residence, would I be able to sell it on? Yes.   There may be a requirement to offer it first to the Community Land Trust. 
What will be the criteria for allocating housing? Likely to be similar to the criteria in local planning policy for approving such developments:  i.e.   that they help meet the affordable housing need of the parish and “———— a member of each household has either:
i)  been ordinarily resident in the parish or previously lived in the parish and has a strong family connection; or
ii)  a demonstrable need by virtue of their employment to live in the village or its immediate surroundings; or
iii)  a demonstrable need to live within the village either to support or be supported by a family member.”
Who will manage the rented housing? We have been through a selection process to find a housing association that is truly committed to responsible and caring management.  We hope to announce an appointment in the near future