Changes to housing policy were announced this week by Brandon Lewis, the Housing Minister, that will reduce the number of affordable homes built for rural families. He announced the removal of Section 106 agreements from sites of fewer than 10 homes.

These agreements are known as planning obligations and require developers to provide contributions, such as affordable homes or playgrounds, to offset negative impacts caused by construction and development.

Our concern is that this change may cause small-scale developers to simply stop building affordable homes.

Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities responded strongly to this proposal in the consultation stage as most new developments in the National Parks are very small scale in nature and a high percentage of their affordable housing is delivered on these small sites. The concession to this submission has been an agreement for a lower 5-unit threshold in designated rural areas such as National parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Rural Housing Enablers at Devon Communities Together work with Parish Councils to enable the development of affordable housing in villages to allow local people on low incomes to continue to live in their local community. These homes are usually developed on exception sites which are sites outside the village development boundary that can only be awarded planning permission if there is a proven need for affordable housing in the local community. The new ruling does not apply to development on exception sites and the Rural Housing Enablers will continue to work with Parish Councils across the county to identify housing need and find suitable sites to satisfy local need.

If this matter affects you please call our Rural Housing Enablers

Sue Southwell on 01392 248919 ext*121, email [email protected] or Janice Alexander on 01392 248919 ext*122, email [email protected]