Our Housing Strategy aims to ensure the Council provides a comprehensive housing service, which improves the quality of life by seeking solutions to all aspects of housing need and through the creation and maintenance of stable communities across Central Beds. A large policy framework at National, Regional and Sub-regional directs the Council’s strategic function, and local government levels in both housing and planning.
The Strategic Housing Role encompasses the following:
- Assess and plan for current and future housing needs of the local population
- Make the best use of existing housing stock
- Plan and facilitate new affordable housing
- Plan and commission housing support services which link homes to support and other services that people need to live in them
- Have working partnerships that secure effective housing and neighbourhood management.
- Address the needs of the community, in particular key workers
- Improve the quality of all private sector homes, in particular those of vulnerable homeowners
If you have any queries, please contact the Strategic Housing Team.
- The Sustainable Communities Plan
- Housing Act 1996
- Housing Act 2004
- Homelessness Act 2002
- Planning Policy Statement 3
- Strong and Prosperous Communities - Local Government White Paper
- Homes for the Future - Housing Green Paper
As part of our strategic housing function, the council works to enable the provision of new affordable housing. The former Councils have a history of working in partnership with colleagues in Planning Services, Local Housing Associations and other strategic partners to provide affordable housing for local people. Working with registered social landlords, private developers, local authority partners and other interested parties, we ensure that the affordable housing required within our planning policies and our housing strategy. Currently there are two policy thresholds for Central Bedfordshire in terms of dwelling threshold for the requirement of affordable housing provision on sites. For Central Bedfordshire Council North the policy threshold is for 35% of dwellings on sites of 4 or more to be affordable. For Central Bedfordshire Council South the policy threshold is currently subject to change. Please contact the Strategic Housing Team for further information on the changes.
The Core Strategy in CBC North has set out our affordable housing policies CS7 and CS8 (PDF 30KB).
For Affordable Housing Guidance, please contact the Strategic Housing Team.
We are aiming to:
- Increase in the supply of housing which is affordable to local people. In 2009/10 there were 263 affordable completions and in 2010/11 there were 302 affordable homes completions. The target for affordable housing completions in 2011/12 was 300. Despite the tough economic climate there were 428 affordable homes completions in 2011/12.
Mixed Housing Developments (Section 106 developments):
These are where private housing developments of a certain number of units or the site size meet the triggers set out in the Council’s local plan policy. For Central Bedfordshire Council North (former Mid Beds) the policy threshold is for 35% of dwellings on sites of 4 or more to be affordable. For Central Bedfordshire Council South (the former South Beds) the policy threshold is currently subject to change. Please contact the Strategic Housing Team for further information on the changes. This is secured in the planning permission granted by the Council through a legal agreement called a Section 106. Usually the legal agreement requires the affordable housing to be transferred to a Housing Association or similar provider.
100% Housing Association Developments:
These are where Housing Association partners have secured land and bring forward a development of affordable housing.
Rural Housing Schemes:
The Council also works with partners to bring forward rural housing schemes or exception sites in smaller settlements/parishes – these schemes provide “local affordable housing for local people”. These schemes are “exceptional” to any other housing development as they are built outside the defined settlement boundary of the parishes and can only be brought about if there is a demonstrated local need in the parish that cannot be accommodated in any other way.
On exception site schemes, the Section 106 planning agreement, signed as a contract of planning permission, always stipulates that local people must have priority in allocating the houses.
For more Information on Rural Housing go to: Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity
The Role of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)
The Homes and Communities Agency joins up the delivery of housing and regeneration under one roof, bringing together the functions of English Partnerships, the investment functions of the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities, and key housing and regeneration programmes previously delivered by Communities and Local Government. Its most obvious impact locally is funding new affordable housing.
Orbit First Step is the HomeBuy Agent in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. In these areas, Orbit HomeBuy Agents provide a one stop shop service to people interested in any of the HomeBuy products within Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Please click on Orbit Home Buy Agents for more information and details of how to apply or give them a call on 0345 850 2050.
HomeBuy is a range of low cost home ownership and discounted market rent products developed to make home ownership more affordable and help you get a foot on the property ladder.
A HomeBuy Agent is a Registered Social Landlord appointed by the Homes and Communities Agency, the national housing and regeneration agency for England that provides a one stop shop service to people interested in any of the HomeBuy schemes available across a specific area. The HomeBuy Agent will process your HomeBuy application to determine eligibility for the HomeBuy schemes. If you are eligible for HomeBuy, the HomeBuy Agent will keep your details on a central register and make them available to other Registered Social Landlords that have HomeBuy schemes available in the area.
