1. Housing overview
Find out more about the work we are undertaking to encourage the expansion of available homes in the borough, how you can apply for housing, support and advice, and information for landlords on renting properties, licensing and other matters.
A large number of residents are able to find and maintain their own home; however, there are still a significant number of residents who need help and support to access accommodation. As with other parts of the country, we are experiencing increasing levels of housing need as a result of the high cost of housing in the borough and the supply the supply of affordable homes, which is heavily influenced by the housing and property market as well as other factors beyond our control.
We provide a range of housing services to residents, including:
- housing homeless residents;
- offering support and advice to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness;
- managing social housing allocations to homes available through local housing associations;
- providing the framework for a balanced growth in housing supply. You can find out more in the Borough Local Plan which sets out policy on housing growth.
New housing and increasing supply
We continue to seek ways to deliver more affordable housing whether that's through working with housing associations and developers, utilising S106 contributions or bring empty homes back into use.
We work with a range of partners to secure the delivery of new affordable housing and to maximise supply, including:
- Homes England, which provides grant funding for affordable homes.
- Joint Venture partners for the council’s regeneration projects.
- Housing associations, who own affordable housing in the borough and manage the properties, as well as working in partnership to deliver new affordable rent, shared ownership and rent to buy schemes.
- Private landlords, who we lease private sector accommodation to house homeless residents.
- Private owners, to bring empty homes back into use.
- Rural stakeholders who deliver rural housing to support communities.
The Borough Local Plan will provide the policy basis for planning applications that come forward in the future but the timing and availability of housing will depend on individual schemes being brought forward by private developers. Due to the borough enjoying even better transport connections over coming years, we expect the attractiveness of development to increase, thus providing opportunities to increase the supply of housing, including affordable housing.
Affordable homes can also be delivered on sites known as ‘rural exception sites’, where it can be shown that a particular area has a high need for affordable homes to meet its own needs and that justifies building homes on land which would not usually be considered favourably.
To meet the planning definition of affordable homes the homes have to be secured through a legal agreement to ensure that they continue to remain as affordable in future years homes would usually be managed by a registered provider of social housing, also known as a Housing Association.
The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) provides detailed information about existing and future housing need and demand.
Future availability and eligibility
Until schemes are brought forward and the planning process has been undertaken, it is not possible to set out the exact type and cost of housing available because the process has many variables including viability and planning requirements. Our planning process will set expectations of 30% affordable housing.
With regard to viability, the Planning Authority will challenge any proposals which do not set out to deliver the policy compliant percentage of affordable housing. The proposals are reviewed in-house as well as obtaining an independent review from the District Valuers/other consultant. The viability assessment is provided for in national and local policy. For more information about viability please see the GOV.UK webpage.
For any development, prices and affordability is influenced by the local market, over which we do not have control. This will affect both the type of development and the cost of all types of home.
We follow the definition of affordable housing as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and the associated tenures specified within it. This Framework does not set out a price range for affordable housing but includes products which define the price through at least a 20% reduction from the market value, or by calculating the rents through a nationally specified formula.
Affordable homes will be available for any resident that meets the national eligibility criteria.
As a landowner, we will be bringing forward applications as part of Joint Ventures with development partners in relation to key growth sites in Maidenhead.
Our policy will be the starting point, seeking to secure a minimum of 30% of homes as affordable homes with tenure, size and type negotiated on a site by site basis. The joint venture partnership with Countryside covers four separate council-owned sites in Maidenhead. Due to the different characteristics of these sites each one is being designed separately to include varying proportions of:
- office space,
- retail space,
- public space and,
- provision for community and heritage offers.
The combined housing on all four sites will be planned to meet the council’s commitment to providing 30% affordable housing.
We are treated no differently to any other developer in this regard as the Local Planning Authority is required by law to assess each application on its merits against the policies in the local plan.
We will be seeking to use some of the capital receipt generated from those developments to provide the infrastructure that the borough needs for the future.
Infrastructure to support growth
The submitted Borough Local Plan provides the framework to shape the next two decades of growth and facilitate new homes and infrastructure, including:
- health and education.
In terms of funding these associated developments, infrastructure used to be provided by developers through something called a Section 106 legal agreement. Government changed the law and a tariff was introduced called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is a charge against some development. We adopted the Levy in September 2016.
Not all development has to pay the Levy because it is based on viability assumptions and it was not meant to cover the cost of all development where we are expected to use other funding sources. It is likely that the Levy will cover some of the strategic infrastructure, but we will have to raise money or bid for money to ensure that it can provide for the other infrastructure needed to support new homes, such as school places. Developers will continue to cover local infrastructure items, such as on-site open space and access improvements close to a development site.