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Affordable Housing in the new Housing Developments

January 12, 2013 by  

42-15243430

Many residents expressed their concerns about the affordable housing requirements to us during the consultation on the three planning applications (2 refused) submitted by David Wilson Homes.

As your District Councillors we listened to your concerns and within what we could do in the planning process we ensured in the last Pre-Application consultations with the house builder that the affordable housing, 35% of 176, meaning 62 houses, were not to be provided just in one part of the development but in both parts of the development and spread throughout.

We also had significant input into the design of the houses in the last Pre-Application consultations with the house builder including making sure that the affordable houses had the same design attributes as the larger more expensive houses.

As Rochford District Council’s Core Strategy requires 3,500 new homes to be built before 2025 this will result in 1225 affordable dwellings in the District as a whole we feel that this needs to be managed carefully by all Members of the Council so that all of these homes are built and and gardens provided to the same standard as fully privately owned property to maintain the same high standard of living for all residents.

We recognise that there remain concerns and we have discussed various aspects with the Council Officers already because some residents have recently found it necessary to complain about some existing occupants of social housing in Hawkwell.

We recognise that this is a very sensitive subject but we have a duty as District Councillors to inform all residents.

These answers from Council Officers are our findings regarding Social Housing.

When we have a deficit of housing for residents of our District why would residents from outside of our District receive housing in our District?

The demand for housing, as evidenced through the housing register,is not only from residents of the District but others who have a local connection with the District through past residence, family or employment. (At present Rochford District Council can nominate some allocations (75%) and the Housing Association allocate the rest.)

• Why do we not have 100/nil if favour of Council allocation? Can it be changed? What will be the ratio on the DWH site?

The 75/25 split for nominations is the standard agreement between Councils and Registered Providers (RPs) and is also reflected in the LSVT (Large Scale Voluntary Transfer agreement between Rochford District Council and The Rochford Housing Association). For new build schemes however we would normally try to secure 100% nomination rights for the first lets and accept 75/25 split for subsequent lets.

What is the Council and Rochford Housing Association (RHA) policy on “sensitive lets”? Please define that term and advise the policies.

We do not have a policy as such on sensitive lets and I cannot answer for RHA. If a situation requires a “sensitive let”, when deciding whether to nominate an applicant we will take into consideration a number of factors including age, medical conditions, previous tenancy record (if applicable) and other aspects such as any record of anti social behaviour etc., We will provide RHA (or indeed any other RP) with the relevant information we have but ultimately it would be for them to decide whether to accept the nomination.

How can residents living nearby protect their own interests in respect of anti social behaviour emanating from residents of social housing as compared to private rental and owner occupier tenures.

Where residents incur issues of an anti social behaviour nature from any other residents, whether this be in relation to social housing, private rental or owner occupiers, these issues can be reported to the Council’s Community Safety Team. Or Essex Police in extreme situations. They will then look into the issues raised and endeavour to find a solution to the problem and where the perpetrator is in social housing, the Community Safety Team will work with the Registered Social Landlord to find solutions. With regard to social housing, the residents can if they wish go direct to the Registered Social Landlords. Another source of help is RDC Environmental Health depending on the nature of the complaint. 

Hopefully all new residents will settle into their new homes quickly and enjoy their new local communities.

Please let us know if you wish to comment by contacting your local Councillors,  John Mason at john.mason [at] bigfoot [dot] com or Councillor Christine Mason at Christine.Mason [at] Rochfordessex [dot] net.

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