To search for available properties in Central Bedfordshire then please visit: Orbit Home Buy Agents
Who is eligible?
There is certain criteria that you need to meet in order to qualify for shared ownership. If you have a household income of less than £60,000 then you could qualify. For further information and other criteria please visit Orbit Home Buy Agents. If you are an existing council tenant you need to apply for a transfer application via your housing officer.
FirstBuy - is an equity loan product designed to help First Time Buyers into affordable home ownership by purchasing a brand new property from a house builder/developer.
As this scheme is designed to be the first step onto the property ladder you cannot own another property or land in the UK or abroad.
An equity loan of up to 20% of the home's full market value will be offered to eligible applicants and is co-funded by the Government and the developer.
Applicants are required to fund at least 80% of the property purchase. You will require a conventional mortgage from a qualified lending institution and a minimum deposit of 5% to purchase a property through this scheme. Some of your savings will be required for legal fees and the rest will be required for your deposit.
The equity loan will be a 2nd charge on the property you purchase and will represent a percentage of the value of your property. The equity loan will be interest free for the first 5 years, then in year 6 an interest charge of 1.75% will be payable on the equity loan. The interest charge will then increase annually by RPI + 1% from year 7.
For this scheme you must have a mortgage which will be a first charge as the equity loan can only be a 2nd charge.
If you would like to register your interest in FirstBuy or to discuss the scheme further please submit your name, contact address and day time telephone number to email@example.com.
Shared Ownership - Shared Ownership is a fantastic opportunity for those who want to get a foot on the property ladder but can’t afford to buy a home on the open market. It allows you to buy a share in a brand new leasehold property (either a house or an apartment) on a part buy/part rent basis and pay a subsidised rent on the part that you do not own.
Most Registered Providers (Housing Associations) offer shares for sale of between 25% and 75% of the property depending on how much you can afford to purchase and charge rent on the remaining share. The bigger the share you buy, the less rent you have to pay. You will need to be able to raise a mortgage for the share you want to purchase unless you have sufficient money to enable you to do so.
In most cases, as you become able to afford it, you can, if you wish, buy additional shares until you own the property outright. This is known as ‘staircasing’.
Intermediate rented- You pay reduced rent on a new-build home, enabling you to save for a deposit and then purchase the property.
If you are having trouble obtaining an affordable mortgage without a deposit, you may be eligible to take part in Rent to HomeBuy. In the scheme, you pay ‘intermediate rent’ – which is no more than 80 percent of the current market rent – on a new-build home for up to five years. You use the time that you’re paying reduced rent to save up for a deposit so you can obtain a mortgage and purchase your home.
Rent to Buy -This option offers new build homes to rent for a pre-defined period of time with the expectation that you will buy a share of the property at the end of the rental period.
Homes are available through a range of housing associations on assured shorthold tenancies with an affordable rent of 80% (or less) of market rents. The rent is payable for a pre-defined and limited period, after which time there is an expectation that you will purchase the property on the terms of Shared Ownership. The rental period provides you with the opportunity to save for a deposit towards buying a share in the home, enabling you to access mortgage availability.
Some housing associations offer variations of Rent to Buy. Some of these schemes are marketed with different names, for example "Try Before You Buy" or "Rent Save Buy", etc. Please enquire with the relevant housing association to clarify the terms under which the scheme you are interested in is being offered.
You will have the opportunity to purchase a share in the property throughout your tenancy. At the end of the rental period, you will be assessed to determine your affordability and eligibility to purchase a share in the property.
If your circumstances have changed and you are no longer able to afford to buy, your landlord may review your tenancy. Please note that there is no guarantee that your tenancy will be renewed after each of the agreed periods.
Homebuy Direct -The HomeBuy Direct scheme provides equity loans to help first-time buyers purchase selected new build properties. HomeBuy Direct participants are given help to purchase a new build home from one of our development partners. The purchaser takes out a mortgage to cover at least 70% of the purchase price and this is topped up with an equity loan covering up to 30% of the price.
The maximum value of homes purchased through HomeBuy Direct is £300,000. The equity loan is co-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and the development partner. The total amount that the purchaser pays back on the equity loan component corresponds to the property’s market value at the time of repayment.