Rural affordable housing – History 2008
As discussed at the Parish Council meeting on 10th November 2008, a list of proposed sites has been visited by Jean Fox and reviewed by a AVDC planning officer. The Parish council will be holding a closed meeting in the next few weeks to review this and agree the next steps.
Following the survey result, the Parish Council has agreed to proceed to the next stage. More details will appear on the website. A summary of the survey results is below.
The surveys have now been analysed by Jean Fox, the Rural Housing Enabler, and confirm there is a need for affordable housing in Akeley. Jean says:
‘I have just finished analysing the survey forms for Akeley and you will be pleased to know that the parish does have a need for a small scheme of 6 dwellings for local people’
Further updates will be published here. If you wish to comment about the proposals please contact the Parish Council Clerk or any of the Parish Councillors.
Housing Needs Survey results
As parishioners will recall, discussions between the Parish Council and The Rural Housing Enabler (RHE) about the provision of affordable housing were initiated in February 2008, when Jean Fox, the Rural Housing Enabler from Bucks Community Action was invited to address an open meeting at the village hall. Councillors felt that there might be a need in the village and wanted to identify what type and size of housing, if any, was needed.
Following Jean’s talk, the Parish Council decided to commission a Housing Needs Survey which was conducted in July 2008. We would like to thank everyone who took the trouble to complete and return the survey form.
The survey asked villagers whether or not they would support a small scheme of affordable housing for local people in the parish. Although the Parish Council in principle supports the initiative, it is important that the community supports the idea. On the whole, the responses were very positive.
Of the 240 questionnaires distributed, 58 (24%) completed or partially completed forms were returned. The average return rate from these surveys is around 25%
81% of respondents were in favour of a scheme and the majority of comments recorded were supportive of an affordable housing development to meet the requirements of people with a local connection to Akeley. Taking this information into account, it is fair to say that the survey responses illustrate general support for an affordable housing project in the village.
On the basis of the survey data and information from AVDC housing register, there is currently enough evidence to warrant a small development of around 6 units in Akeley.
The initial recommendations from the RHE, for scheme size, mix and tenure are:
2 x two bedroom shared ownership flats
3 x two bedroom rented houses
1 x three bedroom rented house
The next stage of the process will be to search for suitable land on which to build a scheme.
8th September – Parish Council agrees to proceed with the scheme and will contact Jean Fox to proceed to the next stage which we understand to be the search for suitable land.
16th August 2008 – Jean Fox confirms that the survey shows there is a need for an Affordable Housing scheme in Akeley.
25th Feb 2008 – On 25th Feb 2008, Akeley Parish Council met with Jean Fox from Buckinghamshire Community Action who is a Rural Housing Enabler.
This was a public session for the council to find out more about schemes and if they could be suitable for Akeley.
Following this meeting, the Parish Council has agreed to progress to the next stage which is to undertake a survey or the needs within the village. This survey has now been completed.
Akeley Parish Council is working with Buckinghamshire Community Action’s Rural Housing Enabler. A Housing Needs Survey (HNS) has been conducted for the parish of Akeley, and this has now confirmed that there is a need for a small scheme of affordable housing.
Any properties provided would only be available to local people who cannot afford to buy a house in the village and where there is nothing suitable to rent. They must have a strong connection to the parish in which the scheme is built and the properties will be protected in perpetuity for the village as there is no ‘Right to Buy’.
The availability of affordable housing is a key issue for people living and working in rural areas. While the causes and experience of a lack of affordable housing are very similar in urban and rural areas, the solutions for rural communities have to be tailored to take account of, for example, the environmental qualities of the countryside, and the higher unit costs of development.
The Government has already taken positive steps to address this need in rural areas, including changes to the planning system. However it is not just an issue for Government, innovation and good practice at the local level are also important.
If you have any views on this, please contact anyone of the councillors or write to the Parish Council. Contact details can be found by clicking here.