Context and reasoned justification
Right to Buy schemes have enabled many occupants of council-owned accommodation to buy their home, taking the first steps to housing and financial security. Instead of building council-owned estates to replace depleted stocks, the nation has pursued a strategy of integrating affordable housing into open market developments. This avoids segregating communities but relies on commercial developers to deliver a proportion of properties priced at least 20% below market rates.
Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 Policy AHN1 requires developments of over 6 dwellings (rural areas) and over 11 dwellings (suburban) to make a minimum of 30% of the new homes affordable. Much of Haslemere’s new housing, however, will be delivered by development of small urban sites (of fewer than 10 dwellings) and will potentially fall far short of delivering the affordable housing needed here.
There is significant need throughout Waverley for affordable housing of all three types, namely social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing including shared ownership (ref Glossary pages 62 & 64). As of July 2017, there were 112 households on the Housing Needs Register applying from Haslemere and 39 households applying from Hindhead for an affordable home to rent. This does not include households waiting for a shared ownership property (part rent-part buy).
Those unable to afford housing are not only those unable to work. In this area in particular house prices are too high for many first-time buyers, young families and local workers. Waverley Borough Council notes that Haslemere has a higher need for intermediate housing and has suggested a level of 25 affordable dwellings per year. To provide a variety of housing options and to be true to the vision, integration of affordable housing within new developments is essential. Homes should be distributed throughout the developments and use the same design and building materials as the market housing so that they are indistinguishable, i.e. be ‘tenure-blind’. They should not be hidden from view.
With a seemingly poor pipeline for affordable housing in the Plan area, it is preferable for affordable housing stock not to be depleted through schemes such as Right to Buy. The newly formed Haslemere Community Land Trust (a not-for-profit organization) has a key advantage, in that it can specify that the housing it produces will remain affordable in perpetuity i.e. exempt from Right to Buy schemes in a way that council-owned property is not.
To support provision of affordable homes in the Plan area, by ensuring developments are in conformity with Policy AHN1 of the Waverley Local Plan Part 1. Furthermore, to ensure:
- that new developments within the Plan area provide the type and size of affordable homes that meet the specific needs identified for the Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan area
- a proportion of the area’s affordable housing remains affordable in perpetuity
- that in mixed developments of market and affordable homes, the affordable homes are indistinguishable in terms of external quality finishes etc.
H9.1 The provision of affordable homes should reflect local need and contribute to the objective of creating a mixed and balanced community. All affordable housing in the Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan area must be:
- provided within the development and fully integrated within the market housing
- built using the same materials and in the same style as any market housing on the site
- of a type, size and tenure that meets local needs as formally agreed with Waverley Borough Council; this is likely to include a substantial proportion that are for rent not sale
- accompanied by a statement demonstrating how the development addresses the affordable housing needs set out in the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2015 (or subsequent updates)
H9.2 Developers should enter into early discussions with the Haslemere Community Land Trust, or an equivalent body, to safeguard a proportion of the affordable homes from future sale and maintain affordability of the homes in perpetuity.