Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you proposing homes here?
The results of the Parish Housing Needs Survey carried out in 2018 by the Rural Housing Enabler of 'Action With Communities in Rural Kent' indicated there was a need for a development of affordable homes for local people in the Parish.
The results identified a need for an affordable home from 5 households. Newington & Peene Parish Council decided to act on these results and establish a project to provide local needs housing in the village. The current landowner and the Parish Council invited English Rural to partner with them to find a solution to shortage of affordable rural homes. These homes will be for people who are:
Unable to afford to buy in the Parish;
Who cannot find rented accommodation; and
Who have a strong local connection to the village and and the community
These homes can never be sold on the open market and they are reserved in perpetuity for local people.
How did you choose this site?
A local Trust had previously worked with the Parish Council to explore affordable housing for local people. As a registered provider, specialising in the provision and management of rural affordable homes, English Rural were approached by the Trust to bring these homes forward.
How will the affordable homes be paid for?
We receive some grant funding from Homes England (a Government agency) to help us build these homes, however we have to raise the bulk of the finance ourselves. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) endeavours to help bridge this funding gap by encouraging the use of cross-subsidy on what would normally be regarded as Rural Exception Sites. Paragraph 78 of the NPPF states that "Local planning authorities should support opportunities to bring forward rural exception sites that will provide affordable housing to meet identified local needs, and consider whether allowing some market housing on these sites would help to facilitate this".
We are proposing 1 x Custom Build Plot (see below for further details of what these are). The plot will be for sale, initially to local people, who may wish to build their own home to suit their needs. The home will be limited in size and scale (for example 3 bedroom house). The proceeds from the sale of the plot is used to cross-subsidise the affordable rented homes.
What is a Custom Build Plot?
A Custom Build Plot enables the purchaser to design and build their own home (or have it designed and built for them), subject to certain limitations defined in a 'plot passport'. These limitations will include requirements for maximum floor area of the home, maximum height and timescale for completion, among other criteria.
Outline planning permission for a custom build plot will have been granted but the purchaser must make their own detailed planning application to the Local Authority, so matters regarding appearance, materials, overlooking and landscaping will be controlled in line with planning policy. The home must be the purchasers sole or main residence.
Services such as electricity, water and drainage will normally be provided to the plot boundary. On completion of the property and subject to any mortgage, the purchaser will own 100% of the freehold. This form of home ownership offers a great deal of flexibility and is suited to a range of buyers, whether that be from newly emerging households or from those looking to downsize to something more modern and energy efficient.
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
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 Peene or Newington, 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 Peene 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.
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 event and with the support of the Parish Council, we will progress the detailed design of the development and assemble the many surveys and reports required to support a planning application. These will include, amongst many others, the full consideration of current and proposed ecology, biodiversity, drainage and transportation. Following a planning application all documents will be viewable online via Folkestone and Hythe DC planning portal. The reason for this online consultation is to get your feedback and discuss the comments of local people with the Parish Council.
We are aiming to submit a planning application later in the year, with a view to commencing construction in the Summer of 2022.
How can I register for one of your homes?
English Rural is asking people, who have a local connection and need an affordable home, and who are interested in applying for one of the proposed homes, 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 Folkestone & Hythe District Council and access to the online application is via kenthomechoice.org.uk or telephone 01303 853300.