Grant scheme to increase affordable housing stock

August 7, 2018

Does your parish need affordable housing? Here are the steps you need to take to make it happen.

If you live in the South Downs you are probably already aware that the National Park has some of the highest house prices in the country. Homes are in high demand with towns and villages regularly appearing in property sections under headlines such as ‘most desirable’, ‘happiest’ etc. High-income urban households looking to move into the countryside and a shortage of land add to the problem. The consequences of a lack of affordable housing are severe with low income families facing a difficult future – having to move, leaving support and employment networks behind.

The National Park Authority has launched a new grant scheme, using money paid by developers, to deliver more affordable housing in the South Downs. Grants of between £10,000 and £30,000 are available for affordable dwellings constructed on rural exceptions sites (sites that would not be granted planning permission for open market housing) or for affordable housing delivered through community-led initiatives such as Community Land Trusts.

If you think there’s a need for affordable housing in your parish here are the steps that you need to take:

  1. Prove there is a genuine need. You may know of local people in need of affordable homes but anecdotal evidence isn’t enough. You’ll need to carry out a housing need survey or work with a housing need enabler such as Action Rural SussexHARAH – Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing or Chichester District Council Housing Delivery
  2. Start looking for potential sites. Work with the parish, community and local landowners to identify several possible sites. But don’t spend any money on land or designs yet!
  3. Consider how you’re going to deliver the housing. A not-for-profit firm such as a community land trust (CLT) may be your best option if you want to access Government grants.
  4. Start conversations with us, the National Park Authority, we can guide you through site selection and help you identify sites that won’t damage the landscape, local wildlife etc. and are therefore more likely to get planning permission – avoiding disappointment and wasted money later down the road.
  5. It’s time for formal discussions to buy the land before starting to work on designs and going into pre-application discussions with the National Park Authority.

If your community would like to know more about our grant scheme contact affordablehousing@southdowns.gov.uk