Further to the Comprehensive Spending Review in November, government funding for rented housing is set to decline over the next few years to a significantly lower level than in then past. In high value areas such as Dorset, Devon and Somerset, home-ownership – even with the sort of discounts now being promoted by the government – will continue to be unavailable to people on low incomes, either because it is simply unaffordable or because banks deem such mortgage-lending to be too risky. Strong demand for rented homes is therefore expected to continue; especially in rural communities where many such homes are in very short supply, many having been lost under the original Right to Buy.
We are working with CLTs and housing association partners to apply for funding for schemes in the current pipeline (see red stars below), several of which have planning permission and all of which either have terms agreed with landowners, a site in the CLT’s ownership or an option agreement in place. Alongside the National CLT Network, we will also continue to lobby for a small proportion of what grant funding remains for rented housing to be ear-marked for community-led affordable housing.
In the meantime, Community Buildings grants to enable CLT to undertake feasibility studies have now been awarded to four Wessex-supported projects and one, Appledore CLT, has reached the next stage of applying for a further grant to progress its planning application.
The first programme of Wessex-supported schemes (2011-15) is almost complete – see photo above and purple pushpins. These have all been built on exception sites and, in the main, have replenished rural communities with much needed homes for rent. The red stars show the second programme of schemes (2015-18); about a third of which will be cross-subsidised from open market housing and the rest subject to bids to the Homes and Communities Agency and District Councils. A third programme of schemes (2016-20) is also emerging.