Affordable Housing in Dry Drayton – an update

The following is an update from the Chair, Peter Fane

The Housing needs survey conducted by Cambridgeshire Rural Community Council for the parish confirmed the need for a small number of more affordable houses to be made available in the village for people with local connections.

The parish council has confirmed that securing more affordable housing in the village, along with improved recreation facilities, remains one of our key priorities. However, we are aware that this remains controversial with many village residents.

We invited Mark Deas of the Community Council to address some of these concerns at the October parish council meeting. Mark explained the basis for the original assessment of needs, the local links which need to be established to rent such houses, and the fact that they are usually built to higher standards than market housing. This was followed with a good discussion with more than 20 residents present.

There are a number of ‘exception sites’ (ie. sites for which planning permission would not otherwise be granted) which could become available for a small development of affordable housing in the village. However, it is unlikely that any landowners will make land available unless they secure planning consent for some ‘market housing’ to be made available for sale on the same site.

The parish council considered this in September as part of our response to the District Council consultation on the Local Plan, which will determine development priorities over the next 20 years or so. In our response (available on the DryDrayton.net website) we said:

“The local plan should allow for ‘exception sites’ to include both market and affordable housing, so as to encourage landowners to bring forward sites for affordable housing, to ensure that where possible affordable housing is merged in to market housing rather than separated by location, and to bring forward a share of funding to local communities to enable improvements in community facilities (such as recreation) to be funded.“

There is now an opportunity under the Localism Act for communities to help decide the nature of any new developments, though not to prevent developments.

We have suggested to the District Council that the best way of ensuring that community views are reflected in the Local Plan is to encourage parish councils to make use of these provisions, developing neighbourhood plans, where possible based upon earlier village plans, and taking account of further consultation in the village.

If you have any views on parish council matters, particularly on village services and affordable housing, please speak to Peter Fane (07802 256861) or contact the clerk on clerk@drydraytonpc.org,uk .

Further information on affordable rural housing can be found on Cambridgeshire ACRE’s pages:
http://www.cambsacre.org.uk/community-work-affordable-rural-housing.php    and
http://tinyurl.com/a3v635j

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