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Affordable Housing for Local People & Identifying Need

As house prices and rents continue to rise, often beyond those wanting to leave home and set up independently, or stay close to family, work or schools, it is becoming increasing difficult for people to get on the housing ladder or to rent a home at a market rent. In Wormingford Parish there is the opportunity to identify whether local people here have a housing need and if so whether an affordable housing scheme could be developed to help address that need.

This type of scheme is an affordable housing scheme, available only to small parishes (less than 3000 population) and for local people (or those with a connection to the parish) in perpetuity. Homes are affordable rental or shared ownership. Occasionally (if there is a need and want) one or two open market properties are required, however schemes are only built if there is a proven need. This housing is known as exception site affordable housing and is not large scale development, but small in numbers; typically a scheme ranges between 4 – 8 homes.

The first stage is to identify if there is a local need, if there isn’t a need within the parish then nothing more will happen. Wormingford Parish Council are in the very early stages of discussing this and invited RCCE’s (Rural Community Council of Essex) Rural Housing Enabler to discuss this possible project with Parish Councillors.

RCCE is an independent charity working across rural Essex and their role is to help the parish, firstly by undertaking a housing needs survey. This will be delivered to every household in the parish and the results (all anonymous, only a report with recommendations goes to the Parish Council) will inform the Parish Council whether there is a need and if so what. The Parish Council will then look at who they could partner with to deliver a scheme.

The housing needs survey is designed to see if there are households in the village or people connected to Wormingford who are in need of affordable housing. This is not a survey to justify large scale or open market developments and cannot be used for that.

Properties in these schemes are usually provided by a housing association, either for rent or shared ownership. These properties cannot be sold or transferred into totally private ownership and would remain in perpetuity for people with a strong local connection, either through family or work. At this stage no suitable land has been investigated or identified.

The housing need survey does have a modest cost involved and therefore Wormingford Parish Council would like to hear from any resident who would be interested in this scheme so the Council can discuss whether to proceed with the survey at this stage.  If we receive no response to this article we will assume that there is no need and will not take this any further forward at this time.

Please contact the Parish Clerk at wormingford@outlook.com

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