1. What we deliver

Good quality affordable homes improve people's health and wellbeing. Our Annual Review provides an over-view of our performance in providing new affordable homes during the previous financial year (1 April – 31 March) and over the longer term. This also includes a commentary on key issues affecting, or likely to affect, the delivery of new homes in the District.

2. Our plans and strategies

Our strategic aims are set out in the Council Plan 2023-27 and Housing Strategy 2021-26. One of the Council Plan's key areas of focus is delivering ‘Affordable, Well Built and Maintained Homes'. Aim 1 of the Housing Strategy is 'To support communities and build sustainable affordable homes'.

Policies relating to the overall level, distribution and type of new housing are laid out in our Core Strategy and other planning policy documents. For general information about housing supply and related matters please refer to the Authority Monitoring Reports.

3. Our partners

To deliver the new affordable homes we need, we work with:

Local communities - they have a long track record of undertaking housing needs surveys and preparing parish plans or neighbourhood plans to address identified local needs.

Registered Providers - these include non-profit housing associations and other for-profit providers. They are responsible for building and then letting or selling new affordable homes to local people. The following are the most active in developing new homes for local people in our district and regarded as development partners:

  • Bromford Housing Group
  • Orbit Group
  • Platform Housing Group
  • Stonewater
  • Warwickshire Rural Housing Association

We maintain a list of development contacts at partner Registered Providers. This list is updated from time-to-time. It is not an exhaustive list of all Registered Providers operating within our district.

Other Registered Providers considering developing within our district are invited to contact the Housing Policy and Development Team to discuss this possibility: housing.policy@stratford-dc.gov.uk.

Homes England

Homes England is a public body whose role includes supporting the development of new affordable homes in England. It does this through awarding grant funding to Registered Providers (RPs), where needed, under a range of programmes. It also performs a range of other functions such as land assembly.

The Regulator of Social Housing

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) is responsible for the regulation of Registered Providers (RPs) of social housing in England. It promotes a viable, efficient, and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver and maintain homes of appropriate quality that meet a range of needs. Most new affordable housing developed in our area will be subject to its regulatory regime, which ensures RPs meet defined economic and consumer standards.

The Rural Housing Enabler

The District Council funds Warwickshire Rural Community Council (WRCC) to provide the services of a full-time Rural Housing Enabler as an independent resource for all local communities within Stratford-on-Avon District. For further information and contact details see ‘Local needs/community led schemes' section below.

Developers and house-builders

Planning policies generally require the provision of affordable housing as part of market-led housing schemes. This is an important dimension of ensuring sustainable development. Early identification and collaboration with potential partner housing associations (Registered Providers) is vital. In addition, more information and advice on specific issues, and some case studies of recent schemes, are provided below.

Warwickshire County Council

The County Council is the adult social care authority for our district and is interested in ensuring that the current and future care needs of local residents are considered when developing new housing.

Whilst most new affordable homes will continue to be provided to meet general needs, consideration should be given to purpose built specialised housing schemes such as Extra Care Housing to enable older people and people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes and Supported Housing for other groups of people.

Prospective developers of affordable housing must therefore contact the County Council and the Housing Policy & Development Team (contact: housing.policy@stratford-dc.gov.uk) to discuss current needs within the district and whether it would be appropriate to include the above accommodation types as part of an overall affordable housing offer.

4. Advice for households - housing for rent, shared ownership and fixed equity sales

If you cannot afford, or find, housing suitable for your needs within the Council's area, you should contact the Council's Housing Advice Team.

The District Council enables the development of three main categories of new affordable housing:

  • Housing for rent let by Registered Providers such as housing associations. Rents are set below market levels in accordance with the requirements of the Regulator of Social Housing. You need to be registered on the Council's housing waiting list to apply for these homes.

Information about the Home Choice Plus, the Council's housing waiting list, and other housing matters can be found at Homes & Properties.

  • Housing for sale known as Shared Ownership housing. This is developed by Registered Providers. You buy a share of the initial market value of the property (typically initially 10%-75%). Then you normally have a right to purchase further shares in the value of your home, enabling you to ‘staircase' to outright ownership.

For more information about buying a shared ownership property, including Home Ownership for People with Long Term Disabilities (HOLD) go to our dedicated webpage.

  • Occasionally, housing for sale at a permanent discount, known as Fixed Equity Sale homes which are sometimes also known as Discounted Market Sale homes.

The following is general advice: please note that the District Council cannot provide advice relating to your specific circumstances and you should seek independent legal or valuation advice.

House builders develop and directly sell Fixed Equity Sale homes; Registered Providers are not involved. Fixed Equity Sale homes are sold at a specified discount of their open market value (usually 60%). The discount is applied in perpetuity. There is no rent charged on the remaining unsold equity, and the owner owns 100% of the home.

There are a limited number of such homes in the district. There are specific requirements for the sale and purchase of such properties, including eligibility criteria. The discount and requirements of sale are set out in a S106 legal agreement relevant to the specific development, and should be understood by both seller and purchaser, but the following are provided as a general guideline:

  • Sales are initially limited to purchasers with a qualifying local connection;
  • Prospective purchasers are required to have a financial assessment which confirms they could not afford to buy a property at full open market value.

