Social affordable housing is of enormous importance - for those who live in it now, and the many more who look to the Home Point partnership to provide the support they need in the future. The way affordable housing is allocated is key to creating communities where people choose to live and are able to prosper.
The starting point is the Housing Act 1996. This says that every local housing authority, such as Herefordshire Council, must have a scheme (called an allocations scheme) for determining priorities in allocating accommodation. A local housing authority is not allowed to allocate housing accommodation otherwise than in accordance with their allocation scheme.
As regards priorities, the scheme must be written so as to secure that reasonable preference is given to certain groups of people. The term reasonable preference simply means that applicants with a housing need are given a head start above those who do not have a need for housing.
You can read about the different reasonable preference categories in our allocations policy.
The Housing Act 1996 does not require that those with a reasonable preference should be given absolute priority over everyone else. An allocation scheme may provide for others to be taken into account when determining which applicants are to be given preference; provided that they do not dominate the scheme, and overall, the scheme operates to give reasonable preference to those in the statutory reasonable preference categories over those who are not.
Herefordshire Council promotes sustainable communities by recognising that there are households that do not have a housing need under any other criteria, but have a local connection to a specific parish or ward in which they are seeking to be housed. This will contribute to maintaining sustainable communities in rural areas, by enabling people to remain in, or return to, a locality with which they have a connection. The policy recognises the significance of current and past residence, current employment, and the need for family members to give or receive care. These local connection criteria are set out in the allocations policy.
The purpose of the rural localities criteria is to ensure that a qualifying person's local connection to a Parish within the County is taken into account when they apply for housing which has been provided specifically to meet local needs. Such developments are referred to as “Section 106” developments. This is because some properties, may be subject to occupancy restrictions under agreements within the Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), which were placed upon the property at the point of construction and will remain in place.
For rural affordable housing schemes, such as those built on rural exception sites, the Section 106 will include clauses to ensure that the homes remain affordable in perpetuity to meet local identified households' needs now and in the future. They will be allocated to people with a local connection through the local authorities housing register managed by Home Point.
Such properties will require the ingoing tenant to have a local connection to the parish / town where they are developed. If properties remain empty and no one with a local connection is seeking rehousing at that time, the properties will then be advertised to households with local connections to the cascading parishes and as a last resort within the administration area of the Herefordshire Council.
Where properties have occupancy restrictions this will be stated within the property advert that a LOCAL CONNECTION is required to ensure the Section 106 criteria is met. If additional information is required at the point of advertising, it is recommended that the housing association is contacted directly to clarify any information on each property.
The policy therefore does not apply to housing on other sites in the locality which may be owned by a Registered Provider of Social Housing, unless this has been specifically agreed. This may be achieved in some localities through the implementation of a Local Lettings Plan.
In this policy, “locality” means the relevant Parish; the place where the housing to be let is located, or an adjoining Parish in the same Parish and Catchment Area Grouping (we call this a cascading local connection).
How to apply
Anyone who is interested in a particular development will need to complete an application form, provide the supporting documents including evidence of the local connection. Please ensure that you provide a covering note to advise that you are seeking on the grounds of Local Connection and what parish you are looking to move to and why.
Your application will be processed and the information verified and you will receive a letter confirming your band, registration number and reference details.
Please see the 'how it works' section of this website for details of how to express an interest (“bid”) for properties.
If you have an active registration and you are interested in applying for a Section 106 development please ensure that you meet the Local Connection criteria before you register your interest (place a bid).
It is important that adverts are read carefully. Section 106 developments are prioritised to those with a local connection. Applicants without a local connection are likely to be skipped and could be a wasted bid.