Bloxham Affordable Housing data

What is affordable housing?

There are sometimes complaints from residents that we should be pushing for more affordable housing so that their children can get onto the housing ladder here in Bloxham.
The term ‘affordable housing’ is often misinterpreted as meaning what it says! i.e. housing people can afford to buy! Unfortunately this is not what the government means by affordable housing.
Affordable homes comprise social rented and intermediate housing (shared ownership) provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the open market.
Put another way affordable homes are available only to those who can demonstrate a high level of need according to the tick-boxes on the housing needs register.
Building more affordable homes is not guaranteed to do anything for the children of residents who simply want to be able to buy their own home in the village at an affordable price. Repeat – that is NOT what affordable means in this context.

Has Bloxham had any affordable housing?

The following is data taken from the response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to Cherwell District Council (CDC) received in May 2012.

The question was “Please provide information as to the number of ‘affordable homes’ either already built during the last 3 years or which are part of an approved development for each of the rural parishes within 5 miles radius of (and including) Bloxham. “

Year Bloxham Adderbury Other villages within 5 miles of Bloxham
2011/12 17 0 0
2010/11 0 0 0
2009/10 4 15 0
2008/9 15 0 0
2007/8 13 5 0
Total 49 20 0
Percent 71% 29% 0%

So Bloxham has had almost 50 affordable homes by 2012 and this will have increased further around 20 houses on the new Woodlands park estate will also be affordable homes.
i.e. Bloxham has had far more affordable homes than any other nearby village.

Have these homes gone to people with local connections?

Some of them have. Having a local connection does confer an advantage because:

Where affordable housing is built in rural areas, Cherwell District Council’s Allocation Scheme gives priority, under its current rules, for 50% of lettings to be advertised with a priority for people with a local connection to the local parish or village.
This requirement means

  • At initial letting, 50% of the affordable new build properties will be advertised on the choice based lettings system giving priority to applicants who can demonstrate a district connection to the village or parish.
  • Future re-lettings at any particular scheme will also be advertised to give priority to one in three of subsequent vacancies to applicants who can demonstrate a local connection.

It should be noted that a local connection does not only mean current residence in the village or parish, and is defined as follows:

  • Have lived in the village for the last 5 years
  • Be employed in the district for a minimum of fifteen hours per week and the employment is not of a short-term nature
  • Have 10 years previous residence in the village if not currently residing there
  • Be over 60 or with a disability requiring support on health grounds from close relatives
  • Currently living in the village
  • Have close relatives living in the village for a period of at least the last five years

Example 1
In response to a FoI request in April 2012 CDC provided the following response: ” Since June 2005 up until the present today 79 allocations of social housing have been made in Bloxham village. Of these, 29 were to applicants with a village connection (37%). 50 allocations were made without a village connection (63%).”
i.e. Only a minority of the available affordable homes were taken up by people with any local connection.

Example 2
In response to another question in October 2012 Cherwell District Council offered the following comment upon the Aldous Drive estate as of October 2012: “At this development 17 social housing properties were built. 9 properties were advertised giving a priority to applicants who could demonstrate a village connection. 8 were advertised generally for any applicants accepted onto Cherwell District Council’s Housing Register to apply.
Out of the 9 units advertised for applicants with a local connection priority, only 5 units were eventually let to applicants demonstrating their local connection. This was due to a lack of applications from people with a local connection to Bloxham. As overall demand and interest for these properties was high, the remaining balance were then let to other people in housing need on Cherwell’s Housing Register as defined in the nomination agreement agreed in conjunction with planning permission being granted. “
i.e. Again only a minority of the available affordable homes were taken up by people with any local connection.

Will there be more affordable homes built?

CDC currently has a policy of requiring 35% affordable homes in all developments with 3 or more houses.

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