Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you proposing homes here?
The results of the 2021 Parish Housing Needs Survey carried out by the Rural Housing Enabler of Action Hampshire indicated there was a need for development of affordable homes for local people in the Parish. The results identified a need for housing from 9 local households with a need for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes. These homes will be for people who are;
How did you choose these sites?
Following the recognition of the local need, a “call for sites” was made to local landowners. The shortlist was compiled by a working group including members of the Parish Council, the Rural Housing Enabler, representatives from Hart District Council and English Rural HA.
On each of these sites, the landowner has confirmed the potential availability of their land for such a project.
What is a 'Rural Exception Site'?
The National Planning Policy Framework defines Rural Exception Sites as; "Small sites used for affordable housing in perpetuity where sites would not normally be used for housing. Rural exception sites seek to address the needs of the local community by accommodating households who are either current residents or have an existing family or employment connection. A proportion of market homes may be allowed on the site at the local planning authority’s discretion"
What is a "local connection"?
'Local' means a person who is:
Currently resident in the parish;
Was previously resident in the parish and wants to return;
Is permanently employed in the parish; or
Is connected by close family still living in the parish
A legally enforceable definition will be agreed with the Parish Council and Hart District Council.
How will the affordable homes be paid for?
The full costs of the scheme will be met by English Rural Housing Association. Housing Associations are non-profit organisations, which invest all their income into the business. There are no profits or dividends for shareholders.
New developments are primarily financed from a combination of capital reserves and commercial borrowing, often topped up with Government grant funding. Increasingly, rural exception sites include a small proportion of market homes which provide a cross-subsidy to the affordable.
What if there is no-one 'in need'? Do you bring in people from further away?
If a future vacancy occurs in one of the homes and no one from Winchfield Parish, with the qualifying connection, is in need at that time, then applicants with similar connections to neighbouring Parishes will be considered. The names of the Parishes close to Winchfield will be agreed with the Parish Council and will be specified in the planning agreement. However, it is very rare that we have to look for applicants from outside the Parish in which a development has been built.
What safeguards are there?
Before planning permission is granted, we will enter into a legally enforceable planning agreement with the Local Authority to ensure that the affordable homes are allocated to local people and can never be sold on the open market.
The proposals are by definition an exception to development management planning policies and do not therefore set a precedent for the development of adjacent or adjoining land .
Will tenants have a right to buy?
NO. The statutory Right to Buy applies to Council owned properties only. A similar, but less generous scheme, the Right to Acquire is available to Housing Association tenants, but not those in smaller designated rural settlements. The Parish has the designation of a smaller rural settlement and therefore tenants will not be able to buy or acquire their rented homes, thus preserving their affordable status for future generations of local people.
What timescale are you working to?
Following this consultation, one site will be selected. The detailed design of the development will commence and will include the undertaking of the many specialist surveys and reports to support a planning application. These will include, among many others, the full consideration of ecology, biodiversity, drainage, parking and sustainability. This is expected to take around 6 months to undertake thoroughly, following which a planning application would be submitted.
What is custom build?
Custom build, as set out in The Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended) shares the same definition as Self Build and facilitates a wider range of housing options for local people where they are not served by the local market. It encourages the design and/or construction of the homes by the individual. The custom build homes will be made available to the landowner and their family in exchange for the adjacent development land, thus providing essential cross-subsidy for the affordable homes. This will allow us to deliver a wide choice of high-quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create inclusive and mixed communities.
How can I register for one of these homes?
English Rural is asking people, who have a local connection and need an affordable home, to register their interest by clicking the tab at the top of the page. Alternatively you can visit our website at englishrural.org.uk and read more about what we do. If you prefer, you can also call 020 7820 7930 to request a form or speak to someone about registering.
Interested applicants looking for an affordable rented home will also need to register with Hart District Council and access to the online application is via https://hart.homeconnections.org.uk/ or telephone 01252 774420 to join the Hart District Council Housing Register.