Affordable housing

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Affordable housing
  • National Planning Policy Framework
  • Definitions of affordable housing
  • Small sites exemption
  • Major development
  • Rural exception sites
  • Affordable housing in the green belt
  • Planning applications
  • Section 106 agreements
  • LPA's considerations
  • More...

Affordable housing

Affordable housing is housing provided to those who are struggling with their housing costs and whose housing needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing can take many forms, but whatever format it takes, it is always provided at a price below market rate, either by local planning authorities (LPAs) or approved registered providers.

The government funds the development of some new affordable housing, mainly through its development agency, Homes England (see Affordable housing—Homes England below).

However, a significant portion of social housing is delivered through the planning system, by private developers. LPAs are required to ensure that their local plans meets the needs for market and affordable housing. When an LPA identifies a need for affordable housing, they should set policies which require developers of market housing to provide a certain percentage of affordable homes (typically around 30%), which will usually be purchased and managed by a registered provider. It then becomes a requirement of the grant of planning permission that a certain percentage of the residential component of a development is provided as affordable housing, secured through an obligation entered into under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (a section 106 obligation).

National Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government’s national planning policy in England. A revised draft of the NPPF was

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