Requirement for affordable housing

Garden Land SPD

Cheltenham Borough Council faces significant challenges in relation to the affordability of homes in the town. A combination of high average house prices and relative constraints on developable land has resulted in a significant unmet need for affordable housing in Cheltenham borough. As of August 2020, the UK house price index indicated that the average house price in England stands at £256,109, with the South West having an average house price of £264,886. In comparison, Cheltenham borough’s average house price as of August 2020 stood at £280,199, 9% greater than English average and 6% greater than South West average respectively.

Clearly, therefore, increasing the provision of affordable housing in Cheltenham is a key priority for the council. We recognise that increasing the delivery of affordable homes can provide a critical safety net to help tackle and prevent homelessness and rough-sleeping, reducing the reliance upon temporary accommodation, as well as creating strong, resilient communities with a sense of belonging.

Between April 2015 and April 2020, the total amount of Council and Registered Provider (housing association) affordable homes in Cheltenham borough has risen slightly, from 6,873 homes in 2015 to 6,935 homes in 2020, despite the loss of 126 council affordable homes over this period through Right to Buy, in addition to the demolition of 44 affordable homes.

In terms of new affordable housing provision, since April 2015 Cheltenham has delivered 340 new affordable homes, with an average annual delivery of 68 affordable homes, this is broken down as follows:

  • 2015-2016- 34 affordable homes delivered
  • 2016-2017- 35 affordable homes delivered
  • 2017-2018- 112 affordable homes delivered
  • 2018-2019-  80 affordable homes delivered
  • 2019-2020- 79 affordable homes delivered

Additionally, our current Local Housing Needs Assessment (LHNA) identifies a need for Cheltenham borough to deliver 3,874 new affordable homes (194 per annum) between 2021 and 2041.

Comparing this identified need against our prior delivery over the past 5 years indicates that demand for affordable housing in Cheltenham continues to significantly outstrip supply. As of October 2020, the council had 2,180 households on our housing register waiting for a new affordable home. However, between April 2015- October 2020, affordable housing need in Cheltenham was more than three times greater than the actual supply of new affordable homes.

For further information surrounding affordable housing delivery, the annual Local Authority Housing Statistics Data records the full details including types of affordable housing by local authority area.

How do we deliver affordable housing in Cheltenham borough?

To address the rising demand for affordable homes in the borough, this council is committed to:

  • Working closely with our development management officers to negotiate the provision of new affordable homes on developments in line with our JCS Policies and identified housing needs
  • Allocating commuted sums secured from new development to buy-back homes lost through Right to Buy via the CBC-CBH acquisitions programme
  • Reviewing and improving our current planning policies to enhance the delivery of affordable housing in the borough
  • Consulting with registered and preferred providers to deliver levels of affordable housing above and beyond the numbers delivered through the market, known as ‘additionality’
  • Engaging pro-actively with Homes England to increase the provision of affordable homes above and beyond what is agreed within S.106 obligations
  • Delivering new affordable homes of all tenures (with a strong emphasis on rented tenures) on council-owned land

Affordable versus affordability

  • Affordability is a measure of whether housing may be afforded by certain groups of households
  • Affordable housing refers to particular products outside the main housing market

We define affordable housing and associated terms in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Annex 2: Glossary

For further information about our strategy for affordable housing, please refer to our latest Housing and homelessness strategy 2018 - 23.