Generally, before a home can be advertised for sale, the developer or current owner is required to submit two valuations to the District Council to confirm the open market value of the home. The agreed maximum selling price will be the average of the two valuations, with the discount (as set out in the S106 agreement) applied.

The application form to submit valuations can be found here: Approval of Details for Planning Obligations. Please note a fee may be payable when submitting your application.

Homes are advertised on house sale websites such as Rightmove, and with local estate agents – the District Council does not hold a list of available homes, nor is it involved in advertising or selling the homes.

Which of these options is most appropriate for you will depend on individual circumstances.

5. Model affordable housing clauses for Section 106 Agreements

Working with our partners is central to our aim of building enough quality affordable homes to meet the needs of our district and its communities.

Many affordable homes on new housing schemes are built as a result of planning policies requiring them to be provided. In these cases, and also in the case of community-led schemes, developers are required to sign a legally-binding agreement to secure delivery of the required affordable homes and regulate their further occupancy. These legally-binding agreements are known as planning obligations or Section 106 Agreements.

We periodically publish templates containing appropriate model clauses for these Agreements in order to guide applicants, speed up the administrative process, and aid public understanding. These clauses will vary depending on the type and location of development.

Please see our index to identify the relevant template.

Further information about the Council's approach can be found in our Development Requirements SPD.

Our expectation is that the relevant model clauses will be used unless there are special circumstances justifying a different approach. The drafting of Agreements will normally be undertaken by the Council's legal services team, following instruction by the planning case officer.

6. S106 agreements and Unilateral Undertakings: compliance and variation

Approvals required

The affordable housing provisions in most planning obligations (i.e. S106 agreements and Unilateral Undertakings) contain important requirements concerning, amongst other things, the need for the submission to, and approval by, the District Council of:

  • An Affordable Housing Specification, prior to the commencement of development.
  • A Local Lettings Plan, prior to the occupation of any affordable homes.

Where outline planning permission for a development has been granted subject to a planning obligation, the following information must be included in the required Affordable Housing Specification:

  1. Details of the development to which the Specification relates.
  2. The identity of the Registered Provider (termed the “Qualifying Developing Body") to whom the affordable homes are to be transferred in a contract.
  3. Arrangements for the local management of the affordable housing by the named Registered Provider.
  4. The location type, size, and tenure of each dwelling on the site (such as to meet the requirements concerning number, tenure etc. elsewhere in the obligation) including details of their gross internal floor area (in square metres).
  5. Details of any other land on the site (for example parking areas or open space) to be transferred to the named Registered Provider.
  6. The minimum standards to be achieved in the design, construction, and layout of the affordable housing.
  7. The intended timing of construction of both the affordable housing and open market housing and, where the development is to be undertaken in phases, the phasing timetable.
  8. The maximum estimated total monthly housing costs to tenants or purchasers of each affordable home on first occupation.

Varying existing obligations

Exceptionally, where it may be necessary to vary an existing obligation, there is a special protocol for dealing with such requests.

Application to Modify or Discharge Planning Obligation(s).

If you are seeking to vary an existing obligation, please check that the local connection and nomination clauses are as per the model clauses.

7. Policy CS.18 Affordable Housing Threshold Position Statement

In July 2018 the Government published a revised version of its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (subsequently amended in February 2019) setting out a new national threshold for the provision of affordable housing.

To assist with clarity and for the avoidance of doubt, the Council produced a Position Statement in September 2019 in respect of the requirement for affordable housing under Core Strategy Policy CS.18.

8. Local needs/community-led housing schemes

Local communities are encouraged to bring forward community-led development schemes to meet local housing and possibly other community needs. Successful examples of such schemes already exist (see case studies below).

Community-led schemes are sometimes also known as ‘Local Need' or ‘Local Choice' schemes. Their key features are that they are community-led, respond to an identified local need, and have community support – typically for affordable housing and/or ‘local market' housing.

Local communities interested in developing such schemes should contact Sarah Brooke-Taylor, the Rural Housing Enabler, at Warwickshire Rural Community Council (WRCC), telephone 01789 842182 or 01789 472611, email sarahbt@wrccrural.org.uk. See also further information about neighbourhood planning.

Sarah can help communities to undertake parish housing needs surveys and identify suitable sites for development.

More information on how to progress local needs schemes and the role of WRCC can be found on their website and in the presentations and case studies discussed at the Rural Housing Enabling events on 27 June and 5 July 2022.

It is worth noting that parish and town councils, and other stakeholders attending rural housing enabling events jointly determined the local connection criteria that are included in all Section 106 agreements for local needs schemes.

9. Case studies

The District Council publishes case studies of representative examples of recently completed affordable housing schemes within its area. The benefits of doing so include: raising awareness amongst local communities of the benefits of an improved supply of new affordable homes; identifying examples of good practice in their design and development, and; informing the review and development of strategies and policies. Current case studies are available to view/download below. All case studies are subject to periodic updating and may be added to from time-to-time.

10.Find out more

Contact: The Housing Policy & Development team

Last updated on 11/04/2024