Thursday, 18 June 2015

Affordable housing supply in Aberdeen

So just how much affordable housing gets built in Aberdeen?  The quick answer is less than I thought.....This Guardian article is maybe a bit London centric but:

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/17/truth-property-developers-builders-exploit-planning-cities

This report gives the need for houses on Page 58:

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.asp?lID=56242&sID=21737

Aberdeen city annual housing requirement  1,094 houses
Aberdeen city affordable housing                    415 houses

Clearly Aberdeen City is failing to build enough affordable housing with a 10% rate cf to a 40 % need.

I had a quick look on Google and found references that hinted to large scale housing developments having to factor in 25% affordable housing which I thought seemed reasonable.  So a series of questions were put to Aberdeen City Council for a recent development and it turns out that the percentage of affordable houses available now has not really reached 25% yet even though recommendations for 25% affordable housing have been around since at least 2003 (SPP3: Planning for Housing: Scottish Executive: February 2003).

I asked specifically about the new housing development at Cove sanctioned after 2011:

"This site was agreed before the implementation of the 25% affordable housing requirement, and has a requirement to deliver 10%.  Affordable housing can be delivered in a variety of ways and not always as low cost units for sale.

In this particular case there was a requirement for 70 affordable units.  This was delivered as 43 properties for mid-market rent under the National Housing Trust scheme, 20 low cost home ownership units (2 x 3 bed houses, 6 x 1 bed flats and 12 x 2 bedroom flats) which have been sold to qualifying purchasers, and a financial contribution for the remaining 7 units.  These funds are then used to assist the provision of affordable housing on other sites."


"The original legal agreement for Cove (Wellington Road) covered planning application numbers 110063, 110064 and 110065 for a total of 737 units.  There was a subsequent application number 111305 from Persimmon Homes, but this was for the same piece of land as 110063.  We received an additional financial payment at this point which again will be used to contribute towards other affordable schemes in the City.

You can view the planning applications on our website using the link below

http://planning.aberdeencity.gov.uk/PlanningSearch.asp


Mid-market or intermediate rent levels are currently set at up to 100% of the Local Housing Allowance in force at the time, I've given some further links below which may help you.  As the properties at Cove were let at different times there may be variations in the rent charged.  These properties are managed by Aberdeenshire Housing Partnership. 


http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/supply-demand/nht/renting
 

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/privaterent/tenants/Local-Housing-Allowance
 
http://www.a-h-p.org.uk/housing-options 

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 It turns out that the Cove development followed rules from a 2008 report that required only 10% affordable housing:

"Aberdeen City Council implemented 25% affordable housing contribution as part of the Local Development Plan which came into force in 2012.  Prior to this we were working within the terms of the Aberdeen Local Plan which was adopted in 2008 and used the 10% figure.  The Cove applications were lodged in 2011 so fell within the period of the local plan, therefore were subject to a provision of 10%.

I've attached a link to the LDP information and on that page there is a link to the 2008 Aberdeen Local Plan.

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/planning_environment/planning/local_development_plan/pla_local_development_plan.asp

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