Cheddington Rural Affordable Housing Project

Following a presentation from the Buckinghamshire Rural Housing Enabler, the Parish Council undertook an affordable housing needs survey in October 2004. Questionnaires were deliverec to every home in Cheddington. 162 completed questionnaires were received and analysed. The results indicated a need for a small scheme of affordable units for rent and shared ownership in the village. The Council, in Partnership with Buckinghamshire Community Action and the Hastoe Housing Association, held an open event in the village hall side room on Saturday 12th February, 2005. The event was well attended and confirmed the need for an affordable housing scheme in the village.

The questionnaires also sought resident's opinions about whether an affordable housing project was needed. 44% of respondents were in favour, 20% against with 36% neither for or against.

At its meeting on 6th April 2005, the parish council resolved to support an affordable rural housing scheme of 12 homes subject to further consultation with the community on potential sites and site layout.

The parish council then identified 5 possible exception sites (see below for definition) and, together with Bucks Community Action and the Hastoe Housing Association consulted with the planners at AVDC and land owners. Of the 5 possible sites, 4 were ruled out as unsuitable because of their location, access, likelihood of the landowner selling at affordable prices or of being granted planning permission.

The parish council considered that the only suitable exception site is on land adjacent to Barkham Close. Members of the parish council, Bucks Community Action and the Hastoe Building Association attended a meeting of Barkham Close Residents in the Autumn lounge in June 2006 to explain why the location had been selected and to listen to and respond to their concerns.

A key concern expressed by Barkham Close resients related to disturbance during construction. Hastoe advised residents that the contractors will be required to comply with the national Considerate Constructors Scheme. Under the scheme sites must be run in a way which not only gives the highest priority to health and safety and the environment, but is sensitive to the communities in which they are located.

As part of the consultation process, the plans were displayed at the village fete on Saturday 8th July 2006. David Askew (Hastoe) and Sam Galvin (Rural Housing Enabler) and members of the Parish Council were on hand to answer questions and assist applicants in registering a housing need.

Since then a full planning application for this scheme  has now been submitted to AVDC. At its meeting on 6th September 2006, the parish council considered representations received from residents in Barkham Close and Mentmore Road, and those made at the meeting both for and against the proposed development, and resolved to support the proposals as submitted in the planning application.

The District Council Development Control Meeting met on 26th October 2006 and resolved to accept the officers recommendation that the application for a Rural Affordable Housing development on land off Barkham Close be delegated to officers for approval subject to completion of the Section 106 agreement and some minor matters regarding fencing and screening that Hastoe has already agreed to.

The 106 agreement deals with both the money to be allocated for off site sports and leisure provison and ensuring accomodation is only provided to local people or those with a close connection with the village.

To get more facts about the project look at the answers to the following frequently asked questions (Thanks to Bucks Community Action, whose website has further details).

What is Affordable Housing?

Meeting rural affordable housing needs can be achieved in a variety of different ways. In the Aylesbury Vale District, it will be common for most "exception scheme" affordable housing to be new build, on small sites. Planning permission will be granted for affordable housing schemes as an exception to normal policy (see 'Finding a Site' below). New dwellings will be owned by a Housing Association and either rented or part-owned (shared ownership) by people with a strong local connection. In the Chiltern District, it can be very difficult to provide new affordable housing in rural areas due to high land prices and restrictions imposed by the Greenbelt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Consequently, although there will be some potential for new affordable housing development, much of the affordable housing will be provided through other initiatives. These include using existing accommodation (e.g. returning empty properties back to use, encouraging people to let out rooms etc) and helping people to access support in their own homes (e.g. help with mobility adaptations).

Who are homes on exception schemes for?

Affordable Housing is for people with a strong local connection to the Parish concerned, who cannot afford to buy or rent homes on the open market. This is why the early consultation focussed on establishing the need for affordable housing in the parish.

But I have heard that people from all over Ayesbury Vale have been housed in the new Pitstone affordable housing, won't that happen here?

The Pitstone affordable housing is not a rural housing scheme with the same criteria as Cheddington. Although it is theoretically possible that if no-one with local connections required an affordable home AVDC might seek to house someone else, this will be avoided by restricting the size of the scheme to reflect the established demand.

Why is it needed?

Rising house prices have meant that young people and those on lower incomes cannot afford to live in their village. Not only are people being forced to move away, but others cannot even afford that option and continue to live as part of an existing household. In some cases, the movement of people away may contribute to communities losing facilities such as village halls, shops, schools and pubs.

How do I apply for a home in the Cheddington Rural Affordable Housing Scheme?

You should register your need with the Housing Officer at Aylesbury Vale District Council  Tel: 01296 585197 or email

Exception Schemes - Aylesbury Vale District

Establishing the Need

In order to obtain planning permission for an exception scheme, a local need must be proven in the village. Although district wide surveys give a broad overview of housing need in larger subdivisions of the district, they do not indicate the housing need in individual rural parishes. Consequently, part of my role involves undertaking housing needs surveys at parish level, which establish very specific details in relation to housing need; such as information on incomes, tenures, affordable rents and dwelling sizes. (The data would be made available to the Planning department of the District Council in an anonymous form - as part of a public application for planning permission). Survey details are updated throughout the development process and it is advisable for applicants to also register with the Council for rented and/or shared ownership dwellings.

Finding a Site

Finding a suitable site can be one of the most time consuming parts of the process. The challenge is to identify a piece of land which meets planning requirements, is owned by a landowner who is willing to sell at an affordable price and can accommodate the number of units required. The sites selected are known as 'exception sites'. These are sites outside the village envelope that would not normally get planning permission for residential development and hence can be bought at a lower price, an amount which is usually just above the agricultural value of the land, but significantly less than its development value. To aid the process, the community and Parish Council are asked to put forward suggestions, as they usually have the best knowledge of available sites. A handful of sites can then be taken to the District Council Planning department to establish if they are suitable for an exception scheme.

Obtaining Funding for a Scheme

Funding for a scheme is sought from the Housing Corporation by a Housing Association. In our case this will be the Hastoe Housing Association, who have successfully obtained funding for a number of potential schemes around the Aylesbury Vale District.

For further information please contact:

Cheddington Parish CouncilAylesbury Vale District Council or Bucks Community Action.

© 2005-2024 Bill Perrett

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