Housing strategy

New developments and affordable housing

We are aiming to increase in the supply of housing which is affordable to 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.

  • Central Bedfordshire Council North the policy threshold is for 35% of dwellings on sites of 4 or more to be affordable
  • Central Bedfordshire Council South the policy threshold is 30% of dwellings on sites of 4 or more to be affordable

The core strategy in Central Bedfordshire Council North has set out our affordable housing policies CS7 and CS8 (PDF 29.6KB) .

The affordable housing guidance note (PDF 995.2KB) sets out our approach in the south of Central Bedfordshire.

High Court ruling on national planning policy

On 13 May 2016, the government won a legal challenge against a High Court ruling that quashed a national planning policy intended to exempt small sites from affordable housing obligations. This ruling has been reflected in the National Planning Practice Guidance setting out the government’s position that affordable housing and tariff-style planning obligations should not be sought for certain small developments (10 dwellings or less or 1,000 square metres of gross floor space). This is a material consideration to be taken into account in decision-making on planning applications. The weight given to this material consideration will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and in relation to the weight of the existing Development Plan policies, which remain the starting point for consideration in line with Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

In light of this, there will be no affordable housing requirement unless the gross internal floor space is in excess of 1,000 square metres. Full Affordable Housing Policy requirement would be expected from schemes in excess of 1,000 square metres gross internal floor space.

For affordable housing guidance, please contact the strategic housing team housing.strategy@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Historic completions

Historic completions indicate a good level of affordable housing being delivered despite the economic downturn (from 2013/2014, includes Help to Buy properties);

  • 2016/2017 - Target 364 completions (372 already delivered)
  • 2015/2016 - 530 affordable completions
  • 2014/2015 – 810 affordable completions
  • 2013/2014 – 437 affordable completions
  • 2012/2013 – 318 affordable completions
  • 2011/2012 – 438 affordable completions
  • 2010/2011 – 302 affordable completions
  • 2009/2010 – 263 affordable completions

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 our 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 Bedfordshire) the policy threshold is for 30% of dwellings on sites of 4 or more units to be affordable.

This is secured in the planning permission granted by us 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.

Tenure split

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) update 2015 has identified a tenure split of 73% affordable rent and 27% intermediate tenure which will be applicable on all sites meeting the qualifying threshold for affordable housing. This tenure split applies to the whole of Central Bedfordshire.

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, visit Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (link opens in new window).

The Role of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)

The Homes and Communities Agency (link opens in new window) joins up the delivery of housing and regeneration under one roof. Its most obvious impact locally is funding new affordable housing.


Central Bedfordshire Housing Strategy (PDF 1.9MB)