At the next Planning & Licensing Committee to be held on the 27th August 2019, an outline planning decision for the development of 117 homes (30% affordable) in New Romney will be discussed and voted on. This application Y18/1404/FH – Land adjoining Hope All Saints Garden Centre, Ashford Road, New Romney (see map below) , previously came before the planning committee in 2017 in a slightly different form – Y17/1390/SH – and was refused. However, the 2017 application is currently the subject of an appeal that is due to be heard at an informal hearing in October 2019.
Whilst this application is almost identical to the 2017 application, there are key differences (para 1.3 and 1.4).
The outline planning application by Gladman Development Ltd based in Cheshire will have to include 30% affordable homes. That means 35 of the homes will have to be affordable. In theory, ‘affordable housing’ refers to properties that are offered for sale or rent for below their market value – usually as part of a scheme backed by the government or local council.
Broadly speaking, affordable housing schemes aim to make cheaper homes available for people who can’t afford to buy or rent at market rates.
The government defines affordable housing as ‘social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market’.
Starter Homes are new-build homes sold at a minimum of 20% off the market price. Sales prices are capped at £250,000 (£450,000 in London).
Analysis by Shelter (2015) looked at three typical households (earning a range of salaries) in local authorities within England to assess whether they are likely to be able to afford to buy a Starter Home. The research assumed the cost of a starter home would be 80% of the median house price in the area. It concluded that:
Starter Homes for families earning average wages will be unaffordable in over half (58%) of local authorities across the country in 2020.
Families on the National Living Wage will only be able to afford a Starter Home in 2% of local authorities.
Single people on low or average wages will struggle to afford a Starter Home in 2020 in the majority of local authorities. Even those on a higher than average salary would be restricted from affording to buy in three quarters of local authorities. According to Shelter, Starter Homes would be unaffordable for average working families across all of London and most of the South of England, the areas where housing is most unaffordable
In our district median earnings are £26,380 (2018), meaning the median house price is just under nine times your annual median salary. However, the amount of people who earn the median or the average, is more likely than not – not a true reflection of reality for a growing number in our district.
As we said in a previous post, the cost of home ownership is fast becoming a dream for many in the district. Even if houses are so called “affordable” they are still beyond the reach of locals living in and around New Romney. So what will that mean for those “affordable” homes on Princes Parade or Otterpool Park? Well it’s clear, they will not generally be affordable to locals, nor will most of the houses which might be built by Gladman Development Ltd in New Romney, if they get the nod on the 27th August.
The Shepwayvox Team
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