Cranleigh Society met with Waverley Borough Council councillors and officers. Many topics were covered, which we continue to share openly with you here as well as action points that may make improvement or provide further information:
We asked about low cost and affordable housing and part of the answers included that WBC cannot MAKE developers build low cost and affordable housing! But, they have a bit more say if they have a working “LOCAL PLAN“.
It is suggested that Cranleigh Society and ALL LOCALS lobby their MP Anne Milton about this.
When asked why developers sometimes say they cannot offer 30% affordable housing, the reply is that “It is a viability issue. Where viability is capable of being a planning consideration, Waverley appoint an independent viability consultant to test the evidence.” so that’s clearly a difficult question then.
We asked, what is the definition of Affordable Housing? Waverley’s officer explained that the National Planning Policy Framework contains the definition of Affordable housing. So, we obtained the definition from the Government’s website, see below:-
“Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.
Social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private registered providers (as defined in section 80 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008), for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also be owned by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements to the above, as agreed with the local authority or with the Homes and Communities Agency.
Affordable rented housing is let by local authorities or private registered providers of social housing to households who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable Rent is subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable).
Intermediate housing is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels subject to the criteria in the Affordable Housing definition above. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing.
Homes that do not meet the above definition of affordable housing, such as “low cost market” housing, may not be considered as affordable housing for planning purposes.”
Waverley’s Local Plan includes the required percentage, 30% of affordable housing on schemes above a certain size. The tenure split is informed by advice from our Housing Enabling Team. A contract with a registered provider, as negotiated through a section 106 agreement, is effected in liaison with Waverley’s housing team.
In answer to the question about the provision of starter homes, this could be incorporated into a future Neighbourhood Plan.
DEVELOPERS AND THEIR AGREEMENTS WITH WAVERLEY
Cranleigh Society asked what the council is doing about ensuring that planning permission requirements are complied with. In the past the officers have pointed out that they struggle to oversee everything and rely on the public’s help.
WBC has recently appointed a new officer called a Section 106 Enforcement Officer. Although the role is part-time, this should help.
However, we the public still very much need to bring information to WBC. So, please keep your observations up and report.
Thank you for your continued support.