Affordable housing includes social rented and intermediate housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Affordable housing should:
Meet the needs of eligible households including availability at a cost low enough for them to afford, determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices.
Include provision for the home to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if these restrictions are lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.
This new definition is provided in “Planning Policy Statement 3—Housing” (CLG, December 2006, page 25), and replaces the definition in “Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing (PPG3)” and “DETR Circular 6/98 Planning and Affordable Housing”.
Reported data on the number of affordable homes in the Chelmsford local authority area show that:
In 1997 there were 1,437 social rented homes provided by RSLs and 7,796 by the local authority.
In 2006 there were 9,141 social rented homes provided by RSLs and none by the local authority.
At least 272 intermediate (low cost home ownership) homes were provided in 1997-98 to 2005-06, of which 199 received Housing Corporation grant.
There are currently 4,940 households on the Chelmsford local authority housing waiting list. Of these, 3,900 are living within the local authority area and 1,040 are living outside the authority area.
In 1997, there were 3,600 households on the waiting list living within the local authority area. There was a negligible number of households on the waiting list who were living outside the area as the pre-2002 allocations policy did not allow people living outside the Chelmsford LA area to register for housing, with the exception of a small number of homeless cases.
Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house—particularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time.